Thursday, March 15, 2012

Back to the people again-my paternal grandparents

 I've decided to get back to the people in my tree. After all they're the reason I'm here. Today I want to tell you about my grandparents Geoff and Joyce. Geoff was Charles and Jessie's son and Joyce was Harry and Fanny's daughter. So, very different backgrounds. Geoff left his rural Norfolk agricultural home to join the Coldstream Guards, rising to rank of sergeant. Joyce, born in London, and abandoned by her father at a very young age, followed in Fanny's footsteps and was pregnant at 19. Her first son Philip was born in 1919. The birth was registered at Newmarket. Another mystery.

I have no knowledge where or how she met Geoff. I do know that they married at Farnham Register Office in June 1921. Her address was given as Aldershot. This was where Geoff was stationed. His address on his marriage certificate was Barossa Barracks, Aldershot. Occupation Sergeant, 2nd Coldstream Guards. (Note to self - more research to be done here!!)

Geoff and Joyce Sep 1921, Boughton
 By the Autumn of 1921 they were in Norfolk, at this little cottage (right) in the small village of Boughton (below left).

Boughton, Norfolk
I loved finding this photo dated September 1921 and working out the dates to realise that my grandmother was very pregnant with my father who was born in October 1921.

I grew up without much contact with my grandparents. My father had died when I was only 4, and we lived a fair way away from my grandparents. Neither we, or they, had a car.  I expect because they were on my paternal side, my mum didn't feel the need to be as close to them, especially as both her parents were alive to support us, but I'm only guessing.

My outstanding (and only) memory of my grandparents is of the day that one of my uncles got married, which was on 30th July 1966. Does the date sound familiar? It should do. It was the final of the World Cup. What planning. At least our family went to the wedding.  I have some memories of the reception (but not the wedding itself). But the overiding memory was of playing out in the street with the other children from the wedding, whilst the rest of the family were indoors watching the television ! I never realised why until did my research. These connections that you make while researching are priceless to me. Other than World Cup Day I have no memories of my grandparents. Thinking about it now, we had loads more contact with my grandad's sisters than with him. As for my grandma, we knew nothing about her side of the family at all. This doesn't mean to say they were out of touch. I remember the Christmas thank you letters we had to dutifuly write before school started again in January. (I think they sent us money).

gravestone at Stoke Ferry
as a baby with my grandparents
My sisters, being older than me seem to have stayed in touch with my uncles. And since my mum died we have actually seen them a few times.

But, of course, that was too late to have a relationship with my grandparents. I have no memory of being told either Geoff or Joyce had died. My grandfather died the year I did my A levels. My grandmother died well after I'd moved to Downham in the mid 70s (and she was only a few miles down the road). It's sad that not being taught and encouraged to make relationships, then I didn't go ahead and forge them on my own. I HAVE been to their graves and left flowers. But it's not the same is it? I hope they forgive me and understand.


SheilaMatilda said...

Yes it is so sad that these relationships aren't nurtured. My father had lots of cousins living in the village where I was brought up and I didn't know any of them. I think the age of the extended family was just about finished when I was a child. Lovely photos Sheila.

Sheila Pratt said...

Yes,dearest Sis. I have often reflected on how my life could have been enhanced by contact with family members who had passed away, especially my paternal grandparents, as well. I remember being told that my grandmother loved to sing, and that she was a wonderful gardener.

She came to Canada and died so young, at the age of 54...from having so much upheaval and so many hard times, I guess.

I believe that leaving those flowers, and honouring loved ones, who have passed, actually helps to advance their soul, (Kabbalah teaching0, and what you are doing here is a blessing in their names, Sis! Know it! xoxoox