Downton Abbey, Old Manchester, and Me

I had to make a new poster for my blog to ease my wait for Season Four.
It's helping a wee bit.

I'm not sure how I'll manage to get through this Sunday without my dose of Downton Abbey. I was a latecomer to the PBS program, thankfully directed there by a dear blogging friend, and have thoroughly enjoyed all three seasons. Violet's zingers are the best. First Sybil, and now Matthew. Thank goodness Bates is at least out of the slammer. I'll be able to survive until season four knowing he and Anna are cozy in their cottage.

It might be a coincidence that I've spent the last month or so catching up on this most successful British television program while I've also been uncovering some exciting history about my great grandfather who was born and orphaned in Manchester in 1874. He is the one 'great' in my family that we knew the least about. I have spent many happy hours searching and building trees on all branches of our family on

Canada Post Commemorative Stamp

Grandpa Shaw was one of the British Home Children that came to Canada in 1885 at the age of 11 years. Between 1869 and the late 1940s, over 100,000 orphaned and abandoned (not all were) children arrived in Canada from Great Britain. Up to 70,000 settled in Ontario.

These children, ages 6 months to 18, were sent by organizations who believed Canadian families would welcome them into their lives.
Many worked as farmhands and servants for room and board and faced considerable challenges and hardships. But with great courage and determination, many went on to live productive lives. 
There is much controversy about the program and the fact that part of the reason it was conceived was to ease the labour shortage in Canada. My great grandfather was a wonderful man and did very well for himself. For him, coming to Canada was a blessing. Although we still do not know anything about his circumstances before being taken in at a Boys Home in Manchester, we are grateful for the care he received and I look forward to learning more.
My great grandparents on their wedding day. February 22, 1906

So while I contemplate the happenings in the final episode of Season Three and learn about our Manchester connection -- all while I recover from the stomach flu -- I will try and keep life and Matthew's untimely loss in perspective. Somewhat.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Love your poster! I have been watching DA since it began, but was frustrated with the ending Sunday night. Could not believe it! Hope you are over the flu. Stop by Still Woods for a peak at spring wreaths. Not nearly as funny as the "Free Mr. Bates" quilt or your poster, but fun to look at!

  2. Tracy, I am with you in denial. Really, just when they were together & so happy. The worst part is someone had told me about his dying and I was tense while watching waiting for it to happen. Loved all the information about the Home Children, it was really interesting.

  3. I haven't watched the show yet but I am a family history fan. I subscribed to for over a year. Fun post!

  4. Do you think Matthew might possibly be revived if there is an uprising amongst the viewers? Can we possibly rewrite history?! By golly I do think we have a chance if we all gather 'round and let our voices be heard! Although I suppose the next season is already being filmed as we mourn the loss of dear Matthew. We shall quietly carry on.

    I commend you for having the patience to research your family history. Macy will have an accurate account of all who lived before her, while my children will inherit a cardboard box of jumbled up family photos. It really is quite amazing the hardships our ancestors endured and yet turned out to be honorable and hardworking members of society. I have a feeling you will soon uncover royalty in your blood as you continue your research. Please remember your commoner friends, m'lady.

    I love the cartoon! Hope you're feeling up to snuff today. :)

  5. Don't get yer knickers in a twist, guvnah! Core Blimey! It a right shame that he survived the war, regained the power in his legs, FINALLY married lady Mary, and NOW he dies??? Bloomin' shame it is!! Ok, I know this has nothing to do with DA, but as a fellow Canadian, you may understand why after all this 'Brit talk' I feel the need to say...
    "Only in Canada you say?"

  6. So when does the new season start? Do I have time to watch all the others? Do I have time to watch all the others AND research my own ancestors, one with a similar story to your GGF? I want to do those things but I'll skip the stomach flu part if you don't mind.


  7. Lovely wedding picture -- you are lucky to have it! And researching family history can be both frustrating and fun. I hate the dead ends, but love the glimpses of the past beyond.

  8. But how will our great grands learn of us? Will the databases and ledgers have anything to say about us? How will they learn of our humble beginnings, quirky stories, and creative exploits? Oh, that's right. We have blogs. I wonder if they'll still be around. I'm not so sure or that they'll ever find and connect ours to us or want to claim us once they find us.

    Then again, that may be for the best in some cases.

  9. I have not got into it because late to the party and so behind of the in and out....but love looking into our family history. I had a grandfather who lived in Scotland and was a bobby, yeap a true Scot Bobby I have a great pic with him in uniform plus his wedding pic is in full dress,so cool and the name has made it tough to find info even for Anc. ber Dreghorn that is mouth full

  10. Tracy, I'm with you on Downton Abbey. I tape the whole season and then watch it all over a weekend. Haven't done season three yet, but I can't wait. So interesting about your Grandfather. I found out way back my (I don't know how many greats) came over from England too. Neat to have a connection from there. Hope you are feeling better.

  11. Good Morning Tracy,
    I am going to pretend I did not hear about Matthew. I am just getting into Season 3 now. I am late to the game. Please check out my post for today I have your lovely gift on the post. You made me smile.

  12. I simply don't know how I'll go on watching without Matthew. Honestly, he was so dreamy and I loved the Matt/Mary storyline. I hear they're bringing on a new handsome suitor for her in season 4 but I don't know if I'll approve. :)

    Such cool findings with your family tree. And I'm so sorry to hear you caught the flu - maybe you touched some "flu beads" somewhere. :(



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