ANECDOTES FROM MY FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

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Grandad
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ANECDOTES FROM MY FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

Post by Grandad »

ANECDOTES FROM MY FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

I will post a few short stories of things I find while searching my family history. They are posted as things that can happen in any family, mine is not unique, just a simple heritage of country folk and agricultural workers, and other lines of seafarers. I tend to concentrate on MY PARENTS branch. It is too easy to be drawn into other branches like those of uncles and aunts although, inevitably lines and stories do cross.
Please forgive me if I have mentioned some details in the past, after all, we have all been on this forum for many years. I hope they will be of interest to you and it would be nice if some of you folks have your own tales to tell about your own heritage.
I will work in reverse chronological order and start last month with the death of a first cousin.

GRANDADS ANECDOTE 1: Something I didn't know about Uncle Jim

About a year ago I made contact with Nigel, a first cousin once removed. His father was my first cousin Bob who sadly died shortly before Christmas last year, aged 87 years. And Bob's father was my uncle Jim.
Jim was born in 1908, my mothers elder brother by 5 years. I do remember Jim from around 1939/40 when I was 5. I also remember that he wore a uniform that I thought was Royal Navy but have since learned, was the Merchant Navy Service.
I remembered little else about uncle Jim but contact with Nigel gave me a lead and this is what I found.

The cruise ship SS Orama was built in 1924 for the Orient Line. As was the case at the outbreak of WWII, many cruise ships were converted for hospital and troop carrying service. The Orama went to Australia to be converted to a troop carrier and equipped with heavy armament.
This is a picture of SS Orama before being converted for war service.
19390000 aaprox RMS Orama before war service and sinking.jpg

Uncle Jim was drafted to Orama for her trip to Norway carrying troops for the British Expeditionary Force following the German invasion of Norway.
On 8 June 1940 on her return and 300 miles west of Narvik she, and a flotilla of Naval vessels, were intercepted by the German High Seas Fleet comprising SCHARNHORST, GNEISENAU and ADMIRAL HIPPER. The Orama was sunk with the loss of 19 killed and 280 taken prisoner, there were heavy losses on the other allied ships also sunk; the aircraft carrier HMS GLORIOUS, two destroyers H.M.S. Ardent and H.M.S. Acasta, the trawler "Juniper" and the oil tanker "Oil Pioneer".

This poor quality picture shows Orama, bows up, just before she went down. I don't know if the ship in the foreground is British or German. Uncle Jim was one of those taken Prisoner of War.
19400608 RMS Orama sinking 300 miles off Narvik.jpg

I found a record of him being a POW at Marlag und Milag Nord, Poland from June 1940 until 28 April 1945 when repatriated by allied forces. This is uncle Jim, centre row far right a POW at Marlag und Milag Nord, with other merchant seamen POW's.
1944 approx Uncle Jim (centre row right) POW in Poland.jpg
He continued a life at sea until his premature death early in 1959 at the age of 50 years. Many things I didn't know about a man my mother referred to as "My Jim"
Making contact with Nigel, Jims grandson, has put me back in contact with Jims remaining son Philip, Nigels uncle, so it is nice to bring together two branches of a dispersed family.
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:gg:

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Re: ANECDOTES FROM MY FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

I think finding out all the tidbits of a families history are more than intriguing. I have done a little bit of research on mine and found that my own Maternal Grandfather who I was always told just "disappeared" was actually a car mechanic who had remarried and had 5 more children lived about 40 miles away from where I grew up as a child. Was always told he came from Ireland too however he was actually born and lived in Scotland close to where my Grannie hailed from. She was also 2 yrs his Senior.

@Grandad When you say you "find" these photos ie. the photo of your Uncle as a POW - are these ON Ancestry? Or are you researching somewhere else independently?

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Re: ANECDOTES FROM MY FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

Post by Grandad »

@LovelyLadyLux
LLL, my second cousin Nigel sent me a copy of Jim in the POW camp. I don't know how he got it but I was intrigued to see that they all looked well and probably getting acceptable care. As merchant seaman they were non combattants and maybe this was taken into account by their captors.
Ancestry have links to POWs and merchant seamen so I was able to find quite a lot there. As for things like photos and records, many members post their own on open trees. The Ancestry "hint" tool finds possible links in other trees and lets the tree 'owner' know.
So we tend to work together by sharing useful information.
It can be surprising where some info comes from especially after having DNA recorded. I found a first cousin once removed in the US who turned out to be uncle Jim's great grand daughter.....Small world.😀
:gg:

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Re: ANECDOTES FROM MY FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

Post by Mad Dilys »

The picture with the ship sinking in the background made me shudder - how there were any survivors in this kind of situation always amazes me

My research has brought up a curious item. My Grandad told me his father was in the 17th or 19th Bengal Lancers and never came back from India. However though the census results do show my Grandad living with his own Grandfather and Mother as a child and no Mother mentioned - two adults with my Grandad and Great Grandad's names were living together in London and the older man was receiving a military pension for injury - at about the time Grandad would have been a young adult and previously believed to have been in the Navy.

Sounds feasible if the family name was Smith or Jones, but it's unusual enough for me to never have met anyone bearing it outside our immediate family.

On the other side of the family, my father seems to have been born twice!
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Re: ANECDOTES FROM MY FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

Post by Grandad »

@Mad Dilys
You lost me a bit there MD. You mention your Grandad telling you about his father (your great Grandad), but you then talk about your Grandad as a young man living with HIS Grandad (your great great Grandad). Some DoB's would help to keep them in line. Which of your Grandads is the one believed to have not returned from India???


As for the Orama, I do agree that it was miraculous that just 19 lives were lost when you consider how many ratings would be below decks on an old steam driven vessel.
:gg:

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Re: ANECDOTES FROM MY FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

Post by Mad Dilys »

Hope this helps but research is made more confused by the family firstborn male being called "Kearns" which I think they made up. Everything in old documents being handwritten this name was often mis-spelt as "Kecins" or "Kenins" - very helpful. This is the clearest I can make it.

1820 Kearns my Great Great Grandfather

1839/41 Kearns my Great Grandfather who spent time in India.

1878 My Grandfather. His mother died he was born or soon after and his father was probably in India so he was raised by 1820 Kearns (his Grandfather) as an only child.

I was told that 1839 Kearns was lost in India - but I have found documents not to hand at the moment unfortunately - there is a possibility that he returned to England, received a pension as an injured soldier and was living for a time in the 1890s with my Grandfather in London.

The family only used the names Kearns, John and Richard in that order for boys and Nancy and Annie for girls. Naming a child after a sibling who had died in infancy was common on both sides of my family. My mother was named after an older sister who died and I'm pretty sure that my own father was named after a sibling. Either that or he was born twice, once in Ireland and once in England. :lol:
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Re: ANECDOTES FROM MY FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

Post by Grandad »

@Mad Dilys
How very interesting MD :up I have never heard that about families adopting a sequence of naming children. I think I have come across a child being named after a deceased sibling though. I would expect that military records from India would give some detail about your great grandfather especially if you know his regiment.
Something that I am finding is how common it was to carry on the mothers maiden name as one of her sons Christian names. Sometimes there is a generation jump before this is used.
My paternal grandmothers maiden name was Julia Manuel. This surname was not given to any of her three sons, my dad and his two brothers, but I DO have Manuel as my middle name. I suppose in some families that might have been hyphenated to a double barrel surname but not in my case.
I do have to be careful with various spelling of Manuel when searching census's etc. I have found it as Mannwell, Manuall, and Manwall.
Makes it all the more interesting when trying to be sure that you have found the right person.
:up :up
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Re: ANECDOTES FROM MY FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

Post by Kiya »

Grandad , It's expected up here in my corner for first born sons to have their fathers name but with my No 1 brother David not so, my mother wanted him named Peter after our father but my paternal grandmother got her way calling him after her favourite son David................on saying that my mother put her foot down when it came to my No 2 brother naming him Neil also giving him the middle name of Buchan ....my grandmother's maiden name, my No 3 brother was named after our father Peter. No 4 brother Charles was also named after another son of my grandmother and mother putting her foot down again named No 5 brother after her own 2 brothers William George, as for my self my mother put my 2 grandmother's name's Mary Jane & Maggie together & came up with Marjory..............I wish she named me Naomi what my grandmother wanted ;) :)

My No 1 brother David's only son is named David also David's first grandson is David.

Looking at what David has done/found with out family tree these names have been carried for hundreds of years :)

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Re: ANECDOTES FROM MY FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

Post by Grandad »

@Kiya
That is very interesting Kiya and you obviously come from a large family of boys.
As well as the the continuation of maiden surnames I have also found many examples of sons inheriting their fathers first name. In the more recent generations however that seems to have been dropped. Neither our sons nor our daughter have named any of the grandchildren after parents or grandparents. I do seem to remember though that my wife did have some say in some names simply because they were names that she liked. ;)
:gg:

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Re: ANECDOTES FROM MY FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

Post by Kiya »

My eldest Grandson Kyle has my father's name Peter as a middle name, my daughter thought it was the right thing to do as my father passed just 3 weeks before Kyle was born.

Yes I do come from a family of many boys, my father is/was a 7th son of a 7th son, my father Peter being the youngest, his older brothers were William 1st born named after my grandfather William, Charles, David, George, John, Andrew & Peter, John & Andrew died in infancy, funny enough John & Andrew names don't carry the same as the rest in our immediate family.

Don't worry I'm not going to give all names to the 7 son's before my father & his brothers, I would get myself in a muddle... :? I leave all that to David & the family tree he has done for over 30 years now.

Good Luck in all your family searches :)

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Re: ANECDOTES FROM MY FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

Post by LovelyLadyLux »

My father's name was Boyd, my brother is Boyd, his oldest son is Boyd and his son (now only 1 yrs old) is known as B4 cause it is short for ...... Boyd (and being the Fourth Boyd it fit)

My Dad's family from Aberdeen area of Scotland's carried the first name of William in all the first born sons and on my mother's side (also from Scotland) the women's middle names were all Surnames.

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