Friday, December 28, 2012

Thomas Babbage: Shipwright and Gentleman, Sir!

Among the joys I am discovering in genealogy is making the acquaintance of cousins of whom I had been unaware. Recently a Peterken cousin contacted me, and this has renewed the impetus to publish some Peterken research. The following documents the family of two Peterken in-laws: Amelia and Louisa Babbage.

My 2x great grandfather, Octavius Peterken, and his brother, William, both had wives with the maiden name Babbage. My grandmother had told me (fairly recently - about 2003) that the two brothers had married two sisters, which would make their children double cousins. I am unclear whether this constitutes family lore, or arises from a recent observation concerning their maiden names. But let's begin with the respective marriage records from parish records.

     3 November 1867 at Bethnal Green, St Philip's
     Octavius Peterken      Age:19 Bachelor Printer         70 Sussex Street
                                                                     father: Henry James Peterken Printer
     Amelia Ann Babbage Age:19 Spinster                     13 Northumberland Street
                                                                     father: Thomas William Babbage Shipwright

     22 May 1870 at Stepney, St Dunstan and All Saints
     William Peterken        Age: 24 Bachelor Compositor 64 Jubilee Street
                                                                       father: Henry James Peterken Printer
     Louisa Babbage         Age: 19 Spinster                      64 Jubilee Street
                                                                       father: Thomas Babbage         Gentleman

Occupations are great when they corroborate a story, or if they are able to completely refute one, but Gentleman is such a loose term that Thomas Babbage could well be a Shipwright and a Gentleman, depending on how he wanted to present himself. My only doubt arises because in nearly all other records I could find, he is listed as Boat Builder or Shipwright; this is the only record describing his rank or occupation as Gentleman.

Shipbuilding must have changed dramatically during Thomas's lifetime. The two main shipping innovations were the screw-driven steamer replacing sailing vessels, and a shift from wooden hulls to iron. This did not happen overnight; even by the twentieth century there markets in which sail was still competitive. But even by the time of the iconic Cutty Sark, sailing clippers were on their way out for time-sensitive cargoes. "Boat builder" might also suggest the smaller inland vessels that kept the Thames working, rather than ocean-going vessels. However, I do not know what kind of boats or ships Thomas built during his lifetime, or how technology changed his work.

The 1841 England Census finds him at Featherstone Buildings, Limehouse, Middlesex with his parents William (45, Shipwright) and Sarah (45), and children (presumably) Thomas (15, Apprentice Shipwright), Edmund (15) and Charlotte (9). The two 15 years are probably each rounded to the nearest 5 with Thomas older than Edmund. None of them is born in Middlesex. His parents are my 4x great grandparents.

In fact, they were from Pembroke in Wales according to the 1851 England Census in which Thomas (29, Boat Builder) is now married to Martha (25) and with children Thomas (4) and Amelia(1). Their marriage record is:
     26 December 1842 at St Mary, Stratford Bow
     Thomas Babbage    Full        Bachelor  Boat Builder Bow
                                                                    father: William Babbage Shipwright
     Martha Jarvis           Full        Spinster                      Bow
                                                                    father: William Jarvis      Hairdresser

By 1861, Thomas (39) and Martha (25) have, in addition to Thomas (15) and Amelia (12), Louisa (10), William (8), Edward (4) and James (1). The Edward is probably Edmund.

By 1871 the children are joined by Walter (born about 1863) and George (born about 1866), although Thomas had died in 1866, and Amelia and Louisa had both married Peterken boys (in 1867 and 1870 respectively).

These are all the children I could find from census returns and it is still possible that any child born and died between censuses would have left no record. On searching for baptismal records, I found Mary Ann Elizabeth Babbage, born 10 February 1844, and baptized at Limehouse St Ann on 22 February 1846. She shows up in the 1851 England Census in the household of Benjamin and Sarah Jermin, as niece, Sarah being Martha's sister.

Thomas William was baptized at Limehouse St Ann 3 May 1846 (born 11 April 1846). In this and the Mary Ann Elizabeth record, Thomas's occupation is given as Boat Builder. I find no baptismal records for Amelia, Louisa or William, but Edmund, James Digby, Walter Frederick and George Charles Babbage were all baptized on 3 July 1868 at Poplar, All Saints. Again, Thomas's occupation is Boat Builder.

From parish marriage records for his children:
     Thomas William Babbage in 1875 Thomas Babbage Boat Builder
     Edmund Babbage in 1877 Thomas Babbage Boat Builder
     James Digby Babbage in 1888 Thomas Babbage Boat Builder
     Walter Babbage in 1886 Thomas Babbage Boat Builder
but note:
     George Charles Babbage in 1892 has Thomas Babbage Wheelwright - probably a misremembering of Shipwright. Thomas Babbage was not there to correct the clerk, having died the year before.

After Martha Babbage died in 1874 (BMD Death Index Dec1874 Poplar 1c 568 Age:49), Thomas remarried:
     16th September 1877 at Bromley, St Leonard's.
      Thomas Babbage    Full        Widower  Boat Builder Bromley
                                                                         father: William Babbage Shipwright
      Maria Oakley Suddrick Full  Widow                         Bromley
                                                                         father: Garrett Jacobs     Labourer

The 1881 England Census has Thomas (61, Boat Builder) and Maria (57) with their youngest children: James (21, Boat Builder), Walter (19, Sawyer) and George (15, Printer's Boy - for Henry James Peterken perhaps?). By 1891 Thomas (71, Boat Builder) and Maria (67) are at the same address with their grown son George (25, Printer). This is the last census for Thomas Babbage since his BMD Death Index is Dec1891 Poplar 1c 465 Age:70.

For the census data transcript errors abound. We have Babye, Bottage and Ballay, which appear to be modern misreadings. Alternative readings had already been added before I came to the records, making my work much easier. Some earlier 1840's records have Babage, and possibly the spelling did not settle down to Babbage until about 1850. Thomas's place of birth is given as Wales in 1851 (specifically Pembroke), 1861, and 1891, but Limehouse, Middlesex 1871 and Shearness, Kent 1881!

In spite of the rank/occupation of "Gentleman" on the marriage record for Louisa Babbage and William Peterken, I am inclined to accept that Louisa is Amelia Ann's sister. Their ages at marriage match the census records closely enough to be plausible. Nor can I find another Louisa, daughter of Thomas of the right age. In 1862, Henry James Peterken, as father of the bride, lists his occupation as High Bailiff, when in all other documents, he is a Printer, so possibly these anomalies are not uncommon.

So there is the family of Thomas Babbage, Shipwright and Gentleman.

Friday, December 21, 2012

An Identity Revealed

As we approach the holidays, my posts here might become irregular, and so might your reading. So here's wishing all readers here Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

For several posts we followed the case of John Tilley. We do know he is the father of Vivian Kennett, but we did not know for sure whose son he is. As Watson might have recalled (but didn't).
"It really was quite elementary, my dear doctor," said Holmes, looking from the window to the busy street below. "Never be swayed by the mere opinions of others. The multitudes follow the few, and the few may have followed a single ill-formed opinion. Always demand evidence. There were, of course, too many connections between Llewellyn and Vivian Kennett, and no firm refuting evidence. John Tilley is the son of the first and father of the second. Lestrade has his man."

This part of the mystery is solved. A letter arrived from the General Register Office, with a marriage certificate dated 15 June 1914 at the Registry Office, Paddington, London.
     John Tilley          53 years    Widower    Commercial Agent    56 Warwick Avenue
                                                                             Father: Llewellyn Tilley    Farmer
     Amelia Augusta  42 years    Spinster                                       56 Warwick Avenue
     Beresford                                                         Father: John Beresford    Master Mariner

So, the grandfathers of Vivian Kennett Tilley are John Beresford and, importantly for our mystery, Llewellyn Tilley. His most recent census returns had listed him as a Confectioner, and here we see his occupation as Farmer. Perhaps even more recently, he had become a farmer, or else was pursuing both occupations simultaneously. What a person writes for occupation on a census is not always what another will remember them for twenty to thirty years later. I'm quite sure that this is the same Llewellyn Tilley. First, there is only one candidate in the record for Llewellyn Tilley as father of this 53-year-old John Tilley. Second, the witness signatures are Laura and Arthur Wallington Glen, which other researchers have as the daughter and son-in-law of Llewellyn Tilley.

A little more on John Tilley. Given the 1871 England Census for Llewellyn Tilley, which records John's birth in Southwark, the most likely reference in the BMD Birth Index is:
      John Tilley Jun1861 Newington 1a 226 

As to his death, electoral registers for Amelia Tilley give a consistent address of 12 Tournay Road, Fulham for 1937-39, 1947, 1949-54, and 1956-59 (the year she died). Google street view shows it's still there, although a little the worse for wear. I was unable to find any data between 1939 and 1947, but John is present in the former and absent in the latter, suggesting to me the interval in which his death occurred. Although there are a few John Tilleys whose deaths are registered in this interval, only one has an age at death corresponding to an 1861 birth; it also happens that his death is registered in Fulham.
      John Tilley Dec1944 Fulham 1a 226 Age:83

Having already looked at the family of Llewellyn and Elizabeth Tilley (see Kid in the Candy Store), I turn now to their origins. Llewellyn and Elizabeth's parents are my step-3x great grandparents. The following information comes from the FamilySearch site of the Latter-day Saints. Llewellyn Tilley and at least two siblings have baptisms recorded in the register of an Independent Church in Kingswood,Wiltshire (bordering Gloucestershire). Llewellyn's census returns state Kingswood, Gloucs. as his birthplace. In each case, the parents are Jno. (that is, John) Tilley and Hester Knight.
     Mary Tilley        born 2 December 1821       baptized 6 October 1822
     Llewellyn Tilley          21 November 1823                  18 January 1824
     Daniell Tilley              22 May 1826                           13 August 1826

Abergavenny, Monmouthshire parish records have this baptism, presumably of Llewellyn's future wife.
     Elizabeth Vivian  baptized 23 June 1828, parents: John Vivian and Mary.

And Rhymney, Monmouthshire parish records have their marriage dated 13 October 1850.

As for Maria Jane Jotcham, I have sent for her 1887 marriage certificate. Although open to the possibility that I'm mistaken in thinking she was married to the same John Tilley, father of Vivian Kennett, I do not expect any surprises. Still, I'll let you know when that one arrives.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bones Beside the Fire

"When I come home cold and tired / it's good to warm my bones beside the fire."
                                                                                                 (Pink Floyd, "Time").

Central heating is commonplace now (at least in places I've lived), but a good old warm fire, wood or coal, awakes in me a certain instinctive, and perhaps sentimental, pleasure. I remember coal hearths of my childhood, of the orange glow of dragon caves, and the wisps of flame that issued from them. I am too young to remember the killer pea-soup smogs that smothered London periodically from the nineteenth century until the 1950s. London had pretty well ran out of wood to burn before the 17th century, by which time tons of coal was shipped from Newcastle for its growing number of hearths. All this made for much smoke and thence smog. Before anti-pollution legislation in the 1950s, death by smog was frequent, particulary among those with weakened respiratory systems, especially the "old and tired".

Following on from my last blog post, I present here two families of my step-3x great grandparents, through my stepfather, John Beresford Tilley, his mother, Minnie Mary Frances Byrne, and her mother, Matilda Mary Capron. Her parents were John Bill Capron and Mary Allen. And it is their parents with whom we are concerned: James Capron, Hatter, and his wife Sarah; and Elisha Allen, Coal Porter (an occupation much needed to fill the hearths of Victorian London), and his wife Maria .

On the parish register for the marriage of Roger Fannon Byrne and Matilda Mary Capron, one of the witnesses to the marriage signed as Septimus E Capron. With such a distinguished name, I reasoned, I should find census groups fairly easily. But not so, and I resorted to searching parish baptismal registers. Since I already knew the names of John Bill Capron's parents, James and Sarah, I searched for all Capron baptisms in London. The search results returned the names of parents along with their children, and I could easily decide which records to inspect. All those below have James's occupation as Hatter or Hat Manufacturer.

(A further record of 1839 in Bramley for Harriott Capron has Gardener for occupation; that, plus the out of place address leads me to doubt that these are the same parents, and this baptism is not included below).

James and Sarah Capron changed address (and parish church) many times in their marriage. Here is the list with addresses and parish churches through the years :

     Name                    Baptized         Address                 Parish
     Matilda Mary        10 Mar 1815  Guilford Street        Southwark St Saviour
     Thomas William    23 Feb 1817  Guilford Street        Southwark St Saviour
     Alfred James         6 Sep 1818   Great Charlotte St  Southwark Christ Church
     Caroline Ann        10 Aug 1820   Wellington Street    Newington St Mary
     Alfred John           14 Jul 1824     Robert Street         Southwark Christ Church
     Frederick Charles 29 Mar 1826  Robert Street         Southwark Christ Church
     Edward George     1 Jun 1828     Borough Road       Southwark St George Martyr
     John Bill                 8 May 1831  Union Street           Lambeth St Mary
     Septimus Edwin     1 Feb 1833    Edward Street       Southwark Christ Church
     Robert Augustus   21 Jun 1835    Edward Street       Southwark Christ Church

Of these children, Alfred James died just 8 months old and was buried at Southwark, St Saviour 15 April 1819, and Edward George died 3 years old and was buried at Southwark, Christ Church 8 January 1831. I can find marriage records for the remainder except Robert Augustus.

With this list of children, I was able to find censuses for Thomas and Sarah Capron, once I discovered that a common mis-transcription is Capson. The records begin in 1841 in Edward Street, Christchurch Surrey:

     Thomas Capron 45  Hatter  Surrey
     Sarah                 45              Not Surrey
     Caroline             15              Surrey
     Fredrick             10              Surrey
     Septimus              8              Surrey
     Robert                 5              Surrey

The 1841 England Census does not indicate relationships, and ages are to the nearest 5 years for those above 10 years old, although, as I am finding, accuracy, even rounded to 5 years, is often poor. John would have been 10, but appears to have been absent census night.

In 1851 Thomas and Sarah are recorded in Ware, Hertfordshire living on High Street Water Row. They must be the same people: Thomas, 63, Hatter, born Westminster Road, Lambeth, Surrey; and Sarah, 58, his wife, born Middlesex St James. The following census sees them back in Surrey, so I'm wondering about their connection to Hertfordshire. Certainly John Bill's wife is from Harpenden, but that also may be due to a wider connection with the county, through family or trade.

The 1861 England Census has them living at 8 Hopton Alms Houses. Thomas is described as 73, Almsman formerly a Hatter, born Lambeth, Surrey; and Sarah as 68 born Middlesex St James. Hopton's Almshouses were built in 1752 to house the elderly poor, and included a stipend and coal for heating. Originally 26 units, the remaining 20 are still in use, and are listed grade II buildings. The view in the picture above is c1850.

On 2 January 1789 Thomas Son of John Capron and Mary was baptized at Lambeth St Mary. The record contains no other information, but is likely to be that for this same Thomas Capron. His death record in the BMD Death Index is likely to be Mar1869 St Saviour 1d 1 Age: 80. By this time Sarah had already died, her likely death record being Jun1866 St Saviour 1d 5 Age:73. Thanks to the benevolence of Charles Hopton, they had been able to warm their bones beside the fire for a few years.

Elisha and Maria Allen proved much easier to research. The ancestry database yielded censuses from 1841 to 1871, a marriage and death records. The marriage record is in the form of a transcript from England and Wales Parish Records in Wheathamstead, Hertfordshire on 18 May 1830 for Elisha Allen and Maria Lowe.

Their first census return is the 1841 England Census for Luton, Bedfordshire.
     Elisha Allen   30    Agricultural Labourer     not Bedforshire
     Maria           35                                         Bedfordshire
     Matilda         10                                        Bedfordshire
     Mary             7                                         Bedfordshire
     Thomas         2                                         Bedfordshire
     William          9 mos                                  Bedfordshire

In 1851 Elisha Allen is a Lodger in the Fitton household at 11 Norris Street, Christchurch, Middlesex, described as age 43, Married, Coal Porter from Hertfordshire. The advent of farm machinery sent many labourers to the cities in search of work, and Elisha may be one of those. Maria is with the children at Stakers Lane, Harpenden. Curiously she is described as a Widow, Age 43, Occupation PI (?Private Income) from Harpenden, but her marital status and occupation are clearly mistaken, probably at the hand of the census clerk with the job of transcribing the household returns into the census enumerator books. Her identity is confirmed by her children's names, which are identical to the 1841 return, but now aged 20,17, 12 and 11 years. Matilda was born in Offley, Hertfordhire, the others, just a few miles away, in Luton, Bedfordshire. Maria's county of birth varies among her records between Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, explainable by her being born in this border area between the two counties.

In 1861 Elisha and Maria are both living at 2 Haverstock Road in Kentish Town, with their son William, now 20 years old. This return, we have already seen, with John Bill Capron and Matilda living in the same house.

By 1871, Maria had died (probably Sep1867 Pancras 1b 88 Age:59 - this computes to the right year of birth, and is registered in the location one would expect of her address). William is now the head of household at 2 Haverstock Road, with his wife Jane and five children. Elisha is described as a Lodger, Age 63 and a Widower. His occupation and William's is Bricklayer's Labourer.

According to the National Probate Calendar for England and Wales, Elisha died 17 December 1879, corresponding to BMD Death Index Dec1879 Pancras 1b 142 Age:72. His will was proved by William Allen Son and Matilda Capron Daughter (wife of John Capron). His address (and William's) by this time is 10 Dukes Terrace, Malden Road, Kentish Town - where we find William, Jane and family for the 1881 England Census.

Elisha and William are both described as Coal Porters in the National Probate Calendar. Thus, the occupation given on the 1871 census may have been a transient occupation, what they had been doing that day or week. This would further suggest that Elisha was still working in 1871, on the supposition that someone would only write in a transient occupation if they had actually done it (as per census instructions), whereas they might write in their lifetime occupation even if they had retired (in spite of the census instructions). Whether Elisha ever retired is open, but he did enjoy the immediate support of his son and family. And he probably never lacked coal for his hearth!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ageing Backwards

In TH White's Once and Future King, the magician Merlyn has second sight because he ages backwards, or perhaps more accurately, he experiences time backwards. His past is our future, so to speak. This has advantages, but is inconvenient at times.

“You see, one gets confused with Time, when it is like that. All one’s tenses get muddled, for one thing. If you know what is going to happen to people, and not what has happened to them, it makes it difficult to prevent it happening, if you don’t want it to have happened, if you see what I mean? Like drawing in a mirror.”

Genealogical generations are like this. If I start at the chronological beginning, you, dear reader, would have an easier time following the life of my ancestors. But the order of discover in genealogy is the other way. We begin by experiencing an ancestor in middle or old age, and only afterwards do we find a marriage, and then records from their childhood. And then we start all over with a previous generation! After a few posts of speculation, we move to much firmer ground. In this post, we age backwards the ancestors of Minnie Mary Frances Byrne, Vivian Kennett Tilley's first wife.

Here are her BMD Index entries. I have not yet ordered the certificates:
     Birth: Minnie Mary F Byrne Mar1905 Paddington 1a 76
     Marriage: Minnie MF Byrne Dec1928 Paddington 1a 171
     Death: Marion M Tilley Sep1946 St Ives 4a 246 Age:42

The parish records for Westminster, St Mary record her full name and baptism on 9 April 1905:
     Minnie Mary Frances Byrne
            parents: Roger Fannon and Matilda Mary Byrne Decorator of 29 Caird Street

I have little doubt that the death record is the correct one, and that she took the name Marion (as recorded by a previous Tilley genealogist - thank you). But she was baptized "Minnie", and her birth and marriage records use that name, as does her first inclusion on a census return.

Now working through the parents' lives backwards, their BMD Death Index entries would appear to be in the same calendar quarter, although not at the same time:
     Matilda M Byrne    Mar 1927 Paddington 1a 18 Age: 65        
     Roger F Byrne       Mar1927 Paddington 1a 119 Age 66

The next record back is the 1911 England Census at 29 Caird Street, Queens Park, Paddington, London
     Roger Fannon Byrne           Head      50   Marr    House Painter  Eccles, Lancs.
     Matilda Mary Byrne              Wife       48   Marr                           Kentish Town, London
     Minnie Mary Frances Byrne  Daughter 6                                      Queens Park, London

The 1911 returns are the householder "autograph" copy, so we get to see the signature of Roger Fannon Byrne, and no editing or typos by the census enumerator that can occur in the Census Enumerator Books. From the census we also learn that Minnie is not merely the only surviving child, but the only child Matilda bore, which is less surprising when we learn they were only married ten years before aged 39/40.

The Parish Register for St Peter Paddington records the marriage on 6 July 1901:
     Roger Fannon Byrne 40 Bachelor Decorator
                                                    32 Edbrooke Road  father: John Byrne Labourer
     Matilda Mary Capron 39 Spinster                  
                                                   32 Edbrooke Road  father: John Capron Hatter
This corresponds to BMD Marriage Index Sep1901 Paddington 1a 143 for Roger Fannon Byrne and Mary Matilda Capron.

About three months prior to the marriage we find them in the 1901 England Census at 111 Third Avenue, Paddington. They must have moved house in the meantime. Mary Capron is Matilda's mother and Roger's future mother-in-law.
     Mary Capron              Head        Wid[ow] 67 Living on own means  Harpenden, Herts.
     Matilda Mary Capron Dau[ghter] S[ingle] 39 Book keeper            Kentish Town, London
     Roger Byrne               Boarder     S[ingle] 38 House Painter            Eccles, Lancs.
I could not find a census return or BMD Birth Index entry for Roger Fannon Byrne before these 1901 records. For Matilda Mary Capron I did find her name on 1871 and 1881 England Census returns.

In 1871 her family lived at 9 Ferdinand Street, Kentish Town, Pancras, London
     John B Capron       Head  Mar  40  Hat Maker  Middlesex, Blackfriars
     Mary Capron         Wife   Mar  37  Laundress   Herts., Harpenden
     Matilda M Capron  Daur            9   Scholar       Middlesex, St Pancras
     Maria L Capron      Daur           7    Scholar       Middlesex, St Pancras
These appear to be the only children they have. With 10 years from census to census it is possible that a child may have been born and died. After seeing so many large 19th century families, finding two generations of small families seems remarkable.

In 1881 John, Mary and Maria live at 31 Princes Crescent, but Matilda has left home. A 20-year-old Matilda Capron is a Domestic Servant in the Household of Thomas Burkill of 3 Stratford Place, Kentish Town, Pancras, and this is probably the same Matilda Capron, my step-great grandmother. And continuing backwards for Matilda, we have this BMD Birth Index entry - London, from cradle to grave, or, I should say, from grave to cradle!
     Matilda Mary Capron Jun 1861 Pancras 1b 182

Matilda's father John B Capron died sometime bewteen the 1881 and 1901 census dates (I cannot find an 1891 census record). The BMD Death Index has this likely entry:
     John Capron Dec1893 Pancras 1b 130 Age: 62

For the 1861 England Census, he and Mary lived at 2 Haverstock Road, Kentish Town, Pancras, London.
     John B Capron Head    Mar  30   Hatter                 Surrey, Lambeth
     Mary Capron   Wife     Mar  27   Straw Plaiter       Beds, Luton
     Charles Camp  Lodger Mar  23   Railway Porter    Herts, Langley
I couldn't make out "Plaiter" until I consulted a list of 1861 occupations. A straw plaiter plaits straw for hatmaking, presumably the context in which she met John B.

Their marriage is recorded in the parish register of Lambeth St John the Evangelist for 1 Jun 1857
     John Capron Full bachelor  Hatter  Cornwall       father: Thomas Capron  Hatter
     Mary Allen           Spinster                       Road   father: Elisha Allen         Labourer
Although John has signed his name: Jno Capron; Mary is unable to write, and next to her name is the notation: X Mark of Mary Allen, not uncommon for the time. This corresponds to BMD Marriage Index:
     Jun1857 Lambeth 1d 447 John Capron and Mary Allen

This makes sense of the other household at 2 Haverstock Road for the 1861 Census, that of the in-laws:
     Elisha Allen     Head    Mar    52   Coal Porter    Beds, ??
     Maria Allen     Wife     Mar   54   Straw Plaiter   Herts, Harpenden
     William Allen   Son      Un     21   Plate Layer     Beds, Luton
     Richard Deller Lodger Widr  27   Coal Porter    Beds, Luton

So far I have not found more on John Capron, except for a baptism record at St Mary Lambeth on 8 May 1831:
     John Bill Son of Thomas and Sarah Capron of Union Street Hatter
The B is for Bill. The lastname "Capron" is derived from someone who makes caps or hoods. I wonder how long the family had been in the headgear business!

There is more research for another post on the families of Elisha and Maria Allen, and Thomas and Sarah Capron. But somehow I wasn't ready to let the matter of Roger Fannon Byrne rest. Fannon might be a maiden name somewhere in the family line, but perhaps, like Zoe Young (Hanrott), Roger might have been adopted. A search for Roger Fannon born about 1861 in Lancashire returned the following two possibilities:

First there is the BMD Birth Index:
     Roger Fannan Mar1861 Barton 8c 460
(Eccles would be in the Barton registration district).

And second, there is the 1871 England Census at 37 James Street, Eccles, Lancashire.
     Margaret Byrne Head      Widow          36                           Ireland
     Michael Byrne   Son        Unmarried      20 Buss [?] Guard   Lancs, Liverpool
     Bridget Byrne    Daur       Unmarried     22 Spoolwinder       Lancs, Liverpool
     Roger Fannan    Boarder                       10 Scholar              Lancs, Patricroft
Patricroft is part of Eccles, which was one of the search criteria. The name of his host family is more surprising because "Byrne" was not part of the search, which is too much of a coincidence for him not to be the right person. Given their relative ages, Margaret would seem to be the step-mother of Michael and Bridget. Both Byrne and Fannan are Irish names, and whatever Margaret's maiden name, she is from Ireland, all reminders of the migration of the 1840's and the Great Famine that reduced Ireland's population by some twenty-five percent. Was John Byrne, who Roger Fannon gave as his father, the deceased husband of Margaret? And how are the Fannans related to the Byrnes?

Genealogical living backwards does not confer second sight, and the answers to these questions remain unanswered. As also the answer to the question of Vivian Kennett Tilley's grandparents, which I still await, and will report when I find out.

Monday, December 10, 2012

"A Case of Identity"

One of the Holmes adventures involves a mysterious suitor, who writes his letters with a typewriter and clearly wants his identity concealed. On the wedding day, the bride is left standing at the altar. She goes to Holmes to track down the perpetrator. Importantly, Holmes deduces his identity in part by noting that the suitor never appears when a certain other is around; in fact, this other and the false suitor are one and the same.

In this, the fourth part of a genealogical mystery, the identity in question is that of John, the father of Vivian Kennett Tilley, and husband of Amelia Augusta Beresford. However, family trees in have John Tilley, son of Llewellyn and Elizabeth, married to Maria Jane Jotcham (BMD Marriage Index Jun1887 Dursley 6a 428). Assuming they are right, the fate of this couple may help me determine whether these two John Tilleys might be the same person.

The 1891 England Census for Orchard Street in Wotton-under-Edge has:
     John Tilley          Head    M   30   Commercial Traveller London, Islington
     Maria Jane         Wife            30                                   Gloucester, Wotton-under-Edge
     Ida Eleanor         Daur            1 m                                Gloucester, Wotton-under-Edge

And in 1901 for Market Street in Wotton-under-Edge
     Maria Jane Tilley Head      M  40  Dressmaker             Glos. Wotton-under-Edge
     John L                Son              11                                  Glos. Wotton-under-Edge
     Ida E                  Daur            10                                   Glos. Wotton-under-Edge
     Laura M             Daur             8                                    Glos. Wotton-under-Edge
     Dorothy J           Daur             6                                    London, Hammersmith

Of course, John - the father - may be travelling on business, but he is not dead; Maria Jane reports her status as married, not widowed. But this does mean, unless John and Maria Jane are separated (and the former living with Amelia Beresford and their two children), we might rule out this line of inquiry as well.

Entires from the BMD Birth Index would be:
     John Llewellyn Tilley Sep1889 Dursley 6a 229
     Ida Eleanor Tilley      Jun1891 Dursley 6a 235
     Laura Marjorie Tilley Dec1892 Dursley 6a 25
     Dorothy Jennie Tilley Dec1894 Fulham 1a 175

Being unable to find this family in the 1911 England Census, I searched for Ida Eleanor Tilley, on the supposition this name would be easily identifiable. Several candidates were suggested, of which the following bears some examination. I found a US Passport application dated 1920 for Ida Eleanor Tilley, born in Wotton-under-Edge 7 March 1891, whose father John was born, and at the time of the application resided, in London. Ida Eleanor had lived in the United States since May 1906, and at the time of the passport application resided in Stamford, Connecticut.

The 1910 US Census has this family living in Stamford, Connecticut:
     Tilly     Maria      Head       M1   48   Dressmaker                    England
                Ida          Daughter   S     19   None                             England
                Marjory  Daughter   S      17  Stenographer                  England
                Dorothy  Daughter   S      15  Milliner's Apprentice       England
In spite of the mis-spelling of Tilley, this is surely the same family. The notation M1 refers to a single marriage. Additionally, the census records that the marriage was 23 years ago (consistent with an 1887 wedding), and that Maria had borne 5 children of which 4 have survived. A candidate for the missing child would be:
     Albert Andrew Tilley Mar1887 Dursley 6a 225
Who died Jun1887 Dursley 6a 147 Age: 0

John Llewellyn Tilley became Jack Llewellyn Tilley. From the Texas Death records (LDS familysearch site), his date of birth is 29 June 1889 in England, death is 20 October 1963 in El Paso, Texas, aged 74. He was a pharmicist by occupation, had been married, and his parents are recorded as John Tilley and Maria J Jotcham. His World War One draft card locates him in Brooklyn, New York. And he served in the US Army, inducted 4 October 1918, by which he was eligible for a veteran's grave at Fort Bliss National Cemetery. (His military records give the correct birthday, but incorrect year of 1890).

Ida Eleanor Tilley naturalized in 1918, when she lived at 302 Summer Street, Stamford, Connecticut. Her death record in Connecticut reveals that she was born 7 March 1891 and died 9 November 1983, aged 92, in Wethersfield, Connecticut. In life, she had been the Principal of a girls' boarding school. Her photo is shown in the 1920 passport application.

Laura Marjorie Tilley apparently became Marjorie Llewellyn Tilley. She was naturalized as a US Citizen 7 April 1933. She also was a School Principal, first of the Low Heywood School, Stamford, Connecticut and later at the Ellis School, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where there is still a scholarship in her name. Her obituary was published in the 23 March 1970 New Castle News (Pennsylvania), which records her late parents John and Maria Jotchan (presumably a misprint for Jotcham) Tilley, and surviving siblings Miss Ida Eleanor Tilley and Mrs. Paul A Miller. She was 77 years old.

Dorothy Jennie (became Dorothy Jane) Tilley married the Reverend Paul Alexander Miller of Matz, Ohio, a United Presbyterian minister. The couple applied for passports for a mission trip in 1920. Here is another passport photo, this time of Dorothy Miller:

Clearly, the family of John and Maria Jane Tilley, which we began to track in the 1891 England Census, ended up in the United States, and there may be descendants here from Jack Lewellyn Tilley, and the Miller family. Marjorie Tilley's obituary mentioned a nephew and two nieces.

How far have I come in determining if the two John Tilleys are one and the same? The answer: it is still possible. The 1910 US Census had Maria as head of household; as in 1901, John is not to be seen. Again, he may be travelling on business. But in 1920, he is reported residing in London while his children are settled in America, and I suspect he was there all along. Of course, I may be completely wrong, and all the work detailed here may turn out merely to be an illustration of the kinds of records available, and the information therein. Or else of interest to more distantly related Tilleys.

To add to the suspense, according to the Connecticut Deaths and Burials Index, Maria Jane Tilley died in 1914 aged 54, the year that John Tilley and Amelia Augusta Beresford were finally married. The plot thickens... Lacking certainty from the materials I could find on, I decided to buy the 1914 marriage certificate for John Tilley and Amelia Beresford - it's in the mail.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Kid in the Candy Store

The father of a school friend of mine quit work to run a sweet shop (that is, a candy store, for my American readers). Whenever I visited, his mother would give me a bag of Turkish delight to take home with me, although I don't think its contents ever survived the journey home! I thought there was something really exciting about living behind a sweet shop. And this came to mind when I learned that Llewellyn Tilley was a Confectioner in Gloucestershire in the middle of the 19th century, and that he and his wife, Elizabeth might be the grandparents of Vivian Kennett Tilley. How great to have a confectioner in the family!

This is the third post in a series researching the family of Vivian Kennett Tilley, my step-grandfather. His parents, John and Amelia are recorded in the 1901 and 1911 England Censuses, and I am attempting to trace the identity of John's background, especially his parents, and also to understand why their marriage certificate is dated 1914, when they had been together since 1896.

The previous post explains why I have all but eliminated John, Carman of Marylebone, and Ellen Tilley from consideration as the grandparents of Vivian Kennett. This post explains why I lean toward Llewellyn, Confectioner of Wotton-under-Edge, and Elizabeth Tilley. The aforementioned marriage certificate is on its way; a future post will reveal the identity of John's father as recorded on the certificate.

From the 1901 and 1911 censuses, the calculated year of birth for John Tilley is about 1861/2; place of birth is given as Islington, London. A search suggested this family from Market Street, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire in the 1871 England Census:

     Llewellyn Tilley Head  Marr     45  Confectioner    Gloucs., Kingswood
     Elizabeth           Wife   Marr     42                          Monmouthshire, Abergavenny
     Charles H         Son    Unmarr 15  Scholar             Bristol, St Nicholas
     John                 Son                  9   Scholar             London, Southwark, St George's
     Lewis               Son                  7   Scholar             London, Islington, St Mary's
     Kate                Dau                  3                           Gloucs, Wotton-under-Edge
     Blanche M       Dau                  1                           Gloucs, Wotton-under-Edge

And here they are in 1881:

The 1881 census shows the same family in addition to servants and apprentices. John is now a Draper's Assistant. John and Lewis are both shown as born in "London", whereas 1871 shows Southwark. The Islington connection for John becomes apparent from a baptismal record 21 February 1864 at Islington St Mary's for the following children:
     Mary Jane, born 11 July 1851
     Laura                  20 September 1853
     Charles Henry     30 April 1855
     John                    13 April 1861
     Llewellyn Frank   20 September 1863
All children of Llewellyn and Elizabeth Tilley of Rheidol Terrace. Llewellyn's occupation is letter carrier.

I would speculate there was another sibling between Charles Henry and John, who died, possibly leading the parents to baptize their remaining children. Mary Jane and Laura may have left home by 1871, being 19 and 17 years old respectively. Charles Henry of the baptism is Charles H of the census; John is John; and Lewellyn Frank has been anglicized to Lewis.

Llewellyn's name is uncommon enough that his record is easy to find in the BMD Death Index:
     Mar1891 Dursley 6a 175 Age: 67
The National Probate Calendar for England and Wales shows that Charles Henry was his only executor, and fixes the date of death at 9 January 1891.

The BMD Death Index entry for Elizabeth Tilley is:
     Mar1890 Dursley 6a 204 Age: 61
The National Probate Calendar for England and Wales places the date of death as 17 March 1890 and notes that Charles Henry Tilley was granted administration of her personal estate.

On a happier note, their marriage record in the BMD Marriage Index is:
     Dec1850 Abergavenny 26 29 to Elizabeth Vivian

We find them living in Bedwelty, Monmouthshire for the 1851 Wales Census, but no record yet from the 1861 Census (England or Wales). This was only a week or two before John's birth, so maybe they were preoccupied.

There are three connections between this John, son of Lewellyn and Elizabeth Tilley, and John, father of Vivian Kennett Tilley. First, they are born at the same time (about 1861/2); second they are born in the same place (London, and the Islington connection). Third, the maiden name of Llewellyn Tilley's wife is significant, since this is Vivian Kennett Tilley's first given name. (His other given name turns out to be the maiden name of his maternal grandmother, but that's a story for another day).

For uncovering these connections I would surely deserve a bag of Turkish delight! Except that those researching Llewellyn's line claim that John married Maria Jane Jotcham as shown by the BMD Marriage Index (another certficate worth buying, but I'll wait for now) :
     Jun1887 Dursley 6a 428

Worse than that, the 1901 England Census shows that they were still married, which leaves me, more than ever, feeling less like the calculating Holmes, and more like the tenacious Inspector Lestrade.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Under the Microscope

Here is the second of my posts concerning the identity of John Tilley, father of Vivian Kennett Tilley. One line of research on suggests that his parents (that is, Vivian Kennett's grandparents) are John and Ellen Tilley. While my own search for suspects brought forth Llewellyn and Elizabeth Tilley.  Can I eliminate either or both from my enquiries? For, to quote Holmes:

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

As I posted earlier, I am waiting to receive the marriage certificate of this John Tilley, father of Vivian Kennett Tilley, and his wife Amelia Augusta Beresford. From this I hope to find directly his father's name. The research here represents attempts to rule in or out certain suspects for less than $15! And although the data here may turn out to belong to some unrelated family of Tilleys, some of the insights I gained by looking at census and parish records are worth recording.

So, putting the family of John and Ellen Tilley under the microscope, we have, first of all, 1871,1881 and 1891 England Census returns. For all these years they lived at 34 Saville Street, Marylebone, Middlesex. (In 1851 and 1861, John - age 10 and 20 - is living with his parents at 28 Saville Street!). Here is the family in 1871:
     John Tilley     Head     Marr   30     Carman        Mdx, Marylebone
     Ellen              Wife      Marr   36                         Mdx, Paddington
     Albert            Son                  16     Porter          Mdx, Westminster
     William           Son                 13     Errand Boy  Mdx, Westminster
     John               Son                   8     Scholar        Mdx, Marylebone
     Frances S       Dau                  6      Scholar        Mdx, Marylebone
     Ellen               Dau                  3                          Mdx, Marylebone
     Frederick       Son                   1                          Mdx, Marylebone

To judge from the ages, Albert and William are actually Ellen's sons from a previous marriage, but they have taken the name Tilley - at least for purposes of the census. But if this is the case, I will never find birth or baptismal records for Albert or Wiliam Tilley.

In 1881, Frances S is no longer among them, reminding me first of the high child mortality of the period, but she might also be working as a maid and no longer at home. the rest have all aged ten years, and Rose aged 6, and Eliza aged 4 are added to the family. The connections of names, common family members, ages, places of birth (mostly: Ellen - the mother - is now listed as born in Marylebone), and John's - the father, that is - occupation is still Carman.

In 1891, John (still a Carman) and Ellen remain at 34 Saville Street with daughters Ellen, Rose and Eliza, although curiously the girls' ages are all wrong.

I also found a baptismal record in the parish register of All Souls, St Marylebone for 5 March 1865.
     John Edward, born 13 January 1863
     Frances Sarah, born 8 February 1865
They are son and daughter of John (Carman) and Ellen Tilley of 34 Saville Street, most certainly John, the son and Frances S of the census listed above, and indicating that John and Ellen kept the same address for at least 26 years!

This also illustrates a limitation of names in the census data. I would have expected to see at least "John E" if not "John Edward" on the census, especially since we have Frances S, but this is not so. The census data often contain discrepancies of age and place of birth.

The next question: What happens when John - the son - leaves home after 1881? A candidate suggested by the ancestry search engine is a family living at 33 Foley Street, Marylebone for the 1891 England Census:
     John Tilley        Head      Marr    28    Painter's Labourer     London, Marylebone
     Louisa              Wife       Marr    26                                     London, Marylebone
     Louisa              Dau                     2                                      London, Marylebone
     George             Son                     1                                      London, Marylebone
     John Baillie       Brother-in-law   25     Butcher                     London, St. Pancras

The brother-in-law is significant here, because through him I was able to find a marriage record. The parish register for St John the Evangelist, Charlotte Street, Camden records the marriage on 13 September 1886 of John Edward Tilley, bachelor, age 23 and Louisa Frances Baillie, spinster, age 22. John's occupation is Paper Hanger (decorator?), and his father is John Edward Tilley, Carman, presumably still living, since Louisa's father is Albert Broughton Baillie, Carman (deceased). Their address is given as 22 Tottenham Street.

The 1891 Foley Street census data above clearly relate to this marriage. Connecting the marriage to the 1871 John Tilley - the son - is less certain. The name John Edward matches his baptism. His father's name John Edward and occupation are consistent. John's place of birth for the census is also consistent. I am inclined to accept that they are referring to the same John Tilley.

In the 1901 England Census at 25 Bolsover Street, Marylebone, there is a Louisa F Tilley, widow, 36 Charwoman, born in St Pancras London and her son George F, 10 born in Marylebone would appear to be the remnant of this family. Her name and age,and her son are all consistent with the Foley Street census. The BMD Death Index records John Edward Tilley Dec1897 Pancras 1b 29 Age: 35.

The data are all consistent with the John Edward Tilley who died in 1897, being the John Tilley, son of John and Ellen. And if so, he could not be John Tilley, the father of Vivian Kennett Tilley. But while the data are highly suggestive, it remains possible that we are looking two different John Edward Tilleys born about 1862/3. I cannot eliminate him from my inquiries definitively.

Next up: Llewellyn and Elizabeth Tilley.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Some Advice from Holmes

Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke vividly brought to life the detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his companion, Dr. Watson in the Granada TV adaptation. I caught these on Public Television in the 1990s, finding the characterizations and Victorian detail delightful, whether or not I already knew the plot, or even thought it believable. Part of the fun of genealogy for me lies in the detective work. And that set me to looking for Holmes quotes. I like the irony of this one - a fictional character telling us that fact is stranger than fiction!

"Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outre results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable."

Some family lines appear to lead predictable lives, and I can sail from census to census, finding enough continuity of place or year of birth, or occupation, or the presence of family members, to trace with some confidence the generations of a single family. In other cases, my confidence quickly evaporates as I'm left with a Victorian/Edwardian detective mystery, as in the case of John Tilley and his wife Amelia.

First, forward two generations. My stepfather rarely talked about his own father, and beyond the names of his siblings I learned little about his genealogy. Going into this genealogical project, I was interested in the Tilleys. I never really thought of him as a stepfather; he was simply “Dad” and I now bear his last name as part of mine. Having three parents at least means having half as many again genealogical lines to follow!

So, where to begin? A search of his name, John Beresford Tilley, showed that at least one other had been at work on Tilley genealogy before me. Even so, it is always good to check for documentary sources, which turns out to be fairly easy in this case, since the prior genealogist indicated that John Beresford Tilley's father had unusual given names: Vivian Kennett. The BMD Marriage Index records this marriage:
     Vivian Kennett Tilley and Minnie MF Byrne Dec1928 Paddington 1a 171

The BMD Birth Index records the following Tilley/Byrne children:
     Mary K Mar1929 Marylebone 1a 626
     John B Jun1931 Pancras 1b 182
     Richard K Dec1928 Huntingdon 3a 286
     Michael D Sep1942 St. Ives 3b 523
There should also be Linda, the youngest. And note how the Index records a move from London to Huntingdonshire, something my father had shared with us.

I did know that my father’s mother had died young. With the hint that she also went by the name Marion, I found this death record :
     Marion M Tilley Sep1946 St. Ives 4b 246 Age:42
Her BMD Birth Index record is:
     Minnie Mary F Byrne Mar1905 Paddington 1a 76
I could also confirm from BMD Indexes that Vivian Kennett remarried (Jun1953 Hammersmith 5c 160) to Patricia N Worner. In fact, the prior genealogist is a descendant through this line. Vivian Kennett Tilley died in 1993.

Vivian Kennett also shows up in the 1911 England Census, living at 23 Cleveland Square, Hyde Park, London:
     John Tilley                     Head              50  Married  Collector    b. London, Islington
     Amelia Augusta Tilley   Wife              39   Married Caretaker   b. Durham City
     Adela Bereford Tilley    Daughter       14                 School        b. London, Shepherd’s Bush
     Norah Kathleen Tilley   Daughter       12                 School        b. Kent, Gillingham
     Vivian Kennett Tilley     Son                 9                  School        b. London, Notting Hill
     Minnie Kennett Dawes Sister-in-law  36   Married Cook Domestic b. Durham, Langley Moor

The family also shows up prior to Vivian Kennett's birth in the 1901 England Census, living at 1 Hurstway Street, Kensington:
     John Tilley                Head                39 Married  House Minder  b. London, Islington
     Amelia A Tilley         Wife                29 Married                           b. Durham City
     Adela E                     Daughter          4                                          b. London, Hammersmith
     Nora K                       Daughter          2                                         b. Kent,  New Brompton

All three children were baptized on the same day, 2nd November 1905 at St Mary Magdalene, Paddington. The baptismal record also lists their birthdays:
     Adela Bereford   10 January 1897,
     Norah Kathleen  23 November 1899
     Vivian Kennett    7 September 1901.
Their address is given as 126 Clarendon Street.  John’s occupation is cab driver. Around this time, London had mostly horse-drawn cabs and fewer than one hundred motor cabs.

When I search for a marriage between John Tilley and a spouse Amelia A., I find this one:
     John Tilley and Amelia A Beresford Jun1914 Paddington 1a 211

Which makes sense; the wife’s maiden name, Beresford, is that given by the prior Tilley genealogist, and also my father's middle name, which he explained as a family name. Amelia's BMD Birth Index entry is:
     Amelia Augusta Bereford Sep1871 Durham 10a 410
Her BMD Death Index entry is:
     Amelia Tilley Mar1959 Fulham 5c 668 Age:87

Yet the marriage entry also presents a mystery; in 1911 on their census return, John and Amelia A report being married for 15 years; yet their marriage certificate was issued in 1914! It is possible that their original marriage was not properly registered. (In an earlier post, I reported that Kenneth Kapadia and Hattie Maxfield/Wichert have two marriage records: one in London, England and one in Winnipeg, Canada). But is it possible that they were living together as married, while one of them was actually separated from a living spouse? Certainly not a topic of respectable Edwardian conversation!

A more prosaic mystery concerns John Tilley's parents. John Tilley, from the census data was born in Islington, London about 1861/2. When I searched for such a John Tilley, I found the son of one Llewellyn Tilley, a confectioner from Gloucestershire, and his wife, Elizabeth. Unfortunately the name is common enough that other researchers propose different parents, that John Tilley is the son of John Tilley, Carman, of Marylebone, London and his wife Ellen.

After some preliminary work, I decided it was well worth ordering the 1914 marriage certificate for John Tilley and Amelia Beresford, which ought to list the name and occupation of John Tilley's father. While I am waiting on this, I will present in future posts the preliminary work, which leads me to favor Llewellyn over John. Still, keep in mind Holmes's cautionary note:

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sailing Three Generations

For my first fourteen years, we lived close to the Thames: Benfleet, Canvey Island, Leigh-on-sea; and then we moved inland to Norfolk. I spent many days on the beaches in Leigh, Chalkwell and Southend, playing in the sand, and, at low tide, wading the silty creeks that provide waterways for some of the smaller craft. My father was a captain in the merchant navy, so there is more than a little salt in my blood.

The family tree I have in mind, concentrates mostly on parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and back, basically a kind of pedigree chart. In addition, I would like to add the siblings at each generation. Occasionally, I might trace some of these lines closer to the present. The pedigree chart is already a large project, since at each generation the number of great-grandparents doubles. The generation born in the late 18th century appears to be that of my 5th great-grandparents of which I have one-hundred-and-twenty-eight.

The UK research breaks down into three periods: recent oral family history; the census era; and the pre-census era. Systematic household censuses in the UK began in 1841, and were enumerated every ten years thereafter. However, UK censuses are not published until 100 years have passed, so the most recent census data are from 1911. Before the Census and central indexing of birth, marriage and death records, there are parish records.

The gap between 1911 and now can often be completed through asking family elders about their siblings, uncles and aunts. Failing that, I have found the free BMD indexes helpful ( For example, for the Stroud-Parks line I can easily find the marriage of Henry Stroud and Edith V Parks (Dec1916 Romford 4a 975), my great-grandparents. If I wanted, I could use this information to order their marriage certificate, but for now it gives me the registration district and quarter in which they were married. I can also search for children of last name Stroud and mother's maiden name Parks, and this search shows me:

     Unity G Sep1917 Romford 4a 7?9
          (my grandmother "Nan Stuart" - her mother, Edith was known as "Nan Mum")
     Olive V Sep1920 Romford 4a 1109
     Audrey P Jun1922 Romford 4a 966
     Myrtle S Dec1924 Romford 4a 838
     Ian RH Jun1927 Romford 4a 830
     Particia J Sep1932 Romford 4a 825
     Henry J Mar1935 West Ham 4a 463

I can likewise easily find Edith V Parks birth registration in the BMD Birth Index; in fact she is Edith Violet Parks born (at least registered) Sep1893 Gravesend 2a 625. Searching on the ancestry database, her 1901 and 1911 England Census records show up. In 1911, the household unit is at 52 Eastwood Road, Goodmayes, Essex:

     George William Parks  Head 40         Waterman and lighterman born Stepney, Middx
     Edith Simmonds Parks Wife 35                                                  born Gravesend, Kent
     George William Parks  Son 16           Lighterman apprentice       born Limehouse, Mddx
     Edith Violet Parks        Daughter 17   Clerk - Solicitor's              born Gravesend, Kent
     Sidney John Parks       Son 14           Clerk - Engineer's              born Limehouse, Mddx
     Harold Bertram Parks Son 12            School                              born Limehouse, Mddx
     Gladys Irene Parks      Daughter 9      School                             born Limehouse, Mddx
     Thomas Charles Cooper Boarder 44 Clerk - Steamship Company born Rio de Janeiro

Watermen in London ferried people across the Thames, and lightermen used tide, current and human might to unload ships out in the river - a cheaper option for the owners who could avoid costly wharf fees.

In 1901, they are at 69 St Albans Road, ten years younger, minus Gladys Irene. Even the same boarder lived with them. Knowing the names of father and mother, searching the Free BMD Marriage Index finds the marriage of George William Parks and Edith Simmonds Hardman Mar1893 Gravesend 2a 600 - my 2nd great-grandparents. Further searching on the ancestry database show her 1881 and 1891 England Census records, and her family of origin.

Her father, John is from Worcestershire, and her mother, Amelia from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk - my 3rd great-grandparents. In 1881 at 2 Elliot Street, Milton in Gravesend, Kent they are:

     John Hardman Head 49 Pensioner (He had previously been a Coast Guard)
     Amelia            Wife  38
     John                Son 14
     Amelia M         Daughter 13
     John A            Son 12 (or, given the other census returns, Jonas A)
     Emily              Daughter 9
     Edith S           Daughter 5
     Joseph O        Son 4
     (and in addition Matilda F and Emma E in 1891)

In 1861 a thirty-year-old John Hardman from Worcestershire was "Captin Miz Top" on board HMS Encounter (14-gun corvette) in Yokohama, Japan, which, in its tour of duty, had been engaged in the Second Opium War against Imperial China.

The only recorded marriage between John Hardman and Amelia (any name) between 1860 and 1870 is
with Amelia Hatt Sep1865 Orsett 4a 160 - my 4th great-grandparents. Searching once more in the census record finds the Hatt family unit in Kessingland, Suffolk, 1861 and Lowestoft,1851:

     Cyprian Hatt b1818 in Harwich, Essex Coast Guard R.N.
     Emma           b1816 in Filby, Norfolk
     Emma           b1838 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
     Thomas        b1840 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
     Amelia          b1842 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
     Jonah           b1846 in Lowestoft, Suffolk
     Eliza             b1850 in Lowestoft, Suffolk
     Joseph          b1852 in Lowestoft, Suffolk
     Emily            b1853 in Kessingland, Suffolk
     Alma            b1855 in Kessingland, Suffolk

Cyprian was also a coast guard; the salt was in their blood. No record of Cyprian Hatt's marriage is in the BMD database, indicating a marriage before 1837, which will force me to rely on parish records - Filby or Great Yarmouth, Norfolk would be good places to start looking for a marriage record of Cyprian Hatt and Emma. From the BMD Death Index Cyprian Hatt died in 1883. A member tree in ancestry notes an unconfirmed newspaper obituary for him, and an item concerning his entry of a model life-boat to the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Previous research has demonstrated generations of lawyers; and here are three generations of river- and seamen. Moving from Norfolk to Essex and London - somewhat akin to my move in the other direction. I remain, however, a convinced landlubber!
Taking stock, so far I have all direct ancestors (and for the most part their siblings) back to my 2nd great-grandparents (there are 16 of them), and 28/32 names for the next generation. Thereafter, I have 14/64 4th great-grandparents, 6/128 5th great, and even a couple of 6th great-grandparents (out of 256). For many family lines the census era is plain sailing.