A mystery on my hands
Our family is not one for having heirlooms. My parents had nothing much of value in their home and neither of them had family treasures such as old photograph albums to illustrate their heritage. So researching my family history is a bit of a challenge. I have the facts but not much of the back story. Thankfully, I began to record what little they knew before it was too late and a few of their memories got me off to a good start.
My Mum, however, did have one real treasure, which she gave to me.
The sampler had been passed to my Mum by her mother and she understood that it had been passed through her mother’s side of the family – but knew no more than that. So, one of my aims in finding more about my family was to identify who Mary Farthing was and how she fitted into my story.
Considering its great age, the sampler is in pretty good shape and years of being stuffed in a dark sideboard cupboard means the colours are still bright. When I was out judging a class of cross stitch pictures at Thornbury Show yesterday, I wondered how many of them will still be around in more than 250 year’s time, still looking good and provoking questions for their owner?
So, what has provoked this little flurry of excitement? What sent me to my cupboard to retrieve the sampler and scan it into my computer?
The answer is, I have found Mary Farthing! Not only have I found her, she’s there on the correct side of my family with links to the people I’d expected her to be linked to. She’s not exactly a close relative: Ancestry.com identifies her as the 3rd great aunt of the wife of my 1st cousin 2x removed!
The bad news is that her dates don’t tally with the sampler. “My” Mary Farthing was born in 1769, rather too late to stitch a sampler in 1754.
One step forward, two steps back.
But I’m not done yet. “My” Farthing family lived in the area of Foston in the Wolds, East Yorkshire, where there are other Farthings to investigate. I have another lead from Google, which turned up this, which states that, “A tablet on the east wall commemorates Mary Farthing, who died in 1763.” Could this be Mary the embroiderer? I think I have some further investigations to make.
It’s not easy, but that’s the fun of researching family history, isn’t it?