Week 8 - Heirloom #52ancestors

Initially when thinking about what to write about for this weeks post, I couldn't think of any heirlooms that had been passed down in the family. I them thought of my grandmother's letters and photographs.
When my grandmother Ilse Frankenbusch left her home in Vienna, Austria in 1938, she left behind her mother Hulda and grandmother Gisela. These letters are from Hulda and Gisela to Ilse through out the war and tell of the hardships that they faced in exile as they were Jewish.
I inherited these letters in 2004 after my grandfather died and my father and his sisters had no idea that they existed until I went through them all. My aunt used the letters to tell the story of their war time experiences which has been published and is called "Escape to Auschwitz".
In January this year I donated the letters to the Wiener Library in London. The Wiener Library is the world's oldest Holocaust Library and I know they will be looked after and they will allow the letters to b…

Week 7 - Valentine #52ancestors

A bit late posting last weeks post, but here goes.

The theme last week was Valentine and my blog post relates to my grandparents Sidney Waterfall and Ilse Frankenbusch and how they met.

In 1945, as World War 2 was drawing to an end, my grandfather Sidney Waterfall had been repatriated back to the England after spending most of the war as a POW in Stalag VIIIB Lamsdorf. He had survived the Long March and was repatriated home. On arriving back in England he was sent to an Army camp near Colchester, Essex for rest and recuperation.

It was while he was in the camp that my grandmother Ilse Frankenbusch, who was a member of the ATS was also at the camp. One day while Sidney was in the swimming pool, Ilse wandered by and she thought that Sidney was handsome so she decided to dive into the pool almost on top of him in order that they had an excuse to talk.

The rest as they say is history, in January 1946 they married and in the November their first child was born. Sidney and Ilse were togethe…

Week 6 - Favourite Name


Most of the forenames in my family tree are fairly similar, I have generations of John's and Richard's, with some Seymours on the Waterfall side. But I think my favourite forename has to be on my father's maternal line. It is the name of my grandmother Ilse Frankenbusch, so much so in order to remember her I have given the name Ilse to my daughter as a middle name. I have written about Ilse before here and here.

I suppose my favourite surname has to be the Waterfall name as that is my name and I get a lot of comments about how unusual it is. This does help when I come to researching my family history as there are not huge numbers of Waterfalls around. It also makes a change from the Williams, Evans and Jones names that are on my maternal line.

Week 5 - In the Census

A bit belatedly, I signed up to the #52ancestorschallenge so I am starting on week 5. Over the years of researching my family history I have gathered a lot of information on the Waterfall side of my family and it has turned into a One Name Study. 
So here is a graph to show how many Waterfalls there were in each census for England and Wales from 1841-1911

In 1841 the most people with the surname Waterfall are in Yorkshire with 42, followed by Derbyshire with 36 and Staffordshire with 26. By 1911 Derbyshire has 159 people with the surname Waterfall, Yorkshire 134 Waterfall and Nottinghamshire with 67.
During April, Sidney's letter home were concerned mainly with football. The team he was in were playing well, and out of six games played, his team had won four and drawn one and were second in the league, but only one point behind the leaders. The following letters are from the 25th April and 2 May 1943

Here are a couple of letters that Sidney sent home to his family in March 1943.

With the start of February, Sidney Waterfall writes home to his family and in this letter, it shows the importance of the Red Cross and how he is spending his free time, when he wasn't working in the camp hospital.