Posted by: Christine | June 6, 2012

Jubilee Inspiration

One of the wonderful things about family history is how events can suddenly inspire a breakthrough in your research.

A couple of days ago I blogged about my (tenuous) links with the royal family. The subject of royal jubilees and my family re-kindled in my brain a story I had heard of my grandfather winning a baby competition at some jubilee celebration. I checked my records and discovered that he was born in 1887.

Birth Certificate of Horace Victor Madder in 1887

The event must have been Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, so I had a look for a newspaper report in the British Newspaper Archive site. I found a long report in the Chelmsford Chronicle of 24th June of the celebrations in Springfield.

There was a service in the village church and a plane tree was planted.  

Springfield Church with Jubilee Tree in foreground

There was a lunch for nearly 1500 parishioners of roast beef and mutton, “with hot plum puddings and good old English ale, or mineral waters for those who might prefer them”. Each man received an ounce of tobacco and there were various amusements and sports, “the band meanwhile playing on a gaily decorated platform”. At four o’clock the children of the parish, with some mothers, sat down for tea. One of the features of the day was a show of babies born in the parish in the past year.

Extract from Chelmsford Chronicle on 24 June 1887

Mr H Smith was my great-grandfather – for some reason he called himself Smith, rather than Madder. My grandfather was the winning baby.

This account might have stopped there if it were not for a tweet yesterday, I think from @findmypast. It mentioned the number of children registered with the name Jubilee in 1897.

Suddenly the penny dropped – was this why my grandfather was given the name of Victor? It was not a name that had appeared in the family before and as number nine his parents must have been desperate for names – his brother born in 1885 was Harold Randolph (after their address?)

As can be seen from the date I purchased my grandfather’s certificate, I have known his full name for nearly 40 years, but until now it never occurred to me to ask “Why?”

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