Grave spotting in Rothwell, more tales of family tree searching

Another weekend, another visit to a church to look for ancient relatives. Looking through my grandfathers’ maternal line there’s over 100 years of people being baptised, married and buried at Rothwell Holy Trinity church. To me that’s fascinating and surely a trip to the church will reveal lots of information. Surely??

Sadly not. The graveyard has not been in use since 1920 and I think that was probably the last time the council did any up-keep of it. The cemetery is in bad shape and I’ve included some pics in this blog. I can understand that old closed graveyards are way down on the priority list of things that need looking after however it’s no good to the budding genealogist when they have to chop through undergrowth like Indiana Jones cutting his way through the jungle. In some areas the reed-like weeds were shoulder high and many of the stones had been broken.

Should I ever win the lottery I’d pay to have the area cleaned up. Perhaps that way I’ll finally be able to see where my 7th great grandfather is buried. I actually quite enjoyed wandering around the cemetery despite ending cup covered in buds from the weeds. I lost count of the times I ended up apologising to long dead people for accidentally trampling on their graves. Even amongst all the weeds and broken larger graves there were smaller ones dotted about.

We had a little look around the church but unlike last week we were unable to find anyone with local knowledge although we were told the parish records were available for a few short hours per week. So it looks like a day off work to go back for a second visit.

In more positive news I’ve managed to trace this line all the way back to 1409 and my 16th great grandfather. Henry IV was on the throne and kick-starting the War of the Roses between the York’s & Lancaster’s. Could this grandfather have been a peasant struggling to work his landlords’ farm? Did he have a trade in the village or as he came from Wakefield; did he have a stall in the market town as it was? One of the things I’d like to do is find out more about the times of the people I’m finding although sometimes it’s easy to get sidetracked by the things we find.

For now I’m going back to basics. I think I’ve found enough as I can online. The other 3 lines of my grandparents are proving difficult to get started with so I’ve ordered a few birth certificates to see if that can help. There’s confusion as two great grandfathers were related but trying to search for them as brothers as we originally thought isn’t working. Hopefully the birth certificates will open this line up a little. That’s the next step so until they arrive the search is on hold for the minute. But I feel like a detective desperately trying to find solutions. It’s like trying to solve a difficult puzzle, moving all the pieces around until it finally starts making sense.

Until next time…