24 May 2017

Unconventional Great Grandparents (part 1 of 2)

My four sets of great-grandparents were of an interesting era: all eight of these individuals were born during America’s Gilded / Industrial Ages, with their collective birth years ranging from 1878 through 1886, an eight year span.  Their families represented a fascinating range of backgrounds, including industry, finance, law and medicine.  One great-grandfather grew up as the son of a minister.  They were all influenced by their times and circumstance, which mirrored the Victorian era in England and the Belle Époche in France.  These were special times and today we tend to think of the people of this era as rigid, tied to strict mores and more likely to live strictly conventional lives.  Divorce and separation were seemingly unheard of.

Interestingly, this perception does not apply to any of my great-grandparents.  The lives of each of these four couples factored in some unusual non-conventional family component.  The causes of their circumstances vary, but they all had a non-traditional aspect to their lives.

Today’s post will address my two sets of paternal great-grandparents.  Part two will discuss how my maternal great-grandparents failed to conform to the perceptions of the norms for their era. 

My great-grandparents, Sidney Bunting and Aileen Smith
with their wedding party in Montreal in 1910