Meet Lilly: The Woman Who Started it All

I’d like to introduce you to my great-grandmother. Meet Lilly May Lovejoy (nee Young). She is pictured here with my grandmother Betty May Lovejoy.

Black and White photo of a baby wearing a bonnet sitting on the lap of a woman with dark hair cut in a short bob. Both are smiling.

I’ve written about her before in my 12 Months, 12 Ancestors series, and I have never forgotten her. Now that nearly all of those in my grandmother’s generation have passed on, the last thing I expected was to see what Lilly looked like. But here we are.

This wonderful photo was shared with me by my 1st cousin, 1x removed named Ken. Ken is my mother’s first cousin – the first born of that generation and his father was the first born child of Lilly and her husband Victor Lovejoy. I love my cousins on my mothers side. They are so funny and kind. We all cheer each other on and support each other through life’s ups and downs. On a whim I asked Ken if by any chance had any photos of Lilly, I was shocked that within a few days he found this gem!

Lilly May Young was a bit controversial in her lifetime.

  • She lied on her marriage certificate to Victor Lovejoy in order to appear younger than she was. (In actuality she was 21 and her husband was only 16!)
  • She was pregnant at the wedding – her oldest son was born 5 months after the wedding.
  • She had 3 children in short succession (less than 4 years.)
  • Lilly died unexpectedly of a brain hemorrhage when my grandmother was a baby – she was only 26 years old.

Thanks to AncestryDNA, I know for a fact that I am a descendent of Lilly’s. There’s no question with the number of “Young” cousins I have. Even cousin Ken has tested and he’s been my closest relative next to my dad and brother for years.

I couldn’t resist making a comparison between Lilly and my mom. They look so much alike to me it’s uncanny.

A side by side comparison of a woman in 1970s clothing and a black and white photo of a woman from 1926.

Marlene (Hyde) Hill and her grandmother Lilly May (Young) Lovejoy.

I feel such a strong connection to Lilly and it’s even stronger now that I’ve seen her smile. I can only imagine that she would’ve been a lot of fun to be around. I’m drawn by the warmth of her eyes.

I am so proud to put another face to a name on my family tree. Thank you Ken!

A series of 5 black and white photos for 5 generations of women.

Old-Timey Family Occupations

People in my family have liked to transport goods for a really long time.

Thanks to Ancestry I know that in 1901 my great grandfather Charles Edmund Hill was listed as a “Carter.” He and his new bride lived in Moon’s Cottage in “Long Ditton, Surrey.” I had always believed that Charles was an “ag lab” or agricultural labourer, as that was what he had done when he came to Canada but the census shows differently.

The 1901 Census from County Surrey, Civil Parish Long Ditton, has 21-year-old Charles E Hill listed as occupation Carter.

What is a “carter” you ask?

Carter is of Irish, Scottish and English origin and is an occupational name given to one who transports goods by cart or wagon originally believed to be of Gaelic and Celtic origins. (per Wikipedia)

I know from pictures that my great-grandfather Charles really loved his horses. Could this have tied from his past working as a carter?

When I dug a little deeper, I was able to find the marriage record for Charles’ parents – George Hill and Jane Wattingham. At the time of their marriage, George and Jane were both living in “Ham”, a little over an hours walk away from where Charles and Ada would end up living in 1901. It was a wonderful document to find because it listed another occupation you may not be familiar with.

Jane’s father is listed as William Wattingham – occupation Drayman.

The marriage record for George Hill and Jane Wattingham in 1874 has Jane’s father William Wattingham listed as a “Drayman.”

What is a “drayman” you ask?

A drayman was historically the driver of a dray, a low, flat-bed wagon without sides, pulled generally by horses or mules that were used for transport of all kinds of goods. Now the term is really only used for brewery delivery men, even though routine horse-drawn deliveries are almost entirely extinct. Some breweries do still maintain teams of horses and a dray, but these are used only for special occasions such as festivals or opening new premises. There are some breweries still delivering daily/weekly using horses, Hook Norton in Oxfordshire being one of them. (per Wikipedia)

Is it any wonder that many members of my Hill family ended up driving trucks or running trucking companies and are still involved to this day? My uncle ran a very successful trucking company until he retired and passed the reigns to his daughter. Several of my dad’s brothers ended up as drivers for local and long haul deliveries as well. My father took a slightly different route and decided to do repairs to vehicles to keep them moving and has enjoyed “turning wrenches” for the last 30 years.

What are some interesting occupations you have come across in your family tree? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.