Keen to put Frederick Herbert Horrabin’s gravestone on the Shared Tree, I created a second Ada WHEATLEY today. After marrying the couple and giving them six children, I noticed that the ensuing Blue Hints included a page image of the Crookes Parish Church marriage register.
This was all the evidence I needed to separate the other Ada Wheatley from George Henry. (He is “Meatley” in the FamilySearch transcription, understandably, but look at Ada’s signature.)
I have not yet found the parents of the Ada who married Henry APPLEYARD, but looking more closely at census returns for both Wheatley families shows that they lived in Sheffield within two miles of each other – and the Horrabins.
My fingers are crossed that the Findmypast contributor I messaged will have a solution to the puzzle, but you can see the Horrabin stone as a Memory here.
I made the case on Monday that the Ada who married Henry APPLEYARD was not the daughter of George Henry WHEATLEY and Hannah COLLIS. In the three censuses 1891 to 1911 her calculated birth year is 1866 or 1867 and her birthplace is given as Sheffield. A search for Ada Wheatley in Free BMD, widening the date range a little to between 1864 and 1868, gives the following return –
There is only one Ada Wheatley born in Sheffield. She is with her parents, George and Hannah, in Nether Hallam, Ecclesall Bierlow, on the census nights of 1871, 1881 and 1891. (Ecclesall Bierlow Registration District was abolished in 1935, becoming part of Sheffield and Chesterfield.) In the September Quarter of 1891 she married Frederick Herbert Horrabin. So, which of the other girls in the above list married Henry Appleyard? Perhaps none of them did. Several hours of searching databases hasn’t made any appear to be a likely candidate. Taking the date, geographical proximity to Sheffield and the absence of a middle name into account, only the Nottingham born daughter of shoemaker Thomas John seems worthy of further investigation. Aged four in 1871, she is with her parents and younger brother Arthur in Stafford. Ten years later an Ada of the right sort of age is an inmate in the Nottingham Workhouse. Alas, her birthplace is given as Sunderland (in County Durham) and is therefore not on the Free BMD list above.
I have made a table showing what I know about the two Misses Ada Wheatley so far, indicating sources and FamilySearch IDs.
I have messaged someone with a Find My Past connection to Puzzling Ada. Between us we may be able to solve the mystery.
In What Happened to Ada? (15 July), I said that in 1881 she was living with her parents in Daniel Hill, Sheffield, aged 13. Over the next ten years, her brothers Joe, Clifford, and Lawrence left home, leaving just Ada, 23, and Clara, 21, to be enumerated with their parents, George Henry and Hannah nee COLLIS, in April 1891. Five months later, Ada married Frederick Herbert HORRABIN.
This Ada has just one source attached to her details page, the 1887 christening record for her firstborn, Ernest.
Blue Hints on FamilySearch are only as helpful as their triggers allow. There are three for Ada – the census returns for 1871, 1881 and 1891 and, as you would expect, all place her with parents George Henry and Hannah Collis.
Henry Appleyard has hints for the same censuses but, as you can see above, he married in 1885. He is with his parents, Joseph and Ann, in 1871 and 1881 and with Ada in 1891.
Annie is their second child. On this census night, Ernest is with his paternal grandparents in Nottingham Street, Brightside (RG12 3831/117 Page 13).
Here is the Ada who married Frederick Herbert Horrabin in 1891 –
Taking the hints confirms that we are dealing with two women called Ada Wheatley, seemingly born in Sheffield in the same year. But only one, the daughter of George and Hannah, appears in the GRO Births Index.
WHEATLEY, Ada, Mother’s Maiden Surname: COLLIS. GRO Reference: 1867 D Quarter in ECCLESALL BIERLOW Volume 09C Page 286.
The search for the other Ada’s birth family continues.
She didn’t make the cut for remembrance on the family headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.
Doris and Phyllis Ida are two of the four daughters Ada had with Frederick Herbert. In 1911 the family was complete and living together in Abbeydale Road, Sheffield. Frederick, 44, was working as an Assurance Superintendent and Ada, a year younger, had her hands full with six children, from Sidney, 18, down to Marjorie aged seven.
Thirty years earlier, Ada WHEATLEY, 13, was living with her parents in Daniel Hill, Sheffield, less than two miles from the HORRABIN family. Ada isn’t given an occupation but Frederick, 14, is said to be a “school teacher”. At the end of the year, though, Ada is a witness in the case of The Crown v. Dover. Described as a servant, it isn’t clear whether she was in the full-time employ of Thomas SKINNER, who had died of arsenic poisoning. There is an account of the case on Wikipediawith several photographs, including one of the modest house in which the killing took place. It looks too small to have needed a housekeeper and servants. Thomas has an interesting back story – and a Wikipedia page – but no place on FamilySearch Shared Tree. His killer, under her full name, can be found there, but she only has her father for company.
Ada may have acquired a taste for drama from her participation in the murder trial. She found herself in the newspapers again in 1888.
The Stuart Wortley Working Men’s Club, Daniel Hill – The first entertainment was held at this club on Monday evening. Mr. R. Gleadhill presided, and a very excellent programme was gone through. Mr. Harris, Miss Ada Wheatley, and Mr. J. S. Marshall, assisted by a portion of the Society Minstrel Troupe, gave every satisfaction in rendering their songs, readings, and ballads.
Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 19 April
I wonder if this is where Frederick first set eyes upon Ada. They were married three years later.
Ada died in the spring of 1941 in Sheffield, aged 73. I don’t know how long Frederick stayed in the city before moving to the coast. His last address is given as 38 The Crescent in the burial register. His spinster daughters died from the house they shared in West Avenue, Doris in 1968 and Phyllis in 1973. I wonder if anyone remembers them – and knows what happened to Ada.
(The guilty Kate Dover didn’t serve her whole of life sentence. She was released from Woking Female Prison about 1895 and must, therefore, have done time with the innocent Florence MAYBRICK. Though the two women had arsenic in common, I can’t imagine them being friends.)