GGJ, Continued

After my GGJ, Great Grandfather James, post of the other day, I decided that I should note some more of the information that I have. Some will come from the Final Facts post that I wrote on Raindrops a few years ago. At that time, I had gotten into the photo album and been inspired to write a few entries about my grandfather, George, son of James. But in Final Facts, I wrote a little bit more of the family in general; it had to be little because I didn’t and still don’t have a lot of information – mostly tidbits gleaned from notes in my mother’s photo album, sometimes on the backs of photos.

What with the album notes and a wee bit of genealogical gigging on, I managed to piece together the following information.

Great Grandfather James was born in Strethem (or perhaps in Norfolk — there is some confusion over this), Cambridgeshire, England in 1844. His father was also called James, and he was married to a woman called Rachel. I know nothing else about these two great great grandparents, including Rachel’s last name. I have computed this much from various census data that I was able to find on For example: in the 1851 census, James was 7 years old, and his father, also James, was 28, as was his mother, Rachel. The census also reveals that the younger James, my great grandfather as opposed to great great, also had a 2 year old sister, Elizabeth.

In 1849, James married Elizabeth Brooks who had been born in Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire. By 1871, they had two children – Alice (2 months) and Sarah (1 year). I assume that means that James and Alice had married in 1869 (give or take a year) which happened to be  one hundred years before Cuppa and I married in a land far away. Ten years later, according to the 1881 census, Sarah and Alice had been joined (in order) by Henry, Herbert and George (my grandfather).

So, let’s not belabor the story any longer. Here’s the rest of what I know — or think I know. Much of the following will be a cut and paste from Final Facts on Raindrops.

Grampa George was born on April 11, 1878 in Waterbeach, England and married Ellenor Phillis Croft (yes, those are the recorded spellings) on May 26, 1909 in Chambly, Quebec; and died in Montreal on June 21, 1958 at 80 years of age.

Grampa in the Greenhouse

Grampa as a young-ish man in his greenhouse: possibly his own.

His whole family came from Cambridgeshire or nearby Norfolk (see map above). His mother was born and buried in Waterbeach but seemed to live in Strethem for a while as Grampa’s three older siblings were born there, but he and the other six were born in Waterbeach. I have a single photo (below) of his mother, my great grandmother, Elizabeth. It was taken in 1923 when she was 75 years old.

Grampa's Mother

Great grandmother, Elizabeth: wife of James, mother of my grandfather, George. She is holding a copy on the Sunday Companion, a magazine that continued to appear at our house when I was a boy. Unlike modern magazines, it was anything but glossy and was simply printed on newsprint and looked like a newspaper.

As I mentioned, Grampa had nine siblings: four sisters, two older and two younger; and four brothers, one older and three younger. There are some notes in the photo album about marriages and children, and I calculate that these ten children only had about fourteen children of their own, one of whom died a few days after birth. That’s quite a change in fertility in one generation. It appears that three of the children never married, one being his older brother, Henry, who was born crippled. An album note mentions that the villagers raised money to buy Henry a wheelchair.

The second oldest sister, Alice, immigrated to Montreal a year or two after Grampa migrated, and it appears that they remained quite close until she died months before I was born in 1947, when she would have been 77 years old. Alice was a cook who at some point in time worked in Vienna, Austria. She married a Montrealer, and it seems that they either owned or rented a summer place in Maine for several summer as there are a number of album pictures that spanned several years of my Dad visiting her in Maine, including this one.

My Dad and Aunt Alice

My dad and his Aunt Alice

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7 Responses to GGJ, Continued

  1. Mara says:

    Wow, this is quite a bit of information you have. All the photos in my paternal grandmother’s possession came without notes and when I once asked her about all the people in the photos (when she was still ‘with us’), she didn’t have a clue who most of them were! I’ve heard one of my aunts is in possession of a proper photo album now (inherited from my grandmother), and I can’t wait to look through it and to find out more!

  2. KGMom says:

    Several comments–must be a family history bug out there biting us bloggers.
    Love the photo of Grampa in the greenhouse. The photo shows wonderfully strong arms–as many in that day would have had when manual labour (spelling just for you) would have been necessary and more common.
    And I love that with a little digging, family nuggets can be excavated.

  3. Judy says:

    I just love family histories.
    It certainly puts every day life into perspective.
    None of us just ‘appeared’, we came from someone and somewhere.
    Much to ponder.

  4. Ginnie says:

    It’s interesting to note that living was so much more basic in those days and yet you can just feel the serenity coming through in those pictures…especially in the green house. Makes you wonder if “progress” is all it’s touted to be ???

  5. Bernie says:

    I think this is wonderful, it encourages me to start to do some research on my own family…..:-)Hugs

  6. Diana says:

    You were fortunate to get so many facts AC. And grandpa was quite good looking!
    Love Di ♥

  7. Lorna says:

    These last three posts are amazing. I knew your Christmas-version of the house was lovely in its entirety, but the individual photos are very impressive. And don’t even get me started on how evocative your B & W photos are!

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