Sunday, March 24, 2013

Intelligence Gathering

Several years ago, I acquired a book for almost-free that a public library was discarding, Intelligence At The Top by Major-General Sir Kenneth Strong. He was chief of intelligence for General Eisenhower in North Africa and then Europe. I bought the book for its military history value rather than any connection with the name. Recently, with a Wednesday evening to spare, I figured it wouldn't take long to find out if the major-general was closely related to the Strong family of my great grandmother Emily and her father Robert. More on that later, but first a little more about Robert Strong and his family of origin.

Intelligence gathering begins with the 1901 and 1911 censuses for Robert Strong, which give his wife's name as Amelia, and - great for genealogists - his father-in-law as Abraham Hemingway. Thus, his wife was Amelia Hemingway, and their marriage record is easy to find as BMD Marriage Index Mar1882 Barrow-in-Furness 8e 970. Just as Middlesbrough , Yorkshire experienced huge growth in the nineteenth century, so too Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire grew from a population of 2,700 in 1831 to 58,000 in fifty years. Barrow is not far from Carnforth, and you may remember (from the previous post) that Abraham had worked for the Furness Railway.

I have that marriage certificate for Robert Strong and Amelia Hemingway. Robert's occupation is given as Publican, his address as 2 Rawlinson Street, and his father is Joseph Strong, Sea Captain. Amelia's address is 28 Salthouse Road, and her father is Abraham Hemingway, Engineer. If you search a google map, you will see the addresses are quite close to each other. The streetview for 2 Rawlinson shows that it is still a pub, The Queen's Arms. The couple were married in St Luke's Church, Barrow-in-Furness, shown above, which unlike the pub, closed for regular services in 2008. The witnesses were Abraham Hemingway and Hannah Marshall.

For the 1881 England Census both Robert Strong and the Hemingways lived at the addresses given above. And here is the household of Robert's brother, Anthony:
     Anthony Strong       Head   Mar   31       Publican              Yorkshire, Middlesbro
     Mary A                   Wife    Mar   29                                  Lancashire, Walney
     Anthony                  Son                3                                   Lancashire, Walney
     Margaret                 Daur              2                                   Lancashire, Barrow
     Jane                        Daur              1                                   Lancashire, Barrow
     Robert                    Son                2 mos                            Lancashire, Barrow
     Robert                    Brother Unm  25     Boatman               Scotland
     Sarah J Hankwood Servant Unm  32     General Domestic  Worcestershire, ?

Robert is here Boatman, although maybe Barman is nearer the truth, and perhaps this is a transcript error. However, by 1891 Anthony is described as Waterman, and in 1901 as Ferry Boatman, so perhaps this is what Robert was doing in 1881. By 1911 Anthony is a Pleasure Boat Owner, testimony to Barrow's re-positioning as a tourist resort. As we saw, Robert later became a stationary engine driver for the railway, specifically, a driller.

Anthony's wife in 1881 is Mary Ann, who died a few months later (BMD Death Index Sep1881 Barrow-in-Furness 8e 445 Age:28). With four young children to care for, Anthony quickly remarried (BMD Marriage Index Mar1882 Barrow-in-Furness 8e 961) to Margaret Swainson Huartson, and they are found together in subsequent census returns through 1911.

I have not yet found a census record for Robert Strong in 1871, but the 1861 Scotland Census has the following from 10 Laird Street, Greenock:
     Joseph Strong       Head         53   Shipmaster     England
     Jane                      Wife          40                        England
     Joseph                   Son          18    Engineer        England
     Sarah                    Daughter   16                         England
     John                      Son          13    Scholar          England
     Hannah                 Daughter   10    Scholar          England
     Anthony                Son           11    Scholar         England
     Robert                  Son            5                          Greenock, Renfrewshire
     Agnes Dulton        Servant     21                          Glasgow, Lanarkshire

This is the same family as that found on Commercial Street, Middlesbrough in the 1851 England Census:
     Joseph Strong      Head   Mar 45 Master, Steem [sic] Boat  Durham, Newcastle
     Jane                     Wife    Mar 33                                         Durham, Hartlepool
     Sarah                    Daur           7  Scholar                            Yorks, Middlesbro
     William                 Son             3  Scholar                            Yorks, Middlesbro
     John                     Son             3  Scholar                            Yorks, Middlesbro
     Anty                    Son              1  Scholar                            Yorks, Middlesbro
     Catherine Martin  Servant  U  17                                         Yorks, Middlesbro

In 1851, Joseph (junior) turns out to be visiting in the household of Robert Gargett on East Street, Middlesbrough, although I do not know their relationship with the Strongs. It would be tempting to conclude that William Strong, missing in the 1861 Scotland Census, had died in the interim. However, a William Strong, born about 1848 in Middlesbrough shows up again in the 1881 England Census in Barrow-in-Furness, so I'm expect he was merely visiting elsewhere in 1861. And note that William and John are twins; they become Butcher and Tailor respectively, both living in Barrow by the 1881 England Census. I can find no further record of Sarah. But I do find more for Joseph (junior) below.

Hannah of the 1861 Scotland Census married journalist Tom Payne Marshall (BMD Marriage Index Dec1875 Ulverston 8e 1227) and is one of the witnesses on Robert and Amelia's marriage certificate. After Joseph Strong (senior) died, his widow Jane shows up in the 1881 England Census with Tom and Hannah.

Here are the BMD Birth Index references for the above Strongs:
     Joseph Strong Mar1843 Stockton 12 258
     Sarah Strong Mar1845 Stockton 12 254
     John Strong Dec1847 Stockton 24 262
     William Strong Dec1847 Stockton 24 262
     Anthony Strong Dec1849 Stockton 24 288
     Hannah Strong Jun1851 Stockton 24 344

Unable to find a Scottish Birth Index for Robert Strong, I sent for Hannah's birth certificate, which gives her birthday as 31 March 1851 on Commercial Street, Middlesbrough. Her father is Joseph Strong, Master Mariner, and mother Jane Strong, formerly Hughes. Which is interesting since the LDS database, England Marriages 1537-1973, shows the marriage of Joseph Strong and Jane Hughes on 25 April 1837 at West Acklam, Yorkshire, the parish church for Middlesbrough. However, there are no further details such as fathers' names. In the 1841 England Census for Durham Street, Middlesbrough, I find Joseph Strong (30), M[aster?] Mariner and Jane Strong (20). Their immediate census neighbors are a family headed by one William Hughes (40) Baker, possibly her father.

A search with (LDS) for births and baptisms of surname Strong, parents Joseph and Jane gives one series of baptisms belonging to a different couple of the same names. Cross referencing their children's names with the England censuses shows that the father is a coal miner, living in Lamesley near Wickham, Durham.

Of more interest, the following records, from the same search, likely belong to the family of my 3x great grandparents:
     England Births and Christenings
          William Strong son of Joseph and Jane Strong
               West Acklam Christening 17 March 1838; burial 14 September 1840
          John Hughs Strong son of Joseph and Jane Strong
               West Acklam Christening 28 July 1839
          John Strong and William Strong sons of Joseph and Jane Strong
               Middlesbrough, Yorkshire Christening 30 October 1847
     Scotland Births and Baptisms
          Thomas Strong son of Joseph Strong/Jane Hughes
               Birth 24 February 1859 Greenock, Renfrewshire

From this, if they are all for the same family, it would appear that their first two children, William and John had died, and they later re-used the names for the twins. The Scotland birth is likely their child. Joseph and Jane (nee Hughes) Strong were in Scotland from 1856 at the latest (i.e. when Robert was born) and did not leave until 1861 at the earliest (i.e. census time). Between these dates Thomas was born. I have found no more records for him. An 1871 census transcript for Joseph and Jane and family would probably yield some good information.

England Births and Christenings also give this record which could belong to either of the families:
     Hannah Strong daughter of Joseph and Jane Strong
               Middlesbrough Circuit Primitive Methodist Christening 6 April 1851

I can now add the following BMD Birth Index entries for:
     William Strong Mar1838 Stockton 24 188
     John Hughes Strong Sep1839 Stockton 24 200
And their BMD Death Index entries are, both from freebmd and both difficult to read:
     William Strong Sep1840 Stockton 24 154 (or 134)
     John Hughes Strong Sep1839 24 156?

And finally, back to Major-General Sir Kenneth Strong. His wikipedia entry gives parents John Strong and Ethel May Dobson. He was in fact their only child.

Their marriage record show John's father as Joseph Strong, Market Gardener and Fruiterer. The 1901 England Census gives just such a person at 157 Dalton Road, Barrow-in-Furness, Joseph Strong, Widower, born about 1844 in Middlesbrough, Market Gardener. I don't have his 1891 census return, but I can trace his family back through 1881 and 1871 censuses. The only Joseph Strong born around this time and at this place would be Robert Strong's oldest brother, making the major-general my Grandpa Stuart's second cousin. To confirm this, I would need only the marriage certificate for Joseph Strong and Jane Bond, BMD Marriage Index Sep1865 Ulverston 8e 926. Until then, I am relying on Joseph's place of birth and age from various censuses, and the Barrow-in-Furness connection among Robert's brothers.

It turns out that when Intelligence At The Top was published in the 1960's, Ultra, the decryption of the German Enigma code (among others), was still classified, preventing Sir Kenneth from mentioning it. This compromises some of the history, but now I have a family connection with the book!

Major-General Sir Kenneth Strong

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Remembering Those Lost

In the 70s during the summer break, I used to spend a week or so in Upminster with Nan and Granddad Green. While staying with them, I would also visit with Nan and Grandpa Stuart, and remember an occasion when Nan Stuart took me up to see the Tower of London. She also showed me the Tower Hill Memorial commemorating sailors of the Merchant Navy killed during World War II, and the name of a relative who had perished. The name and exact relationship I never remembered. For many years I had though it was a Stuart, but now that the internet lists the names of those sailors, I cannot find a Stuart who could be related. But, in working up the Strong family, I think now I know who the sailor was.

My great grandfather Douglas Stuart Kapadia (Grandpa Stuart's father) died when I was 19 months old, and while I do not remember, I spent at least a day with my family at his house shortly before that over Christmas 1964. His death is recorded in BMD Death Index Mar1965 Romford 5a 505 Age:75 and in the National Probate Calendar:
STUART, Douglas of 10 Maybush Road Hornchurch Essex died 4 January 1965 at Harold Wood Hospital Essex Probate 9 March Ipswich to Douglas Strong Stuart marine clerk.

Douglas Strong Stuart was his oldest son and my Grandpa. The death certificate for Douglas Stuart Kapadia records his name as Douglas Stuart - not the first Kapadia we have met who changed his name - such that his middle name became his last. Announcement of the name change appears in the London Gazette 7 January 1921, page 248.

Douglas Stuart Kapadia's wife was Emily Strong, and had died in 1946. The BMD Marriage Index (of which I have the certificate) has:
     Emily Strong and Douglas Stuart Kapadia Sep1913 W Ham 4a 201.

From the marriage certificate I can confirm the 1911 England Census household for Emily, one which had seemed the most likely all along. The lines of evidence in this marriage certificate (14 September 1913 at St Barnabus Church in Little Ilford) are:
     1) father's name: Robert Strong
     2) father's occupation: Engineer
     3) address: 241 Shrewsbury Road
     4) witness: Mary Janetta Strong (sister to Emily in the 1911 household)

Here is the census household at 241 Shrewsbury Road, Forest Gate:
     Robert Strong           Head                 54  Married
                                                     Driller L. T. & S. Railway      Greenock, Renfrew
     Amelia                      Wife                  48  Married                 Manchester, Lancs.
     Mary Janetta             Daughter           28  Single                     Barrow in Furness, Lancs
     Emily                         Daughter           27  Single                     Bowness, Westmorland
     Robert Abraham        Son                  20  Single 
                                                      Secretary of Public Company Carnforth, Lancashire
     Eva                            Daughter         12 Single  At School       Carnforth, Lancashire
     Abraham Hemingway Father-in-Law 83 Widower
                              Retired Loco Superintendant Furness Railway Halton, Yorkshire

The L. T. & S. is the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway which I remember taking many times from Leigh-on-sea to Upminster. The 1911 England Census returns available on are scans of the original householder copy, and you may click on the image below to appreciate Robert Strong's handwriting.

In 1901, with the father-in-law's household at Keer Villas in Carnforth, Lancashire, we have:
     Abraham Hemingway  Head          Widr 73
                                           Retired Railway Engineer         Yorks., Halton
     Robert Strong             Son-in-Law M    43
                                           Stationary Railway Engineman  Scotland
     Amelia                        Daur            M    38                    Lancs., Manchester
     Emily                          Gd Daur       S     14                   Westmd, Bowness
     Eva                            Gd Daur       S      2                     Lancs., Carnforth
     Robert Abraham        Gd Son         S     10                    Lancs., Carnforth

And in 1891 at 11 Hunter Street, Carnforth:
     Robert Strong  Head  M 34
                                     Driver Railway Stationary Engine   Greenock, Scotland
     Amelia             Wife  M  28                                           Manchester, Lancashire
     Mary J            Daur          8                                           Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire
     Emily              Daur         7 [should be 4]                        Bowness, Westmorland
     Robert A        Son           7 mos                                     Carnforth, Lancashire
     Jane Howarth Boarder    22  Dressmaker                       Preston, Lancashire

Carnforth, Lancashire was an important railway junction in the 19th century. More recently, the railway buildings operated for a time as a museum, and still service steam locomotives. Three of the Strong children were baptized at Christ Church, Carnforth. In 1911 the Strongs reported that 4 of their 5 children were still living. Here are records I have found so far pertaining to all five, including Amelia Strong who died in infancy.

Mary Janetta Strong
     BMD Birth Index Dec1882 Barrow in Furness 8e 826
Emily Strong
     BMD Birth Index Dec1883 Kendal 10b 672
     BMD Marriage Index Sep1913 W Ham 4a 201 to Douglas Stuart Kapadia
     BMD Death Index Emily Stuart Mar1944 Romford 4a 679 Age:60
     National Probate Calendar died 8 January 1944;
              probate to her husband "Douglas Stuart ship owner" 17 March 1944
Robert Abraham Strong
     BMD Birth Index Sep1890 Lancaster 8e 774
     Baptism at Christ Church, Carnforth 21 September 1890
     BMD Marriage Index Sep1915 Wellingborough 3b 363 to Winifred E Dunkley
     BMD Death Index Dec1918 Blofield 4b 431
Amelia Strong
     BMD Birth Index Sep1893 Lancaster 8e 783
     Baptism at Christ Church, Carnforth 3 September 1893
     BMD Death Index Dec1893 Lancaster 8e 578 Age:0
     Burial at St Oswald's, Warton 23 December 1893 Age:3 mos
Eva Strong
     BMD Birth Index Jun1898 Lancaster 8e 795
     Baptism at Christ Church, Carnforth 22 May 1898

Robert Abraham and Winifred E (nee Dunkley) Strong had a son: Robert M Strong BMD Birth Index Jun1917 Rochford 4a 1076. This appears to be the only Strong-Dunkley child in the index, which becomes easy to explain since a search for Robert A Strong in the BMD Death Index gives a death in December quarter 1918. A websearch for his name shows the photograph of a gravestone at St Michael, Pitsea recording 2nd Lieutenant Robert A Strong Royal Air Force, who died 1 December 1918 age 28, shortly after the war ended. The caption says he served with 273 Squadron which had been formed from flights of the Royal Naval Air Service. Air Ministry records at the National Archives, which I have not yet paid to read, index his date of birth as 2 September 1890 (Ref: AIR 76/488/87769). According to a discussion thread on one forum, his flying helmet is still extant! The couple would be my great grand uncle and aunt.

As for their son, we find 3rd Officer Robert Maxine Strong of the SS Empire Impala arriving in New York 4 July 1942, presumably as part of a wartime convoy which transported materiel for the Allied war effort. On 7 March 1943 SS Empire Impala, part of convoy SC-121 in the North Atlantic, was ordered to stop and pick up survivors of the torpedoed SS Egyptian, and was herself torpedoed by U591 and sank. All 46 crew were lost (and 46 of 49 from the Egyptian), among them Robert Maxine Strong who is listed on the Tower Hill Memorial Part XIV Panel 42 and in the remembrance book as the son of Robert Abraham and Winifred Ethel Strong (The Tower Hill Memorial has 11 March, although the convoy history in wikipedia has 7 March 1942).

The National Probate Calendar has:
STRONG, Robert Maxime [sic] of 23 Guildhall-road Bournemouth died on or since 11 March  1943 on war service. Administration Winchester 3 April to Winifred Ethel Strong widow.

Robert Maxine Strong would have been my Grandpa Stuart's first cousin. My grandpa told me he had served with the British 8th Army in North Africa, driving trucks. By early 1943 their adversaries, commanded by Rommel had retreated into Tunisia. Meanwhile the Battle of the Atlantic was about to turn in the Allies' favor, which, of course, was little consolation for all the losses. So now I can be fairly sure of the name Nan Stuart showed me all those years ago.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Watch the Wall, My Darling

Sailing Cutter

               If you wake at Midnight, and hear a horse's feet,
               Don't go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street,
               Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie.
               Watch the wall, my darling, as the Gentlemen go by!
                Five and twenty ponies
               Trotting through the dark.
               Brandy for the Parson.
               'Baccy for the Clerk;
               Laces for a lady, letters for a spy.
               And watch the wall, my darling, as the Gentlemen go by!

As Rudyard Kipling wrote a little over a hundred years ago. You can google for the rest of the poem. It's about smuggling, specifically in the eighteenth century of the King George's, but smuggling continued well into the nineteenth. Except that the smugglers were no gentlemen. For all the later romanticism, smuggling was a profitable and ruthless business. The Coastguard Service was organized in 1822 to rationalize the anti-smuggling efforts of Revenue Officers, Royal Navy and other institutions. By mid-century smuggling was in decline, and the lifesaving aspect of their service had became more prominent. As we continue with the Kennetts, we will find two generations of Coast Guard keeping law and order on the English coast.

The marriage certificate for John Beresford and Mary Ann Kennett, in Bishopwearmouth, Durham, 2 April 1867, gives her father as William Kennett, Coast Guard. Coast guards were moved around as a hedge against corruption. The authorities reasoned, that too long in one place and personal connections might grow into criminal acquiescence to smuggling. It's no surprise, then, to see evidence of this moving-around in census returns.

In the 1851 England Census in Bradwell-near-the-Sea, Essex, schedule 21 on the Waterside, we have:
     William Kennett   Head   Mar   32   Revenue Officer         Kent, Monkton
     Ann                     Wife    Mar   33                                     Devon, Budleigh Salterton
     Mary Ann            Daur              3                                     Essex, North Shoebury
     Martha                Daur              2                                      Essex, North Shoebury

And in 1861 in Kettleness Village, Yorkshire, schedule 126:
     William Kennett   Head   Mar   42   Coast Guard Service  Kent, Monkton
     Ann                     Wife    Mar   43                                     Devon, Budleigh Salterton
     Martha M            Daur             12                                     Essex, Southend
     Mahala E             Daur              9                                      Essex, Bradwell
     Richard T             Son               8                                      Yorkshire, Staithes
     Rosetta M            Daur             3                                       Yorkshire, Kettleness

You can see the move from Shoeburyness/Southend to Bradwell both in Essex, and then Staithes/Kettleness, Yorkshire. These latter two are just a couple of miles along the coast from each other. Staithes looks to be a pretty fishing village, where one can easily imagine the gentlemen going by, while on the Ordnance Survey for Kettleness I see a coastguard station.

In 1861, Mary Ann is staying with an aunt in Southwold, Suffolk.
     Mary Ann Pratt      Head   Un   38   Tailoress                        Devonshire, Weymouth
     Mary Ann Kennett Niece          13   Tailoress (App[rentice]) Essex, Southend

From which I deduce that, being unmarried, the aunt is her mother's sister, and their maiden name must be Pratt. And this is borne out by Mary Ann Kennett's birth certificate, dated 8 Jun 1847 and 6 a.m. in South Shoebury (interesting, since the 1851 census has "North"!). Her father is William Kennett, Boatman in the Coast Guard, and her mother, Ann Kennett formerly Pratt.

We have already looked at Mary Ann, but of the others, here's what I have gleaned so far:

Martha M is Martha Matilda Kennett of BMD Birth Index Dec1848 Rochford 12 176. Her marriage record to John Johnson Trotter is BMD Marriage Index Dec1870 Sunderland 10a 765. Violet Trotter (who we have seen in the 1881 England Census staying with her grandparents) is Violet Johnson Trotter of BMD Birth Index Mar1875 Sunderland 10a 697.

Mahala E is Mahala Emma Kennett of BMD Birth Index Jun1851 Maldon 12 176 (By an incredible coincidence the volume and page number are identical for the two sisters!). She is almost certainly the Emma Kennett of the 1871 England Census, unmarried, 19 years old, born in Essex, Bradwell and living as a "General Servant Domestic" at 11 North Bailey, Durham. Her mistress is Luise Brookhausen, unmarried, 38, from Prussia, a Prussian subject, and "Instructress of music and singing, and of languages: French and German".

Richard T is Richard Thomas Kennett of BMD Birth Index Sep1852 Whitby 9d 353. And he is likely Richard Thomas Kennett of BMD Death Index Dec1868 Sunderland 10a 333 Age:16.

Rosetta M is Rosetta Maria of BMD Birth Index Sep1857 Whitby 9d 382. She is the Rosetta M Wilson we saw living with her parents and husband for the 1881 England Census. At the time of the census they were newly-weds, as their marriage record is BMD Marriage Index Mar1881 Durham 10a 394. Her death may be that recorded in documents from a coroner's inquest from Sydney, Australia into the death of one Rosetta Maria Wilson, found dead in Mossman's Bay. The inquest concluded that she died "from asphyxia by drowning but how, by or through what means deceased got into water there is no evidence to show".

Of the parents, William and Ann, we have seen them in censuses from 1851 and 1861 above and in 1871 and 1881 in Middle Names in Middlesbrough. They both died at their home in 18 Poplar Street, Middlesbrough a few years later.

According to the National Probate Calendar, Administration of the estate of Ann Kennett "(Wife of William Kennett) of 18 Poplar-street Middlesbrough in the County of York who died 1 October 1887 ... was granted to said William Kennett ... Coast Guard Pensioner". This corresponds to BMD Death Index Ann Kennett Dec1887 Middlesbrough 9d 331 Age:74

According to the National Probate Calendar, Administration of the estate of William Kennett "Naval Pensioner Widower who died 9 April 1888 at 18 Poplar-street [Middlesbrough] was granted ... to Mary Ann Beresford. this corresponds to BMD Death Index William Kennett Jun1888 Middlesbrough 9d 327 Age:69

William Kennett and Ann Pratt were married in Suffolk, according to BMD Marriage Index Mar1845 Erpingham 13 149. The locals among whom the Coast Guard were stationed were none too sympathetic of their anti-smuggling efforts. Neither was a local, William from Kent and Ann originally from Devon, and I imagine that William was already in the Coast Guard service when they met.
Of the family of William Kennett's wife, Ann Pratt, the 1841 England Census for Cley-next-the-sea has Joseph Pratt (50), Coast Guard Boatman, and Ann (50) and children: Ann (25), Mary Ann (15), Martha (15), Mahala (12) and Matilda (10).

In the 1851 England Census for Near East Lane in Southwold:
     Joseph Pratt    Head Marr   62      Pensioner                    Devon, Budleigh
     Ann                Wife   Marr   64                                        Devon, Budleigh
     Martha            Daur  U        25      Straw Bonnet Maker  Dorset, Swanage
     Mahala            Daur  U        22      Dressmaker                Essex, Wakering

Ann, the daughter, we saw above, future wife of William Kennett and mother of Mary Ann Kennett. Ann would be my step 3x great grandmother.

Mary Ann is the unmarried aunt with whom Mary Ann Kennett was staying in 1861. She is still a tailoress in the 1871 census, living in Southwold. By 1881, she gives her occupation as Lodging House Keeper, still in Southwold and still unmarried. She is probably the Mary Ann Pratt of BMD Death Index Dec1889 Blything 4a 499 Age:68. There is baptismal entry for Mary Ann Pratt parents Joseph and Ann at Wyke Regis on 23 or 25 September 1823. Wyke Regis is a suburb of Weymouth, Dorset.

In Swanage, Dorset, there is a baptismal entry for Richard Pratt, son of Joseph and Ann, on 15 February 1824. A series Masters and Mates certificates and associated paperwork show his birthday as 24 January 1824. He was already an apprentice in 1839-43, so not at home during the 1841 census. He obtained his Only Mate's certificate in 1854 and his Master's in 1859.

Martha, daughter of Joseph and Ann Pratt also has a baptismal entry in Swanage, Dorset for 19 June 1825. She is likely the Martha Pratt who married George Ellis Wright as found in BMD Marriage Index Dec1854 Blything 4a 1496. He is found in England censuses of 1861 and 1871 in vessels at sea. In 1861 Martha is found in East Green Street Southwold:
     Martha Wright  Wife       Mar 36 Wife of a Master Mariner          Dorsetshire, Swanage
     Ann Pratt  Mother-in-law W  74 Widow of a Coast Guard Officer Devonshire, Budleigh
     Matilda Parker  Niece             5   Scholar                                    Essex, Bradwell

At this time George Ellis Wright is Master of the Pilot Cutter, "Dolphin", 50 miles off Lowestoft. Even though Martha is technically head of household for census purposes, all the relationships are with George Ellis. By 1881, George is a licensed victualler on East Street; his pub is called the Victoria Tavern by 1891. Martha's death record is probably BMD Death Index Jun1901 Blything 4a 557 Age:74. George Ellis Wright died 6th September 1891, according to the National Probate Calendar, corresponding to BMD Death Index Sep1891 Blything 4a 446 Age:63.

Mahala, born in Wakering, Essex near Southend-on-sea, married Charles Parker, Master Mariner from Bradwell, Essex at St Mary Whitechapel, where she was living at the time on 25 November 1854. A very nautical marriage: Charles's father, James, was a mariner and, of course, Joseph Pratt of the Coast Guard. By the 1871 England Census, Charles is a licensed Victualler and Coal Merchant in Maldon, Essex. Mahala was already a widow in 1881, herself now a Coal Merchant. The National Probate Calendar records Charles's death 22 Jun 1874, that he was a Master Mariner, an innkeeper and Coal Merchant of Maldon. This corresponds to BMD Death Index Jun1874 Maldon 4a 156 Age:46. Mahala Parker died nearly 30 years later. The National Probate Calendar records her death on 17 February 1904, Administration to sons Ernest Pratt Parker and Richard Pratt Parker. This corresponds to BMD Death Index Mar1904 Edmonton 3a 257 Age:75.

Matilda is the only one of the 1841 census group born in Norfolk. In the 1851 England Census for Prittlewell, one Matilda Pratt (20), unmarried is a Nurse, born in Palling, Norfolk, in the household of James G Payne. BMD Marriage Index have Matilda Pratt and John Parker Mar1854 Maldon 4a 183. In the 1861 England Census for Bradwell-on-sea, the next door neighbors of Charles and Mahala's family are John and Matilda (born in Palling) and their family, so possibly two brothers and two sisters. John is a Mariner. In 1871 John and Matilda are living waterside at the Green Man public house, where John is a bargeowner and (surprise!) publican. In 1881 they are at a different address in Bradwell, and John is merely a Coal Merchant. And in 1891 they are in Southwold, where John is a "Shipowner &c". John is most likely the "John Parker of Bradwell near the Sea Innkeeper and Hay and Coal Merchant the Brother" named as executor along with Mahala of James Parker's estate in the National Probate Calendar in 1874.

The birthplaces of Joseph and Ann's children move from Dorset to Essex to Norfolk. Of the parents of this generation, Joseph Pratt obviously died between 1841 and the next census, in which his wife is a widow. The most likely reference is BMD Death Index: Joseph Pratt Mar1858 Blything 4a 521. Ann Pratt disappears from census records after 1861. Her BMD Death Index entry is probably: Ann Pratt Jun1866 Blything 4a 445 Age:79.

Many transferred to the Coast Guard from the Royal Navy after the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815. Joseph Pratt is in the appropriate age-group, although I have no evidence that he had previously served in the Royal Navy.The Coast Guard Service during his time was concerned much with anti-smuggling efforts. The reorganization of the Coast Guard and an influx of trained personnel tipped the balance in favor of the authorities. Meanwhile, economic policies shifted toward increasingly free trade. There was increasingly less incentive to smuggle, and more chance of being caught. By mid-century the Coast Guard Service, as experienced by William Kennett, was increasingly focussed on life saving. Poets could now afford to romanticize the Gentlemen.

Friday, March 1, 2013

So Much In Common

The mail brought with it a bunch of BMD certificates, and some or much information with each. Of this I have followed up a little, and I am digesting the rest. In the last post, I wrote about John Beresford and the possibility that he was born at the Union Workhouse in Durham. I now have in hand, the birth and marriage certificates reported by Duncan Brown (which, of course, he reported accurately). And I don't have any more to add.

To summarize, if the John Berresford, born to Elizabeth at the Union Workhouse Crossgate, Durham is our John Beresford, then the father given on his marriage certificate is unlikely to be his biological father. This father may be a convenient fiction to avoid the stigma of illegitimacy, or he may be a relative of his mother's. The added "r" on the birth certificate is not a problem, since I notice that Elizabeth was unable to sign her name, and therefore had no idea if the registrar had spelled it correctly or not. I don't have any sense as to the plausibilty of an illiterate Elizabeth, related to an Attorney's Clerk John, but then they may not be siblings, Besides, Victorian gender roles and passage of time might well allow for a young woman to be illiterate in 1845, but her brother a clerk by the 1860s or 70s.

Another birth certificate I had requested was that of Roger Fannan, who, I think, might be Roger Fannon Byrne, father of Minnie "Marion" Mary Frances Byrne and father-in-law of Vivian Kennett Tilley. Here is the transcript (BMD Birth Index: Roger Fannan Mar1861 Barton 8c 460). The is no entry for father or father's occupation.

Twenty Second                                                 X The Mark of
February                                         Jane          Jane Fannan          Twenty second
1861                       Roger  Boy [  ] Fannan [  ] Mother                   March
Union Workhouse                                             Timothy Street       1861
Patricroft                                                           Eccles

Workhouse regimes were harsh to discourage people from taking advantage of them. Even the architecture was reminiscent of a prison, although people were free to leave if they would rather find bed and food elsewhere. The exchange between Ebenezer Scrooge and the gentlemen collecting for charity illustrates something of workhouse philosophy. On being asked for a contribution, the conversation goes:

     "Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge.

     "Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

     "And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?"

     "They are. Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."

     "The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?" said Scrooge.

     "Both very busy, sir."

     "Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Scrooge. "I'm very glad to hear it… I help to support the establishments I have mentioned--they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there."

     "Many can't go there; and many would rather die."

     "If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
On the other hand, medical care was available at the workhouse, even though it was disturbing to the authorities that the working poor had less medical provision than the workhouse poor. A month after the delivery, Elizabeth registered the birth, as resident at Timothy Street. She may have merely checked herself into the workhouse for whatever medical care was available, and then checked herself out shortly afterwards.

I browsed the 1861 England Census for Timothy Street, Eccles and found this entry:
     Sarah Kelly        Head   Widow  60  Housekeeper           Ireland
     Catherine Kelly  Daur     Un       23  Bobbin [...] Cotton   Ireland
     Catherine Kelly  Visitor   Un       22   Serv                       Ireland
     Jane Fanner       Lodger  Un      26   Charwoman            Ireland
     Rodger Fanner   Lodger  Un      2 mos                            Lancashire, Patricroft

The ancestry transcript has Farmer, but it looks like Fanner to me. The census was taken 7 April, a couple of weeks after the birth registration of the workhouse Roger Fannan, who would have been a little over 7 weeks old - so 2 months is reasonable as an age at census. How many unmarried Janes with infant Rogers could there be associated with Eccles, let alone Timothy Street? The Ebenezer Scrooges of the world may have believed there could be hundreds! But a search of the BMD Birth Index for first name Roger/Rodger and last name Fannan/Fannon/Fanner/Farmer in Lancashire for 1861 returns only Roger Fannan from the workhouse.

I am very sure that this Jane and Rodger Fanner in the 1861 Census are the Jane and Roger Fannan of the birth certificate. And that this Roger/Rodger is the 10-year-old boarder Roger Fannan of the 1871 Census (see Ageing Backwards), also born in Patricroft at the same time. And the Fannan-Byrne connection there seems too much of a coincidence for this not to be Roger Fannon Byrne, although I am much less certain of this. So far an 1881 Census return with Roger Fannan/Fannon Byrne has elluded me.

Surprisingly, there are few Jane Fannan/Fannons. The BMD Death Index has a couple of possibilities:

First, Jane Fannon Sep1863 Manchester 8d 227. This is before ages were added, so I'd have to order the certificate to find out if this is even a possible record relating to Jane Fannan/Fanner/Fannon.

Second, Jane Fannan Sep1903 Barton 8c 418 Age: 63, of the right age to be the Jane Fanner of the 1861 Census and closer to "home" than the first. I had hoped a search for her in Barton would yield some intermediate census returns, but no such luck.

Which, if either, of these turns out to be a record of Roger's mother, I don't want to pay for at this point. The 1863 death certificate might have a Timothy Street address, or a Byrne informant, but probably has neither, and may not even have the right age! By 1903, I don't expect to find any conclusive connection between the decedent and Roger Fannon Byrne.

On his marriage certificate, Roger Fannon Byrne reports his father as John Byrne, Labourer. As with John Beresford Attorney's Clerk, this may be a fictional or an adoptive father. And whereas it is unlikely that a John Beresford fathered a child with an Elizabeth Berresford, in Roger's case, it is possible that John Byrne could be the biological father his mother didn't report at the time of the birth. What connection John Byrne had with the Margaret Byrne of the 1871 census is anyone's guess.

If John Beresford and Roger Fannon Byrne were both born in workhouses to unwed mothers, then each side of the Tilley/Byrne marriage had that in common. It was not the sort of thing people talked about, so they may not even have known it about each other!