Tag Archives: address book

At last Minnie has a surname

16 Jan

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.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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From an old address book to a Victoria Cross hero

17 Jan

I never cease to be amazed at how one tiny snippet of information can trigger such an interesting chain of research and uncover an interesting story in the process. Unfortunately much of that information is not going to be directly relevant to my family tree, but the journey more than makes up for that.

The story begins with an address book which belonged to my grandmother. Amongst the names and addresses it has three addresses for Isabel KIPPS (my first cousin three times removed), one in Sussex, another in Nottingham and a third in Australia.

I thought it would be interesting to find out when she went to Australia and when she came back, because I already knew that she died back in England. It was fairly easy to find details of her trip, outward on findmypast.co.uk and home again on Ancestry.co.uk.

Essentially she was taking two young girls, to whom she was a nurse, away from England at the start of the Second World War to the relative safety of Australia. They left Southampton on the 13th July 1940 bound for Melbourne, Australia. They returned in 1945, leaving Melbourne on the 27th February, bound for Liverpool.

There were also details in the passenger lists of two previous trips, made by Isabel and the two girls, one to Malta in 1934/35 and Gibraltar in 1937. For a member of my family tree to be so well-travelled is extremely unusual, very few of my relatives ever seemed to have left the safety of dry land.

Of course by this time I was curious as to who was the father of these two globe-trotting girls. Fortunately their mother was with them on one of the voyages, so it wasn’t difficult to find out that they were the daughters of Robert St Vincent Sherbrooke.

Google was bursting with search results for Robert Sherbrooke, primarily because he had been the recipient of the Victoria Cross whilst serving in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and ended up as Rear Admiral. I won’t go into details here because it is pretty easy to find out plenty of information on the internet (he even has his own page on Wikipedia).

It is such a shame that such an incredible (and well documented) man is not much more than a footnote to my family history, but it is nice to know that my first cousin three times removed was part of his life and trusted with the care of his children.

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