All the work I have been doing “Finding Minnie” and the subsequent blogging of the story has brought back into focus one of the big weaknesses in my family history. It is something that I have known for a long time, but perhaps not really acknowledged fully.
The more I began to dig around the story of Minnie, the more it became obvious that I have some big gaps in the knowledge of my grandmother’s life. Those gaps haven’t stopped my research, I know all the basic facts that I need to build a family tree, but I am missing background on her early life.
When I say early life I really mean from when she was born to when she married my grandfather at the age of sixteen. My knowledge of her first sixteen years is pretty much limited to her birth and baptism records, and as she was born in 1916 I don’t even have a census record for her.
I am not sure how much more information can be found, school records and church records are obvious sources that need to be investigated, but it would also be good to confirm exactly where she lived and what work did she do after she finished school?
Further information can probably be learnt (or implied) by looking into the lives of her parents (like using Electoral Rolls), but there may be other sources that I haven’t yet considered.
I don’t really know much about High Hurstwood, Sussex where my grandmother was born and presumably grew up, I really need to find out more about the village and village life. This might present further opportunities to find out more about my grandmother.
One big question that I would like to answer is how did my grandparents meet? My grandmother was from East Sussex and my grandfather from West Sussex, many miles apart, what brought them together in a geographical sense?
Further to this lack of knowledge there is another problem. Much of the information I do have after their marriage is not recorded in my database. From things such as baptism and school records for their children I have addresses that should be recorded and dates when the family moved house.
To some extent this problem doesn’t just apply to my grandmother, but to all my grandparents, but I have to start somewhere and it is a natural addition to my ongoing work on “Finding Minnie”.