Week 11 of #52Ancestors and the theme is Flowers. I thought I would introduce you to my paternal grandmother. Ivy Lorraine Harmer, one of my many female ancestors with a flower name.
Ivy was born on 2 January 1913 in Dallington, Sussex to Dorothy Harmer. We do not know who her father was, although I hope that maybe one day with the help of DNA we might at least be able to find the family. The earliest possible picture of her is this one of Dallington School in 1917, she would have been 5 years old and in attendance at Dallington. The photo has her labelled as the girl in the centre with the light coloured dress and the large collar.
Ivy’s mother met a Canadian Soldier, John Marini at the end of WW1, and they married in Dallington in 1918. In 1920 they emigrated to the USA leaving Ivy behind with Dorothy’s older sister, Emily and her husband David Smith. It is not clear at what stage Emily took over the care for Ivy and my dad always knew her as Granny Smith. Maybe Emily always cared for Ivy anyway. However Dorothy and John made a few trips back to England and dad knew Dorothy as Ivy’s mum and when they visited in 1975 and I was 9 years old, I was aware that she was my great grandmother.
David, Emily and Ivy appeared on the 1921 census at 19 Garfield Road, Hailsham in an area Ivy lived for the rest of her life and the road that my first property I owned was in. Ivy was now Ivy Smith, but I don’t believe there was a formal adoption. There appeared to be two small boys also living with the family, Leonard Fears and Jack Marchant, both noted as mother alive and father unknown and entered as Boarder, which might suggest David and Emily were fostering. They never had any children of their own. Leonard Fears appeared with Ivy and Alfred on the 1939 register.
David Smith died in 1930 after a short illness and Emily and Ivy remained at 19 Garfield Road. On 4 August 1934 Ivy married my grandad Alfred Sydney Baldwin of 6 Sackville Road, Hailsham, also I road my family lived in during my teenage years. He worked at Green Bros in Hailsham, a garden furniture manufacturers. They started out as one of the number of rope making factories in Hailsham. Grandad and David Smith who had worked there after WW1, had both made Trug baskets. The occupation now of my other half who is based at The Truggery, Herstmonceux.
The 1939 Register has them living at 24a Bellbanks Road, Hailsham. This is where I remember them living through my childhood with its outside toilet with paraffin lamp and tin bath hanging up behind the scullery door.
By this time their first born Richard, better known as Dick had arrived and later during the war, my dad Leslie known as Les arrived in early 1942.
Ivy died in 2002, she was 89 years old. Not a remarkable life particularly but interesting to me because she gives me the opportunity to research another family apart from her birth mother’s. David Smith’s family is the first family on my tree to actually have come from Hailsham, the town where I was born and have lived all my life. More research is always a good thing!