Her parents were also two of my three godparents, so I did have some knowledge of their lives, and I am always a bit apprehensive about delving into old paperwork because you never know what you might find….but on this occasion I was not disappointed!
As I looked through the bag full of papers, I came across items not just from my Aunt and Uncle, but also from my Grandparents John Bancroft and Hettie Watson.
I had always known that Hettie had been a keen record keeper and photographer, and what an interesting collection this turned out to be.
There was a very dusty old photo album with lots of Hettie’s photos, showing life on the farm in the 1920-1930’s, with some pictures of the prized animals they kept at the time together with others showing the whole family on holidays in Blackpool. Then I came across a very faded old photo showing her future husband John, around the age of 20years old, which would have been about ten years before their marriage, sat on a wall with his mother Jane. I could not believe what I was looking at because for years I had been searching for any photos of my Great Grandparents Timothy Bancroft and Jane Greenwood, and here I was now looking at an image, albeit faded, of Jane, probably taken around 1900 which would the time her husband Timothy had died prematurely at the age of 58 years….what a find !
Also in the collection was an early photo of Hettie, taken when she would be about 20 years old, and shortly before her marriage…again what a wonderful picture showing her all dressed up in the photographer’s studio, having her picture taken, probably for some special occasion…maybe an imminent 21st celebration or engagement?…who knows, anyway this is the oldest picture I have of her and it shows what a beautiful and elegant woman she was at that time.
Amongst the pile of paperwork there was also the original birth certificate of 1890 for Hettie, which gave me the exact address of the house in Nelson where she was born, and her father’s occupation, which was shown as an Overlooker in a Cotton Mill. This was another piece of new information, because we had always thought her father had come from a farming background, but it now looks as though this is something he went into later in life.
There was also an original marriage certificate for John & Hettie’s wedding in 1911, again I had never seen the original before, only a modern day copy obtained from the local Register Office.
What a wonderful collection of items to find !
I’ve put all these items on the website alongside my family line details, and also put the two photos mentioned at the top of this article.