The Ancient Egyptians believed that a name was key to everything. To remember and speak a person’s name after their death meant they could live forever. Though not exactly the same, I like to think that researching and writing about my family tree is another way to bring my ancestors and their stories back to life.
I know I’ve mentioned it in previous posts but there are so many who have very bare details on my family tree. They die young and I wonder why. It’s true that mortality rates left a lot to be desired in those times but still my curiosity overrides everything. It’s not easy for me to simply accept that an end is an end. I want and need to know more.
Henry Crampton was one of these people. He was born in 1828 in Kent, England and his early childhood was spent growing up in the town of his birth, living with his family at Upper Buckhurst Farm in Cranbrooke. When he was 14 years of age, his parents decided to immigrate to Australia. He, along with his father, William, his mother, Ann and all his brothers and sisters left England on the ship “Diadem” and arrived in Australia (in particular, Australind) on 10 April 1842. I hardly have any information about his life in Australia. I can assume that he remained in the South West as most of his family did and that he probably worked on farms. He never married and he died in Bunbury on 19 August 1882 at the age of 54.
Ordinarily one could assume that finding information on a person’s death meant that that was the end of the story. This wasn’t the case for me. I looked at the age of Henry’s death and something didn’t sit right. Why did he die so young? Was he sick? Was there some other contributing factor? I eventually found my answer thanks to the NLA Australian Newspapers website and unfortunately it was an answer I’d rather not have read.
Henry wasn’t sick and nor was there an accident. He had killed himself. The article describes him as being of impared mind but still, I can’t help but wonder what life would’ve been like for him. Was he lonely? Were things so bad that he felt he had no other option? The article never mentions whether a note was left and states that witnesses could shed no light on the motives which led to the action. Nevertheless, my heart goes out to my Great Great Uncle and even though his story is one of pain, I still felt that it had to be told. Perhaps during his lifetime he longed for some sort of acknowledgement which he never really received. I wish I knew more of his story (and perhaps someday I will) but I hope that at least this is a start in giving a person I never knew but who still mattered, a chance to be heard.
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website at http://www.lifeline.org.au/.
- Ancestry.com. 1841 England Census [database on-line]. Class: HO107; Piece 472; Book: 9; Civil Parish: Cranbrooke; County: Kent; Enumeration District: 6 7 8; Folio: 13; Page: 24; Line: 1; GSU roll: 306867.
- Australind Family History Society website – http://members.iinet.net.au/~alindfhs/
- Western Australian online registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages – http://www.bdm.dotag.wa.gov.au/
- The West Australian (online); Tuesday, 29 August 1882; Page 3 (http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/home).