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Jo from Australia
25-12-2005, 11:18 PM
Hello everyone,

I posted a querry on another thread about having difficulties and I thank the person who responded. Now I would like to ask about something related to my first post. Having read the 10 commandments from Burrow Digger on another post I will give all the info I have.

My paternal g-mother. name Lena Elizabeth Branton born june 1905 Shoreditch. She is listed in the BMD records hence the simplicity of getting her birth cert. The details on that cert is that lena Elizabeths mother is listed as Lena Branton and no father listed (hence a single mum), and the child was born in Shoreditch. There was no age of mother recorded (grr!).

I have searched other records I have and the marriage cert of my g-parents (whom married in 1975 mind you) lists my G-mother's father as Henry Branton...but that name does not appear on her actual birth cert...was it in fact her grandfather??? Not sure. did she amke it up? is that something people did bck then???

Then to introduce the info from my dad's birth cert it lists my grandmothers name as Lena Elizabeth Clark (nee Branton) and has "divorced" listed...but I can find NO listing of any marriage connected to my grandmother which would have occurred before 1936 when my dad was born.

so as you can see there are many questions I could be asking basd on all that but the main one is: how frequently did people of that time lie about who they were and wehere they were from? Was it a done thing or was it not really done? I gather from the areas that my g-mother is linked with being Shoreditch and Hoxton, that she was among the quite poor...perhaps lack of education ability to write might have something to do with it...or a great deal of family secrets perhaps???

Any comments on this? Thanks if you got this far!
cheers
Jo from Australia

ChristineR
26-12-2005, 2:22 AM
Hello Jo,

Firstly, they did lie, or sometimes make things up to fill in gaps. Sometimes ages are all over the place because there just was not the emphasis on birth dates as there is today. Some tried to hide illigitimacy, others didn't seem to be bothered by it. As to the divorce, I would be looking right up to the marriage date in 1975 - perhaps that is why they took so long to get married, the divorce was not actually decreed until nearer that time. I believe it was a lot easier to get a divorce (at least here in Australia) in later times, when a no-blame type of divorce was brought in. Before that it was only desertion, abuse and adultery that could get you one, a bit of a public slanging match.

You also have to consider that there was no prior marriage at all - and she has used the divorcee tag to explain the presence of other kids with her when she made the registration? Has your dad got siblings? as it could be a good idea to see what information is given on those birth certifcates.

Another thing, there may have been no divorce, and they had to wait for the first husband to pass on before marrying.

Christine
Australia

Chasing Caseys
26-12-2005, 2:38 AM
Also .........as i dont have a Ancestry sub anymore............have you seen the 1881 census that has Brandon,s in Shoreditch ? (allowing for mistranscribing ?) there are few of them. I take it you have searched for Lena,s mother also Lena on the 1901 census ? and come back with zilch - off hand i looked earlier and it came back with one aged 1 !

Trish
26-12-2005, 4:16 AM
There is a Henry and Mary BRANTON with daughter Elizabeth in the 1881 census:

9 Devonshire Place, Bethnal Green, London
RG11/0410 Folio 23 Page 47

Henry BRANTON Head Mar 27 Street Hawker [born] Middlesex St. Lukes
Mary Do Wife Mar 29 Laundress Do Do
Elizabeth Do Daur 2 Do Do
Trish

DebbieAnn
26-12-2005, 4:48 AM
My family is notorious for the whoppers they've told about family matters. My father's father was known as Al, sometimes Albert. We were told is middle name was Tsar, after Tsar Alexander of Russia. Story went his father was the captain of a merchant vessel on which his wife accompanied him, being near her time. She was supposed to have delivered while the ship was docked in a Russian port, and there being some law on the books that all male children were to be named for the Tsar, and the year being 1881, he was named Al Tsar. Yeah, right. Turns out his name was Alexander (he had a brother Albert), and his father was a shoemaker. If his middle initial even was T. it probably was after his father Thomas.

Another whopper involved my parents. Turns out they married 13 years after my older sister was born, because she was still legally married to her first husband, and they waited until he died to marry (story was he divorced her out of the country and she wasn't properly notified). I found out when I was 22. Surprise! Turns out he had 'remarried' and had a family with the new 'wife', only, because there was never a divorce, my mother got all the widow's benefits, and the 2nd family were turned out with nothing. In other words, they both moved on and started new families, and the one that outlived the other won. Uh-huh!

So, you just never know. The thing about secrets is, they usually come out and usually in the worst possible light.

Debbie

Peter Goodey
26-12-2005, 8:46 AM
Another rule of genealogy is that, whatever the general experience might be, one's own ancestors spent a lot of time lying to the authorities!

Actually things weren't quite as simple as you might think - I believe I'm right in saying that at that time, the name of the father of an illegitimate child could only be entered on a birth certificate if both mother and father turned up together to register the birth. In other words the father's name could not be entered just on the mother's say-so.

There may be some more research you could do although it really depends how much effort you want to put into pursuing the missing father. You have one bit of firm information and that is the child's birth certificate. If you tell us precisely what is on the certificate (all the information!), we may be able to suggest some further lines of enquiry.

Ladkyis
26-12-2005, 8:48 AM
Until about the 1920s it was very difficult to get a divorce in the UK. I believe it had to go through the house of Lords in Parialment and cost a lot of money. This would put it out of reach for most people and that would leave waiting for a partner to die or lying about your marital status as the only choice. I would have had to lie too.

It wasn't that difficult to pretend to be married, you simply moved to a different area and set up home as Mr and Mrs no-one would know you and people don't demand sight of the marriage certificate they accept your word.

I wish my ancestors had done something like that, I would just love a black sheep in my family.

Ann
envious in Newport

Mythology
26-12-2005, 10:32 AM
"one's own ancestors spent a lot of time lying to the authorities!"

Yes - and I would include the church under the "authorities" label.
Only a week or so ago, while following up a recently discovered branch, I found one of mine where mother, Mary Ann Ellis, has forgotten to lie at the register office, so her illegitimate child is in the GRO index as Thomas Peacock Ellis, but the baptism record, also before the parents married, has him as the son of Thomas and Mary Ann Peacock.

Jo from Australia
26-12-2005, 11:17 AM
Ah Envious Ann, it does make for some wild day dreaming sessions of just what my grandmother was really about. Being a bit of a feminist myself I like to think that women who rebel against what is seen as acceptable were shunned or ignored and I would LOVE a grandmother who rebelled!

anyway, thank you everyone for your thoughts! The request for more info from Lena Elizabeths Birth Cert:

Reg district- Shoreditch
1905 birth in the sub-district of Shoreditch North West in the county of London

When & where born: Nineteenth June 1905, 204 Hoxton Strret (which I dioscovered was a hospital in the area - being a home birther myself I know the history of Homebirthing and would assume that someone with no home would prefer a hospital rather than birthing on the streets - personally I think the streets would be safer even today! :o))

Name: Lena Elizabeth

Sex: Girl

Name of father: blank

Name, surname and maiden surname of mother: Lena Branton of 49 Custance Street Shoreditch (and what looks like:) Capsule Maker

Occupation of father: blank

Signature, description and residence of informant: L Branton (in the same hand writing as the rest - so no actual signature) Mother 204 Hoxton St Shoreditch (the hospital address). (BUT it doesnt actually say Lena Branton)

When registered: 22nd of June 1905


Thats the info: during writing it though it dawned on me that it has the hospitals address listed under the informants details and her (Lena snr) address listed under the column for the details of the mother. why would the writing be the same as the person filling out the form (A.E Davies) on all colums including the signature of informant colomn?

Thoughts on her 'previous marriage' - btw there were no other children that we are aware of.
The waiting until the other guy died i a good theory -if I could find record of the actual marriage...why wiat until 1975 if there was no previous marriage? I am unsure of the laws for coming into Australia in 1975...did you have to be a married couple?

I did look in the 1881 census and found a possiblity: an Elizabeth Branton who was the daughter of a William G Branton and Lydia Branton (it was she who was born in Shoreditch, the father was from Whitechapel) and this Elizabeth was born in abour 1880 (time frame if she was my ggmother shw ould have been about 25 when birthing my gmother). The family resided at 11 Ann Street Hamlet London

The other possibility and the one with a litt Shoreditch (the hospital address). (BUT it doesnt actually say Lena Branton)

When registered: 22nd of June 1905


Thats the info: during writing it though it dawned on me that it has the hospitals address listed under the informants details and her (Lena snr) address listed under the column for the details of the mother. why would the writing be the same as the person filling out the form (A.E Davies) on all colums including the signature of informant colomn?

Thoughts on her 'previous marriage' - btw there were no other children that we are aware of.
The waiting until the other guy died i a good theory -if I could find record of the actual marriage...why wiat until 1975 if there was no previous marriage? I am unsure of the laws for coming into Australia in 1975...did you have to be a married couple?

I did look in the 1881 census and found a possiblity: an Elizabeth Branton who was the daughter of a William G Branton and Lydia Branton (it was she who was born in Shoreditch, the father was from Whitechapel) and this Elizabeth was born in abour 1880 (time frame if she was my ggmother shw ould have been about 25 when birthing my gmother). The family resided at 11 Ann Street Hamlet London

The other possibility and the one with a little more substance was from the 1901 census: a Elizth daughter of Henry Branton (remember there was a Henry listed as the father of my grandmother on Lenas wedding cert although no father was on her birth cert- my assumption was she just put her dads name as it was 1975!) The Elizth was born approx 1879 and the family resided in Shoreditch. There was another daughter, Jane, who was a yera older and the mother was born in 1833 (same as the dad) and the birth place of all family members was London...not specific!

This theroy is for you Ann: what if the birth of my grandmother was a difficult one (not hard to imagine in those days) and if Elizabeth was the real name of the motherand she had suffered a great deal of blood loss she might have been very vague: what if when recording the birth she was misinterpreted by the recorder (whom might have had little time for single alone new mothers), and what if the names were mixed up? She might have wanted to call her daughter Lena and answered that that was her name instead of Elizabeth...perhaps she said her name is Elizabeth and the person taking the details mistook it for the child's second name??

Ah! If only I could get really drunk on Guiness and request the presence of my gmother...she would find all this very amusing!
%le more substance was from the 1901 census: a Elizth daughter of Henry Branton (remember there was a Henry listed as the father of my grandmother on Lenas wedding cert although no father was on her birth cert- my assumption was she just put her dads name as it was 1975!) The Elizth was born approx 1879 and the family resided in Shoreditch. There was another daughter, Jane, who was a yera older and the mother was born in 1833 (same as the dad) and the birth place of all family members was London...not specific!

This theroy is for you Ann: what if the birth of my grandmother was a difficult one (not hard to imagine in those days) and if Elizabeth was the real name of the motherand she had suffered a great deal of blood loss she might have been very vague: what if when recording the birth she was misinterpreted by the recorder (whom might have had little time for single alone new mothers), and what if the names were mixed up? She might have wanted to call her daughter Lena and answered that that was her name instead of Elizabeth...perhaps she said her name is Elizabeth and the person taking the details mistook it for the child's second name??

Ah! If only I could get really drunk on Guiness and request the presence of my gmother...she would find all this very amusing!



Thanks Trish for the other 1881 census results... I am not sure how I missed these ones...off to go and have a look now. Thanks everyone once again for your support!

I will keep you posted and would still love to get some more thoughts or ideas!
love Jo

Mythology
26-12-2005, 12:15 PM
"why would the writing be the same as the person filling out the form (A.E Davies) on all colums including the signature of informant colomn?"

Because you wnet the normal route of obtaining the birth cert from the GRO, so what you have is not a photographic reproduction of the original register, which would be held locally. At the end of every quarter, the local offices sent "copies" (handwritten, of course) of the entries to the GRO, and it is these that we see.

In theory, it sounds a good idea to apply to the local office, but in practice you are usually no better off, sometimes worse off. Local offices vary but most will only supply transcripts of birth entries so you still don't have a photographic copy with the actual signatures. Some, especially in the London area, don't want to know about family history enquiries at all, and unless you can quote a specific birth date and place will refer tyou to the GRO anyway. The GRO index reference is of no use to local offices, so you don't get anywhere quoting that.

Unless, as was the case with one of mine, you are fairly certain that there is an error on the "copy", it usually isn't worth the hassle. It took me four weeks and six phone calls before I was finally allowed to make an appointment to go and *look* at the original under supervision - still no chance of actually getting a copy.

Peter Goodey
26-12-2005, 12:48 PM
204 Hoxton Street appears to have been "Shoreditch Infirmary", later St Leonards Hospital. Does anyone know about this one? There are plenty of internet references but mainly in relation to Edith Cavell who worked there.

Was it under the Shoreditch Board of Guardians in 1905? That establishment is also shown in the LMA catalogue as "later St Leonards Hospital".

It it was one and the same beast, it appears that there are some surviving records for 1905. These is in the LMA catalogue using the search phrase "st leonards" (sic).

It might be valuable to ferret around in those records, if only to get a further clue about precisely who Lena Branton was.

However, the address you already have - 49 Custance Street - could be more valuable. If, and this is a big IF, that is the family home, it would be good to find out who was living there at the time. Perhaps the register of electors? The 1901 census address search finds it but I haven't checked it out (although I would if it were one of mine!). Four years too early unfortunately, but you never know your luck.

So those are my rambling ideas -
1901 census;
Electoral lists;
Shoreditch Guardians records for (a) any more on Lena and (b) anything about the father;
Court records for any order for maintenance against the father (this might be in the name of the Shoreditch Guardians).