Friday, 31 October 2008

Desperately Seeking Celia

Celia Limb, my great grandmother, disappeared for a while. For ages I couldn' t find her or indeed find out anything about her beyond 1907. According to my mother, after my great grandfather's death in a mining accident, she met with family disapproval and 'didn't last much longer' after he died. Not a lot to go on really.

She was born Celia Palmer Young in Ilkeston, daughter of Alexander Young and Rebecca (nee Webb). She was married, in January 1884, at the tender age of 18 years old to William Edward Limb who was 21 years old. The ceremony was held at the Ebeneezer Chapel in Ilkeston. From the 1891 census we find that the family were living at No 7 Chapel Street, Ilkeston, Derbyshire with four children Alexander (my grandfather), Alfred, Francis and Arthur. By 1901 William and Celia have moved to No 30 Church Drive, Shirebrook, Derbyshire and have three more children, Celia, Florence and Clara. One more child, Percy, would be born the following year.

I have written before about my great grandfather's tragic accident but after this event I knew nothing of what had happened to Celia. For quite a few years, because of my mother's words, I had thought she must have died soon after but Shirebrook Council's cemetery records did not include the burial of a Celia Limb. Quite a few years later I met over the internet and then in person a distant cousin and we were able to share information and bounce possible ideas off each other about what may have happened to Celia. One day I found on Ancestry two marriages for a Celia Limb within a year of each other. Thinking that both marriages must have been Celia's daughter Celia or that perhaps there had been a recording mistake in the records I dismissed it at first. Then something clicked and I mentioned it to my newly found cousin. What if she hadn't died but re-married? He took the plunge and sent for what he thought might be the right certificate out of the two and bingo - Celia did marry again. The search was on.

Given that her new husband, Arthur Fawden, was quite a few years younger than her and that they married from the same address I can see why, given the times, there would have been family disapproval. I'm guessing that to bring in a bit of income to help look after her younger children she took in a lodger and ended up marrying him. We will have to wait for the 1911 census to see if we can find out more. With this new information I was able to search for a date of death of a Celia Fawden and found one in the Doncaster area so I sent for the death certificate. She had died of a stroke on 4th July 1915 at 45 Chapel Street, Thurnscoe. So, where was she buried?

Again something suddenly clicked and I telephoned Shirebrook Town Council, who had been so helpful with other family burials there and just asked the question, do you have a burial for a Celia Fawden, I wasn't holding out much hope but I was stunned when they said yes, they did. When I asked what plot number they gave me a number one along from that of my great grandfather William Edward Limb, so she had been there all along, next to her first husband. Arthur Fawden had brought her home from Thurnscoe to be buried in Shirebrook. So when we all met for the 100th anniversary of William Edward Limb's death we knew that Celia was there too. Found after all this time.


  1. Ros, I was pleased to find your item about our elusive Celia. A good bit of detective work eh?

  2. Hello, fellow detective:) Hope I've got all the details correct and in sequence! Nice to hear from you.

  3. Ooooooh...such an interesting interesting story:)

  4. Hello and welcome, Lady Prism - thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed the detective story:)