Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Deadlier Than the Male? The History Sleuth Goes in Search of the Female Line...

“Some of us will be long forgotten before we are even dead. Most will never be remembered at all, not even by family.” 
Paul Bamikole

In my family, the chances of being forgotten are rather slim, even for the unfortunate members of my clan who would sooner forget the existence of those who float around in the same gene pool; however, my new blog isn't for them, it's for me and hopefully for you too, dear reader!

Although I have been properly researching the history of my family since 2004, my interest in the gnarled twigs and broken branches of my family tree began in the early teenage years and having always been a diligent hoarder of the scraps of family keepsakes that have come my way; the process of moving abode as I did over a year ago with a return to my hometown of York was undoubtedly made all the more arduous by those numerous large boxes of papers, books, photographs and other assorted genealogical matter that I had to shift down and up several sets of stairs.

And during the course of this year and as I have been adding to my research into the life of my great-aunt Clarice Tibbett who died by her own hand in the summer of 1962; my interest has been piqued as of late by the other female ‘greats’ within my clan that I have now discovered and the Yorkshire lasses who have made a welcome reappearance.

The Puzzle that IS Clarice Tibbett!

For with the death of both my maternal grandmother and paternal grandmother last year and my mother's ailing health, my feelings of nostalgia have been triggered once more and the floors of my den are now littered with the fruits of my genealogical findings.

And as I had decided that as I would go in search of this female line of my family, I would share my musings, mishaps and occasional mastery on my other geneablog under the aptly named label The Female of the Species!

The Female of the Species?

Not that I believe that my female ancestors were actually deadlier than their male counterparts; but there has certainly been an unbroken thread of the narky characteristic woven throughout the successive generations culminating in the wick Yorkshire lass that I know I can be!

Last week I watched (again!) Who Do You Think You Are that featured the fabulous actress Amanda Redman from series one, who I adored in the BBC drama of New Tricks and I listened with interest as she talked about her need to understand why she had always reacted in a particular way and of the ‘inherited behavioural patterns’ she believes that we all possess to some degree or other.

And yes, this resonated with me for as the eldest child of five siblings; my mother having flouted the National Average UK Birth Rate; I have always pondered the reasons for my love of the sea and feeling ‘at home’ in the coastal town of Scarborough; my pleasure in reading, the urge to create my ‘Small Worlds’, my knack for floral design, my passion for history AND that I am quite unlike anyone else within my family.

A Stroll Along the Shore at Reighton in North Yorkshire...

For not only do I NOT look like any other family member, my interests remain unique only to myself and I have mischievously wondered if I was possibly switched at birth; although a distant family member did once describe me as a ‘throwback’, albeit in a kindly manner!

I admit that it used to bother me as I was growing up but now I glory in being different from the rest of my clan and if in these times of difficulty I can find solace in the company of my ancestors from generations past; who’s to judge?

Adieu for now!


“If you don’t know your family’s history, you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know that it is part of a tree.”
 Michael Crichton

Adieu for now!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

In Hearts at Peace and Under an Scarboro' Heaven....

Clarice Tibbett,
Born on a Tuesday,
Baptised on a Tuesday,
Married on a Tuesday,
Took ill one Saturday,
Died that Tuesday,
Inquest held on the Thursday,
Cremated on the Friday,
That was the end,
Of Clarice Tibbett.

In case you haven’t recognised it, I have corrupted the ballad of poor old Solomon Grundy written by James Orchard Halliwell in 1842 and even though ‘Tuesday’ would be the most prophetic day during Clarice’s short life; I have been musing on the fact that in less than a week after she died on June 19 1962, her inquest had been opened with a verdict rendered and on a cloudy afternoon the day following, her funeral had taken place.

It seems incredible that in less than 156 hours since that fateful Saturday lunchtime in which she had appeared ‘normal and cheerful’ to her husband John that her loved ones would gather the Friday following at Woodlands Crematorium in Scarboro to bid her ‘adieu’

Maybe I’m over-thinking this but the events of that week appear to have happened rather quickly and with Clarice there are always more questions than answers, however, as her funeral was held 54 years ago on this day, I have taken a look through my archives and in the absence of any Memorial Card, a Letter of Sympathy or an Order of Service; I have discovered some images from my last June visit to Woodlands Crematorium which I share with you now.

The journey to the crematorium is along the leafy Woodlands Drive and having travelled this road on more than one occasion, I have often imagined that the tranquil view as one approaches the long sweeping drive to the entrance must be a reassuring sight to those on their own voyage of sadness.

As Woodlands opened in 1961, Clarice was among one of the first to be cremated here and since 1962, many of the Tibbett family have now joined her and I should add that as many more from the Tibbett clan are buried a stone's throw away in Woodlands Cemetery; my family history research here has kept me very busy over the years!

As Clarice's remains were 'removed' by the funeral director, I still have no idea of the place where she finally ended up!

Even after I discovered the burial entries for her parents last year in the City of Hull and managed to convince myself that her ashes had been interred with them, but alas, after trawling through more records in the Hull History Centre, that theory has been dashed although I still live in hope.

And, yes, I have asked (or nagged depending on who you ask!) if they have any idea where Clarice is and despite some wild and crazy ideas, I remain determined for being able to locate the final resting place of the individual associated with my research endeavours has always been important to me and when my search is unsuccessful, I usually feel a sense of disappointment as if the final piece of the jigsaw is missing.

I revealed in an earlier post that I knew nothing of Clarice for many years other than her name and that she had taken her own life and it would take several more to discover the actual year that she died and with my clan reluctant to tell or feigning poor memory; it took hours of scrawling through the on-line records of one of the first BMD websites (before the discovery of user friendly name searches) before my persistence was rewarded. 

I can still remember the arrival of that large brown envelope with her death certificate inside and my thoughts when I read the words Deceased killed herself whilst the balance of her mind was disturbed... However, that story is for another post!

And despite the absence of knowing her final resting place, there is a memorial to her in the Book of Remembrance at Woodlands Crematorium with a two line tribute which reads:

Tibbett, Clarice
Aged 48. Peace perfect peace - 1962

There is no other information available as to the identity of the loved one who commissioned this inscription for Clarice but I for one am delighted that they did and that every year on June 19, her name endures for posterity.

On this visit before it was time for me to leave, I took a stroll through the Garden of Remembrance which is vast space and with the sun shining as I enjoyed an idyllic hour pottering among the tributes, flowers and keepsakes that had been left with affection; the second verse from the magnificent poem by Rupert Brooke came to mind...

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

For despite my frustration over the whereabouts of Clarice's remains, here at least in the grounds of Woodlands Crematorium, there really is 'some corner of a foreign field' that will be forever associated with her memory and that's fine with me.

Adieu for now...

Sources Used:
The Soldier by Rupert Brooke (1914)

Note to the Reader:
If you have had the melancholy task of arranging the scattering of a loved one's cremated remains in a place other than the crematorium; please be sure to let them know of this and this information can be given to those who come in search of their loved ones.