Canadian cousins coming out of the woodwork

I love that Mum’s blog is still doing what she set it up for, three years after she died.

Mum wanted a place to share her family research publicly, so that it would be immortalised and be there for generations to come. She wanted there to be a place for her family to go when they were interested in particular members of the family, to find out what their special place in our family was.

She wanted stories that were buried years ago to be brought in to the open so we could all learn from them.

How fantastic that in the last couple of weeks two separate cousins via our fascinating Canadian Connection, have been researching Crout’s and been led to me, via Mum’s blog.

The photo above is of Leslie Eden Crout (Les).  He was one of the half brother of my Grandad’s, same father, different mother.

The two people who contacted me are both connected to Les.

One lives in Brooklyn and is Les’ grandson.

The other one lives in Canada and is the descendant of Andrew, Les’ wife’s brother.

Both of their heads are spinning now I’ve told them how Les had a half brother, Harry Scarborough Crout, who was for years older than Les and lived in England with his mother. He then went to Australia when he was 16. and stayed on after his mother passed away three years later and then ended up marrying my Nana. It is taking a while for it to all make sense to them, which is understandable. As I said to them, I’ve had years of processing, to get to this point.

Geez, it’s a bit scarey that how these Canadian Cousins all fit together is making so much sense to me now. I really am turning in to my mother! I know she’d be rapt.

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The ideas are flowing, now I need the priorities

Ok, so now I get it Mum.  When you have all of these ideas of what you want to write about and share with anyone who is following your stories and thought patterns, but you have trouble organising yourself to prioritise your time.

Mum used to talk about how she felt like the spirits of her Ancestors were “bothering” her, jostling to the front of the queue when they got impatient for their story to be told.  I haven’t (yet) felt that as such, I’m sure as I turn more in to my mother {chuckle} this will happen.  For now though, I feel like I’m having ideas and starting a few different things, so that now I’ve got multiple stories on the go and I’m not sure which one to focus on first.

I have this wonderful story that is the story of the Canadian Cousins – that is a big story and will take time and I have decided that I am going to follow Mandy’s suggestion and write a book – Mum’s book.  Mum always said she was going to write a book and she just didn’t know what it was going to be about.  So, I’ve decided I’m going to write Mum’s book for her.  It will be the story of discovering her Canadian Cousins existed and then how she sought them out, created a strong relationship with them and began to uncover the mystery of their family.  I will pull extracts from that to share here, on Mum’s blog, but for the whole uncut version of the story, you will need to buy the book 🙂  The plan is not to become a millionaire, but perhaps to raise enough funds to keep Mum’s rellies “in the ground” by paying the lease fees on their graves as they become due.  That seems pretty fair.

I also have another book that needs to be published – Grandad’s book, which was written by my Grandad in the late 70’s, early 80’s that chronicles the first 4 years of his time in Australia, when he was 16-19 years old.  He wrote it on a typewriter and the font is quite faint and hasn’t scanned all that well.  Although my Husband assures me that there is technology that will assist the transfer of it to a Word document, I’m a bit slow at working that kind of thing out, and I’m kind of enjoying typing it out – reading it as I go.  Not sure how I’ll go about publishing that one, I guess that will be the learning then to take on board to publishing the bigger one.

Then there is Mum’s trip to Shipley to discover where Grandad came from in 1995.  She has talked about it a few times in her blogs.  As Grandad’s health (and in particular memory) was fading in the 1990’s he was getting increasingly distressed about the fact that no-one could find where he came from – 42 Mossman Street, off Crag Road, Windhill, Shipley, United Kingdom.

So, Mum made it her mission to discover where Grandad came from, which she did.  Being the storyteller she was, she wrote a diary on her trip, which I took with me when I went to the UK last year.  I began writing out her diary then.  It is a fantastic story of her discovering her Father’s homeland.  Then when she got back, she put together a folder of photographs and notes and she gave it to Grandad, who was overjoyed to know that she had found his homeland and could see photos of how it looked now – his memories of his childhood came flooding back and Mum felt as though she had calmed his soul, just before the dementia took hold of him.  The saddest part was that years later Nana had told Mum that she should take the folder back as Grandad was past the point of it being useful for him and she knew how precious it was.  Mum never got it back and thought for years after Nana had died that it had gone missing when Nana’s treasures were sifted through.  This was very traumatic for Mum and she thought that someone in the family had taken it and may not have known the true value of it.

When I was cleaning Mum’s house out after she died, I found Grandad’s book – which I had never seen before and I found Mum’s precious folder she made for Grandad.  It was in with Nana’s keepsakes, and had been kept safe after all.  I am sad that Mum never knew that, but I think she would be happy for me to share the story of her trip on her blog.

So, after writing out my to do list here, I think I’ve worked out that what I need to focus on first is the Shipley trip in 1995.  I will put a series of posts together of the trip from a combination of the diary and the folder.

Yep, that’s it.  Ok, maybe I’ll see if I can make a start…. How great for me to have a place to come to clear my head about which direction I should take….

By the way, the other job I got finished this week was the final proof of the words on Mum’s headstone.  The stone should be delivered in mid October, so I imagine the headstone should be finished by the end of October, and I am pleased to say that the Canadian Cousins made it in to my life in time for me to immortalise their link with Mum in stone – Mum would be thrilled with this – I just know it (and I’m pretty sure that a couple of the Canadian Cousins will be pretty chuffed too).

The Canadian Cousin story continues to grow and unfold – just yesterday June told me that she found Grandad’s sister’s grandson (so the same generation as me – our grandparents being blood siblings) and I have sent him a message on FB.  He’ll probably think I’m some nutjob (which I’m sure many people thought about Mum when she contacted them out of the blue and told them she was their cousin) but maybe not.  We’ll just have to see.  Like June said “see, us coming together is working, I just needed a bit of a push because I would never have done it on my own”.  Yes June, it is coming together and is making the story I have to write bigger all the time!

As June says often in her emails TTFN (ta ta for now).

Kirrily

 

 

 

 

The best story I have ever read

I am in the middle of the best story I have ever read.

There is nothing I love more than getting completely engrossed in a story, so that even when I’m not reading it, I am thinking about it and wondering what will happen next.  This doesn’t often happen to me, it has to be the right mix to really pull me in, otherwise I get bored, put the book down and then never finish it.  No chance with this one.

It is a story full of intrigue – mystery, love, family, war, discovery, understanding, reconciliation, honesty, loyalty, respect and loss.

It is the story of two cousins, with the same Grandfather, but different Grandmothers, on opposite sides of the globe, finding one another and then working as a team to piece their shared history together.  A history that is more unbelievable than any fiction they have ever read and is far better, as it is the truth – their truth.

They were both the historians of their families, with a trunk full of photos, certificates and memorabilia to share.  The communication was via email, daily in the beginning, and most days with multiple emails.  Most emails contained multiple attachments and were received by the other always with great appreciation of the time taken to compile and share.  Their shared love of discovering the story spurred each other on to keep scanning and sending anything they could find that was relevant, to help map out the story, as well as bring the people alive.

This story continued over two and a half years as they both became completely obsessed with ensuring that this story was documented accurately and with compassion and understanding.

Then tragically, their story came to an end as one of them died, very suddenly.  That person was my Mum and the other person was June Kendall.  Their story started in June 2011, and with June’s permission I have begun reading the emails between the two of them.  In three days, I have read more than 130 emails and looked at every attachment.  I am so sorry to know that I only have about another 50 or so to go until this part of the story ends.

The wonderful part is that it is all there, documented for me to read and then to go back over, look at what Mum has pieced together and ordered so far, fill in some missing blanks and then share the story, here, on Mum’s blog that she started the year before they first met.

Perhaps that will awaken the passion to finish the discovery that I believe died in June when she lost my Mum.  She said that I would understand how much she missed my Mum when I read their emails, and she was right.  I now know just how important they were to each other, and how tragic it was that they only had the three years together before Mum died and they never got to meet each other, or even hear each other’s voice.

I don’t even need to ask June whether I would have her blessing to write the story here, as I know, from their emails that is what they both wanted – for the story to be told honestly and compassionately and be there for the world, but in particular the descendants to know.

There may just be other descendants, like us, who want to understand how there came to be two families, joined by the same man on two separate continents, who never knew the other branch existed.  There may be even other people completely unrelated that will find the story fascinating.

As well as finishing reading the story in the final 50 emails, I need to work out exactly how I want to go about telling it….  So, if you would like to join me on the journey, watch this space ….

 

It’s a day

Today is the 6th of July, 2016. Two years ago my Mum, Catherine, the owner and creator of this blog was taken from us. Almost a year has passed since my last blog when we were in the UK. An amazing, special time.

I have hardly even visited the blog in this last year.

I have been busy finding my way in my new life, without my Mum. I navigated my way through losing a friend who had a 12 year battle with melanoma in April 2015. Then I stumbled my way through losing my oldest and dearest friend, Stacey, who had a five year battle with breast cancer in September 2015. I managed to get through both of them without Mum. Amazing what you can do, when you have no choice.

I’m doing ok, my son is now 11, I was able to move him to a school which is a much more positive place for him to be. I’m sure that would have been handled much better if Mum was here, but we got through it.  I have finally managed to get him keen on reading. The library is now a favourite place for him to go and I am delighted to see that he has discovered a series which he loves and is spending every spare moment buried in it. I know Mum would be clapping her hands with joy and sharing her love of books with him.

I have become a much easier person to live with than I was when I first lost Mum. Grief was very hard and I was so unhappy and stressed and emotional. Thank God I have an amazing husband who with the assistance of my wonderful grief councillor gave me the space and understanding to find my way.

Today I knew was going to be hard. I was prepared for it, which I’ve decided I need to be more often. I need to plan to give myself space to grieve, and then it’s likely I’ll actually cope with the day better than I expect. I spent a few wonderful hours with my Big Brother last night. In anticipation of having a hard time today and wanting to connect with him – the closest link I have to my Mum. He flew to Singapore for work today, so seeng him today wasn’t possible, but we managed to squeeze in dinner and drinks  last night.

I was talking with him about why I find anniversaries, birthdays, Mothers Days and other special dates so hard. Mothers Day this year was particularly hard. I had told myself and everyone around me I was fine and then I woke up and I was in a big, dark hole. Horrid. I wasn’t ready, it snuck up on me and it sucked. Big Time. I realised that those times are the days that I really stop and think about Mum and how much things are different now. How different I am now, and that makes me really sad.  I now feel like I don’t have somewhere else to go when things get really tough. I would always go to Mum. She was always there with a warm hug, soothing words, a cup of coffee and would help me put a plan together and gather the strength I needed to re-enter the real world. No longer do I have that safe haven, that soft place to fall and gather myself and my strength.

Of course I still have people to go to – my Husband, my Son, my friends and I have my Big Brother. Thank God for my Big Brother. I honestly don’t know what I would have done over these two years without him.  He provides a different safe haven to that which Mum gave me, but I love the fact that Cullen is so much like Mum in different ways to me. Our relationship is different to that which I had with Mum, and different to how our relationship was before Mum died. Back then we really didn’t understand each other, and now we share the fact that we are navigating our way through without Mum and realising that has had a profound effect on us. I feel like he has taken  over from Mum in being able to know when things aren’t right with me and he picks up the phone just to chat. Sometimes I don’t even realise what is coming – the tidal wave of grief, before he calls. I am so grateful for him, and I know he is of me.  When we left each other last night, his parting words about today were “It’s a day”.  He meant it in the way of today being a big day – hence the title of the post.

So this morning I was exhausted – I slept all morning and then felt like I was in a numb dazed state. I decided I needed to achieve something meaningful from the day, so I took myself off to Nalty Memorisls and organised Mum’s headstone. I’ve been meaning to for months, actually more than a year, but the time hasn’t been right. Today, everything fell in to place, and the deposit has been paid, the shape and design of the headstone set, and all I need to do is provide the text – that’s the easy part. I’m really pleased. It,s going to be amazing and then every time I visit the cemetery (which I don’t do all that often) I will be so proud of the headstone and the statement it makes about Mum and who she was, and what she meant to us.

The other thing I wanted to do was write a blog post, so this is my second accomplishment of the day.

Tomorrow I will wake up and it will be over two years since my Mum died. I’ll be in to the next phase. For now I’m happy to have quietly seen the day through, and ticked a couple of boxes.

We are headed off for a week in sunny Cairns on Saturday to spend with my Dad, which should be a nice getaway. I look forward to feeling warm. It’s been so bloody cold lately.

Then I will prepare to mark the one year anniversary of Stacey’s death in September and will be very pleased to post photos of Mum’s headstone here, when it’s complete.

I hope all of you here reading this today still remember my Mum often and with love. You all meant so much to her.

Until next time,

Kirrily

8 month anniversary of Mum’s Death

Its been a very long time between blogs.  I have been busy with a lot of other stuff, which I will find time to blog about soon, but I needed to post this today.

8 months ago today was a day from hell, that is etched in my memory torturing me with its cruel pace, whenever my mind is still.  But on the morning of that day, only hours before she was taken from us, my Mum had the strength to make and allow us to record memories.  Here are two of my favourites.  One shows her strength and one shows her pride – she was full to overflowing in both.

I love you Mum and miss you more than words can say.  😦20140706_130649 20140706_130947

Two best friends, ballet and night bells

Last Wednesday I (Kirrily) went to Mum’s (Catherine’s) house to pick up her mail and to go on the search for photos.  I have been posting photos of my Mum to an album on Facebook since she died on Sunday the 6th of July as a dedication.

Included in the mail was a letter addressed to the family of Catherine Crout-Habel.

It was from Margaret Jordan – Mum’s very best childhood friend.  They went to ballet together and from the sounds of it were inseparable.  They had lost contact years ago but had met up sometime in the past couple of years.  Mum told me all about it, they had a wow of a day.

There was a card and it was addressed to ‘the family of my friend Cathy” and included a photo.

Here is some of the letter that I read through eyes filled with tears-

“Cathy was 2 years younger than me and we grew up at Alberton/Queenstown just like sisters.  We were always at one another’s places and went to ballet together.  We had so much fun together and Cathy sometimes went with my Mother and I to Mildura for a few days to visit some of my relatives.

When we both learnt piano, we used to run down North Tce in the city, pressing all the night time bells.

I caught up with Cathy a couple of years ago after not speaking for years.  We met at Largs Bay Kiosk and showed one another photos of our families and grandchildren (of which she was extremely proud).  We met at 10am and were still chatting at 5pm.  I had such a great day and it was just so good to see her again after all those years, it was like we had never been apart.

We both had our ears pierced n 1959 at the same time,Cathy’s being done for her birthday that year.  Oh how scared we were, but we had one another, so that was OK.

I have enclosed a photo of the 2 of us aged about 14 or 15.  We always had such fun together.  We could talk to each other about anything!

Cathy was a beautiful person and a true friend.

Catherine Crout-Habel and Margaret Jordan at approx. 14 or 15, circa 1960

Margaret included her address, and I will write back and I will include a memorial card from Mum’s funeral.  I was so pleased that she sent the card and the photo and a few of the memories that came flooding back to her when she read about Mum’s death.

What made this even more special for me was that it reminded me so much of my best childhood friend – Stacey.  We see each other still, almost every week and we often relive many childhood memories.  She is waging her own war on cancer and I am there helping her do it as best I can.  We too can talk to each other about anything, which is especially useful when she is sitting in a chemo chair.  It has always been the same – every time we would see each other it would be just as if we saw each other the previous day, no matter how long it had been.

Childhood friends are the greatest, if you are lucky enough to hang on to them.  They knew you as a child and they know you as an adult and are able to appreciate all that there is about you because they know you so well and have shared history with you.

Do you have a dear childhood friend like Mum did with Margaret and like I do with Stacey?  I’d love to hear.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Mum’s childhood friend as much as I enjoyed sharing it.

Cheers,

Kirrily

ANZAC DAY 2014

My British Grandfather, Henry (Harry) Eden Crout served with the “Canadian Expeditionary Force” in France, for the entirety of World War 1. He led the Regimental Band on the “Somme” and elsewhere in the collecting of bodies, burying the dead and sounding their “final salute”… too sad    😦
Will we ever stop the Warmongers, and their supporters, whom benefit from this carnage?

 

SENTIMENTAL SUNDAY: Love ya mum…

Always the loving  Mum and Nana... here with Grand Daughter, Kirrily Ann, on her Special Day.

Always the loving Mum and Nana… here with Grand Daughter, Kirrily Ann, on her Special Day.

On this, the 6th Anniversary of my beautiful mum’s death, I’m remembering how my daughter, and I, sat with her and what a terrible “passing” it was. Also how cruelly she was abandoned for the final 10 years of her life, by some of her family, which almost broke her heart and now reading their platitudinous comments is most distressing.

However, this little gem just floated to me from “cyberspace” and I’m laughing along with my precious mum, whose wicked sense of humour comes shining through…

Love ya mum and thanks for the cheerup
😆

This time last year I made my first “KIVA loan” in Mum’s memory and chose to loan to a young woman in Peru to help pay for her continuing Education, which is what mum would love. You can read about it HERE.

framed.kiva_logo

It’s a delight to know how very little money can make such a huge difference in another person’s life and to see them paying it back month by month simply adds to the pleasure and enables you to re-loan to another deserving person who just needs a bit of a “leg up”.   

Why not give it a try… a $25 loan can do so much. For more info just go to the Genealogists for Families’ Project  and see how very easy it is.

May you forever REST IN PEACE Kathleen Mary (Allan) Crout
31 March 1925 – 6 September 2007

Shamrock 

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GENEALOGY FOR FAMILIES PROJECT
http://genfamilies.blogspot.com.au/p/join_11.html

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

A Special Birthday Celebration…

Bday2

Here is my first born baby celebrating his 46th Birthday in his own special way… grabbing life with both hands and enjoying every minute of it.

Phew!!! … Happy Birthday, Cullen Andrew XXX

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout- Habel – Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

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Cousins cousins everywhere…

Something rather strange, and amazing, is happening in my life right now. Sadly since mum’s death, a couple of years ago, I’ve become alienated from my three siblings and some of their children, for reasons which are too complex to even think about… nor would I discuss such private matters publicly.

Cartoon. genealogy. black sheep

However, it seems that maybe this was meant to be because the vacuum created has been filled with an endless flow of “cousins” from all corners of the earth.  Some are living just “down the track”, others in nearby Australian states after emigrating from Britain… the “mother country”.  Then there are my amazing Canadian cousins who hail from different/ similar parts of the family tree.  Am still waiting to hear from Keith, in London, as to where he fits into our family.

Then there are the connections with my former husband’s cousins who are “blood” rellies of my own dear children/ grandchildren. Not to mention communication with my much loved deceased sister-in-law’s cousin and re-connecting their children who were childhood friends but have lost contact over time…

PHEW!!!

It’s such a joy and my life is enriched beyond measure. The best of all has to be the happiness which much of my research has brought to others re: the replacing of family myths with well researched and verifiable information.  e.g. The story about the only son of  my Great Great Grandmother Susan has become a bit mis-construed over the years and he is a man to be truly honoured which I wrote about HERE and has now been passed onto his descendants.

… and so it continues.

Next on my Agenda MUST be clarifying the story as to why my dad was initially charged with “attempted murder” and then incarcerated in an “Insane Asylum”.  It was horrifying to hear of how this truly tragic period in my dad’s life has been mis-construed and this false/ biased information had been passed onto some of his descendants.

Cousins cousins everywhere… what a joy!!!  Thanks for your love, sharing and continuing support as we work together to reconstruct our shattered families.

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel