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BLOOM family photographs

 

The photographs on this web page are from Ursula Bloom's biographical novels of her family. These books are interesting, but genealogically not very accurate (a great deal of poetic license has been taken to create a readable story!). However, the people she refers to certainly existed, and their family relationships can be explored in the Word file I have deposited on the home page of this web site. Her father, James Harvey Bloom, was a clergyman, but also an amateur genealogist, and his notes were deposited in the library of the Society of Genealogists, in London. The Blooms stayed in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk for so many generations that it is relatively easy to trace their family tree just using the parish records for Wells (now deposited with the Norfolk Record Office in Norwich).

The photographs here are in chronological/genealogical order.

The successive generations in this part of the Bloom line are as follows:

James Gardner Bloom I = Ann Hague

John Hague Bloom V = Frances Graver Smith

James Graver Bloom II = Mary Molline Walker

James Harvey Bloom III = Polly or Mary Gardner

Ursula Bloom

 James Gardner Bloom I (1774-1821) was a prominent citizen of Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk. Ursula Bloom's books claim he nearly made it to the peerage, but the process was interrupted by the madness of King George III, this time permanent - the new regime of the Regent didn't favour the Bloom family. This photograph shows James Gardner Bloom in his militia uniform during the Napoleonic invasion threats to England. Ursula Bloom claims his fair colouring was due to Danish ancestry.

John Hague Bloom V (1805-1873) was the only son of James Gardner Bloom's first marriage, to Ann Hague, who died giving birth. This picture is said to be of the time of his marriage to Frances Graver Smith:

John Hague Bloom V was a clergyman too. He married Frances (Fanny) Graver Smith (1808- ), the so-called Rose of Norfolk (because of her beauty). The Rose of Norfolk book by Ursula Bloom relates the tale of Frances being the illegitimate daughter of a Wells farmer, Thomas Lombe Graver, by a "diddicoy" - a class of traveller between a true gypsy and a tinker. Thomas brought up his daughter quite openly as his own after her mother came back after giving birth, looking for money. If true, this must have caused quite a stir in 19th century North Norfolk. However, Ursula Bloom claimed this was the reason Frances was only baptised in 1828 or 1829, just before her marriage, the baptism being in Whissonsett, Norfolk, well away from the family home to avoid scandal - and no entry was made in the parish register to hide her illegitimacy. A nice story, but not true! Quite apart from the lack of logic - if Thomas Graver had brought Frances up openly as his daughter, there seems little point in having a baptism far away to avoid scandal - Frances Graver Smith was in fact baptised in South Creake, Norfolk and the parish registers there record the details! This is Frances Graver Smith:

And here are John Hague Bloom V and Fanny Bloom in their fifties:

John and Fanny had 8 children, including Mary Bloom III (1830- ), the eldest daughter and said to be the plain one, the kindest of them all and, although she looks so severe, quite the most lively:

The next daughter was Frances (Fanny) Fenella Bloom II (1831- ), described as the daughter most like her mother, a little flighty and very popular with potential suitors:

The oldest son of John Hague Bloom and Frances Graver Smith, James Graver Bloom II (1835- ), married Mary Molline Wall, pictured below. She was described by Ursula Bloom as flirtatious, flippant and artless and said to have had a child before marrying James Graver Bloom. James later left her because of her affairs, though he later emigrated to Bordeaux in France with an old flame and they had a child there.

James Graver Bloom and Mary Molline Wall's only child, James Harvey Bloom III (1860- ) married Polly or Mary Gardner (1860-1915). Ursula Bloom refers to her a s Polly, but James Harvey Bloom himself, in his genealogy notes, refers to her as Mary. They also seem to differ as to the spelling of the surname - Ursula Bloom using both Gardner and Gardener, but James Harvey Bloom consistently using Gardner. Polly/Mary was the daughter of John Gardner and Frances (another Fanny!) Elizabeth Finch (though the surname might be Reynolds!). This is a picture of Fanny Elizabeth Gardner, whom Ursula Bloom described as hard as nails, but never unjust:

 Here are pictures of James Harvey Bloom III at the time of his marriage, and his wife Polly/Mary Gardner in her twenties:

 And Polly/Mary Gardner in 1915, just before she died:

Finally, James Harvey Bloom III aged eighty, still lively and active:

 

The Roman numerals after some of the names in this document are used to distinguish different people with the same first name and surname. They tally with the full genealogical details given for these individuals in the zipped Word files available elsewhere on my web sites, and in the Master Index file. There is also a fuller description of the coding and numbering systems I use, on my Freewire site.

 

Some of Ursula Bloom's biographical books:

The Rose of Norfolk (the story of Frances Graver Smith, her husband John Hague Bloom and their family)

Parson Extraordinary (the story of Ursula's father, James Harvey Bloom)

These are now out of print, but can be found in many libraries and, occasionally, in second-hand book shops.