Sometimes when I am writing my blog (like last night which was more like in the middle of the night), I wonder why I am even doing it.  I write about names and dates to people who have no idea who I am talking about and usually there are lots of gaps.  I sometimes think I am just wasting my time.  With family named Smith and Brown, there is little chance anyone related to us will read it.  But then something good happens.  Someone will comment or ask a question and it gives me that little push to try a little harder to find another piece of the jigsaw.

That’s what happened today.  Last night when I wrote about a photo taken in 1956 at my parents’ wedding, I admitted that I couldn’t find information.   I remembered a story about My (Great) Uncle Harry and his wife, Aunt Chris having had twins who died at birth after Aunt Chris fell off a ladder.  I tried to find certificates or any details in fact because this is something that was never  talked about and I wondered if it was even true.

Su responded to my blog and reminded me that at that time many stillborn babies were not registered.  Inside I had a feeling that they could be registered but I wasn’t looking hard enough.  So this prompted me to have another search.  I have been looking for any information on this part of my family for a while and thought I had exhausted every avenue.  Not so.  Sometimes it is so much simpler than I realise.  In this case I had been searching for a birth, marriage or death certificate for a Harold or Harry Chapman or Christine Cullen. Nothing.  I tried various spellings, different dates, tried different districts and all districts and still nothing.  Then I remembered seeing something on Who do you think you are? when they were looking for someone they knew must be there.  So I just put in “H Chapman” and there it was.  How simple!!!!  Aaargh!!

Uncle Harry was actually called Henry Taylor Chapman – of course – even Prince Harry is actually Prince Henry.  How could I have missed that?  Harry is named for his maternal grandfather – my Great-Great-Grandfather, Henry Taylor (1864-1932).  My Aunt Christine is actually “Christina Dear Cullen” so I was able to find her certificates.  So now I know when they were born (1915 and 1918), when they died (1980 and 1988) and when they married (1941).  This gave me a better idea of when the twins may have been born and I had the parents’ names.  And I found them – both born and died in 1949.  It was a shock to find them because this made the story true yet no-one ever talked about them.   When I read their names, I filled up – two baby boys – the first Henry Taylor Chapman – named for his father and great-grandfather; the second named Christopher Dear Chapman – named for his mother.  Uncle Harry and Aunt Chris had no other children. The story I heard was that Aunt Chris wasn’t very upset about the deaths of her babies.  I always found that hard to believe but now, seeing their names in black and white, named after their parents, I think the pain both of them carried must have been huge.  Perhaps Aunt Chris didn’t show it, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t feel it.

A sad story but one I am glad I have discovered and put out there.  If the family didn’t grieve for these two little babies (my first cousins, once removed) – and I don’t believe for one moment that was the case – then I will grieve for them now.

Thanks Su for acknowledging my blog and prompting me to try harder.

Oh………just one little thing.  This research brings up another anomaly – Aunt Christine’s death certificate says her mother’s name is “not permissible”.  Can anyone shed light on this?  I wondered if it meant she was adopted?  I will have to look into that now.

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