Ann Keast was my great-great-great-grandmother. Born in August 1825, she lived all her life in East Stonehouse (now part of Plymouth). Ann was baptised a Wesleyan Methodist and was the seventh child of parents Wiliam Keast and Rebecca Keast (nee Holt).
Ann never married but a liaison with a pianoforte maker called John Pool, a man who couldn’t or wouldn’t stay around, led to the birth of her daughter, Emily Keast, circa February 1846, when Ann was 20. Three years later Ann’s father died and by 1851 Ann, working as a dressmaker, was living with Emily at her mother Rebecca’s house. I like that despite having not, perhaps, listened to everything preached in the pulpit she wasn’t abandoned by her religious family.
I had hoped to find that Ann would marry despite having a child out of wedlock but was upset to find that she died in 1856 aged 30, leaving behind her mother and her 10-year-old daughter Emily. Granny Rebecca died in 1859, leaving Emily alone as a 12-year-old. By 1861 Emily was working by the age of 14 as a domestic servant for the Fenemore family, before going on to have 3 husbands of her own and a troubled end.
Ann was buried in Ford Cemetery in Plymouth.
My lesson of the day: always check the timelines of my subject’s parents – and even grandparents – to work out how their circumstances might have affected their early life.
However I have this week started using online Historical timelines which I’ve found really useful (and distracting):
BBC interactive timeline: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/interactive/timelines/british/index_embed.shtml
British Library historical timeline: http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/timeline/accessvers/
© Text copyright Lynne Black 19 March 2014