Sister or Sister in Law? – is this a postcard with a family connection!

Recently on a visit to Suffolk I was visiting an Antiques shop that had a few boxes of postcards for sale, being unable to resist a rummage I found a postcard of St Mary’s Church in Dennington in Suffolk addressed to a Miss E BANTHORPE.

Bells immediately rang in my mind, as I was knew that this surname had a connection to my own family tree and also to my Framlingham War Memorial World War 1 research in 2011 – although the card had been sent to an address in London the picture of Dennington church on the front was enough of a clue for me to make a purchase, to research in more detail once I was back at home!!

Banthorpe postcard Dennington 1906 front 23 1 16

Banthorpe postcard Dennington 1906 reverse 23 1 16

The postcard was addressed to a Miss E BANTHORPE, Rowanhurst, Atkins Road, Clapham Park, London SW and the message was:

Dear Sister, Just a card to let you know I received the little parcel quite safely for my birthday & thank you very much – we are all quite glad to hear Leah seemed better when you saw her. Love to you from us all Clara

On looking at my own family tree I could see that I had some E BANTHORPE’s from Dennington, including an Elizabeth, Emma and an Ellen. I then thought this would be quite easy, as I just needed to look for the one with a  sister called Clara!

However none of them had a sister with this name so I decided to investigate their brothers to see if any of them had married a Clara and bingo I found that George BANTHORPE, the brother of Ellen Mary BANTHORPE, had married a Clara STOPHER on the 29th October 1903 in Dennington in Suffolk.

Therefore Clara had addressed the card to ‘Dear Sister’ even though she was her sister-in-law and this term of affection showed real close bonds within the family.

I then looked to see if I could find Ellen Mary BANTHORPE, who I now though was the E BANTHORPE on the postcard and found her in the 1901 census living at Rowanhurst in Atkins Road in Clapham aged 33, working as a Housemaid Domestic.

Ellen Mary Banthorpe 1901 census

Source Ancestry: 1901 England Census Class: RG13; Piece: 468; Folio: 6; Page: 4. 

I then found her ten years later on the 1911 census still living and working at the same address:

Ellen Mary Banthorpe 1911 census

Source Ancestry: 1911 Census Class: RG14; Piece: 2280 

I also found the 1911 census in Dennington showing her brother George BANTHORPE living at Maypole Green, working as a Horseman on a Farm living with his wife Clara of 7 years and children Elsie Maud aged 4 and Doris Clara aged 3 months:

George Banthorpe 1911 census

Source Ancestry: 1911 Census Class: RG14; Piece: 10742; Schedule Number: 37 

Ellen Mary BANTHORPE worked for the SLEE family in London for many years and never married and died on the 11th April 1951 aged 83 – I also found a Probate record for her in 1952 which confirmed her address at death as 24 College Road in Framlingham in Suffolk, although she died at 29 College Road – maybe a relatives house?

Probate was granted to William George MEADOWS a shop assistant and this is where the BANTHORPE name links with the two MEADOWS brothers I had researched, that were killed in World War 1 and are named on the Framlingham War Memorial.

Framlingham War Memorial L to S

Ellen Mary BANTHORPE had ten siblings and her sister Elizabeth had married a Reuben MEADOWS – Reuben and Elizabeth had six children including Reuben MEADOWS who was killed on 28th September 1916, Ernest William MEADOWS who was killed on 22nd March 1918 and William George MEADOWS the person granted probate in Ellen’s will.

e w meadows

Ernest Meadows

Source: Framlingham Weekly News newspaper

Therefore William George MEADOWS was the nephew of Ellen Mary BANTHORPE.

How am I connected? Well using the Ancestry Relationship calculator Ellen Mary BANTHORPE is the great-aunt of husband of my 1st cousin 1x removed

I do also have a photograph that I was sent whilst  researching the Framlingham War Memorial,  which shows Elizabeth MEADOWS (nee BANTHORPE) with her surving siblings which means that one of the ladies sitting either side of her would be Ellen Mary BANTHORPE, the lady named on the postcard I discovered was sent to!

Elizabeth Banthorpe


It is always a great result to prove a connection between a postcard and my family tree, to see a relatives writing and to find out more about their day to day lives and hopefully I will be lucky enough to find more cards on my travels to research over the coming months and years!!

Simon LAST


This entry was posted in BANTHORPE, Dennington, MEADOWS, Postcard, Suffolk, World War 1. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Sister or Sister in Law? – is this a postcard with a family connection!

  1. What a wonderful find to fill another branch of your family tree! Thank you for sharing this with us, and thank you for following my blog.

  2. A great piece of serendipity and detective work. It’s always exciting when you stumble across a tantalising flash of a name in an antiques store and have that ‘should i?’/’shouldn’t i indulge?’ moment.

  3. Sheryl says:

    What an amazing find. . .it’s incredible how sometimes random pieces fit nicely into the genealogy jig-saw puzzle.

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