So That's Where I Get It From

March 28, 2011

March 21 – Women’s History Month – Fearless Females

I’ve not been able to add posts for this series (or for anything else) over the last few days as I have been having internet connection problems again!!  Hopefully things are improved now and so, fingers crossed, I can catch up with this series.

March 21 – Describe a tender moment one of your female ancestors shared with you or another family member.

I find it difficult to answer this because there have been many tender moments over the years between me and my family members, so it’s hard to know which “moment” to pick!

I was going through some old photos and came across the one I shall show here of my dear late Aunt Margaret Sinclair (1916 – 1999) with her younger sister Jean (my dear Mum).  I felt it shows a tender moment between two sisters.

Original photograph in my private collection - copyright 2011

 

I think this shows both tenderness and protection as my Aunt Margaret has a steadying hand around my Mum and it also shows a wonderful closeness between them.

March 20, 2011

March 20 – Women’s History Month – Fearless Females

March 20   -   Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

Ooooh yes, there certainly is!!  My paternal 7 x great grandmother Elizabeth Read (nee Cosens) is most certainly a very hard brick wall to knock down.  It took me just short of ten years to find out who the parents of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read were and so I was delighted when I found they were William Read (1679 -1752) and Elizabeth Cosens (c1679 – 1767).

I found they married at Bix, Oxfordshire, UK on 8th August 1703 and they had six children.  I found out more about William Read but as hard as I have looked I just can’t find out more about Elizabeth!  It’s a few years now since I found her and I reckon I’m on my way to a ten or more years search for her parents.

I have searched many parish registers for the surname Cosens and it’s variant spellings.  I have been looking for a baptism for an Elizabeth for example between 1660 to 1688 just in case she was nearer forty when she married or very young at about fifteen years.  I thought that was a fair coverage for a possible age she would marry.  I haven’t found any baptisms for an Elizabeth in that time scale that just might be her.

My next step has been searching Cozens (and its variant spellings) Wills in the hope that a father, grandfather or uncle or someone just might leave her something and mention she is married to William Read.  But so far, nothing that ties in with her at all.

I found the Will of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read’s sister Rachel.  She never married and lived at Tiddington, Oxfordshire.  In her Will she mentions that her cousin Anne Cozens is living with her!  Wonderful, a clue!!  When Anne Cozens died, she also left a Will with lots of names in it and some clues too.

From the clues I have worked out that Anne Cozens has a brother Moses and a brother John.  And therefore that their father is a brother to Elisabeth Cosens my 7 x great grandmother.  Neither of Anne’s brothers mention Anne in their Wills although they died before her.  Their father is also John Cozens but although he mentions his sons John and Moses, he does not mention Anne. 

I have tried to look for John Cozens senior’s baptism in the hope it will show his parents and hopefully I will then find the baptism of Elizabeth Cosens. 

As it stands now, I don’t think I am anywhere near breaking down that brick wall called Elizabeth Cosens!!!   :-(

March 19 – Women’s History Month – Fearless Females

March 19   -   Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

I found a couple of surprising things concerning my paternal great grandmother Alice Maria Read (nee Greening) (1857 – after 1924).  Before she married my great grandfather Thomas William Read (1857  -  1891) she had a daughter Ellen by him but it was another four years before Alice and Thomas actually married each other in 1878 at Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire, UK!

I know Thomas was the father as this is clearly written in the parish register.  His daughter Ellen went by the surname of Greening, even after my great grandparents married.

Alice’s husband Thomas died at a young age, only about 34 years old and so she was left with six children to look after.  It was a surprise to me when my Aunt Evelyn told me that her father (my grandfather) was put with his siblings into an orphanage in London somewhere!  It seems Alice could not cope on her own with the children so they were placed in the orphanage but she kept one of the children with her.  I have no idea which of her children  remained with her, but I do know from what my Aunt told me that my grandfather was one who was sent to the orphanage.

My great grandmother Alice eventually married another man – I found in the census that they were actually neighbours which is probably how they met.  He was also widowed and with his children.  I have no idea when or if my great grandmother had her children back with her when she remarried, but my grandfather had joined the Royal Navy by the time she remarried so he must have gone from the orphanage to enlisting.  As to the other children, as yet I don’t know what happened to them or if they ever went back to my great grandmother.

I remember my dear dad talking about his grandmother and he knew Alice so my grandfather must have kept in touch with her.

So that was certainly surprising to know and other than feeling surprised when I was told about Alice putting her children in an orphanage I did not really feel anything else about it.  My dear dad seemed to have good memories about Alice so it does not look like her own son had bad feelings about it as she was still part of the family when he had his own children.

March 18, 2011

March 18 – Women’s History Month – Fearless Females

March 18   -   Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.

As with the March 17 topic, this is another one that is difficult to answer regarding my female ancestors!

My maternal grandmother Lucy Sinclair (nee Dartnell) (1883 – 1984; yes 101 years old) used to be a Court Dressmaker (I have written about this in the Daily Blogging Theme, Mystery Monday) and used to make clothes for herself and her children and it would not surprise me if she made clothes for her friends as well.  She also knitted many items as well.

Her daughter, my (now 100 years old) Aunt Lucy has been an artist for most of her life.  She paints beautiful  landscapes, seascapes, still life, portraits, all sorts and in all sorts of different ways with charcoal, acrylic, pastels and so on and is still painting and exhibiting at this milestone age!!

Here is a photograph of my Aunt with one of her paintings, taken from a newspaper article about her in November 2010 for her 100th birthday.  The quality of the pic is not too good and as it is from a newspaper the print from the other side can be seen through it!!

Photograph from a newspaper item Nov 2010 - copyright 2011

 

We have a famous author ancestor but he is male!  So I cannot write about him here as this is about our female ancestors.

In my family history research I haven’t yet come across any females who are “Shining Stars” although I think in the 1700s and 1800s many of my female ancestors were probably very accomplished seamstresses.  If they were financially comfortable then they probably spent a lot of their days sewing embroidered tapestries but if they were poorer, then they probably made their own dresses or were lacemakers.

So, again, I’m sorry to say that I cannot write too much about my female ancestors as I have not come across anything they have done that I could include in this post.

March 17 – Women’s History Month – Fearless Females

March 17   -   Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.

I can’t really say too much about this topic as neither my mother or grandmothers appear to have been members of any social organisations as such!

My mother told me that her mother, Lucy Sinclair (nee Dartnell) used to go to events and social evenings at the British Legion in Balham, London but she wasn’t a member of the Legion.

I’ve been going through some of my female ancestors and the females in my partner Paul’s family but there doesn’t seem to be anyone that was involved with groups or social organisations.

I’m sure that some of my female ancestors would have been in church groups or even Women’s Institute groups but as yet I just haven’t found anything like that for any of my female ancestors.  Perhaps I need to start searching some different kinds of records to delve into this a bit further?

This theme is certainly making me aware that I need to look more into the lives of my female ancestors than I have been doing!

March 16, 2011

March 16 – Women’s History Month – Fearless Females

March 16   -   If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

As in my March 15th post, it requires quite a bit of mulling through my female ancestors to choose one to write about for each day.  There would actually be several that I would want to have lunch with and if this series had been about my male ancestors, it would have been very easy to answer because I would love to have lunch with my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read – I wouldn’t have to think twice about it – I have become very fond of him!!

But this series is about our female ancestors, so in the end I have decided to write about my 8 x great grandmother Katharine Read (nee Lovjoy) (1649 – 1713).  She is the grandmother of Cozens Read and as far as my Reads go, she is the earliest female.  (I have details of her Lovjoy/Lovejoy line going back even further but through her marriage to my 8 x great grandfather John Read, Katharine is in effect my earliest Read female.

She was about 20 years old when she married John Read in 1669 and they had eight children together.  Sadly she lost a son, Robart, when he was only 23 years old.  Her other children survived to go on to marry and some have children of their own.

So, I imagine that I will jump into my wonderful time-machine to be taken back to Katharine Read’s time, and will arrive at her house in Caversham, Oxfordshire.  We will have lunch there as I’m sure it would be nice and homely and a good place to sit and chat over lunch.  I imagine we would eat something that has come from Katharine’s kitchen, possibly one of the family’s favourite meals.

The reason why I would love to have lunch with Katharine Read, is so that we can chat about the family.  She could give me details about the parents of her husband John Read.  Who they were, where they lived, when John was born and so on.  What joy that would be for me.  Katharine could also chat about the gossip from that time in her town and how her days are usually spent.  Probably the best thing we could chat about would be why she felt it necessary to only leave some of her children one shilling in her Will, while all the others would receive Ten Pounds each from her.

The one shilling means that they aren’t quite cut out of the Will, but almost, especially as there is nothing to explain that they have already received the rest of the inheritance during her lifetime!  She more or less mentions in the Will that she has this written to save arguments later!!  I wonder what went on.  I wonder why some of her children were out of favour.  Over lunch, Katharine could enlighten me about all these things and more.

How many times have I wished for a time-machine!!

March 15 – Women’s History Month – Fearless Females

March 15   -   Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.

I’m a day late with writing this post, but I have been thinking and pondering and musing about which of my female ancestors I should write the six-word memoir about and wondering how I would write it!!  It’s not that easy!

I decided to feature my 6 x great grandmother Elizabeth Read (nee Shirley)(c1713 – 1786) for this tribute.  I have already mentioned her in this series but as she is the only ancestor of mine that had as many children as 20, then I think she was worth another mention.

Elizabeth was the wife of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read and married him when she was about 21.  They married in 1734 at Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK  and lived for the rest of their lives at Lower Winchendon, Buckinghamshire.

 The six-word memoir requires me to sum up Elizabeth’s life in just six words.  I’ve thought and thought about this and here is my six-word memoir tribute to her:

Husband and eleven daughters, nine sons

From the day she married her life then revolved around her husband, having twenty children, seeing five of them die as babies or toddlers, not to mention the rearing that was required until they reached adulthood and went on to marry and have children themselves.  So I think my six-word memoir covers Elizabeth’s life quite well!!

March 14, 2011

March 14 – Women’s History Month – Fearless Females

March 14   -   Newsmakers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

I hate to say it, but I haven’t really come across any news item concerning any of my female ancestors whatever side of the family they are on, nor any of the female ancestors of my partner Paul.

Buuuuuut, there might just be a female ancestor who could be one of mine, but at the moment I have not found a connection.  I came across her a  long time ago and made a few notes, just in case she turned out to be one of my ancestors.  Her name is Mary Read and she was a pirate!  Apparently a very famous one.  She was born towards the end of the 1600s and died before the mid-1700s, probably to do with her career as a pirate.  I have not been able to discover too much about her birth/baptism and parents so at this stage she is only a “could be related but need to check more” name for me to be aware of.

I think as a pirate she probably wouldn’t have been too nice a person, but how fascinating if I eventually find she is my ancestor and have a pirate in the family!  (Why does this make me think of Johnny Depp)?  ;-)

There is more information about Mary Read at the Wikipedia website.

March 13 – Women’s History Month – Fearless Females

March 13   -   Moment of Strength: share a story where a female ancestor showed courage or strength in a difficult situation.

I find this very difficult to answer!  I have no knowledge of anyone in the family having to be strong or show courage in a difficult situation.  I have always felt though that my 6 x great grandmother, Elizabeth Read (nee Shirley) (c1713 – 1786) must have been a very strong woman.

The reason for thinking this is because she had 20 children in an era when there was no medical help as such.  She married my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read in 1734, had their first child in 1735 and their last child twenty years later in 1755.  They had three sets of twins within those 20 children.

At a time when there would not have been medication to help ease the pain of childbirth, nothing much to help should she have had any infections and what if there were problems during the birth?  So to have endured all that over so many years and live to a good age of about 73 years, just makes me think she must have been so strong and I much admire her for all that.

I’ve been trying to think if I have come across any incidents that might have been difficult for my other female ancestors, and would suppose that many would have had to be strong, if not couragious, to just be able to live in those past times, when they were poor.  Some of them I see, from their death certificates, were still working as servants, or straw plaiters, or agricultural labourers even, when they were in their seventies and early eighties, much like their husbands, if they lived that long. 

I think we have it a bit easier these days and don’t really appreciate what our ancestors really went through.

March 13, 2011

March 12 – Women’s History Month – Fearless Females

March 12   -   Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

My maternal grandmother, Lucy Sinclair (nee Dartnell), worked as a Court dressmaker when she was young and in the early years of her marriage to my grandfather, Frederick Sinclair.  As far as I know she did not go out to work while bringing up her five children.  Because of her experience as a dressmaker, she made all her own clothes and clothes for her children.  She also knitted many items and continued to do so until she was in her nineties.  She lived to the ripe old age of 101 and was always active.

This is a digital scrapbook picture I made of my maternal grandmother and I have shown it previously elsewhere on this blog together with other ancestors for the Carnival of Genealogy – Scrapbooking Your Family History.

Original photographs in my private collection and digital scrapbook page made by me - copyright 2011

I have absolutely no knowledge as to whether my paternal grandmother, Jane Read (nee Stapleton) went out to work and know nothing at all about any work she may have done before her marriage to my grandfather, John Read.  Sadly there is no one left that I could ask about this.

This is another digital scrapbook page I made for my paternal Grandmother Jane and is the only photo I have of her.

Original photograph in my private collection and digital scrapbook page made by me - copyright 2011

My own mother, Jean (nee Sinclair) has always worked until she retired.  My two brothers and I were what people used to call “latch-key kids”.   Obviously she had some time off when she had each of  us, but when she was at work, as an Accountant, there was always someone we could go to after school until Mum and Dad picked us up when they returned from work.

Mum frequently brought work home with her and I was always amazed at just how quickly she could add up very long columns of figures.  She never used a calculator, it was all done in her head.  Maths was my worst subject at school and although I can add up in my head, I could never do it as quickly as my dear Mum. 

We never suffered or felt bad because Mum was working when we were younger.  We had a happy childhood and there are no regrets because she was working.  I think Mum would not have been happy to be a stay-at-home Mum and I know that if I had had children myself, I’m pretty sure I would not have been a stay-at-home Mum either.  I don’t think this has been detrimental in any way to my brothers and I that Mum worked all through our childhood.  I know at times it was hard for Mum going out to work and looking after her home and family but she did it and is now retired and enjoying the life she has now.

This is a pic of Mum aged about 17

Original photograph in my private collection - copyright 2011

 

And another of Mum as she is now, this photo taken in November 2010 at her sister Lucy’s 100th birthday party.

Original photograph in my private collection - copyright 2011

 

Three very special ladies in my life.  My two grandmothers I miss very much and my Mum I love very dearly.

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