My Grandma's illegitimate child

Discussion in 'Illegitimacy' started by eric kingsley, Sep 27, 2019.

  1. eric kingsley

    eric kingsley Well-Known Member

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    It's off topic but if any of you are partial to Music Hall comic songs you can listen to Gus Elen himself, aged 73 recorded in 1935, singing a couple of scratchy verses from "Down the Road". It starts at 07.11, not long. He has a genuine Cockney accent which is somewhat impenetrable and it's a primitive recording. It's got a killer chorus "Whoa Mare! Whoa Mare! Earned your little bit of corn." (It's about casual unlicensed horse racing.)
     
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  2. eric kingsley

    eric kingsley Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your efforts. I think this is a different Agnes Minter. Grandma died in 1937 I believe.
     
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  3. eric kingsley

    eric kingsley Well-Known Member

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    I went to visit The Star & Garter out of curiosity. It's not too far. The locals were highly entertained by the connection!
     
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  4. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    Wonderful. I'm glad you were able to go inside. So many of the genuinely old pubs are closed now.
     
  5. eric kingsley

    eric kingsley Well-Known Member

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    I searched the GRO database for births between 1888 (when Grandma was 14yrs) to 1902 when she married Granddad in the districts of Ipswich, Greenwich and Woolwich where I know she lived at various times. I looked for individuals born with the surname Garrard (her maiden name) and leaving "Maiden Name of Mother" and all other fields blank.

    I got 3 hits where in each case the child's name was Garrard and mother's maiden name was not returned by the search. In all other cases the maiden name reurned was different friom Garrard. The only way to check the mother's surname in these 3 cases was to buy the birth certificates.

    I bought the birth certificates, they're attached. In each case the mother seems to be someone other than Grandma (different first names). I don't know where else to got to look for any child she might have had before she married. I'd welcome any suggestions and thanks for your help to date.
     

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  6. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    Frustrating, but you are further forward in that those Garrard births can be ruled out.

    The Workhouse in Woolwich was in Tewson Road. I'm wondering if there might be a Garrard residing there in the 1901 census. :sceptical:
     
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  7. eric kingsley

    eric kingsley Well-Known Member

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    In 1901 it looks like Agnes Sarah Garrard (spelled Garrett on this census form) was working in the Star and Garter in Greenwich, located by MollyMay earlier in the thread post #11.

    I contacted my cousin regarding the illegitimate child. He says that his Mother (Elsie May) told him that the child was named William, was born as a result of Sarah Agnes being raped while she was working as a domestic in Ipswich in the household of a member of the local gentry - that the birth may not have been registered - that William survived and served in the 1st World War during which he was gassed - that William's wife was named Sylvia and that at some later time he worked for the BBC. He said that he met William (Uncle Bill) and Sylvia once round about 1961/2. This is interesting context but it doesn't add much I can search for, no surnames etc.

    According to the 1891 census when Sarah Agnes was 17 she was already working as a domestic servant in Deptford/Greenwich for John W Dear, so she had moved from Ipswich to London. If the details of the rape story are correct then what happened to the child? Did he stay with his grandparents in Ipswich, or was he taken to London as a toddler by his Mother who would only have been 16/17. This seems a bit young to be going off to the big city accompanied by a child. I cannot see how the logistics would work.

    Any thoughts about this gratefully received.
     
  8. MollyMay

    MollyMay Knows where to find the answers!

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    Can you collate family trees for the Garrard families (or you might have already done it), and then track them through the census to see if there is a 'stray' William amongst them?

    Can you find a marriage of a William Garrard to a Sylvia or indeed a death for either of them - assuming, of course William retained the Garrard name?

    I think Agnes's family are also in Greenwich in 1901.

    Looking for a William Garrard on the 1911 census I found one (born Ipswich 1897) who is a nephew to the head of household - a widowed Charles Garrard (b1872 Plumstead)
    living at - 24 Harden Street Woolwich (RG14 PN2870 SN160)
     
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  9. Grizel

    Grizel Well-Known Member

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    I think the family MM has found in 1911 are relevant, Charles being Agnes Sarah's brother and George E her father. So this William b 1897 is a possibility. He would not seem to be a child of Agnes's brother William Edward b1867 as he didn't marry till 1908 - unless this was a second marriage. There is a William married to an Amy in Ipswich in 1901 with a four year old William......

    No - the William married to an Amy was William Ephraim Garrard not William Edward.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
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  10. eric kingsley

    eric kingsley Well-Known Member

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    Update - My cousin says he was told that Sylvia was William's nurse while he was recovering from the gassing. Call me an old cynic but this family story is starting to sound a bit romantic. The rape at the hands of a local toff and the marriage to a angelic nurse after cruel gassing in WW1. I dunno. I suppose things like that did actually happen. I will follow up on your suggestions and report back.
     
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  11. Grizel

    Grizel Well-Known Member

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    In 1911 Amy is a widow in Ipswich recorded as Garrand but the 14 year old William is not with her. Could he be the 14 yr old William in Woolwich? And so related in some way to Agnes Sarah's family.
     
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  12. eric kingsley

    eric kingsley Well-Known Member

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    I am also beginning to think that Agnes Sarah Garrard's family has connections in Greenwich/Woolwich which allowed her to make the transition to London. I can't see how else it could have been done at the time given economic constraints. She couldn't have stayed in a hotel! I guess she could have gone straight into residential domestic service but not with child, that's definite. If she came to London with her son then who looked after the son while she worked?

    With you guys' assistance I've got her/her parents 4 times in the census.

    First Occasion - 1871 - at No 10 Spray St, Woolwich, now the "Favourite Inn" - before her birth in 1874, family consists only of George E Garrard (father), Agnes H (mother), Catharine G M (b. 1868) and William E (b. 1869). Their birth places are given respectively as Essex:Stoke, Suffolk:Bredfield, Suffolk:Ipswich & Suffolk:Ipswich. So, they moved to London from Essex/Suffolk and later moved back (possibly via Plumstead).

    Second Occasion - 1881 - at 8 Coopers Court Ipswich. Agnes Sarah now aged 6, family consists of George E, Agnes H, Catharine G M, William E, Charles (b. 1872, Plumstead), Agnes herself (birth registered 1874), George (b. 1876, Ipswich), John (b. 1879, Ipswich)

    Third Occasion - 1891 - at 159 Brakespears Rd, Deptford (a very nice residential street, big old houses). Agnes Sarah now aged 17, back in London and working as a domestic servant in the household of John W Dear Superintendent of the Beetroot Sugar Association. "Beetroot" here I believe isn't referring to the purple vegetable but rather should be read as "beet root". There was a nascent sugar beet industry in Suffolk/Essex which didn't really kick off and become BIG until after WW1. Purple beetroot and sugar beet are just different varieties of the common beet. Maybe her Dad had done some work for the producers maintaining their machinery? According to Wikipedia "The first sugar beet processing factory was built at Lavenham in Suffolk in 1860, but failed after a few years without the government support its counterparts on the continent received." (Typical of my miserable country.) Lavenham is only about 11 miles from George E's birth place.

    Fourth Occasion - 1901 - at the Star & Garter, 60 Old Woolwich Rd, Greenwich now aged 27. The "Agnes S Garrett, b. 1875, Ipswich, Suffolk" here is I am sure her although the surname is slightly different and the DoB is out by +1. She is a "General Servant", not a barmaid, is this better? Who knows.

    Then in 1902 she married Robert Minter. So, if the story is correct then by this time the illegitimate child William already existed and was accepted by Robert. Was he given the name Garrard or Minter? No idea. I'm inclined to think that she's more likely to have had the child while living in London rather than bringing the toddler to London from Ipswich. This seems like a risky venture. The gaps between censuses are huge of course and it's quite possible that between 1891 and 1901 she moved back to Ipswich (got raped?) had the child then moved back to London again.

    If my cousin's recollections are correct, that William married a "Sylvia" at some point there are very few instances of a William married to a Sylvia at the right kind of time in the likely places. I will have a close look at the family living at 24 Harden Street, Woolwich in 1911. It's odd that the patriarch here, old George Garrard, is given Essex as his birthplace. The Essex/Sufflok border in the area around Stoke-by-Nayland and Dedham Vale runs along the River Stour. I believe this is a very old demarkation. Stoke-by-Nayland is vey close to the border (2 miles?) but it is definitely on the Suffolk side. Locals would know this I'd have thought. Odd.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
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  13. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    Mm, I understood it as sugar beet. I use a lot of it, and then, as now, I imagine it was an important footstuff for livestock and working horses.


    It's conceivable that she concealed her pregnancy. Hard to imagine, watching my daughter waddling around (currently at 34 weeks) but we were chatting to a young lady in the maternity wing a couple of weeks ago with the same due date who didn't even appear pregnant. I suppose if the woman was slightly built, and particularly with poor nutrition at the turn of the century, the fact that she was with child could even have gone unnoticed.

    I mentioned the Workhouse a while back. The reason I mentioned this as worth considering is because I discovered my grandma and great uncle in there at the time of the census, and another child of the same name who was a possible half-sibling. The latter had no idea of his roots, and apparently believed he was born inside the WH (he couldn't have been, as his birth wasn't registered, which it certainly would have been if born inside the institution).
     
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  14. eric kingsley

    eric kingsley Well-Known Member

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    Good idea. How would I search local Workhouses for Agnes Sarah and her putative son William?

    I have tried to find Agnes Sarah's family after she moved out to work as a servant in the household of John W Dear in Deptford. She was 17 when she was recorded there in the 1891 census. This is certainly old enough to have already had the child. My thinking is that her family may have been looking after the child for her at this time.

    It appears that they all moved back to London from Ipswich, possibly even at the same time. So in the 1891 census while she was working in Deptford the rest of the family were also living in Deptford at 3 Union Terrace, St Paul, Deptford. The 2 oldest children Catherine (b 1868, Ipswich) and William (b 1869, Ipswich) have moved out. Charles (b 1872) and George (b 1876) are still with their parents. John is now being referred to as James which is confusing and there are 2 new children Emily (b 1881, Ipswich, must have just missed that census) and Alice M (b 1885, Ipswich). Alice M's birth date suggests the family decamped from Ipswich to Deptford sometime between 1885 and 1891. They are not looking after William.

    It's possible that they simply couldn't accommodate him and he is with the family of Catherine or William, I'll have to check. If he isn't with them I'm inclined to think he hadn't been born yet. By this time Agnes Sarah's mother has had 8 children and is aged 44. I can't find a record of her death but it seems that she dies before George Edward Garrard.

    I'll see if I can identify the families of Catherine and William to see if they are looking after young William.
     
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  15. eric kingsley

    eric kingsley Well-Known Member

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    According to ancestry.co.uk nobody called William Garrard ever married anyone with the first name Sylvia, all names being exact. Likewise with William Minter (if he took his step-father's surname). This is actually quite surprising. This is confirmed using findmypast, all names being exact.
     
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  16. MollyMay

    MollyMay Knows where to find the answers!

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    I looked and could not find them either. I looked on the 1939 reg too but no Sylvia and William Garrard or Minter either.
     
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  17. eric kingsley

    eric kingsley Well-Known Member

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    Is it possible to marry without a birth certificate? I have no idea.
     
  18. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Strange...there is a birth in 1873 for Sarah Agnes Garrard, Edmonton. She married Phillip Henry Bell in 1894
     
  19. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Here’s another puzzle....March 1916 a William Minter marries Winifred Bridges in Croydon. Winifred’s name is followed by an underscore.
    In June 1916 a William Garrard marries ? Bridges in Tendring Essex. No first name on Freebmd. Perhaps someone can follow up. Thanks, because I can’t figure it all out. :nailbiting:
     
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  20. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Not that this means anything but 80 year old William Minter died in Croydon Dec 1968 and 82 year old Winifred Minter died March 1969 Croydon. ???
     
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