Yesterday I shared an excerpt from my first novel about Thomas Radwinter. Here is an excerpt from the unexpected sequel – I say unexpected because I’d always said that however fond i was of characters I’d created, and however much of a story i felt they still had, I would not write another book about them. However, in my first Radwinter story the main thread is a genealogical exploration into the family history – however, only the paternal line was followed. I felt as if the story was only half told, and suddenly found myself writing the other part – the story of the Magick family.
Here Thomas is just beginning his work on the family history using the fictitious MyTimeMachine genealogical website
Back to the task in hand, back to MyTimeMachine, and I’ve lost the page I was looking at without having gone into the entry for each of the possible ancestors I’ve found so I have to call it up again… and I do one of those funny things I sometimes do, and I wrote Hagick instead of Magick… and up pops a family of Hagis’s, including Horatio Hagis… What a name!
I’ve seen before that sometimes whoever transcribes the census returns makes errors reading them; sometimes it’s understandable because to be frank, sometimes the writing it pretty illegible. I just have a feeling about Horatio… I mean what a splendid name, Horatio Hagis… There are six Hagis’s, John and Ann who are adults, and their children Charlotte, 9, Elizabeth, 3, William, 0, and Horatio 11.
I’m supposing Hagis was mis-transcribed from Magic… I hesitated to look for some reason and I took my cup through to the little kitchen at the back of the house and washed it up, dried it, and put it away.
Back to Horatio… I have such a strong feeling about him… I look again at the transcription, John and Ann and the younger three, Charlotte, Elizabeth and baby William are all in Bedminster, I have no idea where that is. Horatio is in North Witchford and I have no idea where that is either.
John and Ann live in Watery Lane in Nailsea, in the registration district of Bedminster in Somerset, and when I go onto the copy of the census page I can see that their name is really Hagis, not a misreading of Magic. The writing is so extremely faint that I have to zoom right in and squint at the screen. I can’t make out what occupation John has, I think it might be Boat something, Boat builder maybe? But it looks more like boat liner and then I realise it’s not a B but a very curly C and he is a coalminer. Coalmining, in Somerset? Really? But that’s where all the farmland was flooded… it looked flat and farmy and not a bit like a coalmining area, but this was a hundred and seventy years ago… He has three children, and no Horatio and he is definitely Hagis not Magic.
So… to young Horatio Hagis… and here he is on his own in North Witchford… and my heart sinks… he is in a workhouse…
But however sorry I feel for young Horatio I have to check and see if really he is a Horatio Magick; even if he is it doesn’t mean that he is anything to do with us. I’m getting the feeling that, like Radwinter was adopted by my namesake Thomas, Magick too might be a name which has muddled itself into existence at some time in the nineteenth century.
I sit back from looking at the facsimile of the census return for Horatio in the North Witchford workhouse and wonder if perhaps this time my back to front way of working is a bit stupid;
If you want to find out if Horatio Magick really is Thomas’s ancestor, here is a link: