Finding Rose Ann
Before I engage on how I found my maternal grandmother, I want to talk about my own mother: Alice. Alice was the 11th child of Rose Ann and William Hughes. Born in 1920 in Massachusetts, Alice joined her surviving 7 brothers and sisters as another girl in the family. One evening in 1925, Alice remembered hearing the screams of her mother downstairs in her home. As it was later revealed she lost her life in trying to give birth to her 13th child. Alice came down the stairs in the morning to find her mother laid out in the living room, which was the way many people at that time would have their dead for a wake. Alice was 5 years old. This haunting image would never leave her.
As her third child, I was born in 1955, many years after her mother and her father were long dead. In fact, both on sides of my parents family there were no grandparents for me to know. There were a few stories told me by my own mother during my childhood years about what she knew of her mother and the difficulty in growing up without one.
My own father worked diligently on his own ancestral genealogy and was able to trace his family back to 1066. This was before wide usage of the Internet and his work took him years and years of research. He left a wonderful legacy for us when he passed in 1992. My mother's genealogy was never done, and she lost many of her sisters and brothers before her own demise in 1988.
As a way of honoring my mother and her difficult life, I penned a short story of a Doll I had "Santa" give her on Christmas 1982. This story is chronicled in "Chicken Soup for the Mothers Soul Part II" that came out in 2000. She would have been thrilled to know her story was available to others. This year my dear mother, had she lived would be 90 years old. She died on April 30th, and her birthday was also in April. April is a reflective time for me and this year was no exception. I joined ancestry.com and began research in earnest to locate my mothers ancestors who never left England. This is what I have found thus far.......
Rose Ann's passport and my mum in her twenties
Finding Rose Ann
If you have ever been curious about your ancestors then check the marvelous information available on Ancestry.com. It is there I not only found my Grandmother, but also my distant cousin Joyce from Liverpool England.
I had so much work to do the night I pulled up this website and began to research information, but as I linked from one place to another, I was able to piece together a life that was important to my own, the one of my mother's dear mum. I was able to ascertain that my grandfather and she immigrated from England in 1912, and landed in Boston about two weeks after the Titanic sunk in the Atlantic ocean. From the ships record books I then found the approximate ages of my aunts and uncles, all born in England who migrated with their parents to their new home in Melrose, Ma. From there I was able to look at passports issued in the early 1920's and found one for my grandmother Rose Ann. Attached to the passport was a picture, as there are nowadays, with her holding my aunt Ella Louise who would sojourn back to England to visit relatives in 1923. Also included was the ships manifest and the location of the relatives home at the time. Bingo! I then found her mother and her father. These were intricate pieces of the puzzle.
Because the law does not allow Census to be displayed until 76 years from the time it is done, I was only able to research up to the 1930 census, but this was all fine, as mum had told me her mother died in 1925. I then worked my way through the other names of the brothers and sisters of my Great Grandparents and found that my Grandfather was a "carter", or a man who would use horses and carts near the Liverpool waterfront in order to move things for people. There in the list of children were familiar names to me: Edith, Alice, William, Charles, Rose and Henry. These names would also become the names of my mothers siblings, handed down over the family tree. My mother was thus named Alice for her mothers sister and this namesake would prove to be an even more intricate part of the puzzle.
Two weeks after loading the information into my "assigned tree" I was able to link to some other peoples information from their trees and found the next generation back in my mothers family. It was then I received an email from a woman named Joyce inquiring about my addition of her Great Grandfather to my own tree. It was through several emails we came to realize that her Great Great Grandmother was Alice, my grandmother Rose Ann's sister! Imagine my infinite delight! My mother's aunt, the one she had been named for was "found" now! And I was now corresponding with her distant granddaughter!
I have more of a sense of my own mothers past, one she would have been so pleased to have know of if only we had found it when she was living. But somehow, I have this deep feeling that mum guided me once again to this information, as she and grandmother are probably in cahoots in the spiritual realm. Whatever the truth is, I know more now about a woman that left the planet almost 100 years ago than I did when I began this quest. And there is nothing now stopping me from continuing my journey, as I hope to go back to England one day and visit the graves of the dead, and hopefully hug the bodies of the living....