Thursday, 19 May 2016

Week 20: To Rescue Records From Oblivion

Family History as a hobby can be quite satisfying.  There is an element of mystery and a great feeling of elation when you find a missing document.  I can appreciate that not everyone is as passionate as I to learn more about the ancestors, however it does seem that in every generation there is at least one family historian.

This blog is about a Palin gentleman that was also interested in the family legacy and even though he died back in 1946, he has helped future generations know more about the family. 

Gilbert Walter Palin was born in a military family in Wales in 1862.  At the time of Gilbert’s birth, his father, Charles Thomas Palin, was a Major in the Indian Staff Corp and was on furlough for the first time after 20 years of continuous service in India.  We can find Gilbert in the 1871 and he is listed as pupil so we know that his formative years were in England.  In the 1881 census at the age of 18, he is with his father in England and yet his occupation given is 2nd Lieutenant in Denbigh Militia. He then went to India in December 1883.

I could itemize in detail what positions he held while in India, but I will let the picture below explain that.
excerpt from Book Two

What is import here is the man, himself, and how he helped future generations know more about the family.  Gilbert wrote not one book but two about the family military services.  While in India he wrote the first book and had it published in 1909.  In the introduction he writes what prompted him to write the book.

The object of the compiler is to rescue these records from oblivion and to provide members of the family with this information in a handy form.  The records show that the Palins have had their share of the burden of Empire.  They tell a tale of many years of expatriation from the Home Land, of separation between husband and wife and child of long weary journeying on land and sea; of years of sojourn in trying and dangerous climates of war and suffering; also of pleasant days of sport and travel and of happy times in Camp and Cantonment.

The second book was written and published in 1924 in England.  This time, Gilbert wanted to include other members of the family who also took part in serving their country during WWI.  I especially love the fact that he included the women in the family as well.  Whether they were nurses or wives of soldiers they were included!

A revision of the original history became necessary.  The object of the compiler is to rescue these services from oblivion, and to provide member of the families and their descendants with information in handy form.  Several members of the family of the late Arnold Palin, Esq., of Gloucester, have settled in Canada.

It is almost as if Gilbert was writing this second edition for us!  How forwarding thinking can you get!!!  It is as if he knew that sometime in the future, people would wonder about the family history and he has given a gift to us all!

Gilbert was very interested in the family history and wrote many letters to his cousins.  We are very fortunate to have copies of some of the letters that he wrote to cousins here in Canada.  In one of the letters dated 1938 he writes of finding out more of the history of the family with another distant cousin.

In the new year (1938) Honours Gazette I read the name William Palin ELDERTON for a Knighthood – I think Knight Bachelor not one of the Orders lot. I looked up his name postal address. Here they are: Sir William Palin Elderton CBE (Companion British Empire Order) FIA, FFA, Chairman of the British Insurance Association, Actuary & Manager of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, 19 Coleman Street, London E.C. 2. I wrote to him. This has produced several letters between us about the several Palin families descendants of the William Palin a merchant of girdles in London 17th century – who came from Alton, Cheshire. He founded Alms houses which I believe still exist in London city today. A lane in London City is named Palin Lane. Sir William is interested in the genealogy of the Palins. He has collected a lot of information about them. I sent him a lot more of my own collections & also several Millicent Cox sent me.

Before my late brother, Major General Sir Philip Charles Palin K.C.M.G., CB, died in Hora – His first wife Nina pre-deceased him – his second wife’s first husbands name was LOVE. He was a doctor. Her name is Gladys – he had collected a mass of information about us Palins commencing with the William Palin the London Girdle Merchant who died about 1659 or perhaps some years later. Phil showed me those lists of Palins. I urged him to complete the list up to date. I sent him information about Millicent Cox’s family. Unfortunately, Phil did not do it. Probably on account of his ill health which existed several months before he died. Well, after his death his widow Gladys couldn’t find the papers which were sheets of foolscap pasted together in lengths. Most unfortunate. Had the information been completed to date & put into print we would now find it of great value.
I hope Sir William Palin Elderton will now take on the job. He has clerical facilities which I have not.
The younger generation are not very interested in their family’s history as we of the older generation are. We have the Victorian characteristic of appreciating ones family history. This tradition still lingers however and I try to persuade my own children & grandchildren to keep it up on their own account. After all we Palins come from good old English stock not the dispossessed nor forgotten – also we are Protestants; loyal to King & country.

2nd Cousin Connection

I have reached out to a descendant of William Palin Elderton to see if we could get access to any of that information and had gotten a response with a promise to look into it.
(If any William Palin Elderton descendant sees this – please get in touch with me!)

The one thing that I would love to learn more about is the mention of “William Palin the London Girdle Merchant”.  I knew of a George Palin, London Girdle Merchant – but William?  Perhaps Gilbert was mistaken in the name – but is there a connection?
Cheshire Observer June 10, 1876

One of the reasons why I decided to write about Gilbert now, was that I found a wonderful humorous little tidbit while doing a newspaper search.   Considering the election going on in the United States, I thought this quite timely and wanted to share.  This was seen in the seen in The Social Crediter, August 11, 1945. 

Colonel Walter Palin, writing to The Patriot, records:
"Two parents were discussing the General Election. Their younger daughter remarked, 'There was a general election two thousand years ago: the principle candidates were Jesus of Nazareth and Barabbas. They elected Barabbas who was a thief: we've had him ever since.' "

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