one step closer

Dear England,

When can I move in? Can I just put my stuff anywhere? I’m gonna need a shelf in the bathroom; I have a lot of girl potions.

I received my grandmother’s birth certificate in the mail this week. It’s a little sobering to look at – as someone who often feels adrift and without family ties, it’s probably always going to trip me out to encounter my history. I learned that my great-grandfather was a coal miner! That is neat.

Getting the birth certificate was just one small step in this whole “get to the UK” process: I still need to find a way to tie my grandmother to my family. Unfortunately, it’s proving to be ridiculously difficult to get any information out of Quebec and Nova Scotia – my grandfather’s birth certificate would be nice to have, but I NEED my grandparent’s marriage certificate. Seeing as I have no idea when or where they got married (I’m assuming they didn’t have grandparent sex until they were married, so I can safely guess it happened sometime between 1910 and 1912), this is proving difficult. Complicating matters are the other women who share my grandmother’s name – it seems that a lot of babies were named Edith Jane in England in the late 1800s, and several of them had some variation of the name “Cornes” (if not the name itself). Most of the information I can easily access online refers to an Edith Jane Cornes born in the right location, but the year is off by one. If that’s not the right woman, then everything I have is wrong and I don’t actually know where my grandmother was born. It’s all very confusing.

If I want to get to the UK legally and not just as a tourist, I need to prove that:

  • you are a Commonwealth citizen – check!
  • you are aged 17 or over – check!
  • you are able to work and you plan to work in the UK – checkity check check!
  • you can adequately support and accommodate yourself and your dependants without help from public funds – I don’t want your public funds! Let me work!

I have those, so what next? Well, I must show that at least 1 of my grandparents was born:

  • in the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) – yes, as far as I can tell
  • before 31 March 1922 in what is now the Republic of Ireland – my great grandfather appears to have been born in Ireland, but I think that’s a generation too far removed to qualify
  • on a British-registered ship or aircraft – that would be super cool, but doesn’t apply here

Apparently, I can claim ancestry if my relationship to the relevant grandparent is legitimate OR illegitimate. That makes things easier!

Unfortunately, this is where things get difficult. When I apply for UK entry, I need to include:

  • your full birth certificate – I have this!
  • your parents’ and grandparents’ marriage certificates – um. I don’t know how to get this. My mother MIGHT have her marriage certificate, but I won’t know until I can get my hands on her papers and go through them myself.
  • the full birth certificates of the parent and grandparent through whose ancestry you are applying – I have A birth certificate for a woman I THINK might be my grandmother, but I’m not sure and I don’t know how to verify :(
  • your marriage certificate or civil partnership registration document, if your husband, wife or civil partner intends to join you in the UK – I have this! The real question isn’t “do you have paperwork”, it’s more “will Ed join you” .. that, I don’t know. So far, all of this has been idle wishing. But what if I could do it? What if everything fell into place and I got the papers I need and had a way to get there and a plan and could work and and and? What then? Would Ed come with me? Would I go my own way? Should I stay or should I go? Why DO fools fall in love? Did you let the dogs out?

So many questions.

I wish my dad was around to provide some answers.

And a cream egg. I wish I had a cream egg.