Difficult Births, Problem Children

I mentioned a while ago that the discovery of the GRO Online Index had changed my research life. No more waiting until 1911 for Free BMD to begin offering the maiden surnames of mothers.

Taking a break from Filey people, I looked at some of my own folk a few days ago. I have two grandaunts, Annie and Daisy ELSOM, who married fellows called WARD. Charles Edward was born in 1882 and Dick in 1889, both in Hull. But, like the STORMs mentioned a few days ago, they were not related by blood.

Dick was the son of William Edward WARD and Lizzie King HODSON and the GRO Index readily served him up with eight siblings.

Lizzie’s birth family is a different story. I will try to keep this simple. A composite picture of the HODSONs can be stitched together from the three censuses – 1861 to 1881. There are eight children born to Henry Hawkesley HODSON and Elizabeth King HANN. A ninth, Emma, is revealed by the GRO Index to have arrived and departed midway between 1861 and 1871. There is a cuckoo in the nest in 1861 – Henry’s 9-year-old stepson “George J. DRUMMEY”, who subsequently disappears, possibly into the navy and across the pond to the United States.

GeorgeDRUMMEY

The Census gives George’s birthplace as “Baston”, Lincolnshire. The GRO records him as George DEVANNEY, born December Qtr 1851 in Glanford Brigg, Mother’s Maiden Surname “KINGHAN”. (Barton upon Humber is in that registration district.) Elizabeth King HANN had married John DEVANNEY in Hull the previous year.

I have been unable to find a record of John’s death, but Elizabeth DEVANNEY marries Henry HODSON in Hull in 1860. A few months later they are at 3, John’s Place, St Mary Sculcoates, with George and three HODSON children – Ann Mary (age 5), Maria (3) and Harriet (0); mother’s maiden name for all three is HANN. Was Henry their father?

Lizzie King HODSON is the next child to happen along, in late 1863; birth registered in Driffield to mother DEVANNEY.

Thereafter:-

1865, Emma (KING)

1866, Charles (KING)

1868, Annie Helen (HANN)

1870, Harry (KING)

1873, Ada (DEVANNEY)

So, Elizabeth offered her maiden surname to the registrar for just four of her ten children (plus KINGHAN). Why she would give her first married name when registering her last child is a puzzle. Or at least it was until I dipped into Mark D. Herber’s Ancestral Trails and discovered that it wasn’t “a duty”  for those present at a birth to report it to a registrar at all until almost forty years after the civil registration system was established.  Hardly surprising, then, that in some parts of the country  15% of births were not registered between 1837 and 1875. (Neither was a registrar entitled to request sight of a marriage certificate or license.)

Parents misdirecting registrars in this way is a bit annoying – and it has a curious effect on Find My Past’s ability to deliver useful Hints. FamilySearch isn’t knocked out of its hint stride but there is some explaining to do when adding GRO sources to the World Tree. It took me the better part of two days to set up the Hodsons and Wards who were brought into my fold by grandaunt Daisy.

Elizabeth King HANN was already on FST but I had to create records for most of her children and WARD grandchildren. Other than Dick and Daisy’s son Reginald none of these people are related to me by blood, but I persevered because my headmistress at Stoneferry Junior & Infants in the 1950s was a Hodson, and a fellow pupil one Maurice Devanney, so I hoped to make connections! (I haven’t, yet.)

3 thoughts on “Difficult Births, Problem Children

    1. Thanks, Luanne. It amuses me that I can’t remember what I did last week but can still recall the names of school chums 60 years ago. It would be nice to hear from one of them at least.

      Liked by 2 people

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