Born in 1939, on oxygen, but still smiling and willing to send me copies of all her family history details.
Anita is the youngest child to my grandfather’s slightly younger sister Lilian. She is the last of her immediate family still with us and until I started doing family history research, I never realized how much of a treasure she was.
Every year at the Hill family reunion, she and her family sit at the very first table by the front door. This could be due to her need for oxygen, or it could be just where they’ve always sat. As a child, I don’t believe I even gave it a second glance.
All that changed a couple years ago when I went to the family reunion and my Dad announced to everyone about my new passion. Many family members came to talk to me to give me details on their family and to make sure I had them on the tree – but everyone told me I needed to talk to Anita.
Short in stature, she told me she wasn’t really up to talking that day but if I gave her my address she would send me some things she had written down.
I had no idea what I’d get but was happy when a few months later I received a Christmas card and an envelope filled with yet more names, dates and details. Sure it isn’t as detailed with locations, but it has the names and birthdates for her siblings and for many of their spouses. She has written down all of the children they have had and in some cases grandchildren. She’s put in death information where she could, even the very sad details about one of her nieces committing suicide and her husband dying a few years later in a car accident – both leaving an 11 year old orphan behind.
She sent me a poem written by one of my other cousins and as many older people are wont to do, a story about the bible compared to a deck of cards.
Her kindness and thoughtfulness was very unexpected and yet so very welcomed. I’m currently going through it all again, trying to put all the pieces into the family tree so that another reunion won’t go by with much of her family missing.
So thank you Anita June (Jennings-Grimwood) Hardy. You sure know how to brighten this family historians day!
Note: this is the seventh installment in my own version of #52ancestors where geneabloggers have been asked to write about a different ancestor every week for a year. To understand the concept, read my blog entry from January 19, 2014.
In honour of my father on his birthday today, I have decided to take my July installment of #12Ancestors into his family tree to look into one of his great-grandfather’s.
Here is how I am related to this George Hill:
Corina (Hill) Harris (me)
Howard Lloyd Hill (my dad)
Albert William Hill (my grandfather)
Charles Edmunds Hill (my great-grandfather)
George Hill (my 2x great-grandfather)
George Hill (my 3x great-grandfather)
Hailing from the small village of Pyrford, Surrey, England, my 3x great grandfather was the seventh child of Henry Robert Hill and Elizabeth Bamblett. He was baptized 20 Nov 1833.
As far as English villages go, Pyrford was a small one and hasn’t changed too much over the last 200 years even though it is fairly close to London. In 1833, only 10 other children were baptized in Pyrford, most likely at St Nicholas’ Church.
The church itself is one of the main reasons Pyrford is on my list of must see places should I ever make the trek to England from Canada. Built around 1140 AD, the church is a fantastic example of a complete Norman church. For more information, visit the current website for the church here.
I have found census records from The National Archives indicating that at the age of 17, George was living with his older brother William who was 16 years his senior, his parents Henry and Elizabeth and two lodgers, Elizabeth Bamblett and James Bullen. From other research I have done, it appears Elizabeth Bamblett would be his grandmother, even though they have her listed as a lodger. George, William and Henry are all listed as “Agricultural Labourer.” A fancy word for farmer. In Pyrford, this was a very common profession. (Click on the census image to enlarge.)
Together, George and Emma had 8 children. Their oldest, George (my 2x Great Grandfather) was born in 1854 just two years after their marriage. He was followed by Elizabeth (1856), William (1857), Anne (1861), Mary Ellen (1865), Edith (1868), Agnes (1870) and Esther (1873).
By the 1887 census, George’s life was going really well. At the age of 47, he is living at Green Farm in Pyrford with his family and is listed as a farmer of 100 acres, employing 6 men and 2 boys. This seemed huge to me. 100 acres? No other census records for the Hill family show us as having any kind of money but here it is in black and white. (Click on the census image to enlarge.)
In the 1901 census, George and Emma’s children have all flown the coup. They are living alone at Green Farm. George, aged 68, has shifted back to being just an agricultural labourer. Reviewing the census names surrounding George and Emma, it becomes strongly apparent just how much the Hill family had expanded and taken over the Pyrford Green. Nearly all the houses had someone named Hill living in them.
Only a 102 short years ago this week, George took his final breath. He passed away on 15 Jul 1912 at the age of 78. He was buried in the cemetery outside St. Nicholas’ Church on July 18th of the same year.
Thanks to Ancestry.ca, I was able to find this index of his will:
Mary Baker, wife of James Baker, was George’s 5th child christened Mary Ellen. She inherited his effects and as of the 1911 census, George and Emma lived with her. George’s occupation in 1911 is listed as “Market Gardener Retired” and I’m sure he rather enjoyed living with his daughter and grand-children.
As we near the 102nd anniversary of his passing, I’d like to pay homage to my 3x Great Grandfather. Judging by all the Hill men in my family, I imagine he would have dark hair and a twinkle in his eye. Knowing he was a market gardener, I believe he was a hard working man who strived to ensure his family was well fed and taken care of. I’m certain, he’d be incredibly proud of my dad, his 2x great-grandson and all he has done to take care of his family and to keep them together through the years. I know I’m certainly proud to say he’s my father.