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Memorial card

My family treasure is something that has only recently come into my family, by which time it was nearly 150 years old. It was a nice warm sunny day in August 2006 when I visited Coleorton Parish Church in Leicestershire, for the first time. I remember walking up the path towards the door and one of the first gravestones I saw was that of my great x4 grandmother, Sarah Ann Davenport. I immediately felt a connection with her and wanted to find out everything I could about her life.

Sarah Ann was christened on 26th January 1809 in Coleorton and was the eldest daughter of Thomas Stinson and Ann Ayre. Sarah Ann married in Ashby de la Zouch Parish Church on 5th December 1837, and had a total of seven children. She died of phthisis on the 13th November 1860, aged 51.

My ambition was to find out as much information as I could about her life, so I enlisted the help of some people on different online genealogical forums and I was grateful that they were able to spare the time to look up various entries for me.
 One such contact proved to be very helpful and told me lots of dates of baptisms and burials to help thicken out my tree. This was not the limit of this person’s helpfulness though – it was to reach new heights that any genealogical researcher would be jealous of.

I received an email from this gentleman entitled ‘Davenport’s of Coleorton’. It came as a surprise as we had not been in touch for a while, but I opened the message and was thrilled with what had been written.

Whilst reading the Leicestershire and Rutland Family History Society Journal, my contact had noticed that there was a member who was advertising memorial cards which had come into his possession. The one that caught his eye, was the memorial card of Sarah Ann Davenport, who died 13th November 1860, aged 51, in Coleorton.

He had not made the connection that she was my great x4 grandmother, but knew that I had Davenports from Coleorton in my tree and thought that it might be of interest to me.

I emailed the man who had these cards and received a reply. Someone else had already enquired about this particular card, as well as a couple more with the surname ‘Davenport’ from Ashby De La Zouch.

My heart sank, but was uplifted as I read on. He said that I could have Sarah Ann’s and the other gentleman could have the other two (when I saw the names I saw that they were also distant relatives). The cost of each memorial card was £4, including postage.

When the memorial card arrived in the post, I was so excited. This small piece of paper, measuring 3” x 4.5”, had been returned to my family and would have been the same design (although no doubt a different card) which my great x4 grandfather and my great x5 grandmother would have had to lament the passing of Sarah Ann.

The card was in mint condition and had probably spent its entire life in a box in an undertaker’s cupboard. However, it now belonged to me and I had something which my ancestors had paid to be printed to remember Sarah Ann Davenport

She will never be forgotten by me, and I will make sure that this small piece of paper will never be lost or destroyed, so others will be able to remember her too.

Tom Tom

© Tom Tom 2008