(written by Cynthia Harvey)
When I was a little girl just after the Second World War, I used to spend some school holidays with my Auntie Bella in Chiswick. She would occasionally refer to letters received from “Agnes” in America but at that time it meant little to me. As I have grown older, I have become interested in Family History and when Auntie Bella died in the early 1990’s I found Agnes’ address and wrote to tell her and also to ask if she knew how she was related to our family. She replied that she did not know but gave me various bits of information about her family and from this and further research I was able to unfold this fascinating story.
The first child born to Stephen and Jane Harvey in Fulham, London was ALICE (1860) followed by John in 1861. In 1871, at the age of 17, Alice married a local Irish bricklayer WILLIAM HOGAN and they set up home next door to Stephen and Jane in Margravine Road. Alice and William had a large family, among whom were MABEL, AGNES AND RITA. Alice’s brother John also married and he too had a large family including Charles (my father) and Bella. By the turn of the Century the area had become truly cosmopolitan and in 1906 Mabel Hogan married CASPER JUSTUS WILHELM MOMBERG. Life could not have been easy for this Anglo-Irish/German combination and soon after the birth of their second child they emigrated to America and settled on the West Coast where they had three more children. Sadly just before the third birthday of their youngest (named Agnes after her aunt back in England) Mabel became ill and died. It must have been a very difficult time for Casper left to look after a family of five children alone in a strange country. Back at home in Fulham, Mabel’s sister Agnes gave birth to a daughter Alyce (presumably illegitimately) and three years after Mabel’s death Agnes, baby Alyce and sister Rita all sailed for America to take care of Caspar and his children. As time went by, Caspar and Agnes married, Casper adopted Alyce and together they had another child. The family obviously took to their new “mother” and Agnes told me she really only remembered her as her mother and always greatly loved and admired her for coming to a strange country and taking on such a large brood!
Obviously Agnes and Rita corresponded with their family back home and about the time of the Great War it was suggested that Bella and young Agnes (Caspar’s daughter) should write to each other, and so they continued up to Bella’s death.
When I started corresponding with Agnes it was obvious that she and her husband were becoming very frail and eventually her letters stopped. She had no children and I did not know if she was the last survivor of her generation but I had no other addresses for any of her family. I am just pleased I was able to send her some information about her family in England to fill in some of the gaps before she died.
I was on a Family History site some years later and found that someone in America was researching JUSTUS MOMBERG. This was a real breakthrough. I made contact with Joan Littleton of Texas who told me she was the daughter of JUSTUS MOMBERG ( son of Casper & Mabel) and she was therefore the niece of my previous correspondent, Agnes. She had no knowledge of my previous correspondence with her aunt and in fact knew nothing of the history in Part One. However she was able to fill me in regarding how the family had fared after arriving in USA up to the present day.
With the bond of our common ancestors, Stephen & Jane Harvey, we have become penfriends and exchanged our family news since then.
Cynthia – Charles Harvey-John Harvey- Stephen/Jane Harvey
Joan – JUSTUS MOMBERG – Mabel Hogan- Alice Harvey – Stephen/Jane Harvey