The photographs were taken on Wednesday 7th November 1923 outside the front door of "Sunnyside" in the village of Kingsbury Episcopi, Somerset, England. A total of 29 members of the family were present, while according to an American newspaper article another 34 American descendants celebrated separately in Schenectady, New York, USA.
Thomas and Anna Male raised 7 children to maturity, and all but one (Lilian m.Locke, who d.1915 of tuberculosis) are present in the first photograph, together with most of their spouses. The 3 eldest sons had long emigrated to Schenectady in America but even they returned to celebrate the diamond wedding anniversary, despite the lengthy sea voyage and the inclement time of year.
Of the couple's then-26 grandchildren, 10 were American-born (with a further 24 offspring of their own), and unable to make the long trip overseas with their parents. But of the English 16, all except one (Lilian Jeanes, who by all accounts was a "swat" and absolutely refused to miss a good day's schooling!) were present on the day and thus were photographed as a separate second group.
75 years later, in 1998 the 3 youngest grandchildren (Marion Winslade [left] now in Cornwall, her cousin George Male in Selsey, Sussex and his sister Dinah Hobbs in Woking, Surrey) could still recall elements of the event. And between their recollections of the day and the then 82-year-old age of their grandfather Thomas, the photographs link a total span of over 157 years of immediate family history from 1841 to the present day.
To accompany the photos a printable A4-size family tree extract (shown in miniature below) outlines the relationship of the older members, to which parts of the first photo have been matched. Further extracts are being prepared showing the grandchildren in family groups, and should be available for viewing soon. Copies of a complete Male family tree (covering
1650 - to date) are also available to order.
A local map of the Kingsbury Episcopi area in 1930 can also be viewed. It shows Kingsbury, Stembridge, Hambridge and other nearby settlements as well as features such as Burrow Hill, Earnshill House (where Anna [Priddle] Male's parents were once in service) and the Great Western Railway branch line through Martock (one of hundreds axed by Dr.Beeching in the 1960s).
A short history of Kingsbury Episcopi School 1878-1978 was handwritten by Thomas & Anna's daughter Kate Jeanes when in her nineties, and is well worth reading for an insight into the life and times of the village. Other short articles may be added soon about the extended Male family in this and other regions.
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