My oldest surviving relative on the Towell side of the family is my Auntie Rene, now aged 86 and still with all her marbles intact. Could a visit to her shed some light on this new family mystery?
Indeed it could! – Rene was able to confirm that both her grandfathers, Thomas and his brother Joseph Towell, had travelled to New York in search of work. Their search had proved unsuccessful and they came straight back. Not only that, but Rene was able to show me a picture of Thomas and his brother, both with magnificent handlebar moustaches and ill-fitting bowler hats perched on their heads, reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy!
I wonder what would have happened if they’d found work – would Thomas’ future bride have travelled out and joined him? If so, would I now be writing this from the other side of the Pond? Or would they never have married? Perhaps I wouldn’t be here at all…
Rene was surprised to hear that her great-grandmother was travelling as well and I hadn’t seen any record of Joseph travelling. So I’ll keep searching for Joseph as the next decades of the passenger lists go live on ancestorsonboard.com.