Serendipity. Coincidence. Fluke. Chance.
Family history and genealogy is full of it. Whether or not we believe in magic or fairies sometimes something will take pity on us and put us out of our misery and while we are researching something, that elusive ancestor will pop up living next door to a totally unrelated person we are looking at in the 1851 census.
When I was researching Annie, one of my first posts on the blog, I was surprised to find that I had actually visited her home before as it is now the veterinary surgery I take my cat to. Not that Gingercat is very impressed.
While I was researching Esther (see previous post) I found that her brother Archibald was killed in World War One. I spent an afternoon trying to find out which local war memorial his name was recorded on. There was a choice of two churches it could have been at. I emailed Penshurst church and they said no he wasn’t listed there and to try Speldhurst Church.
So I actually drove to Speldhurst to look for myself – but he wasn’t mentioned on the memorial there either. I did have a look around the church though as I hadn’t been there before and it is well known for its windows that were designed by William Morris and they are indeed worth a look.
I had also tried to discover where Esther was buried, I had a date of death for her and her husband but I had no luck in finding her last resting place.
I did find a mention of her father Edgar Child’s funeral in a local paper, it was held at a tiny chapel that I hadn’t heard of before. I wondered whether there was a war memorial there with Archibald’s name on so yesterday I dragged the family and the dog over to the chapel to have a look.
There was no memorial there so I had a quick look for Edgar and his wife Harriet. No sign of them. I was about to give up when who should I find right beside me but Esther herself, quietly waiting with her husband and daughter for me to find her.
Esther’s grave with her childhood home in the distance.
So I was fairly pleased with that! I wasn’t so pleased with the muddy wet dog we had to take home but it was a small price to pay.
As we left I had a quick glance round for interesting headstones and one caught my eye, that of Hope Constables wife, Emma Ann Lewis.
That evening I sat down to see what I could find out about Hope and his wife. The first thing I discovered is that he was a builder and brickmaker. And amongst the many buildings he built was Speldhurst Church. Yes, the one I had visited and admired for the first time a couple of days before.
The second thing I found was that his 12 year old daughter Ama Beatrice drowned in the river beside the family home. But that’s another story.