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5 Apr 2014

Tidal wave

Whoomph - the wave comes in and smashes into the defences.  Soak!  The deluge from Cornwall hits us on the chin and we stagger back.  Bash!  Another wave comes in from Wales.

This has been the last week of news from the Western portions of my tree.  Cousin Ray wrote in with surprising news - that distant uncle David Francis (1805) who was known to have gone to New York with his family from Wales, had sired a child by his second marriage aged around 70.  It took him about a moment to find that line, kinda thriving, in San Diego, California.  This is somewhat poignant for us - as months earlier Ray had found the last of the original line (from first marriage) dying with no known relatives in that exact same neighbourhood.

When Thomas Hitchens married Miss Thomas at St Blazey in 1838 we could see his sister was witnessing the marriage under her married name.  Three more sisters appeared out of the rubble, marrying at Blazey or in Tywardreath.  The last time we'd seen this family was in 1820 at Gwennap.  One of the sisters left a will, in 1879, naming a bunch of relatives and identifying for certain sure, that Sarah Hitchens wife of Martin Verran was Thomas's sister.  The whole lot are now the family, reunited, of my Sarah Hunter of Redruth (1782) by her first marriage to miner Hitchens.  It was only by sitting down and looking at this tree, that I got it sorted.  Somewhat embarrassing that it took me 15 years to get around to it.  So far we've only found family from the Verrans, in Shiraz- and olive- growing Clare, South Australia.

I've been lucky enough to hear from the Verran's great-great-grandson John Symonds in New South Wales, now 90, with one or two stories and photographs to help bridge that gap since 1820.

Then came a surprise email out of the blue from Henry Hunter, of the Goldrush towns out in British Columbia.  He left Cornwall age 12 in 1837 and for a while we thought he might be a missing sibling who would just slot right in to the tree.  Not to mention explaining the rumour of the uncle who disappeared and never said where he'd been.  But it's now thought he's the son of Henry senior a mariner from Mylor, near Falmouth, which would have given him plenty more opportunity to jump on a ship.

These Western districts of the UK sure have the capacity to surprise, and laugh at our supposed grip of events from the 1800s era.

Additional surprises came in the form of William Rapson Oates's life story (from a researcher who I spotted on my website) and in contact from the family of the centenarian on my Pearce side, Elizabeth Moss Bray.  (And on the same branch, Arthur Gordon Bartlett's wife finally becoming known - grew up, possibly on Robben Island and daughter settled in Zimbabwe.)  And how could I forget - finding my missing John Rodda, not in Africa or America, but in a pub on the Acton road.

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