Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mini-reunion, and Frank Crowl

There hasn't been much happening on this blog recently, nevertheless I haven't forgotten about it!

We had a mini-family reunion in Mosgiel for Paul Stokes' 60th birthday some months after the actual event: it was to have been in September (which was still late) but the Christchurch earthquake interrupted Mary Fraher's preparations, as well as the fact that she got swine flu in that month. It finally took place in November, with a smaller number of people than originally intended. It was still a good catch-up, and invariably on these occasions bits and pieces of family history and small events from our various lives are shared.

On another tack, I received an email the other day from the Canadian, Alan McGowan, a chess player and chess historian who writes for a magazine called Chess Scotland. Alan and I had had some conversation on an earlier occasion about my father and chess, but this time he was alerting me to an online article that Edward Winter, a chess historian, had uploaded. It included the myth that Frank Crowl had been born in Melborne and brought up in Shanghai - where he learnt chess. There was a statement towards the end saying that he hadn't been born in Melborne, but Surrey, England.

I wrote to Edward and told him about the fact that my father had grown up in London, attested to by his brother, Reg. Edward came back wondering if I knew my father's birth date, (he knew the year, 1902) as it wasn't mentioned in any of the information he had. I discovered it wasn't on the family tree, which surprised me, and I thought I didn't have it.

This morning I woke up and thought: I've got my parents' marriage certificate; the birthdate will be on there. Nope, it wasn't, only the fact that my father was 40 when he married, in 1942. Searched through the various papers in the old tin box that such stuff has been kept in for as long as I can remember, and father's birth certificate. Born on the 24th August, 1902, in the registration district of St Pancras, with the sub-district of Kentish Town. I have no idea why I haven't put this information on the family tree before....just one of those things!

Furthermore, on the birth certificate, it says that his name is Frank, rather than Francis, which I'd assumed.