Thursday, 21 July 2016

One thing always leads to another

This trail started with an enquiry from someone helping an adoptee find her family.
What could I tell them about her DNA match with x?

It led to my extending the family tree of the match back up one of the lines I don't share with him.
Which, surprisingly, led me from Andes, Delaware, New York, back to WHITSONs on the Scottish Borders.
Which, of course, led to my wondering if they were related to the Alexander WHITSON of the Muirhouselaw Tile Works who married Elizabeth Richardson WIGHT my 2* great aunt, ie sister of my great grandmother Helen Sinton WIGHT.
Which led me to have a quick look around the family to see if there were any unsolved mysteries while I was there.

What happened to Elizabeth Jane Sinton WHITSON aka SOUTAR who married Industrial Chemist David McLaren PAUL?

Her birth had been a mystery, given her first appearance was as a daughter in a SOUTAR family but no matching birth.
That was solved once I realized that she wasn't actually born as Elizabeth Jane Sinton SOUTAR, but as WHITSON, but brought up by her mother's sister after her mother's death in childbirth.

Her death had also been a mystery - until tonight.
It was presumed to be between David's marriage to her, and his subsequent marriage to Ivy Elsie POVOAS in 1945.
It was not found in Scotland, nor easily recognised in the English Death Index (David was working in Worcester when they married in 1916) last time I checked.
Tonight I did another search of English deaths.

FindMyPast now includes records from the Manchester Crematorium, and there she was
"In December 1940 as the result of enemy action of 30 Wellington Road Whalley Range Elizabeth J. Soutar the dear wife of David M. PAUL. Service Manchester Crematorium this day (Friday) at 2.30pm (Manchester Guardian Fri 27 Dec 1940)"

With the knowledge that at that time her name was considered to be Elizabeth Soutar PAUL, there she also was in the death index as Elizabeth S PAUL, registered 1940 Qtr 4 Manchester, aged 56.

Which led to research on the Manchester Christmas Blitz of 1940, including:
A site dedicated to the Greater Manchester Blitz Victims, any of who being listed on the Commonwealth War Graves site, although civilians, including Elizabeth

An eyewitness account from a lad who lived through it:

Unseen images of the Manchester Christmas Blitz from the Telegraph

A chronology of the attack, which understandably, gets less detailed as events progressed and probably rather hard to keep up with events.

This map shows the sites (interactive on the Manchester Evening News website) which doesn't actually include Elizabeth, so I added the arrow to show her address.
I do admit to wondering if that bomb had David's name on it, given his occupation in 1911 "technical chemist, explosives manufacturer"

Never give up.
Get sidetracked, you never know where it will lead :)
Don't dismiss apparently irrelevant sources! (I would never have thought of searching the Commonwealth War Graves for Elizabeth.)

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