Having learnt the surname and initials of Minnie’s husband it was pretty easy work to find their marriage in the GRO Marriage Index. Minnie G Allison married Arthur E Collins in Alresford Registration District in Q4 1929.
The middle initial for Minnie enabled me to find her in the GRO Death Index as well (her death was registered in July 1995) which gave me her date of birth (30th December 1907) and told me that her middle name was Gladys.
Next stop the GRO Birth Index, and a birth registration for Minnie Gladys Allison in Q1 1908 in Tendring Registration District. Tendring wasn’t a place I was familiar with, but it turned out that this was in Essex. This was the Minnie that I had looked at before, but felt would be an unlikely match.
Until now everything else had been in Hampshire and now I found myself in Essex. I didn’t want to be in Essex, not that I have anything against Essex, it was just that it was a county of which I knew next to nothing and didn’t seem to fit into the mental picture of Minnie that I had been building. I had been expecting a connection with East Sussex and the Hemsley or Driver family, but that hadn’t happened.
All the data I had pointed to Essex, so I had no option to follow the trail, first stop the 1911 census. Given that Minnie was born in 1907 I hoped that she would be listed in the census with her parents. I wasn’t disappointed, there she was with her parents Robert and Kate Allison and two older siblings, living in Beaumont in Essex.
Her father was employed as a horseman on a farm, her parents had been married for seven years and both her siblings were going to school. In short nothing that would suggest that Minnie was going to need adopting at some stage in the future. I was expecting some sign of illegitimacy, perhaps with a mother struggling to cope, but this seemed like a perfectly normal family.
There was one fact in this whole situation which told me that I had to be on the right trail. Kate’s place of birth was given as Framfield, Sussex, this was the indication of a connection that I had hoped for. It seemed inconceivable that there wasn’t a connection with my grandmother’s family also from Framfield and surrounding areas, but what was that connection and how had she ended up in raising a family in Essex?