For generations a veil of secrecy had hidden the secret of my great, great, great grandmother's existence. A fabricated story suggested she came from a family of gypsies, but the truth was uncovered when I came across a list of prisoners from Somerset, England in 1844 which included the name of Jane (Pavey) Cuff of Combe St. Nicholas. The discovery moved me to follow Jane Cuff's life trail. A pilgrimage which took several years of planning and research and which eventually led to the Cascades Female Convicts Factory in Tasmania.
Joan had often wondered why she had never been allowed to be evacuated. Also, her Mother, Dolly and her father, Thomas Abraham, were very secretive about their family. Joan had often said to them that she would have loved a brother or a sister but her words were met by stony silence.
So what did I know about Aunt Anne? Verbal information from her brother (Grandfather): She was jilted and went a bit funny. Sounded ashamed of her. Mental illness was something to be ashamed of in 1900; it was spoken of in whispers behind your hand.
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