Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Still no sleep and Edith Alice pt 2

Well I still haven't had any sleep, the cat and I are now on the sofa downstairs, we've watched Sunday's Downton Abbey and cooked the mixed beans for tea for an hour and a half.  I've sent my apologies to the friend that I transcribe with at the Archives on a Tuesday as I just don't think that going to town after about 3 hours sleep in total is a really good idea.  Whereas if I rest for the remainder of the day (not counting washing up, cleaning out the cat litter tray and cooking tea ... not all at the same time!) I should be OK for going to the Cudworth History Group tomorrow.

There's also a used 4'6" mattress on the landing which we have to get to the tip tomorrow at some point.  If it will go in the car ...  And photos of the old house to take to send to the new estate agent.  They do say if you can't sleep for worrying make a list - well I think this is it.

Ah, that was the post - and no flea preventative for the cat again.  I'll send them an email.  Another thing to worry about.

The saga of Edith Alice part 2, (incidently if you click on the pictures they open in a new window at a larger size):

The Solution to the Mystery  (originally published in 2010 - with additions 2012)
You may have read the earlier instalment of my story about the problems I had been having with my husband’s great grandmother Edith Alice Benson (if not you can find it in my previous blog entry "Cat induced insomnia"). Here’s a quick recap: Edith Alice was either a habitual liar or she was covering up for something as she didn’t give the same information twice on the various certificates I had collected over seven years of researching my husband’s family tree. Her maiden name may have been Green or Paget, she may have been born in Barnsley or maybe not and she appears to have ‘lost’ a husband somewhere along the way!
I left the story after being unable to find the family in the 1911 census despite tracing them in the Register of Electors at their Stairfoot address in 1919. The 1911 census became available on subscription (rather than pay-per-view) from FindMyPast in mid October 2009 and even though we were on holiday in Norfolk at the time I signed up online and started searching for Edith Alice from the hotel room in King’s Lynn. About two hours later my husband was startled out of his reading by shouts of “I’ve found her, I’ve found her!” I had checked the whole of Albion Road and adjacent streets in Stairfoot with no success then went back to basics and tried the various names I had looked for before, but where I hadn’t viewed the (actual) census pages because that would have cost £2.50 a time under the orginal release of the census.
Under George Albert Green in West Melton, Rotherham I found a wife Minnie and a daughter Alice, the right age, 14 years old, born Hemsworth, but with the surname Lewin. There was another Lewin daughter and then three Green children. This suggested to me that Minnie had been married previously to a man called Lewin, had two children to him and then, on his death, married George Albert Green and had a further three children.
One factor that argued against this theory was that in the 1911 census for the first time there were columns where each married woman was meant to give information on marriage length and children born.  The Green family state, erroneously against George, that the current marriage had been for 15 years with six children born, five still living and one dead.
In the 1919 Register of Electors there had been a Lewin Green listed with George Albert and Minnie at 28 Albion Road. I didn’t yet know how this fitted but the co-incidence was just too good. My next step was to try tracing backwards and I went onto Ancestry to search the 1901 census (remember I’m still in the Wetherlodge in King’s Lynn!). I found Minnie married to Henry Lewin a Colliery Sinker, living in Wath on Dearne with daughters Alice and Ada plus older son William.
This had to be the right family. A quick trip to FreeBMD confirmed that a Henry Lewin had died in the second quarter of 1901 in the Rotherham registration district and that a Minnie Lewin had married an ALBERT Green in the first quarter of 1902 also in Rotherham – so they had lied about the length of their marriage in 1911. Going back a little further I found Henry Lewin marrying Minnie Paget in the fourth quarter of 1898 in Wakefield. Well, I thought, close but nothing confirmed.
As my rule is never to put anything in my family tree unless I have two, or even better three, corroborating bits of evidence I decided to send for Minnie’s marriage certificates. I had my fingers crossed that by the time we had finished our break in Norfolk the certificates would be waiting for me on the doormat at home in Barnsley. The arrival of the certificates confirmed my suspicions; Edith Alice’s tendency to be economical with the truth was a family trait. On her marriage to Henry Lewin on 11th December 1898 in the Cathedral at Wakefield Minnie Paget says that she is a widow, her father is a bricklayer called Enoch but no father’s surname is given.
Henry says that he is a Bachelor, yet William Lewin his son is 13 years old in 1901 and thus not a son by Minnie.  On checking the previous census, 1891, I found Henry with a wife Jane and two sons living in Shardlow, Derbyshire.  I can't find a death for a Jane Lewin between 1891 and 1898 on FreeBMD, so was Henry a bigamist?  Their younger son, Albert Edward Lewin, born 1900 also vanishes without a trace.

Remember that Henry dies in April, May or June 1901 (the second quarter). On Minnie's marriage to Albert (why wasn’t he using George? Was he really Albert?) Green in March 1902 at the parish church in Swinton, she is again a widow, but her father's full name is Enoch Paget, occupation once more a bricklayer.  So with several young children dependant on her she did not wait long to marry again.
As Edith Alice or Alice Lewin as she is called in 1901 and 1911, was born 5th October 1898 according to her death certificate, and she is three years old on the 1901 census, she was born before the marriage of Henry and Minnie. If Henry Lewin had been her father she wouldn’t have hesitated to put this on her marriage certificates so I am assuming that he wasn’t.   Notice that in 1902 one of the witnesses is Maude Pagett (two ts) and that both Albert and Minnie give the same address, 35 Temperance Street which is in Swinton about half a mile from the church of St Margaret's.  I have not yet been able to check the parish records in Swinton to find out if any of the children were baptised there or to see if there was a record of Henry Lewin's burial.  Rotherham Local Studies library only has a copy of the Swinton registers from 1900 onwards, when I enquired they assumed the complete set would be available at Doncaster Archives.

I tracked down Enoch Paget easily enough; he was living in Hemsworth in the 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses. This tallies with Alice Lewin’s stated place of birth in the 1911 census. I suppose at a pinch you might describe Hemsworth as Barnsley which was what was stated on her death certificate. The family had moved from Shropshire between 1881 and 1891.

A trip to the Local Studies Library in Wakefield gave me a lot more information about the Pagets. Minnie had an illegitimate daughter, Ada Paget, in 1894 born in Hemsworth Workhouse, christened in the local church who died and was buried there the same year.  This child maybe the one death noted on the 1911 census. There is no sign of Alice in the Hemsworth parish records in 1898, but given that Minnie married Henry Lewin in Wakefield shortly after her birth she may have deferred Alice’s christening until she could claim Henry was the father although I have found no such baptism in either Wakefield or Hemsworth. Claiming to be a widow at her marriage was obviously a cover up for the small baby in attendance at the possibly bigamous wedding. So I have found Edith Alice at long last. She was born in Hemsworth (probably), her father might have been Henry Lewin (but probably not), her mother was Minnie Paget, from Shropshire who had tendency to have children out of wedlock, but I still don’t know where she lost her first husband James Hayes!

(Additional information added 2012)
I was fortunate that a CAMRA meeting myself and the OH needed to attend was held in Telford in late 2009 after I had written the above.  We made time for me to spend an hour in the Local Studies library in Telford (I had rung them in advance to check they had what I wanted) to search through the parish records for the area from which the Pagets appeared to come.  I found Minnie's baptism and her parent's marriage, but tracking back any further turned out to be tricky as Enoch himself appears to have been born irregularly (that's polite speak for illegitimate!).  On his marrige he claims that his father is Moses Paget, a miner, but no such person appears to exist.  Enoch appears in the 1851 census in Wombridge, Shropshire, as the illegitimate great grandson of Benjamin Pagett (still two ts) an 80 year old retired glass blower from Staffordshire.  I could only assume the grand daughter Sarah was his mother.

Sure enough, sending for his birth certificate I found that his mother was Sarah Paget (one t) and no father's name is mentioned.

However in the 1861 census Enoch appears with a different family - this time with his grandmother Ellen Hoggins and another person in the household is a Moses Hoggins, her son.  Could the fact that Enoch appears to have the middle name Moses in the 1851 census be a clue that Moses Hoggins is his father?  We will probably never know for sure.

Don't let anyone tell you family history is straightforward - as the above clearly shows there is often little truth in even official records!

Did you like that?  I can do more ...

No comments: