With a strange weariness hanging over me, the weather offering frozen ground in the morning and no desperate requirement of leaving the house this meant I needed something to occupy my mind that did not require much thought, normal business as it were
So I poked my freezing fingers into the laptop and once again returned to may family history which has lain dormant for a while. Much of this has been done and questions asked and answered but I decided to check it out and clean things up.
When I say family history I refer not to my family but my grandfathers first family, he remarried when a widow and I descend from the second wife not the first. This point is important as the first wife had problems and there may have been a combination of this that led to her ending up in Dundee Lunatic asylum!
With feet pressed against the radiator I dug out what had been found, tidied the paperwork and then somewhat foolishly decided to print off what I had found. Grandfather and his wife had seven children in 18 years, four girls and three boys. In spite of the age only one child died, Mary expired from pneumonia aged one year and two day in 1902. In sorting things out I placed the printed matter in individual plastic files, all very neat, however I forgot how long it would take to print things off. There were birth details, census's, death notices and a summary page along with individual items from each. It also required chasing about on ancestry and the Scotland's people site going from one to another before not always finding what I was looking for. However it did cross my mind that rather than struggle through my life with the rubbish jobs that once fed me doing something like this was more interesting and I wish I had found a way in years ago.
It is interesting what can be found. The British Newspaper Archive is a great help with newspapers from long ago. This can be frustrating however when the paper you want is there but not the year you need to search! Umpteen millions of pages but not all are as yet online. However I did find an explanation regarding the tale of two sisters who married the same man. One parried this insurance accountant in 1904, she died however in 1928 and then in 1933, a suitable expanse of time, her sister moved in. This was helped by copies of the death notices in the 'Scotsman' the paper men of his ilk would have been reading at the time. His wealth was clear as he lived up Liberton Brae, expensive middle class then as now. Thanks to Google Maps I could also find the houses they lived in! How strange to be excited finding info about someone I never met! The other sister had already married well. The behaviour of the mother might be involved here as this one lived in Newcastle and not with the family. This before she was 13 at that.
Another interesting insight into the mother was that two years after his marriage granddad places an ad in the local paper telling the world he is not responsible for her debts! Something was amiss.
I got so involved in all this I ran out of black ink and had to venture out to Tesco to pay for more, £18 a go!
The brothers were easier to sort out, at least two of them were. One spent time in Birkenhead where his eldest sister loved with him for a while, then he is found in the 'Manitoba Rifles' fighting for the Canadian Army, aged 35, and disappearing into the chalk on the 5th July 1916. I must look them up sometime. William however was in the RNVR and spent the war on small 'sloops' supporting the war effort. The details on his discharge papers are hard to decipher without a knowledge of Naval terms but he appears to have done all right. He died in a house in East London in 1936, his probate went to his sister.
Robert however adds mystery to this. He is 16 and a drapers assistant while at home in Edinburgh but does not appear anywhere again. I canny find a death certificate, (there are hundreds with his name and it appears the family always had a Robert somewhere) he is not on a census, and has disappeared. Add to this my aged aunt one time mentioned a tale of that family concerning a son taking poison and then another doing the same which makes me wonder. In 1891 they are all at home, dad working as a steam engine driver, but in 1901 he is elsewhere along with two sisters and one son. He remains married and one son is England but where are the rest and why is the engine driver now a general labourer at 55? Mary has died, has son killed himself, has mother gone over the top as she is now in the lunatic asylum, and yet no info anywhere regarding this. I need to keep digging.
That is how I have spent two cold days, filling my head with such things, all meaning little in the end but I find it interesting and it keeps me off the streets.