Towards the end of 2011 my interest in family history began to return and although I made no real attempts to find the identity of Minnie, it was a challenge that was still at the back of my mind.
I had mentioned to my mother several times that I still wanted to find out who she was, but I hadn’t made any effort to get over to Hampshire and find some directories that might give me some clues.
Then in the week before Christmas my mother gave me a surname, it was one of my uncles who had uncovered or remembered (I’m not sure which) Minnie’s married name. She was Minnie Collins.
I had hoped for something a little more unusual, to make my life easier, but at least now I had enough information to search the GRO Marriage Index. This turned up three marriages in Hampshire and a couple in Sussex. Of course she could have married elsewhere but I had to start somewhere.
Unfortunately the week before Christmas was not a good time to get down to any serious research and I never got the opportunity to explore much further. I did discover that one of the Minnies had been born in Essex, which seemed an unlikely match, but at last I realised that I was getting nearer to my goal, it just seemed a matter of time now.
Then on Christmas Eve I visited my uncles and we talked about Minnie Collins and how I should now be able to find out who she was given a bit more time. It was then that he took out my grandmother’s address book and we found four addresses for Minnie.
I wasn’t the addresses that were the key thing here, but the name under which they had been recorded. The first three addresses (all in Warnford, Hampshire) had been recorded under the name Mrs A E Collins. My grandmother using the traditional practice of recording married women under their husband’s initial(s).
The fourth address was recorded under the name Min Collins, which suggested to me that she outlived her husband and I knew that I was getting that much closer to being able to prove that.