Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sentimental Sunday: From England to Canada and Back Again

One of my most recently "found" cousins lives in Canada (as do several others).  She is a third cousin, we share a common set of great-great grandparents.  Her grandfather, who was a first cousin of my grandfather, emigrated to Canada around 1912, as did one of my grandfather's brothers.  I have already got in touch with the descendants of my great-uncle Robert, but it is wonderful to have found another shoot of the family tree.

My "new" cousin asked for my help this weekend in tracing her grandmother's family.  Like me, she doesn't have an international membership for Ancestry - it can get expensive if you just need to check out the occasional record.  I am so glad that she did ask, it's been an intriguing weekend!

Her grandmother grew up away from her birth family, the story being that she was given as a servant to a grocer and his wife, her own family having too many children.  The reality is turning out to be rather different.  From the looks of things, she did go to live with a couple, who indeed owned a grocery business, but there is no question that she was a servant.  At first she is described as a "visitor" on the census, but later as "niece".  I think that the couple regarded her as family, but perhaps she stayed in touch with her own family, so it stopped short of a formal adoption.

There may be a further dimension; she had a much older sister, 16 years her senior.  This woman didn't marry until her early thirties and then she and her husband emigrated to Canada.  Her younger sister also emigrated a couple of years later, her adopted family having died.  She married my grandfather's cousin soon after arriving in Canada.  I wonder if perhaps the sister was in fact the mother and that is why the family gave the girl up.  It wasn't unknown for the parents of a young woman who had a child out of wedlock to pass the child off as their own.  Maybe this was the case.  Or maybe not!


Rosemary said...

Have you considered buying the birth certificate? I did that for what I had assumed was a great-uncle but turned out to be a half-uncle. He was raised by his grandparents as the last of their children and was never told anything different.

Judi Bee said...

Hi Rosemary, this seems like the most sensible option. I have passed on all the information I have found to my cousin and hopefully she will either order the certificate herself or ask me to (probably the cheaper option!).

I don't know how honest people were on certificates though - would the grandparents cover up for their daughter by putting their name to the certificate, I wonder? As you point out, there's only one way to find out .....

thanks for stopping by!

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