As a newcomer to genealogy and researching my family history, each and every day something new is revealed ranging from being able to go back another generation through to associated historical events at the time the specific ancestor lived. In England this has included things like The English Civil War, a repeal of The Corn Laws, an outbreak of cholera, and even storms, floods and heatwaves that weren’t reported as “climate change”! Small surprises crop up such as the realisation that families were much larger in the 1700s and 1800s, and the horrific infant mortality rate. These are all seen on my mothers side of the family as well as my father’s.
But ….. one BIG surprise popped up a few days back on my father’s side of the family where all of my male direct relatives were occupied in the mining industry either for copper, tin, or later iron ore and coal. It was the same on my mother’s side. However getting back to my 2nd Great Grandfather, Jonathan, I discover that he wasn’t a miner but ….. a tailor! Now that isn’t the end of it, because when he died in December 1904, probate a month later showed him leaving the princely sum of £630-19-11 to a John Giles who was a “retired grocer” in London. In today’s value this would be £73,000! This was despite the fact that Jonathan’s son Henry was still alive and living in the same village in Devon! Why?