In the second part of my Family Jewels series I’d like to introduce you to my ‘star’.
I first became aware of the story of ‘the star’ from Doris Star (aka Granny), whilst she was recuperating at home after a long stint in hospital, I was sat keeping her company as she reminisced about the family’s past characters and events.
Doris explained that ‘the star’ had belonged to her father Cecil Star and was designed to hang from his watch chain, she remembered it well.
Cecil died at the relatively young age of 53 and reading between the lines I would say that Doris was the apple of his eye, she had certainly felt his death keenly at the tender ago of 19.
After Doris’ death 2010 there was some speculation that the blue stone in the middle was a sapphire but on a recent visit to the BBC’s Antiques Road Show I was reliably informed by Geoffrey Munn that it was in fact blue glass. The hallmark is difficult to read but Geoffery felt that it had been made in Birmingham in approximately 1897.
In less than a year both my Granny and her sister, my Great Aunt have died – not unusual I know, after all I’m 41 – ‘they must have been clocking on a little bit’, I hear you say and you’d be right. But to live to 99 in the case of my granny and 98 in the case of Ethel her sister, by anyone’s imagination is a long time.
Granny only had one husband – my granddad – who sadly died in 1973. Ethel on the other hand had two husbands and a partner all of whom pre-deceased her.
Granny had two children; Ethel had several dogs, handbags, shoes, clothes … …
You get the drift, their lives were on the surface so different, they were their own person with their own personalities, but they must have shared something?
Their excellent skin, their longevity, their quest to out do each other, their absolute stubbornness, this list of their similarities just goes on and on!
I’ve thought on and off about DNA in genealogy for sometime. There’s the Star ‘old’ gene; the Densham ‘skin tone'; the Sutcliffe ‘ginger’ hair and so one and I wonder what benefit I would really gain from knowing what my DNA looked like – could it really answer these most fundamental questions?
I suppose the answer is no, not really. Yes, it can say whether or not you are definitely related to the cousin you found unexpectedly in Australia or if one is of European or African descent – but to me, although those answers are important and yes, if I had the money I’d like to find out; they are not the most pressing of questions.
So I suppose I’ll just have to see if the ginger gene continues down our line through my sister’s soon to be born twins or if both my sister and I live to 100 – we’ll just have to see.
We’ve all had them – that one piece of the puzzle that you need to make the connection. Charles Coles is my missing link in the Star family – not because he is one of my ‘Stars’ but because he is mentioned in the 1843 will of Henry Star, my 5x great-uncle.
Henry’s children had been left legacies in the will of Charles Coles but unfortunately these children had all predeceased Henry as had his wife Elizabeth – so Charles left everything to his nephew Thomas Clark Star and his great-nephew Thomas Star.
Both of the above Thomas’ are my ancestors and try as I might I can not locate Charles’ will.
I know that finding an original Somerset is unlikely at the best of times given that most of the county’s probate records before 1858 were destroyed in Exeter by German bombing in 1942 and even although many of the will copies have survived in various record offices and private collections I still cannot find a thing. I must admit I’ve not yet had chance to view Sir Mervyn Medlycott’s Somerset Wills Index: Printed & Manuscript Copies (1993) – so if there’s anyone out there … … …
I’ve recently been helped greatly in my quest by Pat Hase who although has not been able to find Charles’ will she had made a possible link between Henry Star and Charles Coles – something I just haven’t been able to do – it just shows you, if you can step away and view things remotely the answer could just be around the corner – much like a jigsaw.
Anyway, I’m one step closer to the whole picture thanks to Pat – Henry’s children could well have been Charles Coles’ grandchildren, given that Charles Coles daughter Mary married a George Simons or Symons and that an Elizabeth Symonds married Henry Star, this theory at least would satisfy the question – What’s the connection?
I must also say that the www1.somerset.gov.uk site is great. You can search their wills and document holdings on-line and they also offer a very reasonable document copying service, if, like me, you live quite a distance away. All in all if you’ve ancestors from Somerset I would say that they would be well worth a visit.
This is my first blog – something I thought I’d never do. I’ve watched my family dip their toes into the sea of blog and swim away, leaving me well, stranded in my blogless world. Well I’ve taken the plunge and here I am.
My main reason for starting to blog is to record my family history triumphs and tribulations – I’m no expert, I’ve only been researching for 11 years – no time at all in the genealogy world and I seem to have amassed a whole range of paper documents, photos, certificates and memories that would keep anyone busy for a lifetime. I’ve even had time to do a full-time job, move twice, run the family home and edit a local family history society’s magazine. At one time I even started to catalogue births, deaths and marriages from the local newspapers – I think these might become a feature!
I’m lucky, I’m only 40 – a relative spring chicken and caught the ‘bug’ before my grandmother passed away aged 99 and 8 months! I was privileged to have the chance to share with her memories of a time long past how I wish I’d started 10 years before that!
Some of my lines of research are : Densham, Star, Downham, Dillon, Sutcliffe, Roadhouse, Gill, Allsop, Harrison, Hopkins, Morris(s), Heasman, Jeal, Labbett and Grubb.
Of course I could go for hours and hours but don’t you find its always so boring when someone only wants to talk about their family? Well sharing is what I hope to do so please come and share.
I have also recently found that my family have a passion for cup cakes, so you never know cup cake disasters could also feature – well, family life is what its all about.