View Full Version : Robert DACE, of Witham, Essex, & West Ham
20-09-2007, 4:44 AM
An elephant stamp to anyone who can help me find out why Robert Dace, my great-great granduncle, was banged up in Millbank at the time of the 1851 Census. I have looked around the National Archives website, but it seems very much as if a search of the criminal records held there would have to wait until I can front up in person.
I'll add a gold star if you can find out what happened to him in 1871. I know from the London Gazette that bankruptcy proceedings were being brought against him in 1868. Thinking he might have been back in Millbank, I went through the census page by page, person by person, but he wasn't there. Haven't checked out any other prisons in this detail yet. Were there "debtors' prisons" in 1870s?
Personal Details: Robert Dace, born c.1828, Witham, Essex, died 1893 in West Ham, Essex. He is described as a Music Master or Professor of Music in the Census records 1851, 1861, 1881, & 1891. Just a lad in 1841. Single in 1861, but married in 1881 and thereafter. A possible marriage to Elizabeth Belsham LAMB in Stepney, Dec Q 1862. (According to 1881 Census, Elizabeth, wife, was born c.1830 in Hammersmith, and an Elizabeth LAMB of the roughly correct age was living in Stepney in 1861.)
Can't find this Elizabeth Dace in 1871, either, so maybe they were lying low somewhere. Or maybe they slipped off to Australia for a trip? Great-great grandma Mildred Maria (DACE) BRIGHTWELL, Robert's sister, died September 1870.
20-09-2007, 7:48 AM
I know from the London Gazette that bankruptcy proceedings were being brought against him in 1868. Thinking he might have been back in Millbank, I went through the census page by page, person by person, but he wasn't there. Haven't checked out any other prisons in this detail yet. Were there "debtors' prisons" in 1870s?
There was no imprisonment for debt after 1869. But that would not have been an issue. Imprisonment was for 'insolvent debtors', not for bankrupts. At one time the legal status of bankruptcy was not available to people who were not traders.
There may be something relevant in this research guide...
Think I've found them in 1871 in West Ham, Essex
RG10/1624 Folio 83 Page 7
Robert Dace - Head - M - 42 - Professor of Music - Essex Witham
Elizabeth Belsjam do. - M - 41 - Middlesex Hammersmith
20-09-2007, 9:17 AM
That is them - correct address and all. Now to find out why they didn't show in the index I was using.
And thank you Peter for the info about debtors and bankrupts. Now I know he wasn't banged up in 1871, all is well.
|hug| to all the helpers.
The index I was using has the couple as:
Robert Wace Elizabeth Bebshorn abt 1829 Witham, Essex, England Head West Ham Essex
and yes, the "D" is very open and could easily be mistaken for a "W", and Elizabeth's second name is written in quite small almost as an afterthought and could really be anything you wanted it to be.
No wonder they were hard to find!
11-02-2009, 3:25 PM
As a matter of interest, there was, or still might be a James Dace music shop in Chelmsford essex
11-02-2009, 3:37 PM
Hi to follow up from the last comment your post caught my eye because of the music shop - I am in Chelmsford and can confirm that James Dace & Son is still trading. Their website says they were founded in 1855 in Chelmsford by James Dace an established music teacher.
With Witham being only a few miles north adn music teaching not being one of the largest professions perhaps there is a link between your Robert and James.
James Dace & Son is family run - perhaps not the original family but the may know something of interest.
17-02-2009, 12:05 AM
perhaps there is a link between your Robert and James.
They were brothers.
Someone has tracked down a newspaper article of the time about another musical Robert Dace, of Abingdon, sentenced to transportation for stealing a gold pencil case. 11 years younger than my Robert, but Abingdon puts him into other branches of the family being actively researched by other contacts.
17-02-2009, 12:21 AM
On further checking, I have either a dodgy age on the 1851 Census. He would have been of the same age as the pencil case guy in 1851. So maybe he dodged transportation.
17-02-2009, 10:14 AM
Ummm ... I read "23" on the 1851 census then put "33" into my database. I can blame only Oldtimers Disease.
So, assuming this is my Robert being sentenced to transportation, how did he get to be a free man by 1861? The name doesn't come up on the list of convicts transported to Australia.
18-02-2009, 8:18 AM
Just a thought, but I researched one guy who was sentenced to be transported for life, but he never actually left the country. He was an invalid, and spent time on various invalid hulks before being eventually released, although he did spend about 20 years on the hulks.
A wonderful lady in Perth found out all sorts of information for me from the Index to English Prison and Hulk Registers which are held at The National Archives, Kew, and are on microfilm in Australia:
Index to PCOM 2 Prison Registers on AJCP reels 5971-5991, compiled by West Australian Genealogical Society, Convict Group.
18-02-2009, 9:10 AM
Thanks, Joanne, for your efforts with the newspaper clipping. |hug|
This might just have to be one of those Family Mysteries. This all happened before his sister, my great-great-grandmother, left Essex for Australia with her husband and kids on an assisted passage.
Maybe they organised a "swap"? :D
I am a direct descendent of George Dace of Witham, he is my Gr Gr Grandad. He sadly ended up in the Witham Workhouse. His son John my Gr Grandad joined up at Colchester he obviously didn't want to go in the workhouse. He was 14 yrs old when he signed on and spent the rest of his life in the army. His brother James I believe wrote music . Is it possible to obtain copies of his music?
23-03-2009, 1:13 AM
Hello cousin (somewhat distant) Alex. No, I don't have any of James Dace's music, I'm afraid, but if you are ever in Chelmsford you could ask at Dace's Music Shop. Although the shop has passed out of Dace family hands, the current owners kept the name and are very interested in the history of the shop and the man who established it
Mildred Maria, sister to George and James, was my great-great grandmother.
Thanks for suggesting the shop will give it a try. Am hoping to go to Essex sometime in the very near future to discover as much as I can about my Essex ancestors.
27-03-2009, 4:45 PM
The Essex Record office is not to far away either
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