28 February 2009

I know it's not a leap year . . .

. . . but today's marriage involves my leap-year ancestor.

The Cambridge Independent Press gave the following report on 5th March 1954:-

Diamond Wedding
Mr & Mrs James Culpin, of Fen Drayton, celebrated their diamond wedding on Sunday. Mr Culpin is a native of St Ives and his wife (nee Miss Freeman) was born at Spitalfields, London. They were married at Hemingford Grey Church on February 29th 1894. Mr Culpin, who is 86, was a blacksmith at Fen Drayton for many years and was Clerk to the Parish Council for over 40 years. Mrs Culpin is 85 and they have lived at Fen Drayton for 51 years. Both are in fairly good health. The event was celebrated on Sunday with a family reunion of 26 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Over 50 messages of congratulations were received, including one from the Queen.

James Culpin, born 29th February 1868 in St Ives, was the second son of Millice & Naomi (nee Fordham) and, as the newspaper report says, he kept up the family tradition of becoming a blacksmith.

So far, so simple, but his marriage to Lydia completely confuses the orderly layout of my family tree. How? Well, Lydia was the daughter of James & Eliza (nee Humphrey) and, if the latter couple seem familiar, it's because they are also the parents of yesterday's birthday girl Esther and therefore, if you've been keeping up with the Freeman family genealogy, it will be clear to you that Lydia is the sister of my great-great-grandfather. And James is the brother of my great-grandmother. So the pair of them are from different generations yet James is still a year older than his wife. And they're both related to me twice - each in their own right and also as each other's spouse!

James died later in 1954 and the Cambridge Indpendent Press again gives us more biographical detail:

Late Mr James Culpin
In the death of Mr Culpin, at the age of 86, Fen Drayton has lost one of its lifelong residents. He spent his life until retirement as the village blacksmith and was Clerk to the Parish Council for 48 years, only resigning from this office two or three weeks ago.

Lydia lived for a further nine years, dying in August 1963, still in the village of Fen Drayton - but more about her on her birthday in May.

They had six children, three sons and three daughters, between 1895 and 1907; the first four were born in Hemingford Grey but a quick bit of digital addition suggests that the younger two will have been born in Fen Drayton - another thing I've only just realised.

It's getting more and more useful to re-visit some of these ancestors of mine - and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who hasn't looked at their own data for a while.

Finally for today, and by no means least - Happy Birthday Mo!

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