Saturday, March 01, 2008

Grampa: Final Facts

When I first decided to post a blog about my grandfather back in November, that's all it was meant to be, but it has taken on a life of its own. I've now bored you four times, and this is the fifth (and final as far as I can tell). This exercise has caused me to get quite busy: clarifying facts, digitizing old photos, and locating and digitizing some old documents such a Certificate of Birth and a Marriage License. I plan to print it all into one booklet of record for the family. I imagine that I'll go on from there to do the same for the other grandparents, so I have created a job for myself — as if I needed another one. But there's no hurry.

While I will refrain from posting much of the material (amen said the choir), I will post a few more items and tidbits below.

Grampa was born on April 11, 1878 in Waterbeach, England; married to Ellenor Phillis Croft (those are the recorded spellings) on May 26, 1909 in Chambly, Quebec; and died in Montreal on June 21, 1958 at 80 years of age.

His whole family came from Cambridgeshire or nearby Norfolk (see map above). His mother was born and buried in Waterbeach but seemed to live in Strethem for a while as Grampa's three older siblings were born there, but he and the other six were born in Waterbeach. (Note: some of this information was obtained from the 1881 census from which a friend once found a few tidbits, such as her husband's, my great grandfather's name being James.) I have a single photo (below) of his mother, my great grandmother, Elizabeth. It was taken in 1923 when she was 75 years old.

Grampa's Mother

As I mentioned, Grampa had nine siblings: four sisters, two older and two younger, and four brothers, one older and three younger. There are some notes in the photo album about marriages and children, and I calculate that these ten children only had about fourteen children of their own, one of whom died a few days after birth. That's quite a change in fertility in one generation. It appears that three of the children never married, one being his older brother, Henry, who was born crippled. An album note mentions that the villagers raised money to buy Henry a wheelchair.

The second oldest sister, Alice, immigrated to Montreal after Grampa, and it appears that they remained quite close until she died months before I was born in 1947 when she would have been 77 years old, I believe. Alice was a cook who at some point in time worked in Vienna, Austria. She married a Montrealer, and it seems that they either owned or rented a summer place in Maine for several summer as there are a number of album pictures over several years of my Dad visiting her in Maine, including this one.

My Dad and Aunt Alice

I guess that's about all that I have to say about Grampa unless some fragment of memory surfaces at some future point.


JunieRose2005 said...

I have enjoyed reading about your grampa! I always love seeing old photographs!


Ex-Shammickite said...

Not quite sure how I got to your blog, but here I am!
I was enjoying your stories about Grandpa. Nice to find someone who appreciates family history, and wants to record it. If you want to go further back, there's a huge amount of info on the internet about how to research census returns, birth, marriage, death certificates, parish registers etc.
I'm in S Ontario... and fed up with all the snow. Have you had just as much snow in Ottawa?
I'm yearning for the spring!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

All your postings about your grandfather and family are very interesting.

The pictures with the horses make me wonder if you know all the names of the pieces of harness? These would have been commonly known in your grandfather's day but are only well known today among some rural folk.

KGMom said...

I don't ever find exploring one's family roots boring.
It is great that you have been able to assemble as many pieces as you have.
Do you ever wonder what will be left behind from our generation? What with all the electronic communication, nothing seems very permanent!

Donna said...

It's very interesting! My Grandparents were from Austria and I might one day tell their story. One of those "rich son falls in love with the looked down upon maids of the castle" stories. Our children and their children will appreciate these stories. Have a happy Sunday! I'm up late because the alarm went off at the shop...burgular...waiting for Hubby to get home...night.

Ruth said...

I collected a lot of pictures from my husband's family and scanned them with names and date. I burned a number of CDs and gave them to each family member. If they don't lose them, and as long as CDs can still be read by the lastest computers, the information is accessible. Donna is right. Perhaps hard copies are most lasting.

Valerie - Still Riding said...

What a nice gift to make for the next gen, Anvil!

Tossing Pebbles - I am sure you can find a diagram with labels of the horse tack.

The sis does carts and knows most of it. I just hook the buckles and don't care what they call it, going for a ride is fun.

Lorna said...

I've loved reading about your grandfather---not so much about your back spasms. It's just a little too close to be other than scary.

Laurie said...

I think your grampa stories are very good reading AC. Please don't hesitate to tell us more.


Coll said...

I find your grandpa stories fascinating. How fortunate you are to have all of these facts and photos. Kind of makes me want to do the same.