Monday, 31 May 2010

Madness Monday: Of unsound mind and untidy room

In the 1891 census, great-great-grandfather John Dunstone Avery was living on his own (but not a widower), with a brood of children.  In the 1901 census, his wife great-great-grandmother Emma Elizabeth Dunstone Avery was living without him (but not a widow), with her daughter and son-in-law.  Where was she in 1891?  I eventually found her in the records of Bodmin County Asylum, where she was confined for thinking that everyone was against her.

She was described as 'fairly well educated for her station in life', and later in the patient records we read that 'her bedroom is all in disorder'.

When are they coming for me, then? LOL

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Sentimental Sunday: He died of the flu

Samuel Murch Haywood, my paternal great-grandfather, is the ancestor I always use when teaching others how to start their family history.  Maybe because the name 'Murch' is so unusual, so you know when you've found him in the birth-marriage-death indexes! Maybe because he had the same birthday as my father (21 May) although, because he was born in 1872, he would have been in his sixties by the time Dad was born.

He was one of the first of my discoveries when I started out in my genealogical detective work, and also one of my first surprises.  When I looked over his death certificate, I saw to my astonishment that the cause of death was 'influenza'.  Influenza! My ancestor died of influenza! (that seemed rather feeble to me) and he was only 46...it wasn't until many years later that I learned about the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed between 50 and 100 million worldwide.  Samuel died on 17 October 1918 in Devonport, Devon, so he would have been one of the first to succumb; although he was a brickmaker, he was in a port, which obviously increased his exposure to the disease.  I must find out why he was there...

Saturday, 29 May 2010

In the beginning...

This blog is intended to be an extension to my ancestor-spotting records at home of names, dates and places.  It is going to be the place where I put my family history.  Anecdotes, snippets of information, quotes, pictures - and even some chapters of book(s) I am writing on the surnames that appear in my family tree.  Who knows? there may even be some information that might help you, dear reader...

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