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  • Wendy Percival

Who's the mystery aunt?

While sorting out my large bundle of postcards over the past couple of weeks, I came across a mystery aunt.


My own great aunt, Hilda Griffiths, had sent a postcard to my grandmother from London. “Have had a wonderful time…” it read, “Will tell you more when I see you.” At the top of the postcard, above the message, she’d added: “Please let me know Aunt Sally’s address.”



Not recalling anyone called Sally, I went and checked the family tree to try to find the Sally in question.


Hilda had no less than 12 aunts – Mary, Mary Ann, Sarah Ann, Florence, two called Alice, Lily, Polly, Violet, Clara, Minnie and Eliza - but no one called Sally.


Then I recalled that Sally was often used in place of Sarah. Aha! Mystery solved! She must have meant Sarah Ann Astley, wife to my great-grandfather’s brother Jabez Griffiths.


But while I was congratulating myself on solving the mystery, I realised, on closer inspection, that Sarah had died in 1948 and Hilda’s postcard was dated 1954.


Who else could it be? Another brother of Hilda’s father on the tree was recorded as unmarried. Was that correct or had I missed his wedding, overwhelmed by searching through the plethora of Griffiths family members?


But no. It was quite clear that Thomas had never married. All the census returns showed him living with his parents when they were still alive and, afterwards, with his unmarried sister, Florence, until his death in 1944.


So who was Hilda’s Aunty Sally? The nickname of another of her many aunts? Someone she called “aunt” who wasn’t a relative, perhaps? Perhaps it’s a mystery I’ll never solve. Unless you've any suggestions...?


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