Friday, 12 September 2014
A Rose by any other name?
Two days into my course work for Organising Your Genealogy and I am already making more work for myself. No, not my poor record organising skills. They have reached a plateau, I hope!
A tree which was done by a genealogist for my mother's eldest sister some years ago has always been taken as gospel. It followed my grandfather Gerald Pratt and my grandmother Lily Goodey. None of the spouses' lines were followed. It simply looked at the Pratt and Goodey origins. Two trees and some fact files to accompany them.
Since my father's lines were so much harder to trace and so much more misted because of the Anglo Indian connections, I have put most of my own efforts into looking at my paternal side. I did, though, look at my maternal grandmother Lily's mother's side. She was Violet Tiller and it turned out, as readers of this blog may remember, that my mother and her siblings have recently come into a small inheritance from this side. So I was pleased that I was able to confirm the heir hunter's findings.
However, yesterday I had to fill in my own "pedigree" chart as part of starting this course. The form which I have been asked to use looks like this:
This leads, at the right hand side, to sixteen lines of enquiry. I have made good progress with five of the eight paternal Indian lines; two of the eight maternal lines are covered by my aunt's tree and two of the maternal lines have been done by myself - Violet Tiller's parents. However, this leaves half of the maternal lines uninvestigated because my aunt's tree does not pursue them, only the Pratt and Goodey lines - ie the males!
So when I came to fill in my own pedigree - all excited to be doing my first coursework! - I realised that I had very little information about these lines. I returned to the "fact files" attached to my aunt's tree and it states that my paternal great grandmother, Mildred Rose Higgins, was the daughter of Thomas and Annie Higgins. I filled this in for the fifth generation - two of the eight maternal lines.
As ever with me, though, I couldn't "leave it"! What was Annie's surname, I wondered? And what are subscriptions to family tree services for if not to solve such conundrums? (And to distract one from the business that needed to be taken in hand before the puppy woke up and made it impossible to finish anything?!)
When you search for Milfred Rose Higgins on the census results for 1901 and 1911 - she was born in 1893 - you are given results for Mildred Rose Higgins and for Rose Higgins. I am now completely convinced that the genealogist who did my aunt's tree has used results for Mildred Rose, my great grandmother and for a different Rose Higgins and has combined them to make a complete history for one person.
The fact file states that in 1901, Mildred Rose, aged eight, was living with her parents Thomas and Annie in the Guards Officers Quarters in Aylesbury - Thomas was some sort of civil servant. However, when I looked at this census entry, it is for a Rose Higgins. I did not think anything of this to start with because I remember that she was usually referred to as Rose when I knew her as a child. However, skip to 1911 and the fact file says that Mildred Rose, aged seventeen and born in Waddesdon, is living and working as a domestic servant in Kensington, London. But the Rose Higgins with parents Thomas and Annie is shown in 1911 as well! She is still living with her parents and works at a printing works - as her elder siblings had been doing in 1901.
So which is my Rose? Well, my original notes state that my great grandmother was born in specifically Waddesdon, as opposed to Aylesbury nearby. There is a Rose Higgins shown for Waddesdon in 1901. Age eight, she is living with her parents John and Ada and her sisters Winifred and Margaret. In 1911, John is living with just Winifred - who is keeping house - and Jack. This fits because Mildred Rose, born in Waddesdon, is shown at a large house in Kensington.
And I think it is the names which prove my theory. Mildred Rose and Walter Pratt had eight children, seven of whom survived. Their first child was a girl named Kathleen Ada. After Mildred Rose's mother? The second son was named Jack - more common, I grant you. But also, my mother has a sister named Joan Winifred and I am wondering if the Winifred came from my grandfather's aunt's name. It is not the most usual of names, even for those days. A final piece of circumstantial evidence might be that Walter Pratt was a train driver from Smethwick. I can't help feeling that he was more likely to have meet a girl who was travelling from London to see her family in Aylesbury than a girl who had stayed with her parents all along. But maybe this is a supposition too far! As I wrote about last time, we should not jump to conclusions...
I intend, now that my curiosity is awoken, to pursue the Higgins connections and to establish the truth if possible. But that must wait. I have a pedigree to finish.