Interpreting Cultural Sources Stage 1 Research – KITSON – 05.01.15

Further in my quest in finding my identity through my ancestors, I visited the grave of my Great Grand-parents William and Mary Kitson. it took extensive research to find which cemetery they may have been buried in as Mum had no idea if they were buried or cremated. On line records enabled me after a few hours to locate them both in the same grave about 6 miles from where I now live. I had managed to get the plot number and area of the cemetery on line plus a map of the various gardens within the cemetery. I was lucky that after only 5 minutes one of the cemetery workers came and asked if he could help, and I was stood literally in front of the plot at that time. There was no grave stone and only faintest impression of a grave being there in the soft grass that covered most of the cemetery.

red star marks the grave plot

red star marks the grave plot

This voyage of discovery I have been taking has been at times quite emotional and I have mentioned this in an earlier post. I was still surprised that in finding their grave I cried. I would have liked to sit a while and ponder but the area where they are is long forgotten by the families descendants and the only traffic going by are those looking for ancestry information or dog walkers I was told, so there was no bench to spend time in contemplation. I did manage to spend time with them and wondered what stone would have been put on their grave originally, if in fact there had been one. I then began to imagine what marker I could leave for them and in fact any interested family of my own? I dismembered about the ‘totems’ left by various tribes across the world to inform those who travel after them and I do know that Romany gypsies used a similar marking system. I need to find out more about this area. I feel it would be quite fitting to think of something new yet tied to their history and life.

no headstone but a wonderful view

no headstone but a wonderful view

The plot has a wonderful view out onto Sheffield, just missing the industry and focusing on fields and trees.

Once home and warmed I began to look at what it was that the Romanies would use as part of their messaging system and I came across this site;    which was exactly what I needed. Simply put by them on their home page ‘Patrin is the old word for the signposts travelling Romany Gypsies left for their travelling fellows – a bunch of twigs tied to a tree etc. These signposts were the language of travelers, maps and stories shared by a European ethnic community.’

The site above gives the definition of patrin as;

pat·rin noun \ˈpatrə̇n\

Full Definition of PATRIN

:  a handful of leaves or grass thrown down at intervals by gypsies to indicate their course

Variants of PATRIN  pat·rin or pat·terThis site Gives the definition of Patrin as;·an

Origin of PATRIN

Romany patrin, literally, leaf, from Sanskrit patra wing, feather, leaf; akin to Sanskrit patati he flies — more atfeather

In order to begin to know what I shouold include I need to put down what i know of them at this time. I decided to include as a list such information and flesh out areas as I feel the need. So, William Kitson;

Born 1855 in Castleford, Yorkshire, England

Lived in Knottingley at around 6 years old, Williams father George listed in census as a slip maker in the pottery

Lived in Leeds aged 16 as a boarder whilst working as a potter

Lived in Whitwood, Leeds 1881 with wife Mary. Both listed on census as working the pottery given job title as being potter

1901 census gives work as a general labourer in the wheelworks. Living in Masborough, Rotherham, Yorkshire

1911 census sees Williiam working as a bricklayers labourer  with 6 children and Mary his wife.

June 1935 William dies aged 80

Mum doesn’t know the circumstances of Williams death so I am awaiting a copy of his Death Certificate for those details.  Mum does know that after he died her Grand-Mother Mary moved around the family living in turn with each of her children. Mum says Mary didn’t seem like she could settle without William. They lived in their carved caravan until Williams death. Mary dies in 1949. One thing i have found is their moving around always tied to changes in potteries around where they camped. This would be the obvious need for many to move in search of work.

Both William and Mary were spiritualists and did readings for people. My Grand-Mother would also do readings for people using tea leaves and the flames in the fireplace. When Gran moved into her maisonette she read the gas fire for people. This always amuses me as it is definitely old skills being used in a contemporary setting so to speak. I also in the past have worked as a ‘reader’ though not professionally for a few years now. We ( the cousins) were often given games to play where we would I now know be practicing such skills. My Mum taught me how to make paper flowers using crepe paper, how to tie them to branches and sell them. Something William taught her. Whilst I have never traveled or lived in a caravan, in fact I hated holidays in caravans as a child, if I am not feeling well I do find I need to be out in nature especially among trees. Maybe this need for nature came from the travelling members of the family?






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