Monday, 20 October 2008

Sydney and Alice Spurdle

Sydney Spurdle died aged 51 years on 22nd December 1918 - and with him the family links to Dorset seemed to die too, pretty much forgotten until some descendents started to take an interest in genealogy about 60 years later. The cause of death was given as pneumonia. I don't know whether this was the result of the awful flu epidemic that killed millions of people 1918-19. His second wife Alice (Millington) was left with 6 children, the eldest of which was only 11 years old. Poor Alice, things must have looked so bleak when she was widowed with such a young family. 

I don't know much about Alice, I haven't got any photographs of her when she was young but I do have a couple when she was a old lady - her eldest child Sid (my grandad) had a great facial resemblance to her when he himself was older. Sid became a miner too - but at what age? I am sure he would have wanted to start work as soon as possible so that he could help to support the family. 

Sydney Spurdle married Alice Millington in 1904. I am pretty certain that her parents were William (also a miner) and Martha Millington from Buckley. I haven't got my hands on her birth or wedding certificates as yet, but I think she was born approx 1881 so would have been 23 when she married. Sydney would have been about 37 years old, a widower for just over 10 years, and the father of Herbert aged 15 years and Sarah Ann aged approx 11. Quite a lot for a young woman to take on.

Their first son William was born in June 1905 but died 3 months later in September. My grandad Sidney was born a couple of years later. This was followed by another 2 boys and 3 girls. I wish I had asked by grandad what it was like growing up without a father. How did they get by? When did he start work? I don't recall him talking about his childhood at all. I want to find out more about what it would have been like growing up in Rhosrobin at that time, and I'm also going to try to find out more about the Millingtons. I've just realised I don't even know if Alice married again - I need to find out more!

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