Author Topic: Unknown Relative in Whitchurch Road Cemetery, Wem.  (Read 683 times)

Offline Tickettyboo

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Re: Unknown Relative in Whitchurch Road Cemetery, Wem.
« Reply #9 on: Sunday 09 February 20 18:46 GMT (UK) »
My grandmother was born in 1935, so my great grandmother would have been housekeeping for this man before this date, so the 1939 census is no good!

Have you tried electoral registers? If she was a live in housekeeper (and was over 21) registers a couple of years prior to the birth 'may' provide a clue?


Boo



Offline moomoo98

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Re: Unknown Relative in Whitchurch Road Cemetery, Wem.
« Reply #10 on: Sunday 09 February 20 22:04 GMT (UK) »
she married a bit later on to a man called David Thomas Hughes, a blacksmith from Llanfyllin, and my grandmother went on to really adore him so that was all well and good. I just can't shake this feeling of needing to solve the mystery though!

I've gone through every single close DNA match and left no stones unturned over the past few months and it's so difficult, but I guess I'll have to wait around for some match to come up.

I get the sense that she never told anyone because he wasn't around anymore and she loved her step dad as her father, but perhaps a feeling of sentimentality came over her that one day in the graveyard.

David Thomas Hughes her stepdad lived about 30 or 40 miles away from Wem, where her biological father is supposedly buried. I think she went so far because it was the nearest workhouse. What reason do you suggest for exploring his history, do you think he could actually be the biological father?

Offline Nick_Ips

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Re: Unknown Relative in Whitchurch Road Cemetery, Wem.
« Reply #11 on: Sunday 09 February 20 23:13 GMT (UK) »
I just can't shake this feeling of needing to solve the mystery though!
I can understand that. In my case I've been thinking about it for over 20 years, but still don't feel any closer to the truth. My last try was to get hold of the wills of some possible candidates to see if any had left money to the people concerned. No luck there.

I get the sense that she never told anyone because he wasn't around anymore and she loved her step dad as her father, but perhaps a feeling of sentimentality came over her that one day in the graveyard.
That is plausible, and a reason to ask people not to investigate might be a sense of loyalty to her step dad. It gets complicated without any documented information. It is also important to avoid making assumptions that block possible avenues of investigation.

David Thomas Hughes her stepdad lived about 30 or 40 miles away from Wem, where her biological father is supposedly buried. I think she went so far because it was the nearest workhouse.
Bear in mind that by 1935 a 'workhouse' is more like a hospital than the kind of institution Oliver Twist would have known. Have you looked into the history of this place, what status it had in 1935, and what happened to their records?

Do you know how long she was there after the birth, and what happened between then and her marriage? What she was doing in that time might give some clues as to who the father might be. It is a long shot, but as an example she might have lived with/worked for some family member of the father.

What reason do you suggest for exploring his history, do you think he could actually be the biological father?
The suggestion was because it may provide a source of clues. It is a case of turning over all the stones looking for possible connections. That's based on my own experience where I've followed up a loose end like this and discovered something interesting - even if not the exact answer I was looking for.

To give an example, say you discover a relative of David Thomas Hughes living near Wem working as a farm labourer some time pre-1935. You might then want to look at the farmer they were employed by and see whether that might fit the circumstances you've been told. I'm not suggesting this is a likely outcome, just an example of how sometimes a clue can come from an unexpected source. The problem you'll have though is the limited records available between 1911 and 1935.

Based on the information you've given so far it sounds improbable he is the biological father, but equally there is nothing so far that would absolutely rule it out.

But on balance if he was the father then it might be more likely that the circumstances of the birth would have been glossed over and as far as your grandmother was concerned he would be her dad without any doubt.


Offline moomoo98

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Re: Unknown Relative in Whitchurch Road Cemetery, Wem.
« Reply #12 on: Monday 10 February 20 00:18 GMT (UK) »
I went to school near the same workhouse and from what I've read, the poor law system ended and workhouses changed to local authority control. It seems like they remained somewhat the same though and still had masters etc.

After giving birth to my grandmother I don't know how long she spent in the workhouse, but my grandmother had a twin who died at birth so they could have stayed a while. I've been told that she left the workhouse (maybe 'escaped') and met David Thomas Hughes, who lived above the workhouse, no more than a mile. He took them in and I think they married in 1937 (2 years after my grandmother's birth)

Offline Nick_Ips

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Re: Unknown Relative in Whitchurch Road Cemetery, Wem.
« Reply #13 on: Monday 10 February 20 01:13 GMT (UK) »
I went to school near the same workhouse and from what I've read, the poor law system ended and workhouses changed to local authority control. It seems like they remained somewhat the same though and still had masters etc.

Have a look for the workhouse she was in on workhouses.org.uk This website gives a history of each one, along with what they became in later years.

The Local Government Act 1929 transferred the powers to Local Authorities. What the LA did with the building varied from place to place. E.g. part of the 1899 Ipswich Workhouse became the Ipswich Borough General Infirmary in 1930 with an attached Public Assistance Institution. It was still referred to as 'the workhouse', even though the experience of someone going there to give birth would be more like that of an early NHS hospital. Some former workhouses also became dedicated maternity/geriatric/isolation hospitals depending on need.

After giving birth to my grandmother I don't know how long she spent in the workhouse, but my grandmother had a twin who died at birth so they could have stayed a while. I've been told that she left the workhouse (maybe 'escaped') and met David Thomas Hughes, who lived above the workhouse, no more than a mile. He took them in and I think they married in 1937 (2 years after my grandmother's birth)

I'd say 'escape' would probably be unlikely in 1935. By then I believe the only people who couldn't just walk out of a building formerly known as a workhouse were those with some form of insanity, or those with a serious infectious disease.

Have you looked to see if there are records for her admission and discharge?

In the case of the person I've been researching she was discharged 3 days after admission. Which confounded the family story that she'd spent some months "in the workhouse" with the baby.