My grandmother’s “adopted” sister (in reality her cousin) had seemingly been left behind in England when her mother and four siblings emigrated to Canada in 1919, to be brought up by my great-grandmother Minnie Hemsley (as she would have been then).
I had been focusing very much on the Canadian side of things and neglecting Minnie. I knew she had married as it was her husband’s name that had enabled me to find her in the first place, and her death registration had led me back to her birth in Essex, but what had happened in the intervening years?
Through the GRO BMD indexes I was able to discover that Minnie and her husband had a son, that son had married and had a daughter. This opened up the prospect that somewhere out there was a living descendent of Minnie, who through Thomas and Ellen Driver (Minnie’s grandparents) would be my third cousin.
The electoral rolls, on CD and online at 192.com enabled me to pin down where the family had been living until quite recently, whether they were still there was another question. Naturally the daughter had grown up and left home, but if I was right she was still in roughly the same area, what is more I thought I had found also found her contact details online.
I knew I ought to get in touch with my third cousin, after all she might be able to fill in some of the gaps in the story and perhaps she would know why Minnie was left behind whilst the rest of the family went to Canada, but for some reason I didn’t make contact straight away.
I kept telling myself that I needed to get all the facts together first, but in reality it was probably because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself if she wasn’t my third cousin. In the end I figured that I didn’t really have anything to lose, but plenty to gain if I was correct.