Friday, 9 September 2011

Let's start at the beginning

My grandfather, George Albert Grinsell, was originally from Staffordshire. He married Jane Williams in 1885 and moved to Wishaw, Scotland where my father, George Arthur, was born in 1900, along with his only sister Harriet (Ettie) in 1897.

Father grew up in Scotland but his parents died when he was young: he lost his father at the age of 15 and his mother at 17. He joined the Army towards the end of the First World War when he became18, before moving to find work in Manchester, where he lived with his Aunt Sophie for a few years. He then moved further south to work as an accounts clerk at the Ely sugar beet factory in Cambridgeshire.

My mother, Elsie May Ablett, was born in 1898 in Ely, Cambridgeshire, one of twelve children; six boys and six girls.

The Ablett family, my mother Elsie is 2nd  from the right on the top row.

My father met my mother through a colleague at work, Cliff Cousins, who was a member of Ely Operatic Society to which Mother belonged. They were married in 1927.

The marriage of George Arthur Grinsell and Elsie May Ablett, 1927

I was born on July 8th, 1934, the year when Adolf Hitler was officially installed as Fuhrer of Germany. The Nazis and the rise of fascism were matched by communist purges in Russia, illustrating the polarisation of political power in Europe. Here at home, the Queen Mary was launched, driving tests were introduced, Henry Cotton won the British Open Golf Championship and Robert Graves wrote I Claudius.

[If you click on the photos to zoom in you will see the detail of their clothes - the shoes in the wedding photo for instance...Trish]


  1. Such wonderful photographs - so full of character and characters. If only we could hear them speak...

  2. Oh my, those photographs are absolutely beautiful! I am so pleased you are doing this, it's fascinating! Emma :)

  3. @Steve - Mum remembers some of my Granny's brothers and sisters so she was able to tell me something about them last night. Mum's favourite was Auntie Doris (top photos, second from left, top row)

  4. @Emma - To think, I'd put those photos in a cupboard and never given them a second thought. Now I'm looking at each individual, all now gone, wondering about their lives and taking in all the detail of their dress!

  5. I felt old family photos come alive too when I did some of my family tree. Enjoying reading this. :D

  6. With all my father's family dead, I'll never be able to do anything like this.
    Might try talking to my mum though....

    Fantastic idea Trish!

  7. What amazing images and wow, just look at that Wedding photo

  8. @Clippy Mat - I think someone else on my dad's side looked at the family tree. It never interested me until now: I'm totally absorbed in it now.

    @Macy - Yes, talk to your mum, get something down in writing. I always thought I'd remember things I'd been told but the memories fade or become muddled.

    @The Mad House - I tried to scan the photos but they wouldn't fit on my scanner so I just took a photo of them - worked perfectly. And yes, isn't it just what you'd imagine for that era.

  9. That header is amazing. He certainly was a talented man & I look forward to following his story!

  10. @jfb57 - The photo of Newcastle is one of my favourites of his, Julia. It was drawn in 2001 probably just before his condition made even holding a pencil or brush difficult.

  11. Aren't you blessed to know so much of your family history! The photos are wonderful - love the wedding picture.