The Two Lives of Ike Gandy

My great grandfather Isaac Gandy, who was born in Penketh near Widnes in Lancashire England in 1857, lived two different and very separate lives.

His first 25 years were spent in Penketh and Widnes, where he was born and grew up as a member of the Gandy family of cobblers. Then he disappeared, apparently without trace, until, in April 2003, a friend found him in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, almost 100 years after his death. He lived there for the second half of his life, over 30 years.

The family mystery of the whereabouts of great grandfather Ike has now been solved, but it took a combination of luck, inspiration, generous friends, hard work and many hours in front of a computer to unravel the story.

It started with luck. I had exchanged information about the Ratcliffe and Abbott families from the Farnworth, Widnes area with my good friend and genealogy enthusiast Margaret Wiese (dec.) in Seattle, Washington, USA for several years. I happened to mention to her the mystery of my missing great grandfather. She enjoys a good hunt and, unknown to me, started to look around on the Internet. Suddenly on the 25th of February 2003 I received an e-mail from her with details from the 1901 census in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. And there he was, Isaac Gandy, with the correct date of birth – 27 September 1857 – and born in Lancashire, England!

Ike Gandy ,Victoria, BC, Canada
Ike Gandy ,Victoria, BC, Canada. Photo courtesy Gerry Moore

This was the starting point for unravelling Isaac’s second life – a process which is still bearing fruit. Ike’s many descendants in Victoria now know about his life and ancestors in Widnes and Penketh, and vice versa. We have a common great grandfather, even though I have not been able to work out a name for our formal relationship.

So at last great grandfather Isaac Gandy’s two separate lives have come together. The pages that follow are devoted to telling the story of these two lives.

The latest version of the Gandy family tree can be downloaded here: Gandy Tree Update I 2017