Having catalogued and scanned the Bill Lawrence collection, I now have a good idea of the contents, and loads of questions. So the next step is to analyse the contents further and decide which questions to investigate first.
An overview of the main events and themes revealed by the documents helps me identify and narrow down to priority questions. Main events documented include:
|1886||Birth of Edith May Spencer (Bill’s mother) in Surrey, England|
|1913||Marriage of William Henry Lawrence & Edith May Spencer (Bill’s parents) in New South Wales, Australia|
|1915||Birth of Gwendoline Dorothy Brown (Bill’s wife)|
|1919||Bill’s father sent a telegram from Liverpool, England to his wife in Australia, about to embark for America|
|1920||Death of Bill’s father|
|1922||Robert Spencer & Mary Ann Marsden Spencer nee Bentley (Bill’s grandparents) voyage to Australia|
|1925||Bill, his mother & grandparents return to England from Australia on the Largs Bay|
|1931||Funeral of Arthur Spencer|
|1940-1946||Bill’s WWII service|
|1946||Bill’s National Health insurance & ID card issued, resident at Russell Road|
|1953||Photo of Bill & his mother|
|1961||Marriage of William Henry Lawrence (Bill) & Gwendoline Dorothy Meacham (nee Brown)|
Both of Bill’s parents were born in England, but married in Australia. There is nothing in the collection that documents their emigration. For me, this is the big question, or rather series of questions.
Another question is what the enigmatic 1919 telegram from Bill’s father was about. I wonder if it is connected with what Bill’s father did in the First World War, of which there is also no record in this collection.
The lack of documents after Bill’s marriage makes me wonder why they aren’t included.
The rest of the collection reveals a somewhat different story than I had been told. Bill’s maternal grandparents spent considerably more time in Australia than is suggested by the received narrative that they went to collect their widowed daughter and grandson.
What questions do other family members have?
© Sue Adams 2016