Locating ancestors can sometimes be a tricky business. Some ancestors leave next to no paper trail whereas others leave plenty of breadcrumbs to follow.
9 years ago, after finding my great great grandmother, Selina Haynes, I hit a brick wall. I could find no trace of her after the 1901 census. I often came back to her but still could not find her death.
Over the last few months I’ve unravelled some of her story that can be backed up by official records. The rest, I have imagined.
Selina was the fourth child of John Haynes and Jane Bevis. She grew up in a family where the girls all became Lace Makers and the boys, labourers. Her father was convicted of unlawfully killing game during the 1870’s.
She married Joseph Bruce on 27th October 1886 at the parish church in Easton Neston. He appears to have enjoyed a drink, being convicted of several alcohol related offences in the early 1900’s.
Joseph passed away on 19th January 1911 in Wood Burcote. He was buried 2 days later in Towcester Cemetery.
The 1911 census proved a huge stumbling block because no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t find Selina. I found seven of her children (Sarah, Joseph, Maud, James, Frances, Phyllis and Lizzie) in Wood Burcote, Northamptonshire. Selina, however was a bit of a mystery.
She remained a mystery until I found her second daughter, Rebecca. Rebecca married Frederick Payne in 1910 and settled in Leicester.
On 2nd April 1911 at 66 Biddulph Street, Leicester, Frederick J Payne is recorded. He is living with his wife of one year, Mr C Payne, their daughter, Freda Payne and the wife’s mother, Mrs J Bruce.
Knowing that Selina was, at least, alive at the time of the 1911 census I continued to look for her death, wondering if it had indeed been in Leicester.
A few weeks ago I came across a marriage in Towcester, Northamptonshire between Edwin Brown and Selina Bruce. I decided to go ahead and buy the certificate.
My Selina did indeed marry Edwin Brown, a 62-year-old thatcher. They married at the Parish Church in Towcester on 21st November 1925; Selina was 58.
Edwin passed away in 1932, however Selina appears in Banbury Road, Towcester in 1939 and passed away in 1967.
Selina lived a wonderfully long life. She was 99 at the time of her death. She lived through both World Wars; would have seen cars becoming increasing popular; televisions in every home; phones, electricity; she would have seen Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V, King Edward VIII, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II… that’s 6 monarchs! The list just goes on an on.
I am pleased to be able to say I have finally found her death and her marriage to Edwin, a pleasant surprise. Because, after all, she was only young when her first husband died.