Sunday, March 3, 2013

Remembering Harrogate and Betty's With Anne

Many years ago now, I was starting to work on my family history research and I had an amazing experience.  I have had several in the process but this one will always stick out in my mind as being extraordinary.  My sweet grandmother had given me all she had on the family and some stories that she had heard.
Kendal Parish Church Magazine from 1895 Announcing  my Great Grand Parents marriage.  I have the original.
I had a dream while I was napping one day and in the dream I was told that all the family research had already been done, it was in the file box, I only needed to look.  The dream was very elaborate and I recorded it, but will not bore you with those details here.  I woke from the dream and went over to my file cabinet next to my desk.  My grandmother had given me all of the family letters that she had. She could not recall if her father had any brothers or sisters.  In those letters were the names that I needed.  Well, I was very excited to say the least.
Luciana, The ship that my Grandmother and Great Grandmother immigrated to the US on.
Leonard Desmond, my Great Grandfather

Pondering the letters, I noticed they were from Leeds, England.  I wondered if there could be any relatives still residing there.  Nervously I dialed the phone to get the operator (yes it was a dial I asked her if there were any Desmonds in Leeds.  There was only one.  I called the number and a gentleman answered.  Feeling every bit the fool, I explained the purpose for the call.  He told me that Desmond was his wife's maiden name and that he thought I might be on to something.  She was the Head Mistress at a school and would be home soon, he would have her call.  
Emily Philipson Desmond, my Great Grandmother and Anne's  Grand Aunt.
Long story short...Her grandfather and my great grandfather were brothers!  We spent many hours on the phone back and forth, writing letters, putting all the pieces together.  It was an incredible experience.  AND  it was Anne's Birthday, the day that I called her.
Anne and Alan Clayton
It was another 19 years until we would meet in person.  It was so moving!  She and Alan took me to my great great grand parents homes and I stood in the door way weeping.  I walked into the church where my grandmother had been baptized.  It makes me tear up just to think about it all.  

I was fortunate to visit with them on two separate occasions and also to host them for a visit here to our home.  My last visit over to see Anne we enjoyed a tea at Betty's in Harrogate.  What a wonderful experience and memories that I will treasure.

So to honor that memory and to let her know that I am thinking about her, I have made her a couple little mug rugs and a little tea wallet to remind her of our time together.


Family, there is nothing more important than that.  So grateful for an amazing grandmother, for her unconditional love and support.  I know she is smiling!


  1. Beautiful story! From one family history researcher to another, thank you!

  2. Incredible! What a fabulous story ;)