“Find a place forgotten and make it feel that it is remembered! Find someone forgotten and make him feel that he is remembered!”
Mehmet Murat ildan
As well as a passion for creating ‘Small Worlds’ in 12th scale and occasionally scribbling about them for publication, I am also a family history sleuth who loves to go in search of elusive ancestors throughout the vale and dale of the county of Yorkshire.
Many years ago as my Grandmother would regale me with the tales of the elegant Dalby family from York and the Tibbett clan living, loving and squabbling within their adoptive land of Scarborough in North Yorkshire; I recall that it was at the first mention of the story about ‘Poor Clarice’ that my interest was really piqued.
For as every family history sleuth knows, there is usually always at least one ancestor that ignites curiosity and which leads to an irresistible urge to discover more about a life that somehow holds a peculiar affinity for you and it was hearing of the story of ‘Poor Clarice’ that ‘did it’ for me so to speak and I’ve been desperately seeking her through the mists of time ever since.
I began this journey armed only with lots of enthusiasm, a love of history and a little rudimentary knowledge about genealogy and I admit that the former was to prove the most essential tool as I would ‘dip in and out’ of my search for Clarice over the intervening years and usually after colliding head first into the proverbial ‘brick wall’ familiar to every family history sleuth!
And then I would hear some new nugget of information, stumble across an exciting genealogical discovery or would read an magazine article that would remind me of Clarice and I’d be off on my investigative journey again!
So who was ‘Poor Clarice’?
I would love to be able to share with you the complete back story of Clarice that I have uncovered over the preceding years, alas, ‘tis not possible as there still remains HUGE tracts of her life unexplained and I believe, undiscovered for it’s all just a question of finding the correct piece of the jigsaw puzzle!
As a genealogical researcher and a wanderer of cemeteries, I also spend a lot of my time grappling with the mystery of death for if I’m not in search of a missing ancestor, I can be poring over the details on a newly discovered (and often indecipherable!) certificate of death or else trawling through parish records in search of a burial entry or firing off email inquiries to the Registrar of a crematorium.
And being able to locate the final resting place of the individual associated with my research endeavours has always been important to me and when my search is unsuccessful, I usually feel a sense of disappointment as if the final piece of the jigsaw is missing.
AND the elusive Clarice is a case in point as I still do not know what has happened to her cremated remains!
For having discovered the burial entries for her parents last year in the City of Hull, I managed to convince myself that her ashes had been interred with them, but alas, after ploughing through more records in the Hull History Centre, my theory was dashed along with what remained of my clear vision and a sense of hope!
However, what I can tell you about Clarice is she was very much a woman of her times for she was born a ‘war baby’ in September 1913, married as a ‘war bride’ in August 1944 and died a ‘1960’s pill popper’ in the summer of 1962 by her own hand after several years of a consistent diet of prescribed sleeping tablets along with the controversial ECT treatment for the symptoms of clinical depression BUT also that she was very much remembered with affection from those she left behind.
When upon my return to my hometown of York a few years ago and reunited with my boxes of research files and in the celebrated words of Shakespeare’s Henry V; I found myself “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.”
And so without further ado, welcome to the continuing story of Tuesday’s Child along with the tears, trials and triumphs of my search for Clarice!
AND if you should discover that YOU have ancestors in common with Clarice; please drop me a comment as I’d love to to hear from you!