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Blogging about things that matter to me. Photographing things I love - Instagram @debcyork. Writing about both. Only wine and chocolate can save us… You can also find me on Twitter (@debcyork) and Facebook. If you like four-legged views, try @missbonniedog on Twitter

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Both Sides of the Story

"In seeking truth, you have to get both sides of a story" - Walter Cronkite

A few weeks ago, I made contact with a very very distantly related person in Australia.  She is from the Guest/Gidney side of my Anglo India family tree and we made contact via some old forum posts that came up while I was googling.

To cut a long story short, we have been swapping various information and it turned out that she is in touch with someone who actually remembers some of my family.  The lady is very old and sadly quite ill but she does still love to chat about India apparently.

The picture above purports to show John Gidney and his first wife Margaret.  It was made available via a webite called  sirhenrygidney.net.  The site is run by a Gidney descendant of John and Margaret, as far as I understand it.  They had three children, Charles, Louisa and Henry, before Margaret's untimely death.  John went on to marry twice more (which is where myself and my Australian contact come in - from wife number two!), according to the site and to my research so far.  [Henry became a leader of the Anglo India community and fought for Anglo India rights to be considered throughout the years of wrangling over possible Indian independence. Maybe a subject for a future post!]

When I found this site, I was thrilled as it answered a lot of questions for me, as well, of course, as throwing up many more questions (always the way for a curious genealogist!).  However, the elderly relation in Australia recounted a somewhat different tale to my contact and after hearing it, for a while I panicked and wondered if I had been too quick to trust the family website that I had stumbled upon.

The site states that Margaret David's family opposed the marriage as although Miss David was Anglo Indian, she was highly educated and had good prospects.  The Australian lady recalls that, the way she heard it, John was not called Gidney until he arrived in India, having run away from Ireland and changed his name.  She also believes that John's family would have nothing to do with his wife as she was too dark skinned.

What to believe?  And how to prove the truth of the matter?  A real lesson in snap family tree decision making?  Had I been too delighted to find the family life story online and ready for copying?  

After hours more searching, I do believe that I have proved that the Henry Gidney site is more likely to be correct.  I have done this via the brothers of John who are mentioned on the site.  There are a number of people who have posted in forums etc that they are related to Sir Henry Gidney (quite a badge of honour apparently!) through his uncles.  

I can only hope that they have not stumbled upon the same site and made the same assumptions, of course.  I have as yet found no way to trace Margaret David's roots and that seems to me to be the only way to get closer to having both sides of the story.  Do let me know if you can help!

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