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29 May 2010

A good few weeks

Time passes and Stuff happens.

Like how I met Mik Pearce in Praed Street, Paddington....

Mik is a descendant of William Pearce 1770, the builder of St Austell Methodist Chapel and convert to Wesleyan Methodism. My ancestress Mary was his sister, twenty years younger, and she retired to London, having in her youth married a Methodist minister and walking with him nearly 60 years.  William's boy and Mary's girl lived by chance, perhaps, in the same street, ten doors away, in Porchester Terrace - guess where.  That's right, round the corner from Paddington in Lancaster Gate.

While Mik and I were talking I answered a question about the status of being a genealogist by courtesy of membership of the Society of Genealogists.  A huffy man in the same cafe, said excuse me, but I'm a member of the SoG and it confers enormous status upon me (or words to that effect).  While we had drinks from the juice bar and examined Mik's excellent photograph collection, I glanced out the window to see a gentleman in a rugby shirt emblazoned 'Pierce' just sitting outside the cafe.

.... and Mrs Barrabrith at home in Hampstead Garden Suburb.  I would have met Jean the same week as Mik only I'd tied myself in a knot, and forgot that I might actually have to return to work after the Easter holiday.

I have a slew of Welsh cousins courtesy of my Cornish grandfather having summoned most of his ancestors to Wales in order for him to have been born there in 1925, the same year Jean R Williams was born a few miles away in the same town.  It was my task to find Jean and as you can readily divine, I did so.  Fortunately she had the middle name of Rodda and also there were scarcely any other Jean Williamses around (something of a surprise).

I was lucky enough to get a tour of the Suburb from Jean's daughter and son-in-law who are intimately involved with the Hampstead Garden Suburb Free Church perched in a delicious location at a certain distance from the Anglican Church a few yards away. It was to this (Free) church that Jean came with her husband, a Congregationalist minister, in 1961.

I also learnt of John Harvey Rodda's death in Mexico.  He was a mine manager and Jean's grandfather.  When things got too hot during the second revolution he sent his wife and family home to a house in Swansea, where they remained.  They never heard from John again.

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