Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Mysterious Find

When Julie Batchelor, of St Barnabas Church in Chilwell, approached me to help identify a collection of family papers which had come to light, I was intrigued and keen to help. The papers - mostly books, family photographs and postcards - were found in a box in the rafters of the church - and there is no real explanation as to why they were put there.

After examining them in detail, it was reasonably straightforward to establish that they appear to have belonged to Harold Bernard Garratt who was probably born in Beeston on 1914 and died in Nottingham in 1992. His parents were Bernard and Flora (née Hayward) who lived at 5 Chapel Street, Beeston (this would have been one of a row of cottages associated with the old Methodist New Connexion Chapel, long gone - having been absorbed into The Square shopping centre in the late 1960s). Harold attended Church Street school and there was a series of class photographs which I was kindly permitted to scan for the schools page on this site.

Using the available clues and the easy availability of the 19th century census records, it is easy to track his ancestors - but that is not the main objective. Ideally, the wish is to offer the collection to his descendants. So - we have to tackle the more difficult task of tracking the family forwards.

What do we know so far ? Using the evidence from a rent book in the collection, we know that, by 1938, he had married and was living with his wife at Gloucester Avenue, Chilwell, just over the Beeston boundary. This gave us a relatively small search in the GRO indexes from about 1935 - when he would have been 20. In fact, the couple were wed in Basford Registration District (probably in Beeston, but not, according to my available records, at the Parish church). His wife was Hilda Comery (1915-1999). No births to the couple have been found up to 1940.

That's the progress to date. The search will continue using the records that are available to us - including electoral rolls and newspapers - but help from anyone who knows the family would be very welcome.

Look forward to hearing from you !

No comments: