Six Word Saturday: ANZAC Day remembrance — Gray brothers, Hororata

Eric Andrew GRAY: 20 October 1895 – 27 March 1918.

Killed in action during the Spring Offensive in the Somme Valley, France.

Eric Andrew GRAY: record from y cenotaph database

Wallace Oliver GRAY: 21 December 1892 – 19 October 1981

Wounded in action, Christmas Day 1917. Subsequently contracted illness and declared unfit for military service. Discharged 21 May 1919.

Roger Andrew Gray with his parents, Merle Matilda Wright and Wallace Oliver Gray. c. 1956. Photo: Gray-Dove family archive.

Wallace Oliver Gray, far right of photo, with wife Merle Matilda Wright and son Roger Gray. c. 1956. Photo: Gray-Dove family archive.

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Hand-written cards of remembrance by Auckland school children. Thousands of these have been placed together to form the shape of a gigantic poppy on the field at Auckland Domain. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

 

Wordless Wednesday: getting ready to explore another branch of the family

Wallace Oliver Gray (far left) and Meryl Matilda Wright (second from right); the big T's grandparents and a branch of the family about whom we know little. Wallace Gray served with the NZ Expeditionary Force in France in WWI. Despite being wounded, and suffering major illness - he returned home. Photo: Gray family archive.

Wallace Oliver Gray (far left) and Meryl Matilda Wright (second from right); the big T’s grandparents, and a branch of the family about whom we know little. Wallace Gray served with the NZ Expeditionary Force in France in WWI. Despite being wounded, and suffering major illness he eventually returned home. Photo: Gray family archive.

Ephemeral traces of lives past

Invitation to my great grandparents 50th wedding anniversary party. Image: Ramsay-Leslie family archive.

Invitation to my great grandparents 50th wedding anniversary party. Image: Ramsay-Leslie family archive.

For archivists, ephemeral has a specific meaning. Ephemera refers to a class of documents which are not originally intended to be preserved.  Invitations, postcards, tickets, pamphlets and greeting cards would all fall into this category.

That many of these items are preserved (in collections of ephemera) is due to the fact that they can offer valuable historical insights — and are often incredibly interesting. Who has never rummaged amongst the old postcards in second-hand shop and wondered why Jock and Mary thought Eileen worthy of a postcard from Ostend? Or opened a library book, found a first class British Rail ticket from Stevenage to Edinburgh and wondered about the person who made the trip (actually that was me, going to visit a sick aunt).

Over the last few years, my mother has been sending me photographs and other items that she has treasured over the years. Since I’ve become the family historian, she feels happy to pass them into my care. The invitation above is one of the things she gave me.

My great grandparents, Catherine Black and Alexander Cruden got married as pregnant teenagers (he was 17, she 18). They remained married for 62 years, until my great grandad’s death in 1970. I’ve written about them in the past (Getting a telegram from the Queen, On growing old together), partly because I have quite a lot of information about them, but mainly because they were around when I was a small child and I remember them with enormous affection.

It’s lovely then, to have this little piece of ephemera from their lives. The invitation is addressed to my grandparents David Ramsay and Margaret Cruden.

I also have a couple of photos from the event; one of my great grandparents, the other of my mother and a couple of cousins. These provide not only interesting insights into social customs (cups and saucers at a party — these days I’d expect wine glasses), but are also precious memories of people I love.

My great gran, Catherine Black and her sister Caroline. Photo taken at my great grandparents Golden Wedding anniversary. Also in the shot my great grandad, Alexander Cruden and (far left) his brother in law, James Fowler. Photo: Leslie family archive.

Photo taken at my great grandparents Golden Wedding anniversary. Left to right James Fowler (husband of my great grandfather’s sister Betsy), my great grandad, Alexander Cruden, my great gran Catherine Black and (far right) her sister Jessie. Photo: Leslie family archive.

Also taken at my great grandparents anniversary party; Elizabeth Leslie (nee Ramsay) with niece Margaret Ladyka and nephew Robert Guthrie. Photo: Leslie-Ramsay family archive.

Also taken at my great grandparents anniversary party; Elizabeth Leslie (nee Ramsay) with niece Margaret Ladyka and nephew Robert Guthrie. Photo: Leslie family archive.

This post was written for the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: ephemeral.

Ephemeral