My Extraordinary Family

On Saturday October 5th our guest speaker was Carol Runciman in which she related her strange story of her family. This took her to places that she least expected to visit and the use of research materials that made possible the unusual outcomes.
The mother of Carol and her sister Marjorie had been adopted in 1914. Her birth name Lola was changed to Pat! She remembered being cared for by a lady. This lady had come into her life simply by coming into a room and being picked by her for adoption. At that time adoption was a very informal affair. Carol’s mum was taken to Northern Ireland by Mr and Mrs Burnett, grocer and baker.
Pat’s father, Ernest Vile, made the occasional visit to N. Ireland but these eventually declined. He apparently worked in the theatre which took him all over the country.
Carol and her sister decided to try and find out more about their grandparents. They had to find their way through the agencies od adoption, name changes and the unexpected links with N. Ireland Yorkshire and Boston, USA. Carol learned that meticulous attention to detail was important.
At first they traced their grandfather, Ernest, to a soldier’s grave in Flanders where he had died in 1918.
Continuing the research using they made contact with other family connections who had at first been unknown to Carol. From these new contacts it became clear that the Ernest Vile who was buried in Flanders was a different one from their grandfather, Ernest Vile. He had in fact continued with his work in the theatre and lived until 1944. Apparently, Ernest had married four times and it was through the offspring of some of these wives that Carol and her sister were able to trace relatives to Boston, York and Bradford. Carol visited the Burnetts in N. Ireland and a family called Lowther in Boston. Ernest Vile, who had changed his name to Vincent, had married his fourth wife, Violet Gould. There was a hint of bigamy in the story. However, it was reported that when Ernest died in 1944 a large crowd attended his funeral being regarded as a ‘pillar of society.’
This complicated story with its confusion of names and brick walls resulted in a satisfactory outcome for Carol and her sister. Carol’s delivery, with the help of her husband on the computer which provided a number of photos of people and places, was delivered in a light hearted and humorous manner with her emphasising the need to persevere and leave no stone unturned.