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The Ducal Palace, Venice, from the Fasciculus Temporum, Venice 1480

Only Connect...

 

Meet my ancestors and their connections
from Cambridgeshire, Essex, Kent, Staffordshire, Sussex, Yorkshire
and elsewhere

 

NEWS...:  I've known of a Phyllis Lansdell in my tree for a few years now.  She was a very distant cousin of mine - a 5th cousin in fact, four times removed.  But I knew nothing more about her.  Over the last few days I have been looking up various names in The Times Digital Archive 1785-1985.  One entry in particular, dated 13 June 1918, intrigued me:

 

The Times, 13 June 1918, advertisement for the Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company's performance of Don Giovanni

 

As the name is fairly rare, I knew there was a good chance that my cousin Phyllis Lansdell and the Phyllis Lansdell topping the bill in Don Giovanni - ahead of the subsequently world-famous Eva Turner (see right) - were one and the same. However, I needed further evidence.

 

 

Eva Turner as Madame Butterfly with the Carl Rosa Opera Company

I knew that my Phyllis Lansdell was the daughter of George Lansdell who married Alice Page.  A check in FreeBMD (www.freebmd.org.uk) quickly confirmed that their marriage had been registered in the December quarter of 1881 in Oldham Registration District, Lancashire.  A search for the unmarried Alice Page in the 1881 census index (www.familysearch.org), produced compelling circumstantial evidence for the identification.  Alice Page, the 24-year old daughter of James Lees and Louisa Page born in Halifax, was described in the census as a teacher of music and singing.  I am therefore convinced that her daughter - my Phyllis - is the opera singer.  Now to find out more about her career...
 
UPDATE: I have been fortunate enough to encounter a close relative of Phyllis Lansdell via the GenesConnected website (www.genesconnected.com).  She described Phyllis to me as "an extremely daunting lady with a HUGE voice!".
 

STOP PRESS: My family tree currently contains 78 labourers, 16 farmers, 9 straw plaiters, 6 innkeepers and 1 Prime Minister!