Amy at No Story Too Small has come up with a new challenge for 2014 - to write a post each week on a specific ancestor.
Martha Rawcliffe was my great grandmother Maria's youngest sister, born 20th January 1863, died 22nd May 1863. Yet her short life led to those perennial mysteries that make family history. such an absorbing hobby.
Researching the Rawcliffe family was my first venture into family history and I was puzzled by a number of issues.
Family hearsay always gave my great grandmother's name as Maria Rawcliffe of Hambleton, near Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire. But there was a puzzle in that many official records, such as her 1877 marriage certificate, the 1881 census entry, burial record and my grandfather's 1907 birth certificate gave her name as "Martha Maria". I sent away to the local Registrar for Maria's birth certificate c.1859 and outlined my confusion over her Christian name.
The puzzle does not end there, as both the Lancashire Online Parish Clerk Project (OPC) and Family Search record a Peggy Rawliffe, born 1861 to Robert and Jane, which means Martha would not be the seventh child but the eighth. Sadly Peggy only survived 16 days.
So baby Martha may have had only a short life, but her legacy lived on in the name of my great grandmother.
My great grandmother, Maria Rawcliffe (1859-1919)
Based on a previous posting of 2011
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