23 July 2010

The Importance of Being Earnest With Alice In Wonderland

Unlike his elder brother Arthur, Ernest Ginn managed to survive the First War and married Alice. In 1933, when his brother-in-law Louis Veheyen died, Ernest left his job on the London trams and went to assist his sister Florence in the spice warehouse.

Well, that is what I think may have happened. I have been wondering about Ernest, just as I have been wondering about Alice and various other relatives. The Alice in question here is not my grandmother, who you may recall is mentioned elsewhere in this blog as being known by the name of Alice, but this other Alice is Alice's Auntie Alice.

Family history research can be very perplexing at times, as Ancestors Within may indicate. For example, my paternal grandmother may be recorded on various certificates as being called Alice, but she has never, ever been known by that name. My great grandfather, Jack, went to record her name on the birth certificate and he told the registrar that the baby's name was Alice. However, my great grandmother wanted her daughter to be called Vera, which Jack somehow forgot.

So the Alice I have known all my life is not called Alice at all but Vera, a word meaning 'truth'. To make matters even more confusing, my other grandmother, who you may remember is called Dorothy, is recorded on her birth certificate as Dorothy Alice. However, the name 'Alice' is then crossed out, making my mother wonder whether her mother may have had a twin sister called Alice.

Some creative detective work on my part reveals that I may have worked out why Alice was crossed out between the word 'Dorothy' and 'Harris'. Do you know how 'Harris' is pronounced in eastern Shropshire and southern Staffordshire? It may, very likely, have been the case that 'arris sounded to the registrar like the word 'Alice' when my great grandparents registered my grandmother's birth.

So, there has really been only one wonderful Alice in the family, to my knowledge, that being Ernest's wife Alice. If you have managed to follow this story, you have done extremely well!

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I especially appreciate historical insights.