52 Ancestors #7 Zeno Campbell

I wonder about this weeks prompt “Valentine” and how it would fit with my great-grandmother’s youngest brother Zeno. Was he a romantic? Did he have a girlfriend at any time? Not a lot is known about him other than what I have gleaned from his Death Certificate, Post Office Directories and Electoral Rolls.

The first information I ever had about Zeno was from his death certificate that I purchased many years ago. To me, it seemed that he was troubled. Zeno, a hairdresser, was 36 years of age when he died in March 1915. The cause of death was given as “Chronic Brights disease”, cardiac degeneration and alcoholism. It seems he might have endured quite a bit of pain.

Zeno was a hairdresser with the earliest record I have found him in, to date, is the 1903 Electoral Rolls living at 263 City Road, South Melbourne with his mother Ann Campbell/Clinch nee Greene and two brothers Neil and Augustus, until his death in 1915. I haven’t purchased his birth certificate, although he is listed on the New Zealand indexes as Zeno Ernest Campbell, born 1874.  His unusual name is given on the birth registration, not like those of his sisters.

Zeno spent some time in a Lunatic Asylum in Melbourne, 17 Aug 1905. I wonder about him and his life. It does not appear to have been a happy one and maybe there was a girl who broke his heart. That, we may never know.

We might feel that it is not appropriate to write about our troubled family members, however, they are who they are and as these events were over 100 years ago, it also puts them into context within the family group and maybe helps us understand the conditions that our grandmother was living in. From the post about Nanna Cripps, Annie Norma Lymburner and her mother Alice Zenobia Campbell, they were living at the City Road address and visited Western Australia in 1905 before moving in 1907. The troubles at home may have lead to that move being a positive thing and why we are here today.

One memory that comes to mind on Valentines Day, is that of my grandmother, Zeno’s niece, when she answered my question – Didn’t your parents get on? Her response was, well they must have once, mustn’t they? And another from my cousin Joanne – How come you had so many kids, nanna? Well, I liked it, didn’t I! 10 children later … say no more and Happy Valentines!

About Jenny MacKay

Just a person who is looking forward to retirement and enjoying the golden years!
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5 Responses to 52 Ancestors #7 Zeno Campbell

  1. Eilene Lyon says:

    I think it’s a good idea to share stories of troubled relatives. It makes them human and also helps us see our own trouble in a different light. And some troubles may be genetic, too.

  2. tstatton says:

    This story is quite sad to read, but you have handled it with dignity for the ancestor. Well done Jenny.

  3. I often think of our ancestors and wonder about the relationships. Of course they loved and lusted, and some lost love too. And maybe some never knew the joy of love at all. Your Zeno is a sad story treated with respect and humility. Well done.

  4. Pam Batten says:

    Another great story about your ancestor with your added touch of humour!

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