I stayed up late last night sorting through another box of old letters & photos. Archiving them in acid free sleeves, organizing by family name and year when possible, unknown when not. It's a tedious task but I'm confident it will help me in the long run.
Most boxes I have found belonged to my great grandmother Alice and my grandmother Hilda, but last night's box held a smattering of new names. Dozens of photos and a handful of letters that belonged to Benjamin Atkinson (my grandfather) & his first wife Florence Hettie Woodcock along with their children Dorothy, Irene, Mildred and Mavis. More intriguing were a few items from his mother, Mary Draisey, and her husband, Charles Atkinson Jr.
I'm beginning to realize this little side project will last me a few years given the multitude of items left behind. No complaints. It's a great way to take time off at the end of a busy work day. The only problem is it's addicting. Seriously, addicting. And frequently distracting from life's other responsibilities. My poor husband & father have been enjoying a lot of take out and frozen dinners lately.
I wonder if there are any genealogy addict support groups out there? Just kidding. Sort of. I've read that researching causes a surge in levels of dopamine in the brain which triggers feelings of pleasure. I believe it.
Back to genealogy.
Here's a little something from the find. A postcard sent from Blackpool UK to Staffordshire UK. I instantly recognized the name Draisey, but it's the finite details of the card that I have to search for in order to piece the recipient and sender together. All part of the genealogy addiction, an unquenchable need to comprehend every molecule of a find. Another sign, when you look away from the screen and realize three hours have gone by and you missed another ocean sunset.
Who is Mr. Draisey? Who is Sister Pollie? Where is Blackpool, Staffordshire, and Stoke? And what if Mr. Draisey never got this postcard and failed to pick his sister up at the train?
82 Moston Street
Birches Head Hanley Staffordshire
Dear Bro & Sister We are at Blackpool and will not be home in time to get the excursion this friday so I will come to your house 1 week on Friday on the same train that you went home on so please meet me at Stoke. I hope you are all well. Goodbye with Love, Your Sister Pollie. All wish to be remembered to you all.
They see "the devil is in the detail" (which according to Wikipedia oddly originated from "God is in the detail") and I've found that understanding the minutia is part of the key to solving any family puzzle.
When I don't know who someone is, I start with the date and location then defer to our genealogy pedigree charts in FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com. I am very, very, very fortunate that my cousin Alan, and my sister Lisa, have done incredible things with these records over the past years, so there is an excellent foundation for me to use as resource and now, to also contribute to.
First, I checked the locations referenced using Google Maps. Blackpool is a major seaside resort and borough of Lancashire North West England. Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands of England and part of the National Forest lies within its borders. Stoke, refers to Stoke-on-Trent and is a city in Staffordshire England. Now I know where they were visiting, where the train stopped, that today's train takes 2 hours 2 minutes, walking 26 hours, and where Mr. Draisey lived. I can now save and add these locations to the interactive map I manage with MapBox.
I've also learned that Staffordshire is quite picturesque and I'd love to visit some day.
On to the Draiseys with some mind-bending genealogy using a little rudimentary genealogy math. My grandfather's mother was Mary Draisey born to William Draisey Sr. and Jane Brain. Mr. Draisey [on the postcard] in 1927 could not have been William Draisey Sr. as he passed in 1890. So it had to be one of the 16 children Draisey (that's right, sixteen). Two died at birth, which leaves 14 Draiseys less all Draisey children of William & Jane not living in 1927, resulting in 5 Draiseys, less the 3 living girl Draiseys (one was my great grandmother) narrowing the possibilities down to 2 male Draiseys in 1927: William or Daniel, who could be Mr. Draisey of Moston Street. William Jr. passed away 1929 in Lancashire and Daniel in 1937 in Stoke Upon Trent. So Daniel wins as the most-likely-Draisey-to be Mr. Draisey of this postcard based on his final resting place Stoke Upon Trent as Stoke was referenced in the postcard. Lancashire is 90 miles north.
Assumption: Mr. Draisey = Daniel Draisey
Next to "Pollie," working backwards to the 3 girls, I have Mary who lived in Salt Lake City and was my great grandmother, so the sender is not her. That leaves Fanny or Emma Elizabeth, or a spouse of William Jr. Draisey. But William was married to Jemima Cleworth. I'm no closer to who Pollie was since no names match unless it's a nickname or middle name, or I'm reading the name wrong, OR, it is Pollie and Mr. Draisey was LDS and Brother and Sister is not brother and sister as related by blood but rather in a religious sense. That last theory seems less likely given the Goodbye with Love closing on the card which seems more familial in nature.
So now I have to dig deeper into Ancestry and FamilySearch to see if I can find an address via the Census records or middle name in birth records or any clue to get me closer to a more accurate solution.
I'd like to phone a friend. Ask the audience. Help please.
I've noticed a cousin posting on FamilySearch whose name I have heard before from my dad. I'm going to email her and hope for a reply. Oh look, she posted a photo of Jane Brain Daisey & her four daughters. Saving that for later reference. It will certainly come in handy while sorting out old photos.
And while I'm archiving this photo, I get clubbed over the head (by Mr. Punch perhaps?) and I realize that Mr. Draisey might not be Daniel Draisey but a child of one of William and Jane's children, aka their grandchildren. I never was great at math. Unfortunately, there isn't any data in either family tree I have access to about the children of the children of Willliam & Jane except for on the side of my great grandmother Mary Draisey Atkinson leading to me. No Pollies there.
To figure out all those first cousins 2x removed will take some time. Which, of course, would set me on another course not in keeping with today's task. It's time to get out of this sinkhole and return to the mysterious "Pollie" once future clues emerge. Or is it "Palie"? Or some other name entirely? Sooner or later, the answer will be revealed.
Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I don't need to solve every mystery in one sitting.
Now About Punch & Judy
Don't you love it when there is an easy part? Punch & Judy were a very violent puppet show featuring Mr. Punch and his wife, Judy. A few short scenes with two characters interacting with a smattering of story then ultimately, Mr. Punch would club someone. A "Professor", also known as a "punchman" operated the puppets and his associate, a "bottler", would corral the audience at the booth and collect money. Want to learn more? Wikipedia has a great page with Punch & Judy's history dating back to 16th Century Italy, other characters used, stories and a whole lot more. Click here to visit Wikipedia for details.
I've had my fix for the day, stepping away from the computer and back to the living.
This post is also available on Medium.