Thursday, 22 May 2014

A Fortuitous Discovery.

Well, the other half has returned from his jaunt halfway around the world and life is returning to normal here, so I've gleefully dived back into my tree.

Tonight I put some effort into researching Hannah Maria Holt, my great great great grandmother. She married Richard Smart Groombridge in 1842, and gave birth to my great great grandmother, Harlettee Louisa Groombridge in 1846. Tragically she was widowed in 1858 when Richard Groombridge suffered "a series of epileptic fits" which resulted in his death.
In 1861 she remarried to Edward Henry Palmer.

Reviewing my tree today, I saw some impossible dates on Hannah Maria Holt. Her birth was given as 1800, and her deadth as 1902. While she could have lived to 102, I doubted that she married for the first time at the age of 42, and was having children into her late 40s. I found other trees that recorded her year of birth as 1820, which sounded far more reasonable. I thought I'd try to look up her death record to see if I could find any further information, and I went to Trove because I was curious to see who might have placed a death notice for her. That was a dead end. I searched for Hannah Maria Palmer in vain.

I turned my attention elsewhere and worked through some other bits of the tree. I looked into her granddaughter, Myrtle Elsie Adelaide Turner, and found the shipping record of her departure from England after the visit in 1950 that I referred to in an earlier post. Myrtle's address in the UK was given as 6 Beckenham Road, W. Wickham, so that's another angle to pursue some day.
She left England on the Himalaya on the 6th of September, 1950.
I also took another look on Trove at the account of Myrtle's apparent suicide attempt some years prior. The Mercury reported on the 4th of January 1932:
Woman Poisoned
Mrs. Myrtle Rush, 42 years, of 175 Elizabeth Street, Hobart, was admitted to the Hobart Public Hospital about 11.30 last night, suffering from the effects of an irritant poison. She is alleged to have taken a quantity of disinfectant.
It is stated that Mrs. Rush underwent a serious operation about four months ago. An emetic was administered, and her condition was afterwards satisfactory.
My understanding is that Myrtle's marriage was not a happy one, but even her mother's letters from the early 1920s mention Myrtle suffering from health problems.

 After that, I suddenly decided to try searching for Hannah Maria Holt again, but this time I used the surname from her second marriage, Groombridge. In doing so I found her death notice. It had been listed under the name "Parmer" instead of "Palmer". I never would have found it but in a stroke of enormous good luck, George Groombridge died a couple of days later and his obituary was in the same column (good luck for me, not so good for George).

GROOMBRIDGE. - On Tuesday, December 16, 1902, at his late residence, 11 Cross-street, Battery Point, George, the beloved husband of Margaret Groombridge, in the 58th year of his age.
PARMER - On December 10, at her son's residence, Kingston, Hannah Maria Parmer, aged 82. 
No information on who placed the notice, but I have something I didn't have before: an exact date of death.


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