One of the categories for the genealogy blogging challenge is ‘Ancestor with the most depressing tale’. That seems to be the right category for this month’s subject. Harold was a direct descendant of William Yeadon, who featured in last month’s post, and is sad confirmation of the family fall from relative affluence.
Harold was born on 1 August 1904 in the local workhouse. His birth was registered by the master of the workhouse. His mother was resident in the workhouse at the time, and by October 14 little Harold’s three older siblings (all significantly under-weight) were taken into the local cottage homes. The description in the admission log states that their father was ‘away’ and mother in the workhouse. Quite what ‘away’ meant is unclear – possibly working away from home, perhaps more likely, away in prison.
Harold must have had a pretty grim time of things – the family was desperately poor, and their home must have borne very little resemblance to what we could call home now. By March 1908 Harold found himself being readmitted to the cottage homes. His father was named as sole parent on the admission register, claiming to be a widower (though in fact his wife didn’t die until several years later). After four months in the cottage homes, where two older brothers had lived for almost a year, he was discharged to the workhouse, only to be readmitted early in October 1908.
After another two months in the care of the cottage homes, Harold was sent home to his father, and the pair struggled on for six months before four year old Harold, was taken back into care yet again. His father, this time definitely in prison, was once again the only named parent. This last episode of care was brief, and after just a week, Harold was discharged into the care of his aunt to await his father’s return. Four weeks later Harold’s aunt Susannah registered his death, recorded as due to measles and pneumonia.
Harold’s story is just too incredibly sad. What chance did he ever have? He lived his entire life in poverty. After being born in the workhouse he had four admissions into care, only to die of a common childhood illness at the age of five.
His 3x great grandfather was a respected master clock maker. How on earth did the family lose so much so quickly.
Rest in peace little Harold. You won’t be forgotten xx