Saturday, 14 November 2015

Sibling Saturday - Mary Eileen de Friez

Today is Sibling Saturday and I thought I'd take a little rest from exploring whatever is going on with Charles Frank, and spend some time with his sister Mary Eileen de FRIEZ.

I'm also going to steal borrow the layout from Randy Seavers on his wonderful blog  I love how he presents the information aobut his ancestors; it's really simple and easy to understand ... so here is most of what I know about Mary Eileen.

*  Name:                     Mary Eileen de FRIEZ    
*  Sex:                         Female    

*  Father:                    Charles de Friez (1873-1936)    
*  Mother:                   Florence Reed (1882- )    
*  Birth:                       18 April 1913 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England 
* 1939 Register:          With her husband at Compton Martin, Clutton  
*  Death:                      Q4 1976, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
*  Spouse 1:               Ernest Edward Jefferies    
*  Marriage:               Q4 1936 (about age 23), Bristol, Gloucestershire, Bristol

* Birth Certificate:    BXCF091023 issued by General Register Office on 27 July 2011
* 1939 Register:        1939 Register, Borough of W.P.M.C., R.D. of Clutton, District 315/2

Mary Eileen is my great-aunt.  I never met her and only have some family stories to go on.  And while I'm pretty confident the marriage information is correct, I'm awaiting the arrival of the official marriage certificate to confirm it all.

And already other family stories appear to be not quite true!  My mother has always said that Aunt Molly (as she was called) and her mother (Florence) moved to Portugal at the beginning of World War II and stayed there together until it was over.  But this evidence is that she was definitely still in Compton Martin in September 1939.

I've always had a sense of her as being the "modern fun" one of my grandfather's family.  She was portrayed by him as the younger sister who liked to have fun and who often got into mischief.  I do have a postcard that she sent to my grandfather, which he kept.  She signed off with "your little sister" and certainly sounds full of energy and vitality.  I have no pictures of her, but I imagine her as small and elfin - somewhat like Audrey Hepburn :-)

I believe that Mary Eileen and Ernest had at least 1 child, but I haven't investigated that yet.  And there is a blacked-out entry directly below Mary's name in the 1939 Register - an indication that the person could still be alive!

I wonder how Mary Eileen and Ernest survived the war.  Did they stay on the farm?  Did they get re-located during or after the time when the bombs dropped on Bristol?  And what happened after the war?

Curiosity is the cornerstone of geneaology :-)  Until next time, enjoy your own gene-adventures!


Thursday, 12 November 2015

Charles Frank de Friez - some answers and even more questions

In my last post, I discussed some of the questions I have about the life and times of Charles Frank de Friez, my great-uncle.

On 28 July 1928, Charles married Elsie Marie PRYOR in St.Bonaventure's Roman Catholic church in Bristol.
St.Bonaventure's Roman Catholic Church, Bristol; from GoogleEarth

According to the Gloucester Citizen published that day, the weather was "rather cool" ranging from 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit, with moderate north-westerly winds and occasional rain showers interspersed with "bright intervals" - probably, in Bristol, a lovely summer's day just right for a wedding!

The Marriage Certificate shows that witnesses included the groom's father, Charles de Friez, and the bride's brother-in-law, Everard R. Davies.  I haven't found any kind of newspaper notice about the wedding, so don't know what the bride wore, how many people attended the wedding, etc.  I have written to the archivist of the Clifton Diocese to request any records, and am awaiting a response.

This Roman Catholic marriage is unusual for my Anglican family.  Charles' parents were married in an Anglican church, and I've found a christening record for Charles' younger brother, Alexander, that took place in St.Andrew's (Anglican) church on 31 October 1907.  His sisters were also christened in Anglican churches.

However, I haven't found any record of a christening for Charles.  I can't believe that his parents simply forgot!  Or that they made a deliberate choice to NOT have Charles christened.  Perhaps it's a recording omission, or indexing omission?

Despite the lack of a christening record, it's fairly clear that Charles was raised in an Anglican household.  Did he have to go through the process of "converting" to Catholicism to marry Elsie? Would there be records of such a process?  In a recent post on, Fr Thomas Ryan says:
When a baptized member of another church wishes to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, the person will be personally interviewed to see what kind of process would be appropriate. The process generally averages 6-9 months, but it may be less or more depending on the individual’s needs and desires.
6-9 months?!!  That's a lot of commitment!  And, Charles was only 23 years old when he finally got married!  So it's likely he started this process of conversion at just 22 years of age.  He must have really wanted to marry Elsie!

More to come but, for now, enjoy your own gene-adventures :-)


Charles Frank De Friez - "man of mystery"

Charles Frank de FRIEZ is not an easy man to know.  To me, he is behind a faded curtain; occasionally small holes appear where I get a brief glimpse of him as he passes by.  

He was my great-uncle.  The simple known facts are these:

Charles was born on Sunday 9 April 1905 to Charles and Florence (REED) de FRIEZ. 
Charles was married on Saturday 28 July 1928 to Elsie Marie PRYOR.
Charles died on Wednesday 14 July 1993.

Other facts are these:
  • Charles was the first child for Charles and Florence. 
  • The birth was registered by his mother, giving their address as 17 Farr Street, Shirehampton, Bristol.
  • At the time of his marriage in 1928, Charles gave his address as 12 Olveston Road, Horfield.
  • Charles, though baptised in the Anglican Church, was married in a Roman Catholic Church by licence to a woman who was 9 years older than he.
  • In 1939 when the UK undertook its Register, Charles' wife was living with her sister and brother-in-law, and reported her marital status as "separated".  There appears to be no children with her.
  • Charles left England in 1952 on the SS Tamaroa, bound for New Zealand.  He travelled with Mrs Dorothy de Friez and 2 children, Stuart and Jane Lowe.  The address given by all four people was Woodlands Cafe, Llandrindod Wells, Rads.
Clearly, there are a lot of questions raised by these facts:
  • Did Charles need to "convert" to Catholicism to marry Elsie?
  • What was the basis of their marriage?
  • Where did they live when first married?
  • When did they separate?  And where did Charles go after that?
  • Did he marry Dorothy, or is it a pretence to counter social disapproval?
  • What was the purpose of the trip to New Zealand - holiday or emigration?
  • How did Charles end up in Queensland, alone?
Plenty of avenues to pursue, which I'll write about in another post; this is getting way long :-)

Until then, enjoy your own gene-adventures :-)


It begins!

I've been debating for a while about starting a blog about my genealogy adventures.  I've been researching in very haphazard and undisciplined ways for over 10 years now, and have discovered lots of wonderful ancestors and stories along the way.  However, I don't have any way of remembering the stories I discover.  I get very confused about which story belongs to which ancestor and while I have a lot of facts, it's the stories which are the truly amazing part of family history.

So I've been following a number of blogs and I do think that writing my stories - with appropriate tagging - could be a good way of keeping track of them.

So I'm going to give it a go!  I'm not very disciplined or consistent in anything I do, so this may be another "false start" but I hope this will work for me - which will keep me more motivated to keep using it :-)  A bit of a loop-de-loop there :-)

I'll start by listing my main families:

WEYMOUTH - my father's paternal line arrived in South Australia from England in 1838 on board the Coromandel.  My ancestor, John Weymouth, brought his wife and 6 children with him.  After the death of his first wife, he married again, and had another bunch of children.  That generation spread into Western Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales.  So there are literally thousands of descendants!!

DE FRIEZ - my mother's paternal line is an interesting and nomadic one.  Most of her male line is very attached to the sea, with a raft of Master Mariners, river and barge pilots, fishermen and other sea-related occupations appearing among them.  Surprisingly, the originator of this line (at least as far as I've got so far!), Joseph DEFRIEZ 1793-1874, was a Feather Merchant!!

Then of course, there are the maternal lines that weave in and out.

GRACE - my father's mother.

MCDONALD - my mother's mother.

And it goes on:  Seymour, Norris, Reed, Cook, Youlten, Jenkins, O'Shaughnessy, Richards, Clough, Prescott, Oatway, Sprowles ...

I have a couple of convicts in the GRACE line - political activists from the last remnants of the Irish Rebellion in the 1820's - and a number of criminals; there are suicides, tragic and unexpected deaths, hasty marriages - even a bigamist, I believe! - children and babies who died too early, spinster aunts - and all the other big and small stories that make up our human existence.

I hope this blog gives me an opportunity to share some of them and to bring some order to my understanding of them all.

And - finally - given that this is Thankful Thursday - I am incredibly thankful that my ancestors' lives played out the way they did.  I would otherwise not be here :-)  I'm also thankful that their lives are recorded in a variety of ways that allows me to get a glimpse of their personalities, their loves and hates, and their amazing stories.

Until next time, enjoy your own gene-adventures :-)