28 March 2009

The elusive grandfather

Got him! I finally found the date of death of my paternal grandfather, William George Oldman: registered in Lothingland in the 3rd quarter of 1936. I was beginning to think that he was either immortal, or had spontaneously combusted! Nobody seemed to know exactly when it was that he died, and I’ve more or less run out of relatives to ask.

The death date isn’t that important in the general scheme of things, but it was exasperating (not to mention untidy) for one thing, and for another led me to wonder all sorts of things – had he died outside England, perhaps (since I knew that he used to go as far as Lerwick in the course of his work for a company that supplied coal to the fishing industry), or had he even absconded? If so I would have expected my father to have used it in trying to help heal a rift on the other side of the family.

Heaven knows why the date was so difficult to find: just about every genealogical database I looked in drew a blank, even over a range of years, and I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t find any record of his death. It didn’t help that I had been told that it was about 1932-33, or that William and George were such popular names; even Oldman isn’t that unusual a surname if you come from Norfolk or Suffolk. I’ll probably send off for the death certificate, even though probable cause of death isn’t hard to guess, given his size, evident love of cigarettes, and the fact that heart problems run in the family.

Ah well, now for the other great family mystery – did my grandmother Ayers have any more children after she left my grandfather?


Jilly said...

I'm glad you found him! Not surprising it took so long really since you'd been told the wrong date.

NAM said...

But very typical of information recalled by family members, I suppose.

The question of whether Grandmother had any further offspring is going to be a much tougher one to solve, though I do at least have another cousin working on it with me.