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

 

 

 

 

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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 ….

 

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.

~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

The passing of an era…

“Ta bron orm” … the sadness is upon me.

The passing of an era happened less than 24 hours ago.

Leslie Eden Crout. (c) June Leslie Crout.

Leslie Eden Crout. (c) June Leslie Crout.

My Uncle Leslie Eden Crout died in Canada, aged 97.  He’s the younger of my dad’s two half brother and I have no idea if Dad ever knew that Leslie existed but I’m sure they’ll be catching up now… along with their dad and all the rest of them…in that world beyond this.  I’m sending them all much love and hope that their “catching up” will be harmonious with all the past hurts and rejection put to one side and that they’ll rejoice in finally finding each other.

~~~~~~~~~

© Copyright 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

My Canadian Cousins

How can one describe the amazement, euphoria and sheer exhilaration in not only finding that missing link in your “family story” but also making the personal connection and with the knowledge that your long lost relatives are as delighted as you are to have found each other ??? …

I’ve posted many stories about my dad, Harry Scarborough Crout, who came to Australia as part of the Dreadnought Scheme at the tender age of 16.  His intention was never to stay in Australia but simply to make lots of money to take back home to his beloved “mam”. Seems that the little boy that my dad was, at that time, really did buy into the myth/ propaganda that Australia’s roads were all but “paved with gold”.

Life’s events over took my father when his mum, Marie (Ogilvie) Crout died way before her time. Dad said that when his “mam” died he never had anything “to go home” for. He was 19 years old, alone and adrift in these strange country of Australia right in the midst of “The Great Depression”.

Harry Scarborough Crout, riding pillion, aged 17 – 1929 (c) C.Crout-Habel

Family “stories” come and go and I’ve found that some are complete fabrications but, more often than not, there is a grain of truth in every one which simply needs to be teased out… and so it was with my dad’s story of his father as a Clarionet Player in the British Army.

The most recent of my posts, re: dad’s father, was on the Gould “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge“, titled “Mm is for – Mysterious Musicians and Mariners”.  Since then my email connections have almost gone into melt down and not just because of this blog post.

Long story to short, I now have a photo of my Grandfather, as a very young man, to compare with that of the 1899 photo of the “2nd Dragoon Guards.” Best of all is that the photos just keep flooding in, along with recently discovered “Canadian Cousins” equally excited as I am to share our family stories.  

This is the only photo I’ve had, to date, of my paternal grandfather – my mysterious musician, but which “likely lad” is he… and maybe he was “off sick” on that day?

Just perused a photo sent by one of my newly discovered “Canadian Cousins” to try help with the identification. Will put it on-line when June gives her approval 

Lots more stories and photos to come, as my newly discovered Canadian Cousins share their memories. How lucky am I, eh? Bursting out with happiness and just had to share.

~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2012. C.A.Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

Finding Family… dad’s 1st cousin 2x removed

Is there a more satisfying feeling when you’ve gone that extra mile, checked that extra record, about to “throw in the towel” and then SUCCESS???…  I’m smiling 😀  

My dad’s “Crout family”, from Hampshire, England, are a complicated bunch but so so interesting.  After much hunting and searching I reckon I’ve finally located all of my Great Great Grandfather’s 10 siblings. Takes a heck of a lot of time to do even a quick search of each of them, especially if they too have large families… and some of them sure do… puff puff puff.

Well, I’ve been slowly working through Great Great Grandad’s siblings and finally got to one of his 5 younger sisters, Frances Sophia Crout.  Her second son, fathered 15 children!!!.  By the time I worked through all that lot, their marriages and their children, Frances Sophia’s next child was a bit of a relief, in some ways, as no documentary evidence jumped out at me. With a sigh of relief I was about to put Henry Frederick to one side with the thought that maybe he’d died young and I just hadn’t found the evidence yet. Something stopped me and how happy I am that it did for, to my delight and surprise, another fascinatingly interesting part of my family “came to light”.

BDM indexes, census reports, passenger lists etc. show that my 1st cousin 3x removed, Henry Frederick Johnston… the fourth of my 2nd Great Grand Aunt’s children married Mary. They had 2 sons and then in 1902 Henry “scarpered across the pond” to Canada without his wife and children just like my own Grandfather did 10 years later. However, much to my surprise, instead of this Henry setting up with a new wife and family… his wife Mary and sons; Keith Stewart and Jack Murray joined him 10 years later.

Like my Grandfather, Henry (Harry) Eden Crout, young Jack also joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force and fought in France throughout World War 1, although in different regiments. I wonder if they knew each other? My Grandfather migrated to Montreal, Quebec… whilst Jack, his brother and parents moved to Winipeg, Manitoba.

More work to be done yet, of course 🙂 … but what an amazing journey it’s been with these Crout’s, of mine. Despite the family stories, I’ve found not a drop of Scottish blood in any of them. At least my Grandmother Marie Ogilvie’s dad, James, was Scottish. You can read about that here and a little about her Grandfather who was born, and died, in Elgin Scotland here.

However, I now know where my fascination with sailing ships comes from and that certainly is not just from my Grandpa, Frederick Alexander Allan.  

“Aye, aye, matie!!!” … 😀

~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family