I remember coming across an old letter folded until it was a tiny square. I recall ever-so-gently unfolding it and slowly revealing more and more of the wonderful writing until it was sitting in my lap. I read the letter and asked my dad who these people possibly were? He had no idea, none of the names mentioned in the letter were written on any of the other papers that my grandma had kept.
The letter now sits in my office and I know more of the story behind it.
The key items in the letter were:
1) the date Dec. 14, 1883,
2) the address 93 Glenarm Rd., Lower Clapton,
3) people - addressed to Uncle and Aunt and signed M & R Brock
Once the 1881 English census was available I found the people living at 93 Glenarm Road -
Robert Brock - listed as son, age 23
Martha Brock - listed as daughter, age 25
Henry Brock - listed as son, age 21
Edward Brock - listed as son, age 17
No parents listed at all.
Over time and research I discovered that these Brock children had lost their parent's, first their mother Martha in 1877, and shortly thereafter their father Robert in 1879.
The children stayed together as we see in the 1881 census.
The letter goes on to describe the loss of their brother Henry who fell ill and how they miss him. They also speak of their younger brother who headed to New York for work but came back again as he had "altered his mind".
At least now I knew the letter writers and I suspected that the Uncle that they wrote to was Richard Lee Norton who was born in Great Yarmouth in 1819. I assumed that this must come from Richard's family because he was my only ancestor from England that I knew of on my grandmother's tree. I have since been able to show that this is most likely the case.
I have not been able to find the marriage record between Robert Brock and Martha Norton which would be the one item that would tie this story up into a pretty package. I have located Robert and Martha Brock from the 1851 census when they were living at St. George in the East, then St. Luke and their last residence at 6 Red Lion Market where the family was before they moved to Glenarm Road.
I have not uncovered all the clues in the letter, I have yet to find out who is mentioned in this portion - "Richard was at Yarmouth in the summer they are all well except Aunt she being very feeble". I feel like they are waiting, wondering what is taking me so long.
I am so thankful as I look back on those times when I was able to go to my dad's and drag box after box upstairs. I chuckle remembering the lack of understanding of my family who would groan as I slowly drifted downstairs to lug another box up to a spot in the middle of the living room to see the same items I had just viewed the month before.
My ancestors were calling.
|Brock letter page 1|