Researching one’s family can be a lifelong hobby – especially as there are so many different branches of any family to trace back. But most of us aim to have a finished ‘product’ which we can circulate within the family or a wider audience. So when to stop following up those distant relatives? My family story is centred on the Burnley family and their wool mill in Gomersal, Yorkshire and I have made many trips there to find out more. However, my great great grandfather, George Herbert Burnley (1841-1917) went into farming and by 1879 had left Yorkshire to farm near Newark. It doesn’t actually alter the focus of my story as his only son, Thomas Lockwood, returned to Yorkshire to join the family business and his son was apprenticed to do the same, but it is a tantalising byway.
George Herbert Burnley was at Lower Hexgreave farm from about 1879, then Python Hill Farm by 1885 and retired to Farnsfield village by 1891 at the rather young age of 50 but the why and how will forever remain a mystery. I can speculate that the long downturn in farming meant his son saw no future in it and/or that his childless uncle offered him a role in the family mill business but will never know for sure. In contrast to the Yorkshire ancestors who stayed in one place, this ‘rolling stone’ left few traces. I have no photo of him – only some ugly silver plated cutlery monogrammed with his initials and a huge heavy Bible which he gave to his only son on his marriage in 1892 with best wishes for his welfare – a rather stilted message.
GH moved to Llanfarfechan in Wales some time after 1906, with his wife Emma. His two unmarried daughters joined him and died there themselves in due course. I did commission some research from the Nottinghamshire archives recently which turned up very little. I doubt I shall travel to Wales to explore further especially as it is peripheral to my main story and a long way to go. So this ancestor will be ‘parked’ but not entirely forgotten.