Tuesday 11 December 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Complex relations

It's not that I've got any shortage of things to write about, but I just feel like joining in this week!  Tombstone Tuesday is another of the Daily Blogging Prompts from Geneabloggers. And you must have realised by now how much I like gravestones ...

This is one of the first Barnsley gravestones I 'collected' and I didn't even find it myself.  I was sent the photo by RE, the OH's fourth cousin once removed.  Esther Kay (nee Leech, formerly Duncan) is the OH's 4x great-grandmother.  After her first husband, Thomas Duncan died in 1841 she remarried William Kay in 1846, she had been married to Thomas for 23 years and was with William for 24 years.  The fact that she was accompanying William while he was working suggests that she enjoyed his company, liked an outing and was a lively lady even at the age of 69! Not bad for a woman who had 10 children!

Esther Leech's Gravestone in Barnsley Cemetery
This stone is in Barnsley cemetery, only a few hundred yards from our old house on the outskirts of Barnsley town centre.  My only excuse for not finding it myself is that it is very hard to get the OH to a graveyard without the promise of a real ale pub nearby.  And I won't go to big cemeteries by myself, rampaging youths are unfortunately very much a reality these days.  I have been to visit it since, I dragged the OH along one Sunday afternoon not long after receiving this photo from RE.  My cropping of the original photo (to highlight the text) doesn't do the stone itself justice, it stands surrounded by empty grass at the top end of the cemetery and is very impressive.

RE is descended from Esther's eldest son John Duncan and the OH from her fourth son Peter Duncan.

Tree snip showing Esther Leech's central position in the relationships on this gravestone
Family Historian allows you to add 'flags' to your diagrams to show what information you have collected - the snip above shows little gravestone icons attached to Esther, William and Mary to indicate that I have an image of their memorial.  You might observe that John Duncan and his wife have the same little icon - their gravestone is one of the few others in the same part of Barnsley Cemetery as Esther's.

This gravestone is a brilliant example of the information you can gather from a wander around a cemetery.  Not only Esther's dates but also the manner of her death, all of her surnames (I can't honestly say I've seen that before) and her second husband's second wife to boot!  I doubt if I would have found Mary Coldwell marrying William Kay without the prompt from this photo.

Barnsley Chronicle 23 July 1870 - Esther's end
The newspaper clipping above gives a dramatic account of the accident that occurred while Esther was "trying to help her husband in the endeavours to do his duty".

I have a long list of the plots in Barnsley Cemetery where the OH's relatives lie, unfortunately many could not afford (or did not want?) a stone so saying 'Hi' to a patch of grass is the best I can do for most of them. 

Thanks to RE for the photo, and thanks to William Kay for providing such a fascinating memorial to one of the OH's ancestors.

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