The distant cousin who owns the Family Bible has pointed out some inaccuracies in my tales. Once again, I am having to revise my version and my view of my ancestors in the light of events of which I was ignorant. This is all part and parcel of family research, and only adds to the fun. My admiration for my great-grandmother remains; if anything it has increased even further.
My first error was that I killed off my second great-grandmother Ann Probert twelve years too soon. She survived her husband and moved to Yorkshire with her children and grandchildren, and possibly some other members of her family who have yet to be properly identified.
My second error was far more serious. I committed the genealogically unforgivable sin of not verifying my sources, and relying on hearsay. I had always been puzzled that a man of no education, a coal miner and innkeeper, could have pulled himself up by his bootstraps as my great-grandfather had appeared to do. It turns out that my informant had conflated him with his eldest son. Great-Uncle George did indeed rise to be Chairman of the Council and a magistrate, and have a road named after him which still exists. However, his father was not the pillar of the community I believed him to be. Actually, quite the opposite: Great-Grandfather Joseph was in fact arrested in a drunken brawl, and sentenced to three months hard labour for assaulting a Police Constable in 1900, when he was 52 and ought to have known better. This must have been very unpleasant for the whole family: financially difficult for his wife Elizabeth and especially embarrassing for the up and coming young George.
Joseph was committed to prison on the eve of my grandmother’s birthday. What a birthday present! I am still speculating about Great-Grandmother’s reaction: dismay and annoyance, probably. Concern as to how she would provide for her family, as she still had 7 girls living at home; and possibly some measure of relief that she might now have 3 months of peace and quiet!