When I realised the theme for today’s Mono Monday challenge was “Old” I began to think of what we had in our home that was old.  We have been married for almost 50 years, but I was sure we had something older than that - and before you even think, Mr. HCB did not enter my head!

This is probably the oldest article I could find - an old Family Bible and it comes with a great deal of genealogical history and mystery.  It contains details of many of the birth dates in our family some written by my Grandfather, some by my Aunt Barbara and some by me.  I can't remember how I came to have the Family Bible, but I think I am probably the only one who has done any research on our family history.

My maternal Grandmother’s name was Mabel Gertrude Williams - at least, that’s what is shown on her marriage certificate in August 1919.  Sadly, I cannot locate her birth certificate but my Mother seems to think that there was some talk of her being adopted.  

My Mother also remembers the name “Rout” but not much more than that.  She said that her Mother, my Grandmother, used to take her up to London to see her Grandfather and that’s where she thinks the name Rout comes in and she also remembers that he was a “Rag and Bone Man”.  

A Rag and Bone Man collected unwanted household items and sold them to merchants. Traditionally this was a task performed on foot, with the scavenged materials (which included rags, bones and various metals).  

Another memory my mother has is that her Grandfather had a cart that he pushed around collecting various items, which seems to confirm that he was a Rag and Bone Man.

Inside the Family Bible is the inscription at the top right which clearly says that Mabel’s Father was George Rout and after extensive enquiries, I have found a George Rout, who is listed as a “General Dealer” - a posh name for a “Rag and Bone Man”.  The dates match - in 1933, the George Rout I have found would have been 71 years of age, so I do wonder why my Grandmother had the name Williams and not Rout.  

I have, however, found a John Williams and George Rout living in Tanswell Street, Lambeth in 1901 so there may have been an informal adoption.  Perhaps Mabel didn’t like the name Rout so reverted to her birth name on marriage;  perhaps she went back to her birth parents or perhaps I will never find out.  There are so many imponderables and I have spent hours trying to find out more - I just wish I had asked more questions of my Grandmother before she died in 1976.  

The bottom right inscription, beautifully written in 1850 and still legible after 167 years is to “Mrs. Deane with the kind love and best wishes of Mr. & Mrs. Charles Crofse (Cross)” - the King James Bible was printed in MDCCCXLVI or as we would know it 1846 - 171 years ago.  It is marked in pencil in several places, particularly in the New Testament, so perhaps Mr.  Charles Cross was a Christian.  I wonder if this was one of the articles George Rout collected on his rounds.  Perhaps Mrs. Deane was a housekeeper to Mr. and Mrs. Cross or perhaps she was a relative - so much history and yet so little is known about the people involved.

“It’s important to teach our children their heritage. 
Who are your ancestors? 
What were their traditions? 
Each of us has a story to tell. 
If these stories are unwritten, 
     then how are your children going to know 
          of their parentage?” 
Linda Weaver Clarke

P.S. Thank you for all your kind comments yesterday for my Cow Collage - I apologise for not responding but felt very tired so was in bed before 10 p.m. and slept the clock round!

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