“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”—Mark Twain.
Genealogical research is an amazing thing. I first started my investigations at the National Library in Canberra decades ago when recovering from a severe illness. Nowadays it’s so much easier, with mountains of information available via the internet.
There’s one character on my tree who particularly intrigues me. She’s a daughter-in-law of my 4xggrandparents, the couple who inspired my historical novel, The Heart Has Its Reasons.
Sarah is slowly—oh so slowly—being revealed. I know she was born in London in 1814. She married my 3xggrandfather, the family black sheep, in Paris in 1833. They lived in London and in Canada, and in Devon where they encountered Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who’d known ggrandfather. Writing to a friend, she described my ggrandmother as “not at all pretty”!
With several children in tow, the couple arrived in Australia in 1853, where my 3xggrandfather worked for the governor in Sydney, then as clerk of the court in Gayndah before returning to Sydney, where Sarah died. For a long time, I had nothing but a very basic death certificate (1857) and newspaper notice, and searched in vain for her grave.
Now, thanks to the wonders of the interweb, her resting place has been revealed, complete with photograph of her tombstone.
But the weird, coincidental part of this story?
My first job, as a junior secretary, was in Church Street, off Sydney’s Parramatta Road near Broadway. It was a long haul each day to get to work—two hours each way from where I lived in the outer suburbs. Most lunchtimes I walked up Church Street to the Newtown shopping strip. Where did the route take me? Right past the cemetery where, I’ve just discovered, my 3xggrandmother Sarah is buried.
Now living a long way from Sydney, I’ve yet to visit the grave. Meanwhile, I can only shake my head and wonder at life’s coincidences.
Have you ever experienced something like this?
The Heart Has Its Reasons is available for ORDER by clicking this link https://www.bronwynhouldsworth.com/books