Hooray I hear you shout!
I'm sorry if this has been boring for some, but again thank you to those who have shown an interest. This is the last post about my father's side of the family, although my research will go on.
Well the Isle of Sheppey.... I do have to confess I was rather surprised when I found where we were actually going. Obviously geography is not my strong point as I thought it was off the south coast!!
Like a lot of seaside places on first impression it looked a bit old and faded, and my sister and I wondered what we had let ourselves in for. However the hotel looked pretty impressive from the outside and we couldnt have been made more welcome when we booked in.
We lost no time in showing the landlord and some of the staff the census forms we had showing various addresses in the hope that at least some of them still remained and were pleasantly surprised to find that one of the staff had lived on Sheppey all her life and not only knew how to direct us but also gave us ideas where we might find more information
Our first port of call was to the High Street where apparently our great grandfather had an Inn. In 1901 it covered no.s 204 to 212, so was quite a size. The land where nos 204 to 208 stood is now the local fire station, but at least the remaining part is still an inn and we were able to have a drink here and talk to the new landlady. She also took us into the back garden to show us a walnut tree which she believes was planted by our great grandfather. She had already gathered the walnuts and insisted we took some with us.
The current Tavern, this was the Castle Inn
The original building covered all of this....
Over 109 years old
Apparently the family owned several pubs on the Isle over the years...umm wondered where this love of wine came from.....but then could it be the rumoured, but not yet proved French connection ?
We toured the town, found other addresses to link with the census finds and finally were directed to the local library and this is where our research really took off. Apparently a local schoolmaster had decided to index the names of every inhabitant of Sheppey mentioned in the local papers dating back to the early 19th century.
When the librarian brought us the box with our family name we couldn't believe our luck. 13 index cards and 12 were of known relatives, the 13th seemed unfamiliar but we were later able to claim her as well.
The newspaper entries ranged from obituraries to full page stories and made fascinating reading.
the two most worthy of mention were the full page obit for are you ready......
Edward Jabez Hooker !
What a brilliant name. He died aged 96 and was declared at that time the oldest inhabitant of Sheppey. During his life he was elected a director of the Sheerness Building Society, becoming first chairman and then treasurer for more than 25 years in which time he doubled the the societies income, he was a prominent official in the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows and was a volunteer in the old dockyard company. He left 3 sons, one daughter, 18 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren!
The second is a much sadder tale.. on 20 October 1906 Elizabeth Ida Hooker wife of Walter Hooker (my Great Uncle) tragically died after taking oxalic acid instead of epsom salts. She was only 32 and left 2 young children.. How dreadful was that.
At the inquest there was a real debate about the labelling of poisons and I think that steps were taken to report the case to the government to have the packaging reviewed, whether it was is another matter.
Well to get this post back on a lighter note ( I hope I haven't depressed you too much), here are some pictures of the lovely beach at Sheerness. Apparently it used to be thronged with well off visitors taking the sea air.
Some lovely old buildings
Another story to follow?.....^
And finally, in one of my previous post I mentioned the cousin I found in Australia. Well only a couple of months after returning from our trip she came to England and we were able to meet up in a wonderful hotel only about 30 miles away. We spent a whole afternoon and evening with her and her husband and although I know its been said time and again, it really was as if we had always known her. She even looks like us..
We had a fabulous time. She brought a copy of the front page of the family bible, some lovely photographs to put faces to the names on the birth and marriage certificates and lots of stories of her own ancestry journey.
It has been a wonderful one for me and now I am about to track down my mum's family. Next month I am off to Kent again. I dont think I'll find so much this time as her side were rather more scattered, Kent, London, Wales, France!...... but you never know....!!
Now I'm off to sew to make something lovely I can blog about before I frighten you all away for good.
I hope though that this may have encouraged some of you to trace your own roots. I never imagined I would ever manage it and it does take time and perseverence but I'm glad I did it.