Thursday, 22 December 2016

A year of intrigue... and news for Esme fans

Another year over and what have you done... to paraphrase John Lennon's famous Christmas song. Indeed! Looking back, it's been quite a year in my family history research.

Shocking discovery

It began back in January when I stumbled upon what turned out to be a shocking story about my 3x great-grandparents and "The Other Woman".

The truth of the matter was revealed to the world through local newspapers, when Thomas Shelley and his "housekeeper" were dragged before magistrates in Eccleshall on a charge of Cruelty and Assault on my 3 x Great-grandmother, Bessie Shelley.

If you've not read the disgraceful tale, you'll find the details of the case and the tragic outcome for Bessie, on the posts, A Family Secret - the Shocking Truth Part 1, Part 2 and the follow-up stories, Assault and Cruelty - the Perpetrator and Assault and Cruelty - the Victim.

Secrets in print

Then in April, the tragic story of my husband's ancestor, Charles Gabriel Baker, and his fatal journey to Australia in 1868, was published in Family Tree Magazine. (You can read the article on the News page of my website.)

I've since discovered a little more to add to the story, after a descendant of Charles' sons contacted me. I'd lost track of them during my research about Charles and she was able to fill me in with the missing pieces. But more of that next year in a future post. (Warning: have your hankies at the ready!)

Sad loss

Sadly, in May, my dear Dad died, aged 87 and I had the task of preparing the eulogy at his funeral. A childhood accident when he was 7 would prove to have serious consequences. Not only did he have to spend 3 years in hospital, but it left him with a disability which affected his whole life. Not that it stopped him doing very much, mind you, as you can read in my post, Preserving the Mysteries.  And 2017 will continue to be a case of preserving the mysteries as I begin the mammoth taks of scanning in all his photographs, many in 35 mm slide form, of his early adult life as well as lots of me and my sister growing up.

Secrets revealed

The on-going mystery of my Great aunt Annie, Mary Ann Diggory, gave up a few of its secrets later in the year, when I discovered that, despite what we'd always been led to believe,
there had been at least one relative who maintained contact with Annie (possibly furtively) after she walked out of the family home in 1904, aged 16. (See June's post - The Mystery of Mary Ann for the background to the tale).

It seems that Annie's aunt Mary (sister to Annie's mother) took Annie in to her own home at some point after Annie became a nurse. Despite Mary's intervention, however, Annie maintained her estrangement from the rest of the family, even after Mary died, as you can read in The Mystery of Mary Ann - Secrets and Lies. My search continues for clues as to why she left home in the first place.

Looking ahead

So with a new year of research ahead, I've plenty of interesting secrets to unravel. The unnamed photographs below, for a start! 

 New Year's Resolutions

This is also the time, of course, when we make those New Year Resolutions and one of mine (of the family history variety, anyway) is to try and be more systematic with my research. Mind you, that's all very well until something unexpected lands in my Inbox or a new database is released on Ancestry, sending me off down a path I'd never intended to go! But then, that's half the fun, isn't it?

So to end this post, and the year, I wish you all a very


....and may 2017 be filled with intriguing and fascinating stories as a result of your family history endeavours.

See you next year!



For those of you who enjoy reading my Esme Quentin mysteries, I have exciting news....

Coming soon.....

(and to keep you going until the third full length Esme mystery comes out next year)

Death of a Cuckoo

a short novel featuring Esme Quentin 

to be published in early 2017 by sBooks, a new imprint of SilverWood Books.

Click HERE to find out about sBooks.

More information about Death of a Cuckoo will be available shortly.

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