This April we are once again blogging along with the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Our team of one-place studiers will be sharing some of the treasures to be found for a one-place study, particularly around the theme of Visualisation, our Shared Endeavour for 2016.
As regular readers of my personal blog will know, I love solving a postcard mystery and researching the names and addresses on the back of old cards and, where possible, reuniting them with family members.
One of my collections of old postcards is of the village of Parham in Suffolk, which I am researching as a One Place Study and recently, whilst sorting these cards, I became intrigued by a card sent to a Mr R Choyce at Box 31, Station Post Office, Shalford, Ontario in Canada in September 1907.
The front of the postcard is a collection of pictures of Parham and has the following message on the back:
I have come here today with Ma & Pa to see Granma; she is a little better and sends her kind love to you. It is a lovely day. When are you coming home, cannot you bring your little brother home with you? George has just sailed, he is on the Suffolk, be back home in January – hope you are quite well.
From E D
I was therefore interested to find out who the ‘Granma’ of R Choyce living in Parham in 1907 might be and what connection there may be to my study of families in the village.
I discovered Reginald Choyce on the 1891 census aged 7 living with his parents Walter and Julia in West Ham London and from this found Reginald was born on 2nd November 1883 in Barrow in Furness in Lancashire.
Walter Yeates Choyce and Julia Hollingsworth married on 8th October 1879 in the Borough of Tower Hamlets in London and their marriage certificate shows their father’s names as Robinson Thomas Choyce and Charles Hollingsworth – still no link to Parham in Suffolk!
On further investigation, I found out that Julia Hollingsworth was born on 31st August 1862 and was baptised on 5th October 1862, showing her parents as Charles and Mary Ann Hollingsworth.
The 1861 census shows a Charles and Mary Ann Hollingsworth living in St Pancras in London and Mary’s place of birth is given as Hacheston in Suffolk, the next village to Parham.
Searching the online marriage registers I found that Charles Hollingsworth married Mary Ann Titshall in the April quarter of 1851 in St Giles in London – this now confirmed my link to Parham, as Titshall is a family name from the village.
Mary Ann Titshall was the daughter of Richard and Margaret Titshall (nee Frost) and her grandparents were Richard and Sarah Titshall (nee Fairweather), who were all associated with the villages of Parham and Hacheston in Suffolk.
This means that in 1907, Mary Ann Hollingsworth (nee Titshall) was back living in Parham when the postcard was sent to Reginald Choyce in Canada and she was the ‘Granma’ mentioned in the message.
The message on the postcard in September 1907 mentioned that ‘Granma’ was feeling better, so she had obviously been quite ill and I have now found out that Mary Ann Hollingsworth died on the 15th January 1908 aged 80.
I then wondered when Reginald would have heard this news and if he possibly came back to England for her funeral. I have found a ships passenger list showing him returning to Canada via Portland in Maine from Liverpool and arriving on 23rd March 1908 on board the ship Dominion.
Did Reginald stay in Canada?
Well I have found that he married Blanche Tucker (who originated from Forest Gate, Essex, England) on 5th November 1914.
The 1921 Canada census shows Reginald Choyce aged 36 living with his wife Blanche aged 32 and a son called Reginald aged 5 in Toronto Ontario, where he was working as a machinist.
I will now investigate further to see if I can find any information about Reginald Choyce junior and a connection to the family who may be interested in a copy of this old family postcard.
A pleasing result so far and another Parham postcard mystery solved!