Monday, December 26, 2016


My paternal grandmother was born in London, her mother, my great grandmother on my father's mother's side (following that?) was born in Swansea on the south coast of Whales.  Her name at birth was Mary Louise Broadhurst. Her father was a brick-maker.  Her mother was simply listed as housewife.  She was born about 1890, died in 1977 in Michigan.  

She married a former coal miner, turned tunnel digger and moved to London where my grandmother and her older brother were born.  On the eve of World War I, her father took a job digging tunnels in New York and the family moved to New York.  After World War i, he worked in Mexico City for a couple of years sending his wife and kids back to London.  After Mexico (a job that paid a fortune of about $20,000 a year) he returned to New York, and eventually worked in Chicago, Memphis, Minneapolis, Toledo and Detroit.  

Nearly 15 years ago Jay and I visited Swansea. I had a photocopy of her birth and marriage records.  We went into the visitors bureau in Swansea, and they were able to give us directions to the neighborhood she was born and raised in.  The house was gone, lost to bombing in World War II.  The church she was christened in was there.  It was a nice adventure to connect with old family history. 

Tell us about connecting with your family roots.  


  1. I used to mow my paternal great grandmothers grass when I was a lad. I know that she had three boys and her husband was a farmer. That's the furthest back I know. History, immigration or lineage none of us really know.

  2. My sister did a pretty comprehensive family tree a few years back.
    It was fascinating and amusing. Amusing, because parts of both sides of our family are deeply religious. So to see that my maternal grandmother's 3 older sisters were born on the wrong side of the blanket was pretty funny. Pretty funny also to see that my maternal grandpa was himself, not only illegitimate, his mother was a prostitute. But the REALLY sad part is that when one of their daughters became pregnant out of wedlock, were they concerned, caring, loving, Christian parents? No of course not. They turfed her out, never to see her again. Fortunately one of her older sisters took her in.
    Oh, and that same grandpa apparently "fiddled" with his youngest daughters.
    But I'm off the subject of family roots. (Or maybe not, bearing in mind I'm Australian, and here rooting means (ahem} fucking.
    Anyway, sister's tree went back to the 1700's, and discovered "we" were in America where our lot fought for the king and wound up in Canada. But the really confronting bit was finding that two branches of the family were slave owners. Gulp. And yes, I know it was common, but I didn't want it to be OUR family.
    Sorry to make it such a long comment Travel. Got a bit carried away.

    1. Looking at marriage and birth dates, there are a lot of surprises, as my father use to say the first child comes anytime, after that they take 9+ months. One of his aunts had a child out of wedlock, brought it home, was tossed out of the house, placed the baby for adoption and returned home. She later married and had no other children, I sometimes wonder if that contributed to her drinking herself into an early grave.

  3. I was born into a family of genealogists so everything is known about our roots. No need to research when it is already there in book form.