I am not a great lover of the Daily Mail, a tabloid newspaper published here in the UK, but I do have a email that plops into my inbox most mornings. Today, there was this article which was giving a little background to the book shown here. It does sound fascinating and yet I do not seem to think this will be on my reading list just yet.
So, over my first cup of tea I read the article and my thoughts turned to my Aunt. She was German and married my Grandmother’s brother following the second world war. I didn’t know her very well although I have mentioned my Aunt before, as my Grandmother always said, her brother bought her back as a souvenir. The sentence was always said with a smile and even though the War was, and perhaps still is emotive, there was never any malice. It was a familiar repeated comment over the years and always my Aunt smiled.
I had tried before to locate a marriage for Emmy to my Uncle, but have never succeeded, that was, until today. My Uncle had served in the British Army during the second world war, and I had always assumed that he had returned to England soon after the war ended. This was not the case.
In the GRO (General Register Office) Indexes for Army Marriages I located their marriage in 1952. The index gave only the full name of the bride and where the marriage took place. I can now see that Emmy was not my Aunt’s actual name, her first name was Helma with the surname of MANG, which I am assuming at this point was the name of her first husband and the marriage took place in Austria. Hopefully when the marriage certificate arrives it will tell me a little more.
My Uncle returned to England with his bride and her daughter from her first marriage. The daughter would have been about 10 or so years old and married in England under the surname of my Uncle. A further search this morning resulted in my locating the marriage for the daughter and the birth of her two children. How exciting is that?
My thoughts then returned to Austria and it’s position within the War years and I feel a sudden thought towards caution. What will I uncover?
I came across the site of www.gen-evolu.de which enables me to search by name for a listing within phone empire in 1942.
There are just 47 listings for the surname all of which appear to be situated around the area of Sankt Polten.
I don’t know the geography but as I have to start somewhere this seems as good a place as any. It is worth mentioning at this point the whole region would have been in a state of turmoil, with many many displaced people so this method is not in anyway conclusive.
Meanwhile, my attentions turned back to the UK as I wondered if my Aunt had to register within the United Kingdom. Up until 1974, those born outside of the UK or it’s territories had to register at the police station and pay a fee under the Aliens Act. The question was did my Aunt, or did the fact that she was married to a British citizen exempt her? Surrey History Center were, frankly unhelpful. The chap I spoke to was not as obliging as some of his colleagues. Surrey Police headquarters were unsure. The National Archives at Kew has some Registration cards online for this time period, as long as the individual would be at least 100 years old. As my Uncle was born in 1909, the chances are Aunt was born around the same time and a search of the site drew a blank.
I then moved to other archives and am busy working my way through the various sites, including those dealing with the Holocaust. Whatever happened during those war years, perhaps should be left to history, but I feel that my Aunt’s history should be told, there are so many thing things I wish I had asked. I sense where-ever this research leads it will be interesting, emotional and surprising.