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It all Began with Jack The Ripper! ( Or getting started because of him) 27th April 2007 Family History Featured
I have read many articles in various genealogical publications where the authors give their reasons for getting started.

Many years ago, when I was only fourteen years of age, my grandmother sowed the seeds of curiosity in me by hinting that we had a skeleton in our family cupboard, which was in some way connected to "Jack The Ripper".

At that age I was not interested in family history and so it was many years later before my curiosity surfaced.

I was looking for a book to read on a flight home from Singapore and spotted "The Complete Jack The Ripper", by Donald Rumbelow, and could hear the bones in our cupboard rattling.

The third victim of the Ripper as most readers will know, was Elizabeth Stride, (Long Liz), nee GUSTAFSDOTTER, and was the only victim that escaped being disembowelled. She was also the first of two murders that took place on the same night.

Her husband was John Thomas Stride (b1827), but he came from Sheerness and we all came from the east end of London, so how could we be related?

By now I was hooked and felt I just had to research my family tree. Unfortunately at that time I was still
earning a living in our own business and could spare very little time for such a time consuming hobby.

A further six years went by before I could start in earnest, and only then because I was forced to retire early through ill health.

I now enjoy family history research enormously and feel I have progressed quite well in the short time we have been researching. I say "we" because my wife and I both work together as we have done for many years.

John Thomas Stride was the second son of my 3x great grandfather, William Stride. John was supposed to have drowned together with two of their children when the "Princess Alice" went down after a collision on the Thames.

Donald Rumbelow, in the first edition of his book, indicated that he had doubts about the veracity of that and in view of his very thorough research, especially in the case of Elizabeth, I had to agree with him.

I obtained first John and Elizabeth's Marriage Certificate, which took place 7th March 1869. In 1861 he was still single age 30 living in Sheerness with his parents and other siblings.

On the 1871 census they were living as husband and wife at Tower Hamlets, Poplar. She was born in Sweden, so I next sent for her Birth Record.

1881 census, three years after the "Alice" disaster, I found John and Elizabeth supposedly living together at 69 Usher road. However, there was no sign of any children some twelve years after their Marriage in 1869.

I have obtained the Death Certificate of John Thomas, which took place on 24th October 1884 in the Union workhouse sick asylum, age 63. This was 4 years prior to Elizabeth's untimely death on the 30th September 1888.

It was said by a few that Elizabeth had said she had children in order to obtain money from both the Swedish authorities as well as others in London.

By Ken & Barbara Stride 1/26 Percy Street Whangarei 0112, New Zealand.

Ken and Barbara Stride

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