On the search . . . .

For many years now I've been searching my past in an endeavor to unfold the tales of my family. I've traveled (via the internet) to England, Denmark, Norway, Ohio, Nebraska, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. I've spent time personally visiting historic Boston and their wonderful cemeteries and, or course, visited my ancestors right here in California. My ancestors have touched the world in many places... and I hope to enjoy some of their experiences. I want you to join me as I travel through my past... and uncover their stories..

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jane White Booth ~ Died in a Union Workhouse

I enjoy GeneaBloggers and it's daily prompts which give me a nudge of ideas to keep me engaged in writing about my ancestors.  Each day we get encouraging topics to get our minds thinking of what has transpired in the past.   Today's daily I'm choosing is "Wishful Wednesday".  You'll understand why when you finish reading this post.

Jane White Booth was my 5th Great Grandmother who lived her life in Gloucestershire, a county in South West England. It includes the cities of  Gloucester, Cirencester, Stroud and Tewkesbury.

Jane was born about the year 1778 in Gloucestershire, England and died December 24, 1853 (Christmas Eve) in a Union Workhouse in Tewkesbury, England.  She was 75 years old.

Death Cert: Died at "Union Workhouse Tewkesbury" of "Natural Decay"

I have no photos of my 5th great grandmother Jane, just some records and an online photo of where she was living when she died.   As I was reviewing her records I noticed her place of her death.  It had passed by my eyes before.  She died  at a "Union Workhouse" and I didn't know what that was. So I began my research.

Wikipedia states, "In England and Wales a workhouse, colloquially known as a spike, was a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment".  

I felt bad that she had to die in a workhouse.  She had a husband, George Boothe, my 5th great grandfather, but I have no record when he died.  I know he was born about 1782 and only can determine his death was before hers (1853) as her death certificate states she was a widow.   I also know she had at least one son, John Booth. John, my 4th great grandfather, was born in 1804 and his date of death is unknown.  I know John began serving in the Royal Marines at the age of 16,  married  Mary Hardy, and  had four children that I'm aware of.  My records indicate that her son John, and his family, lived in Wellington, England keeping John about 100 miles from his mother.

Tewkesbury UK Workhouse where Jane Booth died in 1853
I have to wonder why a son, and his family would have his mother live in a workhouse, when he is relatively close to her - 100 miles. Well, close in today's standards.  But in 1853 a 100 miles is quit a distance on a horse and buggy.

So, what was Jane Booth's life like in the final days of her life? At www.workhouses.org.uk workhouses in the mid-1800's are described as.. "To stay in one, you have to work to help pay your way. Jobs are menial and repetitive and some are simply punishments, such as oakum picking (separating strands of old rope). Until the 1840s, 'disorderly and profligate women' – a category that includes impoverished single mothers – are forced to wear distinctive yellow clothes, which leads to them being bullied. In the 1860s and 1870s, conditions in the special wards for the insane or for those with venereal (sexually transmitted) disease are especially grim."

So to my 5th Great Grandmother, on this Wishful Wednesday,  I wish your final days could have been spent with family.  I wish your final days were of happy memories of you and your departed husband George and your handsome son John.  My final wish is that I wish I could have met you.

Warm regards, 


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