The blog post I wrote about my mysterious envelope addressed to Miss Elsie Townley caught the attention of a relative last week, who provided some more information about Elsie's family. Apparently, she wasn't the only one stricken with wanderlust! Nina Douglas, from Nottingham, England, shared the following in the blog comments, along with this photo of Elsie's sister, Minnie Townley Rule.
Florence Elsie Townley was my Great Grand Aunt! Her sister Minnie Townley did indeed marry Thomas George Rule who were my great grandparents. I have a photograph of Minnie, although not one of Florence Elsie, unfortunately. I never met my great grandmother, but I remember her daughter, my grandmother very well.
I believe our family has had the travel bug for many generations; Florence and Minnie's brother Hubert lived in Wisconsin (probably who she was visiting in 1920); and three of Minnie's children also left England for Canada and New Zealand. I have an aunt in Italy and an Uncle in New Zealand (Minnie's grandchildren) and my own siblings both live in Australia! However, I'm keeping my feet on the ground in England and enjoying tracing my family tree, no matter where in the world my ancestors ended up living!
I'm so pleased to be able to learn more about Florence Elsie, as I know very little about what happened to her after she left England. Thank you so much for finding out all this information and for publishing it online. Don't you just love the internet!
It was absolutely wonderful to hear from Nina, and to also learn a little more about the mysterious Florence Elsie Townley and the rest of her relatives. This family apparently had a sense of adventure, but that's actually a lot more common for British families than you might think. Even those genealogists whose direct ancestry in Britain goes back for generations often find themselves branching out to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South America, India, the United States, etc. to locate those all important siblings and other collateral relatives.
On a side note, the records do seem to indicate that Elsie first arrived in America to join her brother, Hubert Claude Townley, who in 1918 was living in Randolph, Wisconsin, the same place she was headed when she arrived in 1920.1 Sadly, Hubert, a school teacher, lost his life in 1934 when he accidentally walked into the path of a train while deep in thought.2
1. "U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project)," Hubert Claude Townley, 1918; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 August 2012); citing National Archives microfilm publication M1285, roll 169.
2. "School Teacher Killed by Milwaukee Train," Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican, 12 August 1934, page 3A, col. 3; digital images, GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 20 August 2012), Historical Newspapers. "Forest Hills Cemetery Burial Records Search," transcriptions, City of Madison (http://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/parks/cemetery/search.cfm : accessed 20 August 2012), database entry for Hubert Claude Townley.