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My First Successful Cousin Bait
My First Successful Cousin Bait

My First Successful Cousin Bait

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #20: “Have you successfully set cousin bait or got hooked by someone else’s?”

Back in 2019 I found that my grandaunt had quite a collection of photographs which had belonged to her mother. Amongst those photos were two of an older woman, in one of which she was with a man.

Photo of the unnamed older woman from my grandaunt’s collection.

Who were these people? Perhaps they could be one of my sets of great great grandparents. Were they great grandma Dorothy Gibbs’ parents, or my great grandad Jim Haire’s? There was another photo in the collection which was labelled “Jim’s mum and dad”, which I knew to be Agnes Peutrill and James Matthew Haire. I was fortunate enough to recognise them too, as I’d seen a fellow descendant had already uploaded pictures of Agnes and James Matthew to Ancestry.

So if they weren’t my great grandad’s parents I deduced that they could be Dorothy’s Somerset-born parents. Not definitively, but there was a good chance. Hoping that someone else might recognise them, I uploaded them to Ancestry and attached them to Selina Palmer (1875-1955) and Charles Gibbs (1868-1946). After about a month, someone did!

In December 2019, around the time of my grandad’s 80th birthday, I had a message from someone none of my family had spoken to before – my grandad’s first cousin. Now my grandad has always said he’s never known a cousin in his life, so it was a pleasant surprise. In his message to me he said that he was 95% sure that the photos I’d uploaded were of Charles Gibbs and Selina Palmer, his grandparents, standing outside Woodlands Cottages in Holford, Somerset.

He explained that Charles and Selina appeared to be standing on the cart track that ran past the west end of the cottages. The building on the left was part-storage for the binder and mower, and part-barn for keeping food-stuffs for the cattle in the barton behind, which was attached to the cottages.

Photograph of Charles and Selina at Woodlands Cottages, Holford.

As my great grandmother moved up to Derbyshire in the 1930s, my grandad had never had contact with most of his aunts, uncles, and cousins, only the occasional holiday to Minehead to see Auntie Emma.

Although this message had cleared some things up and was delightful to receive, some unanswered questions remain from my grandaunt’s photo collection. One of the photos was of three agricultural labourers that she’d labelled “One of these men is my grandad” but she didn’t know which one. My 1C2R didn’t mention this photo in his message, so perhaps he didn’t know either. Do any of these men looks like the man standing in front of the shed? His face was quite obscured.

Photograph from my grandaunt’s collection labelled “One of these is my grandad”.

Recently, I re-inspected my DNA matches and realised that I have a third cousin once removed descended from Charles Gibbs’ brother, George Gibbs. And, what luck, she’d uploaded a photo of George which shared some resemblance with the man on the right in the above picture. Could she have some more information? I’ve sent her a message, so we shall have to see.

Furthermore, there was a photo from my great grandma Dorothy’s wedding day with an older gentleman who I thought could possibly be her father. The photo below shows my great grandparents, Dorothy and Jim in the middle. Behind them is Jim’s sister-in-law (his brother Matthew Scoley Haire’s wife) Maud “Daisy” Brown, and on the left as you look at it is a man I believe to be called “J Martin” who may have been fond of cats, and worked with Jim with the horses at Lyegrove in Gloucestershire. The man on the right however remains a mystery. Could he be Charles Gibbs?

Wedding photograph of Dorothy Daisy Gibbs and James “Jim” Haire. L to R: “J Martin”, James ‘Jim’ Haire, Maud ‘Daisy’ Brown, Dorothy Daisy Gibbs, unknown.

Are you a Haire, Gibbs, or Palmer descendant whose family lived in Gloucestershire or Somerset before the second world war? In Somerset, we were located in Nether Stowey and Spaxton, and in Gloucestershire in Chipping Sodbury. Do you recognise these people?

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