|Elsie on her way to Canada 1913|
The orphans were then separated. For a brief time a neighbour tried to care for them but soon found it too much. An aunt took the children in but her husband objected so little Albert, 8 years old, was admitted to Barnardos Homes in February 1899. Although Albert Markham was not his biological father, the name and whereabouts of his actual father were not known. He had no one to care for him.
His younger brother Frederick, 4 years old, was sent to Miller's Orphanage and Elsie, not quite one year old, was taken in by an older Scottish couple.
Albert, Elsie's half-brother, was sent to Canada as a Home Child when he was 11 where he was very unhappy. He was treated like an indentured servant in his placement with an older couple on a farm. He ran away many times but was always found and sent back. Eventually he was sent to live with a family in St. Mary's Ontario - and there he was treated as a son. With hard work and by saving every penny he made, he was eventually able to save enough to send for his two siblings. Young 15 year old Elsie arrived in Canada in September 1913 and several months later, Albert was able to be pay for Frederick's passage. Frederick arrived in May 1914.
|Albert, illegitimate son of Edith Finch before her marriage, in Barnardo's Homes England|
|Frederick Markham in WW1|
After several months of intensive research, and matching DNA to another Cooper descendant, we were able to narrow the search for "the handyman Cooper" to one of two men - with the likely culprit being Gordon Alfred Cooper who lived next door to Elsie's brother. He was remembered by those whose parents knew him as a bit of a scoundrel. And that fit very well with poor Elsie getting pregnant and perhaps being deserted by her lover. In fact records indicate that Gordon did leave St. Mary's for several years. In fairness to Gordon however we don't know the facts - perhaps Elsie never told him she was pregnant.
Whether or not Bristol knew that Bert was not his son is not known. Did Elsie tell him or did she trick him into believing Bert was his? We will never know and it really doesn't matter because there is no judgement on Elsie no matter what the story was. Elsie and Bristol had, by all accounts, a happy life, and Bristol and Elsie went on to have five children - one son and four daughters.
The past is the past and the only thing I find a bit sad is that poor Elsie probably never wanted anyone else to know about her circumstances. But genealogy research is all about the truth, whatever it may be.