Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Last Sunday in England

I am so excited.  Only 11 days left until the 1940 census is released.  I've anxiously awaited this for the past year.  The census is released every 72 years, and the next one, the 1950 census, will not be released until 2022. I hope I am here to see it for that will be the first census that "I" appear in.  I will also be able to trace some of the children I went to grammar school with.  It's been so many years, and so many last names have been forgotten, and I just know this will jog my memory. 

(My great great grandfather is buried here.  He was only 21 years old when he died.)

On Sunday, I sat for awhile and worked some on my family tree.  Ancestry always notifies me by email when something of interest is found that might connect to my family, and it is then that I always go there and check out my 'hints'.  This time I had some hints for my great great grandparents from Norfolk, England, Richard and Harriet.  And it set me to thinking.  I remember how hard it was for me starting over when I was in my twenties.  It had to be so much harder for Harriet...and I am thankful everyday for this woman who was daring enough to say good-bye to the only home she ever knew to venture to a new world.  It was because of her that I was born. 

There is an old poem I found awhile back, that I would like to share with you. It reminds me so much of Harriet. This poem is so powerful, it made me cry.  After reading it, I can close my eyes and picture that little church in Stalham.  I can see Harriet as she stands over the tombstone of first husband, Richard, saying her good-byes, on that, her last Sunday in England, a tear trickling down her cheek knowing that she will not come this way again.  Dear Harriet, I lost all track of you after 1910 and know not where your grave stands, but one day I know I will find you.

The emigrants kneel in the old parish Church.
For the last time, it may be forever:
They scarcely had known that it would be so hard.
The ties of a lifetime to sever.

For the last time they look on the ivy-clad walls.
For the last time they hear the bells ringing.
'Twas there they were married, and now to that church
How fondly their sad hearts are clinging!

They listen once more to the good Rector's voice,
They will try to remember his teaching:
And hope they may never forget what he says,
As they look in his face while's he preaching.

That voice they have heard by the bed of the sick-
That face they have seen by the dying-
At the altar, the font, and the newly dug grave
The means of salvation supplying.

For the last time they stand where their forefathers names
They read on the headstones and crosses:
There are newly cut names: and others so old.
They are covered by lichens and mosses.

Then a last look they take at a green little mound,
Where one of their children is sleeping.
And gather a daisy that grows at the head-
Then turn away silently weeping.

The neighbours are waiting to bid them "God Speed"
To think of them each one professing-
At the gate of the churchyard the old Rector stands
To give them his fatherly blessing.

He placed in their hands the best of all gifts,
A Bible and Prayer book, at parting:
They could not say much, but he knew what they felt-
To their eyes the warm tear-drops were starting.

"Keep these in your heart" as he gave them, he said,
"And trust to the cross of Christ only:
Then the Lord will be with you wherever you go,
And then you need never feel lonely."

Author unknown


  1. A very touching post, my Dear.

    Best wishes, that you will eventually find the path to where Harriet's grave lies.

  2. Some of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching songs of love and loss are those old folk songs mourning the old country left behind. It's hard now in an age of airplanes and internet to grasp just how FINAL their goodbyes had to be.

  3. Had to stop by and say hello before I left the USA soil. ;0)

  4. I have just recently found your blog and find it so interesting. I love the poem you posted. I too have traced back my roots. I have found seven generations back to Scotland, where I came to a "dead" end. Someday when I have more time maybe I will try further.

  5. ~mary...this gave me chills as i was reading through the words of this poem...beautiful...much love light and blessings~

  6. Good morning Mary..... Oh my, the poem you shared with us today is so beautiful. Hopefully you will be able to trace "your family roots" back as far as your hearts desire.

    Have a wonderful day,