Friday, September 2, 2011

I Found a Pot of Gold!:Part 2

Google Image

Sunrise or sunset?
Old questions answered, new ones exposed.

( Click on Part 1 to read  first or you'll feel a little lost.)

...The name written across Olga's left shoulder is "Valery". 

I put the name aside for a second, not really knowing what to do with it; however, I was impressed to look for Frederick's father's proof of death on Why didn't I already know when James had died? 

I did a quick search on again and found records for his death on two documents: on the England and Wales Free BMD Index, and on a probate calendar. The Index told me James had died in 1906.

I read the probate calendar and my jaw dropped through the floor to China!

First, Frederick Lester "Lowrey" (notice the spelling change) was the "administer" listed on the document. It also says he was a photographer. I already knew his father was a photographer from the 1901 marriage certificate of Olga (aka Ottilie) and Frederick.  One of them had probably taken Olga's picture!

Second, "Lowrie, James Frederick otherwise Valery Frederick" stared back at me from the page. I started to laugh and cry at the same time. I read the two lines over and over again. 

The bugger had changed his name!  

But it gets better.

 Less than a minute after the name-change discovery I searched for Frederick Valery in the 1901 census. There he is! He has a new wife AND a son. Guess what his dad named him? Frederick Reginald Valery. 

Wanna know who else is living with them?

Frederick and Stella Lowrie, his two original children!

But two Fredericks in the same house won't do. Fred #1 uses his middle name, Lester, and he and his sister change their last name from Lowrie to Valery.

James hadn't died by 1891. Madeline his first wife wasn't a widow after all. HE was! Frederick and Stella went straightway to live with their dad after she died. They lived an hour apart, Mom in Chiswick, Dad in St. Mary Cray. They probably shared the kids on weekends!

If I could go back in time I'd give a mini course to all census takers. The name of the course? "How to Snuff Out Liars by Reading Body Language." I'd give another one on "Spelling and Penmanship", and still another on "Going the Extra Mile", for all those who just don't want to go up that hill to that one last house 'cause they're just too tired!

I have a lot more to discover about this new family. I want to find out what happened to Frederick and Stella's Grandma Reed after Madeline died? Why didn't they stay with her? Where and who are the descendants of Frederick's half brother, Frederick Valery are. The new Frederick was only 15 when his dad died.

The kicker? I can't find a marriage certificate for James and Millie Valery. There's one in 1901 in Paris, France. I can't go there right now.

But it leaves me with another question: how many generations going back in time and coming forward through descendants did this habit of walking away from spouse and children go? Was there a common denominator? Did James' dad have similar history?

 I'll be going down that road soon!


  1. A lot of people did that. My husbands great grandfather had never divorced his first wife and left his four children. Then he met his second "wife" and had four children with her (My husbands great grandmother)

    I could never find the marriage certificate for wife #2 because there was none. I wasn't until I obtained his US Civil War Pension that the story unfolded.

  2. Hi Claudia!
    I'm starting to see how much I have romanticized my ancestors! I mean that now that they're coming to life I see how ordinary they are...not as stiff and boring as I'd thought! Thanks for stopping by!


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