• Secrets Searches and Surprises: Catherine Jubilee Robertson 1890-1979, Cyril Robertson Bradwell 1916-2008

    Helen May (see profile)
    Families, New Zealand, History, World War (1914-1918), Literature, Imperialism
    Item Type:
    adoption, Family, New Zealand history, World War I literature, Migration, Colonial history
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    Catherine Jubilee Robertson (1890-1979), also known as Kathleen, was my unknown grandmother and the birth mother of my father, Cyril Robertson Bradwell (1916-2008). She was also unknown to my father except for a ‘forgotten’ name Kathleen Jubilee Robertson, vaguely recalled later when cited on a birth certificate that listed his birth on the 19th October 1916 with the name of Kevil Robertson. The half-century jubilee celebration in 1890 of the founding of the colony of New Zealand in 1840, undoubtedly accounted for Catherine’s other name – Jubilee. This is the story of Catherine, as much as is known, and the search to find her. That this story will link her life with her son Kevil/Cyril, does disturb a secret that Catherine did not intend others to know. The facts when uncovered were a complete surprise to surviving Robertson fam- ily descendants who recalled their ‘Aunt Cath-Aunt Kath’. This search is not only my story but is also theirs, and I am grateful that they have shared what they know about Catherine. The regret is that my father died before the facts were known. I am also disturbing secrets in my father’s family, but as an historian himself and an enthusiastic reader of biographies he would hopefully appreciate that Catherine’s story might have a wider social resonance for many 20th century women who se- cretly gave birth, and for their babies who were discreetly adopted.
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    2 years ago
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