Family History Writing Challenge 2012 – Day 2

As I wrote the post for Day 1 of this challenge I created a very basic mind map. I usually create these types of things in my journal, but this one started life on a piece of paper and is pinned to my study notice board, and has been transferred to my journal.

The reason I created it is two fold. I wanted to have a spring board for other thoughts and research, which encompasses the additional research I am going to undertake to bring John Matthew’s existence to life. Starting with these –

  1. Coke manufacture & distribution in the late Victorian period
  2. “Senile decay” – definition at the time, definition now and links to now known conditions.
I wondered about the man he was. The heartache he felt, widowed twice, firstly in 1880 and then again in 1896. He also endured, like so many parents of the time, burying one of his children. His eldest daughter Mary Anne (1872 – 1898). I wrote about Mary Anne for last year’s Writing Challenge, but again have considered some further facts upon re-reading that post (you can read it HERE). How did John cope with all that life threw at him? 
As you will see from that post Mary Anne had a son. Although I have traced his existence to some degree in the parish and found a headstone in the cemetery, what happened to that son?  Who looked after him and raised him and taught him the basics – brushing his teeth, writing and reading, where did he go to school? So many, many questions and mysteries and all of them in “recent times” which really sounds out how many missed opportunities there have been. Did this child know his Grandfather John Matthews? Did he know his Aunt Edith and Uncle John (my Great Grandfather). Research shows that he did not live with either of Mary Anne’s siblings. Edith herself died young and there is no mention of him in my Grandmother’s immediate family. 
Word count – 335

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, Pharos Tutor, lover of Books & History, Surnames, European Ancestors, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies, avid note taker and journal writer.
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1 Response to Family History Writing Challenge 2012 – Day 2

  1. What a sad life he had then to die, possibly alone, clumped under the heading of a “dirty man”. Sometimes children are unforgiving aren't they…or are they just repeating the phrase of a less-forgiving parent. The unknown life of your Mary Anne's son reminded me of my grandfather's younger siblings and what happened to each of them after both parents died close in time.


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