The theme for this week’s #52Ancestors is High and Low and I thought I would look at some of the Highs and Lows of researching my family.
Starting with the lows, one part of my research that always makes me really sad is the death of young children, and I have a couple of really sad families on my family tree: firstly my great x3 grandfather Thomas Cruse and his wife Ann Lander who lived in Chailey in Sussex. They married on 12 November 1843 at the Zion Baptist Chapel in Chailey. They had 12 children:
Mary Ann CRUSE (1845-1859)
William CRUSE (1848-1917)
Elizabeth CRUSE (1849-1859)
Samuel CRUSE (1851-1911)
George CRUSE (1852-1852)
Henry CRUSE (1852-1852)
Richard CRUSE (1854- )
Alice CRUSE (1856-1856)
James CRUSE (1857-1908)
Charles CRUSE (1860-1860)
Emily CRUSE (1862- )
Anne CRUSE (1867- )
As you can see at least 6 of these children died young. I researched the deaths of these children and discovered the following:
Elizabeth died of diphtheria on 2 April 1859 followed exactly a month later on 2 May by Mary Ann. The other four children all died within the first year of life. George died 9 days after he was born and Henry who was his twin brother died 5 days after birth. Alice died aged 2 months old. Charles died about 8 months old.
Thomas was an Agricultural Labourer and the most likely reasons for the early deaths of these children are poverty and the poor standard of hygiene that was general to the poor then. Diphtheria is a highly contagious bacterial infection affecting the nose and throat and it is likely that it in the middle of the 19th century without the knowledge we have today of how infections are spread that some of the other children also died of it. Death certificates will confirm or otherwise that when I can afford to buy them all.
The second sad family is that of Sarah Baldwin and her husband Michael Madigan. Sarah and Michael married on 24 December 1843 in St Giles in the Field, Middlesex. They had 5 children in Middlesex. There is the possibility they moved to Ireland before 1861 when the census return for them in London is missing and had more children but that needs to be confirmed.
Frances MADIGAN (1845-1845)
Mary MADIGAN (1846- )
Edward MADIGAN (1848-1853)
Sarah MADIGAN (1851-1851)
Esther MADIGAN (1853-1853)
Frances died aged 1 week old of convulsions, Edward aged 5 of Scarlet Fever, Sarah at 4 months of 16 days of diarrhoea and Esther at 8 months of Pneumonia. This probably suggests a family again living in poverty and squalid conditions. Michael was a Carpenter. I have not found his birth yet but the 1851 census suggests he was born in Ireland. However it suggests Sarah was also born in Ireland but if this is the correct Sarah and I believe it is, she was born in Middlesex in 1824 as Sarah Baldwin which the children’s birth certificates and the marriage certificate seem to point to. I need to look further at this family and prove if they really did move to Ireland and if things got any better for them there.
So that is some of the lows, what about the highs of my research?
One recent high has to be getting an email out of the blue from Judie Ellis who had her DNA tested and asked if Reuben Baldwin appeared in my tree and when I told her that he had been my Great Grandfather she told me he had been her grandfather and she was an unknown cousin of my dad. There was me thinking I had researched everything and knew all I could about the tree. It turned out my dad’s Uncle Len had a long term relationship with Judie's mum and Judie had been born. Dad thinks he vaguely remembers it all being talked about but he was 15 at the time and not that interested in family gossip. Anyway we have a new cousin to get to know and another member of part of my family which I have not researched that much as there are so few members left to talk to. Mum and Dad and I met with Judie and her husband, Tony recently and are looking forward to getting to know them more.
The moral of that story is Never think you know it all and finished researching, you never know what’s round the corner! And I have even more research to do! Roll on winter!