I started researching my family history over 20 years ago. I knew that my Grandmother and her sister had been left with guardians in Boston, Lincolnshire when they were very young. My Grandma died when I was young, but in later years my Granddad told me that her parents, my great-grandparents, had gone to Canada and had promised to call for their daughters when they were settled. They never did.
As I started my research I soon discovered the names of my great grandparents – Mark Goldstein and Ethel Eliza Blyth. I found out they married in 1901, a month after my grandma was born, and in 1911 I found them living in Liverpool while my grandma and her sister were in Boston with their guardians.
I went on to discover that Mark Goldstein went over to New York in 1911 and again in 1912. I don’t know if he went on to Canada though. I could never find any trace of Ethel travelling over to be with him. For many years I wondered what had happened to her. I scoured family history websites but to no avail.
It was only a chance search for her father in the British Newspaper Archive that I finally found out what happened to her. I found her father, James David Blyth, named in a death notice for an Ethel Chalk. All the other names and details in the notice matched up with my research. In fact her sister Mabel’s husband (mentioned in the notice) was a steward on the Titanic, but that’s another story. At some point she must have changed her name.
It turned out that Ethel took her step-father’s surname (after her mother had remarried) and returned home where she died after a long illness. Had she returned from Canada? Perhaps she never did join her husband. Maybe she stayed in the UK to be nearer her daughters? That I’ll probably never know.
contributed by Estelle Calfe