Friday, March 26, 2010

Finding Thomas

Tait Family
Originally uploaded by midgefrazel
After the finding of my grandfather coming to America through Ellis Island on 1 April 1904 at age 20, I was overjoyed! I finally had an Ellis Island ancestor!
But, more questions have arisen since that time.
  • Why was he alone?
  • How did he meet my grandmother?
  • Why was he living in Edinburgh?
  • Why was he a car conductor?
  • Why did he leave Dalbeattie?
After searching the Scotland census indexes at in order to learn to more efficiently search and pay for the actual images at Scotland's people, I began to think that I didn't know where Thomas was between 1891 at age 7 with his parents and 1904 when he left for America. The key to some of these questions lie both in oral family history and in the 1901 census. After his mother died and his father remarried, Thomas was increasingly unhappy living at home. As it turns out, it isn't a wicked step-mother story at all but my father was right, my grandfather did not get along with his father. At least that's what he told my dad when asked. Family history often tells the truth.

Here he is living in Edinburgh with his step-mother Helen Tait's brother and his family in Edinburgh in 1901. Thomas was 17 (or possibly 15 or 16) when he left home and went to live in this city. In addition to this information, I found out the street address of this family.

It may be that my grandmother, whose family moved back to Scotland by 1901, lived nearby to this Tait family. As my grandmother is not listed in the household of her parents, she too was probably on her own somewhere in Edinburgh working as a domestic. I have not found her as yet but I will.

But, it is rewarding and sad to think that my teenage grandfather left home, and lived in a big city before coming to Westerly, RI. Was he adventurous or just angry with his family? We may never know. But, it does add to the Granite-in-My-Blood story!

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