folkarchivist

Following Robert Thompson

In My Genealogy, Thompson on April 21, 2011 at 6:47 PM

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There is a curious grave near my Thompson ancestors’ grave in Reading, Berkshire, England.  It bears only the name Elizabeth Gill.  Is it coincidence that she bears the same surname of one of the Thompson wives?

That’s what started my little search this evening.  A quick glancing search through various online digitized records and there was a link between an Elizabeth Gill and a Robert Thompson.  Aha!  I have a (well, many actually) Robert Thompson!

So, I followed his life online.  How strange it is to follow a person’s life in 10 year increments (census to census), to boil their entire life down to a few pages of census printouts, and a couple of freebmd.org.uk  entries.

It turns out this is not the Robert Thompson associated with Elizabeth Gill.  He is, however, my second great granduncle and it was about time I got to know him better.

He, like his siblings, was born in Devizes, Wiltshire in the 1830s.  In the 1850s he’s away at school with his brother, and by the 1860s he has moved, with the rest of the family (parents, siblings, etc) to Reading, Berkshire.  Like many of the siblings he followed in his father’s shopkeeping/selling footsteps.  He is listed in the subsequent census as a Pork Buther, Pork Curer, and Shopkeeper.

In his 30s he married a young woman named Rose.  She was from an adjacent county.

Through the years the couple had several nieces and nephews stay with them, including one, a Mabel Skinner (I haven’t fit her into the tree yet), who was with them at age 6, and remained until at least age 16.  It seems they never had any children of their own, and Rose confirms this in the 1911 census when she writes “none” in the column requesting the number of children born alive.  She’s a widow at that time.

Robert died in 1906, in Reading.  Rose lived until 1927 when she too passed away in Reading.  They both serve as yet further examples of the importance of following the dead-end branches of the family tree.  This couple has much more to tell more, and hopefully I’ll find out much more as I continue my research.

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