Over the Christmas break have had a little time to go over some of my own family tree. On my father’s side my lovely, belated uncle Ian Wigston had spent many years researching the Wigston line from Kent to Cumberland and then to Ireland before coming to a halt. Because he had done so much and had hit a brick wall with Irish records I had not previously paid much attention to that side of the family but now seemed a good time to have a deeper dig at it.
For some reason my attention was caught by my first cousin twice removed – not even a direct ancestor but his name popped up a couple of times. This was Thomas Wigston, born in 1881 in Fusehill Workhouse in Carlisle, UK. He is listed in the census with his mother, Sarah Ann Wigston aged just 17 and listed as a sewing machine worker.Oh dear! Curiously enough Sarah Ann appears in the census twice – once as an inmate in the workhouse and then also at home with parents William and Isabella Wigston. To me this indicates that maybe she had not been totally shunned by the family and maybe the door was half-open for her to return once she had found a home or disposed of the newborn Thomas…we may never know!
Thomas has proven hard to track down but I need to order some certificates to be sure of his journey. However he does pop up in the 1911 census married to Hannah Jane Wigston (nee Richardson as her father was conveniently staying with them on the night of the census). They had been married a year and had a 1 month old baby boy named William. By now Thomas was aged 30 and a fuelman on the railways in Carlisle.
Curious about what Thomas had been up to before marrying relatively late in life I searched for military records and as luck would have it his WWI records have survived and show that he served previously for 12 years in the Army Service Corps.So that is what he had been up to! Even more curious is that he had listed as a distinguishing mark a tattoo on his arm with a bust of a woman and the name S.I.S.S.I.E. – who was Sissie or was this done as a drunken dare or joke reflecting his nature as judged by his peers?!
Thomas then spent the war like a game of snakes and ladders being promoted and demoted being AWOL on occasions but also being mentioned in despatches.
It’s funny how some people just prick your curiosity and Thomas is one of those. I am lucky to have found the records I have so far but it’s made me greedy for more. Think he will be my personal 2017 genealogy project. As New Year approaches I raise a glass to you my Thomas!