|It was only a matter of time before he turned his attention to her, that she knew. Much as she tried to distract, send him off on other tracks, there would come a time when she could not evade the interrogation, when he would focus on her family with that intense drive, uncover all that he could. There was an inevitability to it, once the other trails had gone cold. After months of seeing him go through other people's details, investigating their lives, checking every detail, she'd known that she was next, that her family would not escape.|
The first sign that she was running out of time was a screen, unattended, the familiar names glaring out to her as she passed. She couldn't help herself, she gave a quick glance around, then headed towards the computer. She scanned her eyes across, but there was only a couple of names, no more. She could hear him returning, and scurried away from the screen, he mustn't know she was interested. It would only increase the likelihood of getting dragged in herself, she knew that.
She settled as near as she could without being obvious, and watched the screen gradually fill, change, flipping between programs too rapidly to follow. It was only when he was called away again that she could properly see the gradually increasing pool of data.
Mother : Josephine Maynard, nee Bettany, Author..."
A little square was filled with the name, then shortly after a photograph. She was intrigued and somewhat awed to see how much information he already had about her own mother, simply because of her writing. She was an obvious place to start, an easy target, even to the point of fan forums and copies of old out of print works being found on a simple Google search.
"Father : Jack Maynard, Doctor." was the obvious next step.
She was even more surprised this time by the results. Medical journals and old papers with his input, medal cards and old army service records. An old press clipping with information about him being questioned by authorities. She hadn't known about that, she had been born in a time when her parent's generation had been trying to forget the war. To see that her father was on official Nazi documents was quite chilling.
She had to go back to her chair, was nearly caught as he returned quite suddenly, but managed to make it look as though she had just got up, and was off on some errand, had no interest in the screen or his activities. She wasn't sure, but she wondered whether his head turned to follow her, whether he was trying to decide whether to begin the questions. She was determined not to break, to resist, but as the time went on she was tempted to move nearer and nearer to him, to see what he was doing.
She tossed and turned that night, unable to settle, wondering despite herself what he had managed to find out, where his quest would lead him. So began a dance, almost a game, to try to see more and more of the notes on the screen every day without getting caught. The notes were sometimes more intriguing than the fully collected information, for it showed a picture of his mind, how he was thinking.
"Aunt Hilda? Aunt Nell?? No links found - could be pet names for Lydia Maynard/Mollie Bettany/Margaret Russell?"
"Who is Marya Cecilia ? Appears on census and general school records suddenly aged 6, resident with Joey Maynard at some stage, disappears suddenly - died young?"
??Daisy?? Daisy derivative of Margaret? 2 x Margaret Venables, seems to be connected via James Russell? "Daisy" seems likely to be the daughter? Primula Venables resident with Russell family, "Daisy" resident with Maynards? Why?
Robin : Male / Female name? Appears on various records, again some stage lived Russells, other with Maynards. Occasionally described as "The Robin" in letters.??
She smiled to begin with, as he was clearly getting quite confused by the use of pet names, and the wide extended family. He would have heard her talk about her "Aunts", and also Daisy, but her mother's adopted sister was obviously causing him some confusion. The last bit gave her pause - what letters?
It was the letters that were her undoing, for she couldn't let the question go, and searched deeper in his files, until she found the link. Clicking on it, she was dismayed and thrilled in equal measure to find a fanpage for her mother, with copies of letters written by her. It was only a small site, but there were clearly several hundred Josephine M Bettany fans collecting and pooling their information there. Letters, interviews, descriptions of meeting the author, all mixed with old photographs and news clippings. Her mouth dropped open, and she became enthralled, there were so many little facts here, things she hadn't even known herself about her family.
In her amazement at the details these fans had gone into, she didn't see him return, and as he cleared his throat, she looked up at him with defocused eyes, before realising that she'd been caught, and going a deep red. He looked bemused for a moment, then spoke.
"Want to see?"
She could hardly admit to having already looked through much of it, so she simply nodded, and he happily drew up a chair and started to show her his findings, thrilled to have her interested at last. She smiled to herself at his excitement and gave in. He would be like a dog with a bone until this family tree was completed, and she knew that she would be asked question after question now that she'd shown an interest.
It wasn't so bad, after all, at least she was finding out things about her family along the way. She normally ran a mile from getting involved with one of his obsessions, for he would talk about railway memorabilia or details of train timetables from the 1950s for hours on end if given a chance. She gave herself up to the inevitable.
"Now one of the first places I looked was Ancestry.co.uk..."
This isn't quite what I was aiming for, but it will do !!
Chapter End Notes:
Inspired on Rememberance day when looking up medal records for WWI online for family tree research. It's quite scary what information is possible to find online ! You can decide which daughter it is, be interesting to know if people think of the same one as I did!