The conundrum of the one armed miner

And how things are not always what they appear

Hello and welcome! How are you doing? As always, thank you for reading.

Every now and again I revisit my family tree on Ancestry. An idea will pop into my head as to how I might solve one of the conundrums which then sends me down a rabbit hole searching for clues.

There’s one character, born in the late 1800s, who eludes me. I know from a brief conversation with one of my Mum’s cousins that he lost an arm in a mining accident and was pensioned off at 23. Promises to send me additional documentation never materialised. Further enquiries went unanswered. All approaches to that side of the family (who I’ve never met) hit a brick wall.

This man plays only a bit part and is not related to me but yet he’s a key protagonist in the story.

Rumour has it, according to the one conversation I had with my Mum’s cousin, that he and my Great Grandma became an item. He was 23, she was 42. She went on to have three more children who could have been fathered by the one armed miner. The proof is tenuous. My Great Grandparents living at separate addresses. The miner showing up on a Census first as a ‘lodger’ then, later in 1939, appearing as a resident in his (potential) son’s house.

To further confuse matters my Great Grandfather is cited as the father on the various marriage certificates of the children, even though the birth of one of the daughters coincided with him living with another woman (aka his housekeeper). A later Census indicated that these two had been married for 30 years, an impossibility. In the same Census, my Great Grandma declared herself to be a widow, even though her former husband would live for another 2 years. It might be in black and white but it’s not necessarily true.

The one armed miner first appears in 1901 even though he was, apparently, born 23 years earlier, although the recorded ages are also conflicting. I can find no birth certificate. My best lead is a possible sister. I’ve tracked down her birth certificate and hope it will contain some clues. Until that arrives, the trail has gone cold.

This week’s podcast guest is Nir Bashan. With a background in film and music (he’s worked with people like Rod Stewart and Woody Harrelson), and a passion for helping others improve their lives or business through creativity, he’s recently published a book called The Creator Mindset.

I’ve found it fascinating recording this series of the podcast. All the guests were people I hadn’t met before yet so many of the themes were similar. Most episodes reference storytelling and often the Hero’s Journey, some mention the creative spark or, as I call it, our essence. We talk about the ups and downs of life, and the meaning behind the peaks and troughs. We’re all on different journeys yet there’s a common thread that runs through all our lives.

Click to listen

I’ve just started reading How to Start a Business on your Kitchen Table. As I write this, currently only £1.42 on Kindle, it’s the story of a woman, Shann Nix Jones, who started making goat’s milk kefir in 2014 to find a solution for her son’s eczema and save her husband from an MRSA infection. Now turning over £4.5m and employing 22 staff, the book is a very unconventional take on business.

Shann talks about a values-based approach which revolves around the question what does the world need right now? She talks about morning routines, decluttering, moon phases as well as motivation, the emotional rollercoasters and being adaptable to change.

It’s very different to the conventional wisdom around growing a business and is far more about doing what you love, what you’re good at, and aligned with the direction in which the universe is taking us.

I’m reading it with a notebook to hand so that I can include many of the ideas in my own plans.

Until next time, thank you for reading.


P.S. In case you’re not interested in reading about the move (some of it does get repetitive - we’ve packed more boxes, I’ve been to the charity shop … again, I’ve sold something on Facebook etc), I’m going to give it a section of its own.

The Moving Chronicles

The packing continues. That’s really all I can say about that! Apart from, we’re almost there!

This week I also recycled various laptops, my Dad’s extensive collection of mobile phones (I don’t know why he kept so many), my old Palm Pilots, some random hard drives, plus several external hard drives. I’d purged them all and backed up the data I wanted. Then sent them off for data cleansing and potential re-use.

I also had three big bags of paper collected for shredding. Paperwork going back, in a few cases, to the 1950s! Old bank statements, receipts, and various bills.

It feels great to finally be rid of all of this. I’d tried to shred the vast mountains of paperwork myself but I made very little inroads. It cost £42 to have it professionally shredded. Worth every penny. The computer recycling was free.

We also sold our television and TV stand so are now watching Netflix on a tiny screen. I have a pair of binoculars to hand!

We’re hoping we’re on the final straight but we keep being thrown curve balls. Last week the estate agent said we were almost there. This week, the buyers’ solicitor declared they weren’t ready to exchange and so the dance goes on.

Friday has become my barometer for progress. The weeks whizz by and Friday is here again before I know it. For some reason solicitors don’t seem very active on a Friday and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that if there’s no news by Thursday, we will have to wait for the following week.

We’re still on track with my plan but, as the weeks go by, our potential moving date becomes less practical because of other dependencies such as finding a place to stay. We shall see!