The Mystery of Edward Grooby

A genealogy search online for Edward returns two men born in Nottinghamshire within a few miles of each other, in 1815 and 1831. The first died in 1880, the other in 1899; both at the other side of the world, in New Zealand.

The Edward GROOBY I sought was born a little earlier, 1791, but in the same neck of the woods. He was the grandfather of Phoebe BENNISTON, first wife of Godfrey BAKER, a Nottinghamshire colliery manager buried in St Oswald’s churchyard.


Godfrey has two IDs on FamilySearch Tree but neither takes us back to a third generation. One marries him to his second wife way too soon and makes her the mother of three children he had with Phoebe.

I managed to pick up a trail that led to Phoebe.


As yet unmarried, you can see her maternal grandfather, his death in 1842 triggering the warning ‘X’. The 1871 Census shows Edward, aged 80, in the Greasley household of Godfrey and Phoebe, with their first two children, Mary and Elizabeth Grooby BAKER. Edward’s relationship to Godfrey is erroneously given as “father-in-law” but a blue hint to the 1851 census shows Phoebe with her grandparents and widowed mother in Beggarlee Village. Her father Matthew had died in late 1849 when she was about six months old.

What the screenshot above does not show is how extensive Phoebe’s pedigree is. The Nottinghamshire Groobys may have dropped down the social scale but they once lived in London and perhaps played a significant part in the life of the nation. She has HARDWICKs in her pedigree too, three of them called John, though none of these seems to establish a connection to Bess, a “woman who made history”. Phoebe’s MEAKIN line goes way back to William (born 1521).

A source isn’t given on FST for the death of Edward in 1842 and the GRO Index doesn’t show it. Over the next few days, I’ll try to make better sense of Edward, marry Phoebe and Godfrey, note her early death and give Godfrey his second wife. The Phoebe remembered on the Filey headstone is, of course, Phoebe Benniston’s daughter, who became a schoolteacher, didn’t marry, and at the outbreak of the Second World War was living at 17 Belle Vue Street (according to the 1939 Register).


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