We do have enough for a basketball team! So who are all the Marianas? You definitely know one of them, and you might be familiar with the second. And yes, when you read Anne Lister's journal entries sometimes it gets confusing. Is she shoeing Percy, her goddaughter or Percy, her horse? Well, it is Anne so both is a possibility.

I didn't start out deliberately looking for multiple Marianas. I just sort of kept stumbling across them in my wild nights with ancestry dot com. In October 2019 I took a trip to the Calderdale Archives to read Mariana Lawton's (V1) letters. There aren't very many of them and I won't even get into how sad that is. In these letters there were mentions and conversations about her niece (& goddaughter) little Mariana, also known as Percy, also known as V2. I wanted to know more.

I started searching through records on ancestry. All things Belcombe. All things Mariana. My tree that started with Mariana Lawton at the center, quickly grew to over 1000 people, all related (in some way) to either Mariana Lawton, Anne Lister, Ann Walker, or Isabella Norcliffe. As I traveled down the Belcombe belt, there were plenty of interesting stories beyond what we know from Anne's journals. Mrs. Milne and Steph were the only Belcombes to have children. Two out of six. That seems odd for the time. But, I guess not if you consider that potentially three out of the six Belcombe siblings fell somewhere on the queer spectrum.

What started out as a sad story about Percy from Mariana's accounts in her letters to Anne, ended up being an interesting adventure. Percy didn't die at an early age like Mariana was for sure going to happen. In fact, she lived to be 80 years old, like her aunt! She also picked up a companion along the way, like her aunt. Elizabeth Hopkinson first appears in Percy's life in 1851 as her Lady's Maid. Next, we see that evolve in 1861 to Companion. 1871 and 1881 find Percy and Elizabeth vacationing in Ventnor. 1891 and 1901 get interesting when we find Elizabeth Hopkinson listed as a Visitor as Percy's home. Yeah, visitor in the night maybe! She just happened to make sure she was in the neighborhood on census day... Maybe they happened to be quarreling and she was considering moving out. Hopefully one day we'll have more information. Until then, we know that Percy and Elizabeth spent a minimum of 52 years together. When Percy died in 1901 she left her house to Elizabeth. Yeah, because all the woman gave their houses to their lady's maids...

But because of Elizabeth we have v3. Elizabeth's brother George Hopkinson named his first child, Mariana Elizabeth Hopkinson. Mariana wasn't exactly a common name in York at the time so it's fair to conclude that the name was chosen because of Mariana Percy. And then it only makes sense that V3 would want to pass her name along. Which is how we end up with Alice Mariana or V4. Alice is the name of V4's aunt on her father's side. I've only just scratched the surface with this group.

What about V5? Ah good question! In conversations I had always referred to Mariana Percy as V2 because I just always viewed Mariana Lawton as The Mariana (V1). Which led me to overlook Mariana (possibly Mary Anne) Belcombe as V0. Mrs. Belcombe is patient Zero as far as we know. I have found no family records for either Papa or Mama Belcombe. Absolutely nothing. So there could be more Marianas. Doesn't Grandma Mariana have a nice ring to it?

Well hopefully this has given you a nice little introduction into all The Marianas. There is so much more to their stories than I can fit into a single blog post. My plan is to highlight these women I find from the archives and tell their story in some way. According to the X-files there is an ancient Navajo saying...'that something lives only as long as the last person who remembers it'. So I want to tell her story and bring all these women back to life.

#MarianaBelcombe #MarianaLawton #TeamMariana #AlltheBelcombes