The sweetest rose

I admit to sometimes getting so caught up in finding ‘facts’ and sources that will help with my family tree stumps, that the stories get lost.

Or maybe just overlooked for a while.

The most recent of these was Sarah Lane.

I’d been trying to ‘connect’ the members of a family for a while;  the children of James Lane. Birth and baptism records confused things (as they sometimes do), showing their mother as ‘Mary’ on some, and ‘Ann’ on others – all with no maiden name.

But I had a hunch they were connected, and had come across quite a bit of information to support that they were all siblings.

I’d found marriage records where they appear as witnesses to each others’ weddings, other records or newspaper articles where they appear as ‘Aunt’, ‘Brother’ or ‘Brother in Law’ to each other (and their children), and even birth records of their own children where good old Uncle William steps up as the regular informant (we really like him).

In my ‘I really want this to be true, and besides – I have a gut feeling’ way, I even figured that since the first daughter’s name was Mary Ann…so was mum’s.  On some records she used Ann, and on others, Mary.

See – simple when you’re trying to convince yourself!

Then I found a record for Sarah from 1844.

Or, Eureka!, if you prefer.

In my very excited state of mind, I went into fact mode:

  • Father James Lane – check
  • Sisters Mary Ann and Jessie – check
  • Living at Arthur’s Seat – check

From this I went from strong hunch to pretty darn sure in minutes (all very technical Ancestry terms, of course).  I could now tie at least six children to ‘my’ James and Mary (Ann) Lane.

Eureka indeed!

Facts are so lovely.


But then…someone who had been (very generously) helping me with another ‘stump’ asked if I had seen Sarah’s Headstone.

I hadn’t, but looked it up. And found this:

Sarah Lane

You see, the record was an Inquest into Sarah’s death.

Sarah, Jessie and Mary Ann Lane headed off for Sunday School at the Ouse Bridge that day  – as they no doubt did on countless other Sundays. Mr Thomson, a school teacher whose class it was, had no idea there had been an accident until Mary Ann came running to him and said “Mr Thompson, my sister is on fire.”

Sarah’s dress had caught alight, and she was very badly burned.  This ‘little inoffensive child’ died a short time later.

So while I had finally tied members of the Lane family together, I had also – for a moment – forgotten to appreciate their stories. Forgotten to stop and remember them.

I will no doubt still occasionally get swept up in all of those lovely facts and eureka moments, but for now am reminding myself to stop and smell the roses.

Like Sarah, the sweetest rose of all.



Photo of Sarah’s headstone from Gravesites of Tasmania

8 thoughts on “The sweetest rose

  1. Wow. Just. Wow. This is an amazing story, and it perfectly illustrates exactly why I do what I do. I’m so happy you shared this story. In genealogical research, it’s so easy to get caught up in names and dates and places that we forget to reflect on who these people were. This is such a sad tale, and thanks to you, she is remembered as more than a few dates.


    • Thanks Julie – I must admit her tale really touched me. I came across quite a few Sarah’s further down the family line, so I’m happy to say she was remembered by those who loved her as well. I’m glad I could also play a small part. 🙂


  2. I have been trying to fill in the gaps around William Lane and James Lane. Thank you.
    You have provided much more than I could have wished for.
    I am wondering what is your connection with the Lane family?
    My Mother was a Lane from Sandford.


    • Oh this makes me happy! I’m so glad it was helpful.

      My connection is through James Lane Jnr and Anne Louisa Evans – their son (William John Lane) was my great grandfather. Thanks for getting in touch. 🙂


  3. I also belong to the Sandford crew. You have certainly filled in all my queries. William would be my great great grandfather. His 2 children, born at Sandfarod, were Jean Jackson LANE (1861 – 1963) and James Edgar LANE (1860 – 1944) James married Caroline HUMPHRIES in 1889 at Sandford and they had 6 children – John (1890-1959), Janet nee McConachy (1890-1969), James (1894-1968), Charles (1897-1974), Caroline nee Bonbd (1900-1993), and my grandmother Margaretta Ruth nee McLEAN (1892-1972).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well hello there, cousin! Thank you so much, Ken – I really appreciate that information, and am really pleased that the info I have posted was useful. 🙂

      In piecing things together, it certainly helped that William and Janet returned to Tasmania for a bit. Not only was Ann Eliza’s birth registered by William Cleland (Jessie Lane’s husband), but William Lane was also a witnesses at the marriages of both Thomas and James Lane. Love the family connections to help things along!

      A timeline of information is available via the main story (click on first link under ‘Sources’) that you’re more than welcome to grab a copy of. I’m so glad you dropped by.


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