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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack66 View Post
    have you looked at the old bailey on-line, there are masses of criminal records ect, http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/
    Thanks Jack, will investigate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutley View Post
    Living in West Ham, Essex in 1901 were

    Ellen Lewis, b abt 1866 Shadwell, Head MARRIED
    Ivy Lewis, b abt 1896 Stratford, Daughter
    Richard Heath, b abt 1873 Stratford, Brother
    Edith Heath, b abt 1871 Plymouth, Wife
    Edith Heath, 8 months old, Stratford, Daughter
    RG13/1562, Folio 128, Page 43
    (records held by TNA, Crown copyright)
    That's definitely them. Thanks Mutley!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Goodey View Post
    Another one for the questioner. How is Ellen described on her death certificate? It may describe her as "widow of...". Although come to think of it, we can't draw any conclusions from that because the family lore would have been established long before that. It's Ivy Lewis's birth certificate that will be most interesting.

    The lack of a marriage record (let alone more than one) obviously casts doubts on the bigamy legend. I'm keeping an open mind but I'll be surprised if this isn't a straightforward case of an unmarried woman who was abandoned by the father of her child.

    I seem to recall a similar case that was discussed here not too long ago where again bigamy was the family legend to explain the absence of a husband.
    Hi Peter,

    Ellen's death certificate transcribes as:

    Yr 1955; Qtr J; District Amersham; Vol 06a; Page 248.

    No. 385
    When & where died: General Hospital, Amersham
    Name and surname: Ellen Lewis
    Sex: Female
    Age: 89 years
    Occupation: of The Drapery Store, White Lion Road, Amersham. Widow of – Lewis. Occupation unknown.
    Cause of death: 1. (a) Heart failure; (b) Hypertension. R.heart failure; (c) Asthmatic Bronchitis. 2. Pulmonary Infarction. Certified by J.R.Robinson,M.B.
    Signature, description and residence of informant: Margaret V.Hartley, Grand Daughter. 36 Windmill Road, Hemel Hempstead.
    When registered: 17 May 1955
    Signature of registrar: W.E.Stokes


    It's interesting that in the 1901 she records herself as married and in 1911 a widow.

  4. #14
    Mutley
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    Just to add a bit to my wild goose chase post #7,
    The 1911 stated they had been married for 32 years so it should be 1879.
    Arthur's 'marriage years' entry was crossed through but Clara's was left as was with 7 children still living.
    I cannot seem to see this marriage anywhere.
    RG14PN2831 RG78PN96 RD29 SD4 ED25 SN193
    (TNA Copyright)

    I've since seen a marriage for an Arthur Lewis and a Clara Beasley on Ancestry but it was in 1901 and this Arthur is a Portmanteau Maker so I assume they were the parents of the Arthur Walter born 1904 but maybe not the same couple as in the 1911 census.

    Now I have confused myself.

    The reason I keep going with this angle is because I have a bigamist in my tree.
    She married husband number 1, she married husband number 2, husband number 1 died, she married husband number 2 again.
    I have all the certificates and there is no doubt but she was never found out.

    So Arthur could have married several women. What evidence do you have of his prison sentence and was that for bigamy or something else?
    If something else, maybe Peter's assumption is correct. He often is.
    and I am just oft with the fairies, I often am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutley View Post
    So Arthur could have married several women. What evidence do you have of his prison sentence and was that for bigamy or something else?
    If something else, maybe Peter's assumption is correct. He often is.
    and I am just oft with the fairies, I often am.
    Thanks Mutley. Sorry for not replying sooner – I'd written a lengthy reply earlier this afternoon with a view to finishing it when the children where in bed, only to find the browser tab had been closed! Nnngg... I wasn't being rude.

    Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any evidence yet that Arthur was imprisoned (whether for bigamy or otherwise).
    I looked on the Old Bailey website, as Jack66 suggested (post#4), but had no luck.

    My grandmother has always recalled that her grandfather was a bigamist and spent time in prison. She tried to find him in 1956 after Ellen's death and so is very excited to finally reveal the truth. It's not looking good at the moment is it?

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    Ivy's birth certificate is on order!

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mofowax View Post
    Thanks Mutley. Sorry for not replying sooner – I'd written a lengthy reply earlier this afternoon with a view to finishing it when the children where in bed, only to find the browser tab had been closed! Nnngg... I wasn't being rude.

    Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any evidence yet that Arthur was imprisoned (whether for bigamy or otherwise).
    I looked on the Old Bailey website, as Jack66 suggested (post#4), but had no luck.

    My grandmother has always recalled that her grandfather was a bigamist and spent time in prison. She tried to find him in 1956 after Ellen's death and so is very excited to finally reveal the truth. It's not looking good at the moment is it?
    I thought your reply was quite quick, thank you. On a forum like ours I've sometimes waited months rather than hours.

    So, the imprisonment may have been for any reason and if it was not in a census year it will be difficult to find it and why.
    I also searched the Old Bailey and the National Archives but could not find anything conclusive. ~sigh~

    The old folk often have memories that are right but not quite right.
    Have you considered a visit to Grandma with a large bottle of Port (or whatever the favourite tipple is) and a tape recorder, get her to talk, by whatever means you can. There may be a buried clue there somewhere.

    Arthur Lewis is a very common name but Arthur Walter Lewis is far less so. I don't know about driving you potty, it is me too.
    Please do let us know the results of Ivy's birth certificate and I hope to God it does not have a dash in the father column.

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    You may have seen these, and they may not be any help, but there are a few entries in criminal registers for Arthur Lewis es on ancestry

    24th Jan 1881, Middlesex, 18 months for "the like after previous conviction"
    1st Feb 1886, Middlesex, 9 months for larceny and receiving

    there is also one in Wales and a couple of acquittals, but there are no middle names on any of them

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to annabel For This Useful Post:

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  10. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mofowax View Post
    Hi Peter,

    You're right, I shouldn't be going by Ivy's wedding certificate alone, I'll order her birth certificate now.

    I haven't been able to find Ellen's marriage certificate yet. I use Ancestry (apologies for the purists out there), is there a chance the record hasn't been added to it's database yet?
    Peter will be pleased you've ordered her birth certificate.
    As regards Ancestry, if it is anywhere, given the area, it should be there but it may be buried so deep in mis-transcriptions, Bob the builder would be hard put to find it. Or, it 'aint anywhere at all.

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    Peter will be pleased you've ordered her birth certificate.
    Knowing what we know about marriage entries in general, it is an essential step. Unfortunately in this specific case, it may well be that for the marriage register, Ivy simply copied the name from her birth certificate. We shall see.

    As regards Ancestry, if it is anywhere, given the area, it should be there but it may be buried so deep in mis-transcriptions
    For the period in question, the Ancestry database was supplied by FreeBMD. FreeBMD is a top notch transcription!

    The search facilities on the FreeBMD site are vastly superior to Ancestry's so FreeBMD is generally preferred. Unfortunately FreeBMD doesn't have Ancestry's hardware firepower so when FreeBMD's servers are creaking you may have to revert to Ancestry.

    FreeBMD has coverage charts on the site and coverage is complete for the 1890s. The likeliest reason for not finding a marriage is simply because there wasn't one.

    What I would advise the questioner to do is to put the family stories on the back burner and concentrate on trying to determine whether the alleged father actually did exist at all. Ivy's birth certificate is the first step.

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