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  • Writer's pictureWendy Percival

Postcard from Auntie Lizzie

Following my recent mystery aunt post (see Who's the Mystery Aunt) I found another postcard sent from an aunt while organising my old postcards. Fortunately, this mystery aunt was rather easier to identify.

The message on the postcard reads, Dearest Niece, we shall probably come and see you in about a month’s time if all is well. Your loving Auntie Lizzie.

The postcard must have been sent in an envelope as there’s no postmark to give any clues as to the date.

"Dearest niece" would have been one of these delightful trio – my grandmother Winifred Griffiths (centre), and sisters, Hilda (right) or Clara (left).

Who’s Auntie Lizzie

It seems likely that “Auntie Lizzie” was Eliza Jane Baugh, born 1875, the wife of my maternal great grandmother’s brother, John Sinclair Baugh. (Eliza’s maiden name was Baugh, like her husband’s – though I’ve yet to establish their family connection. It’s on the To Do List!).

As Auntie Lizzie and Uncle John lived only about 3 miles away from my grandmother’s family home, it seemed odd to talk about coming to see her in about a month’s time, as though it involved a long journey.

But then I realised that I’d missed a huge clue! The wording on the front of the card reads: To Greet Your TWENTY-FIRST Birthday…

Which niece was the recipient?

So, who did the postcard belong to?

Clara would have still been living at the family home at the time of her 21st birthday in July 1917, working as a clerk for The Great Western Railway, so it seems unlikely the postcard was hers.

Hilda would have been 21 in April 1918. Up until February of that year, she had, like Clara, been working as a clerk with the GWR, but at some point during WWI, Hilda had joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, so it’s possible she'd been living away from home at the time of her birthday, 2 months after leaving the GWR. However, as I’ve not been able to find any WAAC records for her, I’ve no idea where she served.

But I think it most likely that the postcard was sent to my grandmother, Winifred. Her 21st birthday would have been in June 1923 when she was doing a summer season with Jack Audley’s Variety Group, in Morecambe. Perhaps Auntie Lizzie intended to go and visit her in Morecambe and see the show!

Winifred Griffiths - second from left

The story of the postcard

Returning to the postcard Auntie Lizzie sent... the photograph on the front is of Ivy Close, a British actress, once named by the Daily Mirror newspaper as "The World’s Most Beautiful Woman".

Ivy and her husband, Elwin Neame, established a film production company called Close Films and Ivy starred in a number of silent movies between 1914 and 1927. But her career ended when “talkies” were invented. It was thought that Ivy’s English accent was unsuitable for American audiences. Ivy was born in County Durham so perhaps she had a Geordie dialect which wouldn't have been understood on the other side of the Atlantic!

Ivy’s sons and grandsons continued the family tradition in the entertainment industry, becoming producers, directors and screenwriters.

Interestingly, her great-grandson, Graeme Neame, is an award-winning television producer. It was he who whispered an idea into the ear of writer Julian Fellows who would go on to create the enormously successful series, Downton Abbey, with Neame as its executive producer.


Click on the image to find out more about the Esme Quentin Mysteries!

3 Kommentare

Carolyn Retallick
Carolyn Retallick
29. Jan. 2021

Yes, Wendy, that is very true! We so often miss the thing that is staring us in the face!

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Wendy Percival
Wendy Percival
29. Jan. 2021

Oh goodness, Carolyn. That sounds like quite a headache! Some of our ancestors don’t make it easy for us, do they? Good luck! The funny thing about the “detective” work in this story is low long it took me to notice the BIG CLUE about the postcard being sent for a 21st birthday. Sometimes we get so caught up in one aspect or another, we miss the most obvious things. Doh! 🙄

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Carolyn Retallick
Carolyn Retallick
29. Jan. 2021

How fascinating! I love these little mysteries and the way we go about solving them! I am still trying to sort out which of two Thomas Everleys born in Heytesbury, Wiltshire is my 3x Gt Grandfather! They were both Thatchers by trade, both had fathers called Thomas and both died at the age of 82! But they are definitely two different people. I have done all I can online, so will have to go to check parish records, once I am allowed to travel! :-)

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