Q – questions, queries and

As the years of researching family history pass by, it seems that the more I find out, the more unanswered questions there are. So, no answers, or tips today, just a set of questions which have so far managed to baffle me.

My 3x great grandmother was widowed in 1839 and gave birth to my 2x great grandfather in 1845 – longest pregnancy in history, or it’s a brick wall that I’ll never break down. Surprisingly several family trees on Ancestry show 3x great grandmother’s husband as the father…..

My 2x great grandfather was apparently a hologram; he was born about 1824 (though that varies by several years depending on what source I use) and died somewhere between 1872 and 1891, though there seems to be no primary evidence to confirm either of these events – no baptism, no death certificate/burial/newspaper report.  Add to that, a third cousin, who is also a direct descendant, is determined that he was the product of a marriage between Samuel Ellam and Dorothy Brown.  The interesting thing about that supposition is that Dorothy Brown was apparently an Indian lady, brought back from India by seafarer Samuel. Allegedly a second marriage was required, so that the union was lawful in the UK, and Dorothy Brown was the usual name given to the ladies brought here by the sailors. I do have evidence that a Samuel Ellam married a Dorothy Brown about the right time, but I haven’t managed to find anything which connects it conclusively to 2x great grandfather…..

Grandma was born in Wolverhampton in the 1890s. For a variety of reasons her two surviving brothers were admitted to a children’s emigration home in 1908 and ended up in Canada in 1909. Maybe because she was a couple of years older, grandma wasn’t admitted to the same home, and she ended up in service in Lytham, on the Fylde coast. This was hardly a small leap from the slums of Wolverhampton – how on earth did she end up there……..?

The one name that really interested my late Mum in law was Hephzibah Towell. I managed to discover who the elusive Hephzibah was, and she was from a large family of Towells, some of whom still live locally.  My question with this family is why did nearly all of the children (all imaginatively named) have a middle name beginning with M? Not always the same name, but always beginning with M; Muriel, Marmaduke, Mabel, Maurice, Morrice, Maxwell, Marcus, Malcolm, Maxilillion….

Last one – again pertaining to names, and i’m sure many family historians will identify with this one. Why, oh why did parents keep naming children with the same name?  most branches of my family aren’t too bad for this, but my Gatenby line leads me to distraction.  In total (so far) I have 19 folk called John Gatenby, 17 George Gatenbys and no less than 22 Mary Gatenbys. I understand the reasoning of naming a child after a parent, or for another child who died in infancy, but honestly, the occasional Hephzibah is a real gift!



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