Day 25 – The Letter Y
Researching my family history is for me always about the people I find, but inevitably it also gets tied up with numbers too. Years of events: births, deaths, marriages, all around in cycles. I’m not a ‘number’ person, so I find the years a little boring sometimes, just lists and lists of numbers that don’t mean a great deal. Then I began looking in more detail at the years in a particular person’s life, seeing when they were born, what the world was like then, what age they married, had children, died. It all comes together to paint a picture of someone, and with a little imagination it fleshes out the bare bones of what you know.
For example, when looking at my maternal grandmother’s family I see her mother, Elizabeth Cockett (Collins) was born in 1859, she married William Cockett in 1881 and then there is a list of children as long as your arm! I am amazed to notice she had nine children: Little William in 1883; little Elizabeth in 1884 (just the following year!); Jane in 1885 (another year later); Ernest in 1888; John in 1891; Herbert in 1893; Charlie in 1896; Albert in 1899 and my grandmother Queenie in 1904. Elizabeth spent almost 20 years having children.
Sadly I then notice her husband William Henry Cockett died in October 1905 when Queenie would have only been six months old. So Elizabeth was left to raise all these children alone. She lived until 1938. I never met her, obviously, as she died 20 years before I was born, but looking at all these numbers, and the events that happened, I just feel really proud of her. There is a photo of the family here, Elizabeth is in the centre of the middle row, my grandmother Queenie is the little girl in the centre of the front row. The lady on the right of the middle row is Elizabeth’s sister.