March 6, 2010

Sepia Saturday - Great-Grandfather Brooker

I know very little about this guy. He's my great-grandfather on my mother's side. Some people just seemed ashamed or oblivious of their past and my own Grandfather was guilty of that; he never said much about his own dad or mum. This is the only image I have of him.

William Brooker was born in 1874. When he was 17 he was working as a lathe worker at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich. He had brothers who were twins, Alfred and Harry. One or some combination of the three brothers fought at the 2nd Boer War.

William married Mary Ann Sturman who had been born in Barbados as her father was a sea-captain and through some twist his wife traveled with him. Mary Ann's sister was born in Nova Scotia. According to records, William and Mary Ann were married in the March quarter of 1900. On December 31, 1900 my granddad was born. I'm guessing the portrait above is from his wedding day.

In 1901 William was living with his in-laws at 35 Hill Street Woolwich and working in the Woolwich Dockyards as an arsenal machinist. By 1911 he was an Engine Fitter, probably at the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham. I find Google Street Maps a lot of fun when I'm researching my family in England. Don't tell,  but I walk right up to my ancestors houses and have a look. Unfortunately in William's case, the street addresses I have for him are long gone.

My Great Grandfather was an excellent amateur boxer. This was a fact he kept hidden from his children until they were grown lest they want to follow in his footsteps.

I think he's handsome.

For other participants in Sepia Saturday please clink here.

13 comments:

Giulia said...

He is rather good looking. And now, I shall leave & be back. You Sepia Saturday people are cutting into my productivity--you're all so very interesting. Much more so than anything I can make up. Certainly.

xo

Leah said...

Oh, very handsome! Really rather smoldering!

Great details, especially that he was a secret boxer. Good idea to use Google street maps for ancestry research. I wonder what I can turn up that way.

willow said...

William Brooker IS handsome. I love that you "I walk right up to my ancestors houses and have a look". Oh, the joys of cyberspace!

The Silver Fox said...

Hm. You said you know "very little" about him, but you told enough to keep my interest. Well done.

Poetikat said...

Handsome, yes! I've done a bit of that walking right up too. Discovered something called vpike?

I just noticed about your new blog and shop. Brava, my friend! Well done! (Off for a visit now.)

Kat

P.S. I'm putting my poetry together for publishing as soon as possible. If you don't see my for days at a time, that's why.

Hels said...

Do you ever watch the programme on tv called Who Do You Think You Are? The participants are usually moved to tears, once they start delving into the lives their grandparents and great grandparents lived. What a shame those late 19th century people didn't leave us detailed letters and photos.

Laura in Paris said...

It's fortunate that you were able to put together so many details!
And yes, he's handsome.

Barry said...

HI is good looking and certainly looks as if he could handle himself. A guy you'd certainly want on your side in any conflict.

PattyF said...

He is indeed a handsome man. Isn't it frustrating when we know just enough about someone to make them interesting, but not enough to make us feel we know them to any degree? I like that you do the Google map, thing, too. Makes the past just a little more "real," doesn't it?

Barbara said...

Thanks for introducing us to William Brooker. Handsome, indeed and what a great bow tie!

Valerie said...

Goodness me, he was a handsome guy. I hope the boxing didn't mar his features. I wish I knew enough about my great-grandparents to be able to talk about them. All the photographs I remember seeing as a child seem to have disappeared in the mists of time. Loved this post and, of course, the picture.

Bryce Digdug said...

Because I like your art and your blog's focus on art I've added a link to your blog on mine. - Bryce

vicki archer said...

Wonderful illustrations...Have a very happy weekend, xv.