Table of Contents | Preface | An Indian Childhood | Genealogy | Colonialism and The Raj


[Genealogy] [IndoEuropeans] [Separate and Unequal] [Mum and Dad] [Dad] [Mum] [William  Blanchette] [Thomas Blanchette II] [Thomas Blanchett 1] [Mum Paternal] [Robert Roberts] [Dad Maternal] [Mum Maternal]

Blanchette_Roberts Family Tree

Diamond (Roberts) Blanchette~1942 b1912 m1932

Her Father Clarence Roberts
married (1901)
Her Mother Lillian Nierces
Her Grandpa Alexander Roberts
married (1872)
Her Grandma Sarah Blower

Her GGP Edward Roberts

married (1833)
Her GGMother Isabella Massey
Her GGGPa Robert Roberts
married (1806)
Her GGGMa Elizabeth Ruck
Pearl and Diamond ca 1917
Mum and  Dad Wedding snapshot 1932
Pearl and Diamond ca 2000



Mum--Diamond (Roberts) Blanchette

Mum, Diamond (Roberts) Blanchette (b 1912 m 1932) is the great great granddaughter of the Welsh soldier Robert Roberts who came to India in 1805.  She was born in Neemuch.  Neemuch's sole reason for existence was to service the railway and the Army.   

Mum is the daughter of Clarence Herbert Edward Roberts and Lillian (Nierces) Roberts. The family consisted of the twins Diamond and Pearl, an elder sister, Vera, and the eldest child a boy named Alexander.  Apparently as a young man Alex was constantly terrified he was going to get TB or something else equally horrible.  The girls ministered to him when he took to his bed which happened with some regularity! 

Alex too worked for the railway and the two other girls also married railway employees.  Vera married Henry Dubois, and Pearl married Cyril Dady.  All Mum's siblings and her mother emigrated to England.  Alex and his family eventually went to Australia.

Mum's family appears to have been an extraordinarily strict Victorian Baptist  family.  Mum tells of having to have a servant with a lamp follow her anywhere she went, or might have gone with a young man. 

My mother went to the same convent school in Mhow which I went to when I was seven years old. She was a boarder at the Mhow Convent and later at the convent in Cawnpore.  Cawnpore is another one of those evocative names for English schoolchildren.  It is a town which figured in the Sepoy Rebellion.  Mum wanted to become a nurse but her father did not approve of educating women.  She left school when she was 15.  Her twin sister did actually get a nurses training--her husband paid for it.

Despite my Mothers lack of a formal education, and maybe because of it, she has been fiercely insistent on all her children getting a good education.  She is still, at the age of 92 very much in touch with what is going on in the world.  The reason we left India after Independence is due to her.  She could see no future for British educated "kinda British" families in an independent India, and it was she who badgered Dad and literally forced the family to emigrate.  Dad was being relatively successful in his career, and would probably have stayed in India much longer if it wasn't for mother.

Mum spent most of her growing up years  in an army town called Mhow (Military Headquarters Of War)  where her father too was with the railway.  The family was transferred to Ajmer when my mother was about 12  which is where she later met my father. 

Mum married Dad when she was 20 and converted from Baptist to Roman Catholic; I was born when she was 21.  Her father was strongly against the marriage. The night before the wedding he was still refusing to give his daughter away.  Mum's brother Alex said not to worry he would walk her down the aisle.   In the end her father did walk her down the aisle.  

Mum got married from her sister Vera's house in Bandikui--another bend in the road!.  Because of her father's strong opposition there is no official wedding photograph.    There is however, a snapshot of the bride and groom on the left.  There is a good photograph of the wedding group from Pearl's wedding in Neemuch here, and a photo of her brother Alex's wedding in about 1928 here.

From Mum's stories I gather her father was a very silent, morose, rather unhappy man who hardly ever spoke to the children and probably drank to excess.  He was involved with railway track maintenance--he was a Permanent Way Inspector (PWI) at a fairly senior level.

Mum's sister Aunt Vera was also married to a PWI.  The PWI's tended to get posted to very small towns out in the jungle or desert.  Mum was very close to her sister Vera who she used to visit frequently. Between her father and her sister, Mum spent a number of her growing up years in teeny weeny towns like Phulera and Bandikui.

Our family went to England in 1949 when Mum was 37 and my youngest brother Clive was three and a half .  She and Dad raised us four kids in England and she worked part time to supplement the family income.  I have the utmost respect for my mother's iron will.  Here was a young woman with no particularly marketable skills who voluntarily left a comfortable life to bring four children to a country of which she knew nothing, and then proceeded to educate them as well as she possibly could.  All four of us got excellent high school educations and three of us got University degrees.  At 91, when this was written, Mum still has her iron will and is well aware of the world around her and her children and grand children and great grand children's lives.     There is a lot more on Mum in the "Life in India" section.  On to .William Blanchette

Table of Contents | Preface | An Indian Childhood | Genealogy | Colonialism and The Raj

[Genealogy] [IndoEuropeans] [Separate and Unequal] [Mum and Dad] [Dad] [Mum] [William  Blanchette] [Thomas Blanchette II] [Thomas Blanchett 1] [Mum Paternal] [Robert Roberts] [Dad Maternal] [Mum Maternal]