Friday, February 25, 2011

Scandals, Spinsters and Microfilm

It's my last official day off of work (well, I still have the weekend) for my surgery, so I spent it the way I wanted to: threading microfilm and watching Who Do You Think You Are? (I work on my genealogy every day, but this week I had a bit of extra time.)

Anyway, I found a couple things out. First of all, my local library has two microfilm machines - one good and one not so good. Of course, I got the not so good one, and I had to manually feed in the film. This was in my Flora hunt, so I figured it was worth it. It sort of was.

She died in a town 45 minutes from here and the deaths from that town usually ended up (in the 1930s/40s) being printed in both the newspaper from here and the newspaper there. So I figured a good place to look for an obituary would be the microfilm here. Normally, that would have been a great idea. However....

A big political official died the same day as Flora and there were articles about this guy in the newspaper every day for an entire week - meaning there were no out of town death notices. Trust me, I looked. I'm going to have to make a trip down to where she died (a short drive, thank God)

It bummed me out just a little bit. So I cheered myself up by finding another roll of microfilm and reading about some of the "good work" (aka charity work) my great-grandma on my mom's side did. Okay, it was in her obituary, but it was one of those happy obituaries. I was named after her and she died two years before I was born. They even called her by her nickname and not her birthname in her obituary, and the picture of her attached to the obituary was from my parents' wedding (I recognized the dress.)

So then I settled in front of the computer and the TV to watch WDYTYA with Kim Cattrall. I know it was a re-cut episode of the UK version, but I don't care because I've never seen the UK version (although I will now). I loved it because it didn't necessarily have a happy ending, but it had a satisfying ending.

Kim was in search of George Baugh, her grandfather. He disappeared when her mother was just eight. I think they presumed he died - but the truth was the "son of a bitch" (Kim's words, not mine, although I shall be referring to him as the SOB from now on because really, he was) became a bigamist. He remarried shortly after leaving his Original Family, and with his new wife (who was ten years younger - 21 years to his 31 years- and was declared a "spinster"), he had 4 additional children, at least one of them younger than Kim. She has uncles younger than she is. I can't imagine that, I really can't. After those four children were born, George moved his New Family to Australia (I'm presuming he was outrunning the law for bigamy because someone found him out), where he died in 1974.

At the end of the episode, Kim made the decision not to contact her family in Australia. She wanted no details, and I don't blame her. Her mother and aunts, on the other hand, made contact with the family in Australia. We were given no details, so I have no idea if it was a happy reunion or what. I do know it was probably extremely awkward.

I loved this episode because it didn't shy away from the pain. It didn't focus on history that happened 400 years ago. This was real and close to Kim's heart and to her family. She was looking for answers to something specific, not going on some hunt to see what she could find. She knew what she wanted answers to and by God she got them. I give her so much credit for that.

I also found out she's from the UK. I didn't know that. Thanks to the Sex and the City stereotype, I thought she was from New York.


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  2. Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
    and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

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