My dad was born in 1912 but never knew his dad. He was led to believe that he died when he was a few months old. There were lots of stories told of him in the family. Things like - he died in Bedlam, his family had lots of money and had disowned him for marrying my grandmother. When he died my grandmother married again this time to her sister's brother in law.
As children we were too scared to ask about our real granddad, so in a way he became a mystical figure. My sister and I also believed that when we went to the Imperial Museum we felt cold due to the link we had with it being Bedlam in a previous existence.
When my dad died in 1974 we tried to find out information from our Mum, but she only knew that the family she thought came from Islington, and that there was some hint that they were Jewish and had owned property.
Our Mum died in 2006 and my sister and I decided to research our dad's side of the family and hopefully find our grandad's grave. We searched in Islington and drew a blank. We tried searching but grandad's name was a common one, Charles Knight - the same as dad's.
Then came the release of the 1911 census. I found him with my grandmother and Aunt Emily. He was born in Bow! This helped a great deal. We also discovered by going to the Metropolitan Archives that he died in Mint Street Workhouse not Bedlam. So the draughts we felt at the War Museum was nothing more than ill fitting doors not a ghostly presence.
We are still trying to find his grave but have managed to track down his dad and great uncles and know that our grandmother was called Mary. (We always suspected she was as my dad wanted my sister to be called Mary). The Genealogist has been great for finding lots of family history on both sides of the family.
This Family History research can almost become an obsession, particularly when you are tracking one person and do not have the complete picture. Family stories can be a good source of information but as it is passed down by word of mouth things get changed, particularly when there are things to hide.
Still looking for his grave, still trying to find more family.
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