This week’s theme is “Family Legend.”
The last batch of my family to arrive in the United States came over from England (via Canada) in 1910. Bertrand Sidney Avenell, his wife Emily (nee Thomas), their oldest son Roland, Bertrand’s parents Walter and Jane Ellen (Hagell) Avenell, his sister Eleanor, and Jane Ellen’s sister Letty all traveled from Winnipeg to Houston, Texas where they settled down. Bertrand (called “Bert”) and his father Walter became naturalized a few years later in 1914.
According to my paternal grandmother, Avenell was the surname of a man who arrived in England with William the Conqueror and the Normans. If there ever was an estate in the family, it has been long out of our hands and I have only gotten as far down the Avenell line as my 4th great-grandfather William. It’s a long way to 1066 from there.
My favorite story about my great-grandfather was that he was an excellent horseman and sometimes participated in fox hunts while living in England. The reason he left England was to become a cowboy in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I have yet to find evidence of this, but that is what I was told. If only I had asked my grandmother more questions! Did he work as a cowboy at all while there? They did not live there long – perhaps the birth of their son in January 1910 encouraged Bert to change careers again.