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23 Dec 2013

The sixteenth letter of the alphabet

I met Joan and Diana, Muriel Haine’s daughters in 1996 in Devon, then in their 80s or approaching that age.  But Muriel was one of 15 Haine children baptised at Churcham, Gloucestershire (one in the ruins) who scattered across the Empire as they buried their parents.  Sure, I don’t expect a huge amount of detail about the boys in South Africa, but I would like to find their children.  We met Ernest Haine’s grandson at Belgo Centraale in London with his charming wife.  But what about Fred Haine’s daughters? I had to wait for the shipping records (below) to confirm their birth years.

As you can see I was lucky to find Doreen’s birth (in England) in 1914 but I moved on and missed an important clue.  I jigged around with the name of Dyment, looking for more but that was a dead end.

Coming back to this record I realised the clue lay in the middle initial.  I had literally worked all other avenues.  When I zoomed in on the middle initial, I knew exactly what that name would be: PR_ _ _ Y, an old family name.
I punched those first two names, Doreen P_____,  into Ancestry Death Indexes (as firstnames) and up came the result I needed – the lady had died in England in the last few years despite living almost everywhere else in between.  I then googled for more information and traced her last address to Sturminster Newton in Dorset, plus an obituary in the Daily Telegraph.  I was then able to check the address on, find the property on a local plan, and photograph the property with Google Streetview.  An email from family took a week to come trundling in with all the missing news. I went from knowing absolutely nothing to full information in just a moment.  Guessing the 16th letter.

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