Sunday, 4 February 2007

Ancestors in the Attic Video - a women Mason

As mentioned in the previous post, you can watch short videos on the Ancestors in the Attic website. They're likely items considered too insubstantial to make it to air, but still interesting. I stumbled on one telling the story of the only woman Mason, named Elizabeth St Leger. A second cousin of mine mentioned her as an ancestor but didn't have the details. The video motivated me to follow up. It appears she's his six times great-grandmother.

The story told on the video is of this young Irish lady hiding in a grandfather clock, overhearing a Masonic meeting, and then being discovered when her father investigates the muffled sound of the clock striking the hour. To keep the secrets of the Masonic order they decide to initiate her as a Mason. Read a more detailed version of the story from 1895, nearly 200 years after the incident happened in 1710, here. It's devoid of clock, and gives other examples of women Masons.

Elizabeth St Leger married Richard Aldworth; the families are both of the Irish nobility in Cork. To link my second cousin to them meant tracing his family back through English census records, and bringing in evidence from The Times Digital Archive, a subscription database of the newspaper back to the late 18th century. When those sources ran out the names, dates and places seemed to make a smooth transition to genealogies in A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland by Sir Bernard Burke. Thanks to Google Books it can be consulted and searched online without charge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John: There is a connection with my Irish Parker family in Cork to this St. Leger family. I will have to look through my files to see where Elizabeth comes in.
Great that you now have comments turned on.

See you in May at Seminar?

Marian P. from Toronto.