Friday, June 18, 2010

Silence is golden

For six days, just recently (two days?) I have had no voice at all, just a sort of strained whisper if I had to make myself heard. I had laryngitis and suddenly being unable to use the telephone and to have difficulty even face-to-face is incredibly frustrating.

However, not feeling up to doing much I got on with my genealogy research and of course,
sod's Law came into effect and my computer stopped being very co-operative. I was able to bring up web pages eventually but it took a couple of refreshes and was very slow. I defragged, error checked, switched off my modem at regular intervals and eventually emailed my IP who emailed back that they had checked and tweaked my settings and that it was nothing to do with them.

Strangely, things went a bit better after that and after another try at turning my modem off, lo and behold, I suddenly had a co-operative, fast computer again. And my voice is back, albeit sexily husky at the moment so I can use the phone, email and surf again. Life is good ...

Your unusual word for the day [I hope that there are scrabble players reading this]:

Pyknic - [a] (Pronounced the same as picnic.) Short and squat in build, with small hands and feet, short limbs and neck, a round face and domed abdomen. "I see that he has the true pyknic build," you remark to Althea about her new and proudly displayed baby; 'strange - I thought that was always inherited. Heavens, I don't suppose ... ?'

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's a wise child that knows its own father

I have had a big breakthrough in my family research. the Davies branch of the family has been a mystery for years. From my great grandfather down I had a great deal of information, but his parents and siblings were a total mystery and with only his father's name, Edward Davies, and his trade to use as a tool it was all pretty hopeless trying to trace my great great grandfather.

And then someone on came up with a will which named his wife and three children. My great grandfather was not named but I had chanced on a scanned newspaper item in which he visited Melbourne and stayed with his sister Mrs Baldwin. A clever researcher with data from Victoria found that one of the daughters named in the will had married three times and the third husband was a Mr Baldwin so I had the connection. A death notice confirmed his wife's name and also that of his parents so I was able to go back another generation to my great great great grandparents.

A lucky strike in the 1841 Wales census found them and several siblings so I thought that I had it all.

Then I received an email from a Davies who said that he was descended from my great great grandfather through his first wife. First wife?? There were two sons by the first wife (J. and W.) and on the second marriage certificate of one of the sons his mother was named as Mary Morgan. That was fine until my half cousin sent me a copy of my great great grandfathers death registration which added another daughter for the second wife, guessed at some of the children's ages (I suspect that those very rackety girls had stretched the truth a bit), and named the first wife as Anna Thomas.

So now I have two first wives unless, heaven help me, he had three wives. The family seemed to believe in multiple marriages so it is possible I suppose. One of the daughters had three husbands and a fiancé so why couldn't her father have three wives?

I am assuming that the family of J., the son who married twice, had their mother's name correct and that it was Mary Morgan but where does Anna Thomas come into the scheme of things.

The second brother from the first marriage has a rather unusual name and I think that I have found his marriage registration. I have ordered a copy of the certificate and am keeping my fingers crossed that his mother's name will be on it. I will work with Mary Morgan until/unless I get information to the contrary because I can't find any records of a marriage for either of the girls to my great great grandfather.

I can't commend the researchers on the genealogy board enough. The almost always come up with the required information if it is there to find and with the archived newspapers now being scanned and put on line, albeit with some very quirky errors, there is a lot more information out there. I chanced on one marriage entry between some man and his "fecund" bride. It took me a minute to realise that in the original article she was probably a 'second' daughter.

The word of the day is not in my book of unusual words so I looked it up on the Concise Oxford dictionary:

fecund - prolific; fertile.