Sunday, 29 November 2009

Geoffs Genealogy Update 29 November 2009

I'm still working my way through the many London parish register entries that I gleaned a few weeks ago. They really are most illuminating, and some of them are entries that I had sought for a long time. In this entry I discuss briefly a few of these entries, and how they have proved of value to my research.

George Clayton Collyer was born in 1879, the son of Joseph Collyer (The Younger) and Dulcybella nee Clayton. He was a surgeon, practising over many years in Old Street Road, London.

We knew, from the Bankes Pedigree Book, that in about October 1817 George married Elizabeth Shelton, and discovered from other sources that this couple had one child - George Clayton Collyer Jnr (b 1825). That was as much as we knew until I searched the Marriage Licence Allegations at the Society of Genealogists some years ago. These records revealed two subsequent marriages. A marriage licence allegation dated 1842 showed that at that time George was intending to marry a certain Louisa Nelme, suggesting that his first spouse had probably died before that date. That was not all, however. I traced a firther marriage licence allegation dated 1844, which showed that George was then intending to marry Esther Homan. This indicated that George's second wife had probably died before that date. When George died, in 1852, his will named his then wife as Esther, so I assumed that Esther Homan had survived him.

The evidence of the Shoreditch parish registers gives us the detail to complete the picture re these events. George's first wife - Elizabeth (Shelton) was buried in January 1842 at St John Baptist, Hoxton. She was, apparently, aged 48, which suggests she was born c1794 - a little earlier than I had thought.

George's second marriage - to Louisa Nelmes - took place on 15 October 1842 at St John Hackney. This was only nine months after the burial of his first spouse. However, Louisa died twelve short months later. Her burial took place at St John Baptist, Hoxton on 21 October 1843, aged 55.

George's third marriage was at St Stephen Coleman Street, London, on 27 November 1844. His bride, Esther Homan, was a widow. Her father's name was William Nutting, so presumably her maiden name was Esther Nutting. As mentioned above, Esther survived George Clayton Collyer, and I have no idea when she died. For all I know she may have married again, but I have not found any evidence of that. I did, however, find the burial of George Clayton Collyer, which took place on 20 February 1852, aged 64.

In terms of hatches, matches and despatches, this family is now nicely tidied up. How I wish that the same could be true of so many other families on the Bankes Pedigree!

Then there is the case of Evan Edward Evans.

Some years ago, working in concert with Christopher Browne, a Bankes descendant on the Herbert line, we realised that the very respectable Herbert family of Llansaintfraed in Cardiganshire contained an element of scandal. William Herbert (1795-1893) was for most of his life vicar of Llansaintfraed, succeeding his father - David Herbert (1767-1835). The church in this small coastal community celebrates the long service of the Herbert family, and contains a commerative plaque in their memory. This plaque mentions Frances Elizabeth Herbert (1829-1895), the spinster daughter of William.

In the course of our joint research we obtained a copy of the will of Frances, and in this document she named as a beneficiary her son - Evan Edward Evans. What was all this, we thought? The vicar's unmarried daughter having a son? We resolved to find out more about this.

Although there was no trace of the baptism of Evan Edward Evans in Llansaintfraed, we managed to trace a likely candidate on the 1881 census, living in lodgings as a student Living at Christ's College, Brecon. This person was aged 18, and said to have been born at London. This all made sense, after all the vicar's daughter was hardly likely to give birth to an illegitimate daughter at home! In London she could be quite anonymous. Christopher contacted Christ's College at Brecon, enquiring about this person. A most helpful reply told us that this man was born 1863 and after attending the college had later had a career in the civil service, dying around 1926.

We traced Evan on the 1891 census. This time he was at Sheerness, Kent, a Customs Officer, born C1863 at Bermondsey in South London. It all fitted, but no actual proof that this was the right man.

The 1871 Census recorded Evan living as an eight years old child at Garnfach, Llansantffraid. The head of the household was Daniel Evans, aged 66, a farmer of 66 acres, and Evan was recorded as his grandson, born Bermondsey. It all fitted. Presumably Daniel's son was the father of Evan, but who was he?

On to the 1901 census. Evan was enumerated as a Boarder, living on his own in one room at Highgate in London. He was aged 37, born Bermondsey, and an Examining Officer Customs.
Bearing in mind the evidence of Christ's College, Brecon, I next looked for records of his death in 1926. I found a notice in The London Gazette of 1 March 1927 (p 1398):

LIST OF INTESTATES, WHOSE ESTATES WILL, IN THE ABSENCE OF KIN WHO ARE ENTITLED TO SHARE THEREIN, BE ADMINISTERED BY THE TREASURY SOLICITOR ON BEHALF OF THE CROWN

EVAN EDWARD EVANS, late of 2, Prospect-road, St. Albans, Herts, whi died there on the 6th November, 1926

I found the relevant entry in the National Probate Calendar:

1927
Evans Evan Edward of 2 Prospect-road St Albans Hertfordshire died 6 November 1926 Administration London 23 July to the solicitor for the affairs of H M Treasury.Effects £1490 – 13 – 6d

Evan, apparently, had died intestate. There had been nobody to inherit his estate, so it reverted to the Crown. Rather sad, I thought.

I had pieced together a pretty comprehensive account of the life of Evan Edward Evans, but still not proved beyond doubt that this was our man. This proof came recently, courtesy of the Baptism registers on Ancestry. The register for St Mary Magdalene Bermondsey contains the following entry:

9 August 1863
St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey
Child: Evan Edward Evans (born 7 June 1863)
Parents: Evan & Frances Elizabeth Evans, Clapham
Father’s Occupation: Schoolmaster

So Frances Elizabeth Herbert had morphed into Frances Elizabeth Evans and she and her "spouse" were resident in Clapham, South London. Fascinating. I have searched for their marriage entry but so far, not surprisingly, failed to find one.

It has taken six years to put together the pieces of this jigsaw, but it has been an interesting pursuit. The next task is to trace Evan Evans, the father of Evan Edward Evans.

Was Evan Evans really the father of Frances's child? For now we have to assume so.

Was he the son of Daniel Evans of Llansaintfraed? That remains to be seen.

I lost contact with Christopher Browne some time ago. If you should read this, Christopher, please get in touch with me. I'd love to hear from you.

Now it's on to other things. That's the beauty (and frustration) of this hobby. There are so many loose ends to be tied up. It's never ending!