Thursday, 27 January 2011

Treading lightly on lost lives

One of the things which hits home doing ancestry research is how often children died. We simply, in the first world at least, have no comprehension of this sort of continual grieving.

I have been trying to find out more about Margaret Atkins Newbery, whom we believe is Edward Atkins daughter and from what I can see Margaret and Jasper probably have no descendants because none of their grandchildren survived childhood.

It must have been so common, for all of the reasons I have discussed in earlier posts; lack of adequate nutrition; lack of adequate hygiene and of course the scourge of things like syphilis which took a terrible toll on babies and young children in the first few years of their lives without their parents suspecting it as a cause; or perhaps even knowing they were infected.

I think it was syphilis which accounted for the deaths of three of Chrysantheous Christus's children given the details of sexually transmitted diseases his army records revealed.

But, whatever the cause for him or for Edith and Elizabeth (Newbery) Baldock the records reveal a tragic tale of small lives lost. Elizabeth married Charles (Ted) Edward Bee Baldock in 1907 and they had three children, none of whom survived to adulthood.

Edward Joseph was born May 1908  and died in September of the same year. He wa buried in Port Pirie Cemetery on September 9.

Hartley Bee was born in Bangor on February 18, 1912 and died just over a year later in Booleroo Centre on February 28. Buried with his brother in Port Pirie Cemetery.

Eric James was born in 1910 in Booleroo Centre but died at the age of seven. He was buried in Port Pirie Cemetery on October 8, 1917. How it must have broken their hearts to lose their one remaining child.

Edith and James Baldock fared little better. They married on March 15, 1913 at the home of Elizabeth and Ted in Solomontown, Port Pirie, South Australia. Solomontown was home for us also during three of the four years we lived in Port Pirie in the early 70's.

Sylvia Edith was born barely a year later on April 18, 1914 and died at the age of two months in June of the same year. She is also buried in Port Pirie Cemetery.

Dorothy May was born the following year on July 5 and died at the age of six months on January 7, 1916 and was buried with her sister in Port Pirie Cemetery. (See pic below)

There is a possibility that a third daughter was born with the unusual family name of Living, which is symbolic in the saddest way and perhaps the origin of the name for the family,  but there is no record of her birth date or any death date. She is said to have married a William Gleeson and had a daughter, Living Gleeson but again, there are no dates or details for any marriage or any child.

Within a ten year period Edith and Elizabeth had buried all of their children and probably brought to an end the ancestral line from Edward Atkins and his unnamed 'wife' through their daughter Margaret.

I am reminded yet again of how deep are my ancestral connections to Port Pirie and the mid-north of South Australia .... something of which I was completely unaware when I lived there. Well, unaware at a conscious level. Who knows what work our subconscious and unconscious does to take us where we need to be.

Port Pirie, Gladstone, Booleroo Centre, Wirrabarra, Hamley Bridge, Clare and South Australia's mid-north form part of my ancestral home.

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