Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Life Not Lived

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons just in the first few years of researching my family tree.  Boy, do I wish I could zero in on all my mistakes I made….if only I knew exactly what they were.

Recently, due to one of my new favorite websites I briefly wrote about here, British Newspaper Archive, a couple of days ago, I found a big mistake. 

My 2nd great-grandfather had an eldest daughter name Selina.  I thought it was an interesting and unique name for a young girl in 1860-70’s Suffolk England.  Unique enough that if someone had built her life up around her subsequent marriage to a Thomas Steele, in those early days of research, who was I to question?  So I went ahead and added it all to my tree. Selina, her husband and all 8 of their children.   I have received hints in the last couple of years as to her continued life and those of her children.  Luckily, I was too busy looking for more direct line information to go down that rabbit hole.

Selina shows up in the 1861 census[1] in Walberswick, Suffolk with her mother Rachel (Howard) Cross and then again with her father Benjamin Cross and mother in the 1871 census[2].

When I copied her information into my tree after the assumed marriage, I never looked closely at the census records that followed. 

A couple of nights ago, while throwing search parameters at, I got a hit on Benjamin Cross and a reference to his daughter dying.  It stated, that Selina, daughter of Benjamin Cross, from Walberwick, had died suddenly at the age of 15.[3]  All the facts fit.  How could that be?
Death Announcement of Selina Cross 1858-1872

Once I went back and looked at the life Selina Steele developed with her husband Thomas, I saw in census after census, it was stated she was from Bradford Suffolk, not Walberswick.

Most probably not the same Selina in my tree.  Cross may not have even been her maiden name.

Based off of this latest bit of evidence, I removed Thomas Steele and his 8 children from my profile of Selina.  It is sad that she died at such a young age, but we also do not honor her by attaching a life she probably only hoped she would live.