Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hunting for George Part 1


Just a note at the beginning to say that unlike some of my previous Blogs this research is very much still in progress. Where I know 100% that it is a fact I will state so. George Ernest Wright was my Great Granddad on my Mum's Nanna's side. He was born in 1884 in Lincolnshire.[Fact] My Uncle told me that he served during the Boer War and was on a small boat that helped with the rescues at Dunkirk. This instantly intrigued me. For those who aren't familiar with these pieces of British history here is a brief summary.

The Boer Wars were fought in the late 1800's and last Boer War was from 1899-1902. It is this last war that my Great Granddad George will have fought in. The last war was fought to regain the Boer Republics as British colonies. During the latter stages of the war the British rounded up the Boer families into concentration camps. While intended to be different to the use of concentration camps by Germany during and before world war 2 it never the less had a very similar affect. The Boers who were will fighting hit the supply trains that were due to bring food and hygiene supplies to the people in the camps and the result was very often disease, starvation and death. It was also this war that led to Britain seeking out additional allies and making more binding treaties. A condition that would lead in large part to the onset of world war 1.

Dunkirk is considered one of Britain's greatest memories. At the onset of world war 2 many French and British forces were trapped in the city of Dunkirk. They had no where to run and only the English Channel at their backs. Winston Churchill called for the British people to help with a massive evacuation of all troops from Dunkirk and called for a National Day of Prayer as the evacuations took place. Over the course of the next couple of days over 300,000 troops were evacuated. Fisherman and boat owners from all over England sailed their boats down to Dunkirk and helped the Royal Navy rescue all of the soldiers stranded. Because of the success of this evacuation Britain and France maintained most of their military men and were able to continue waging war despite the bleakness of the situation after Hitler conquered France and mainland Europe. Great Granddad George Wright took his own boat to help with this evacuation. Who wouldn't want to know more about this person?

I remember when I was younger, having a conversation with my Nanna about how her family had once lived in the small nearby village of Binbrook. Sure enough, George was born to James and Hannah Wright in Binbrook (Formerly Westerman) in 1884. [Fact] From this point the waters become a little more murky. The 1891 census doesn't show George living with his parents, but it does show an Ernest. I once read that the reasons we have middle names is so that "A child can know when they are in trouble." I might change that to; "So that a genealogist can know he's confused."




Since George's middle name was Ernest it isn't a complete leap of faith to believe it might be the same person. After checking with a friend who has been doing genealogy much longer than I, he said it was quite possibly the same person. In his own research his ancestors often changed from first to middle names in the census etc. He finished by saying, "If the age is right, it's probably the right Wright." I liked that quote so I have included it!
So in 1891 Ernest Wright is listed as six. Depending on the month it was taken he could very well have been born in 1884. However neither Ernest or George are present during the 1901 census. For that matter neither is James. His father James seems to have died in 1900. If George joined the military and fought in the Boer War he will have likely joined by 1899. So the next stop is to see if any military records can shed light on this - while emailing my Uncle to see if he can shed any further light on it. That research will have to wait for another blog!

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