One day about 18 years ago (1994) my husband John and I came home to find a message
on the answer phone from a firm in London trying to trace the children of the late
Herbert Latham (my father), as there was a distant relative who had died aged 99
years without leaving a will and there was “an inheritance” coming our way! This
is the kind of event that people dream about – some unknown relative leaving you
a fortune!! It was all the more intriguing as my father’s parents had died when
he was very young and so he had been brought up in the “Scattered Homes” in Oldham
(i.e. an orphanage – but that’s another story).
The call was genuine, but my “inheritance” was not large in monetary terms, about
£160, but what I did manage to get was a copy of all the research that had been done
in order to trace the beneficiaries. It had taken two people a year to trace everybody!
I was hooked onto Family Research!
As my mother was still alive at that time, I decided that perhaps her ancestors would
be the best ones to investigate. So, note book in hand, I went to ask my mother
“all about” her ancestors. I soon came to a sudden halt. When I asked “what was
the maiden name of her grandmother, on her father’s side?” she said she did not know;
as her grandmother was always known as “Grandma Bland”- her married surname. Obviously
this research was not going to be as easy as I thought! Anyway, not to be deterred
and fall at the first hurdle, I sent for my grandfather’s birth certificate. When
it arrived I enthusiastically took it to my mother to show her that her grandmother
was called Kelland before she married. It was at this point that my mother said that
her father used to talk about an “Uncle Tom Kelland”. She then went into her bedroom
and returned with the following press cutting, which I had never seen before in my
life! I know it is difficult to read, but I have typed a transcript.