My mother’s paternal grandmother was unknown to her. Indeed for many years apparently, she and her siblings thought that their grandfather’s second wife was their grandmother. So poor Ellen was the forgotten grandmother.
Her early life, so far is a complete mystery to us. The most likely possibility at the moment is a child born in the New Forest of a single mother, and brought up in the Workhouse. But really this is a complete leap into the dark. Frankly we know nothing of her origins and very little of her later life either. Her story will be very short.
The portrait is by Grant Duncan and was painted a little later than Ellen’s life, but it is fairly timeless and shows a woman for whom life was hard.
b ca 1839
m James Henry Ellis ca 1871
d 19 September 1885 Portsmouth
Frederick John 1873-1932
Birth certificates of all the children except Ellen
Scottish form of Helen meaning ‘light’
Ellyn, Elena Elin, Eleni