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  1. #1
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    Default Jane Gill - death 1881/1891?

    Not so much a brickwall, more a black hole!

    Jane Cowling was baptised in Brentor, Devon in January 1808. As Jane Pashbee she married George Gill in Berry Pomeroy, Devon, in July 1852. In 1861 she was living in Cannington, near Bridgwater, as a servant in the house of Rev Robert Platt, catholic priest. She was in the same occupation in 1871, when they were living in Horcutt, near Fairford, Glos. Robert Platt died in Gloucestershire in 1876 and by 1881 Jane had moved back to Cannington where she resident in an inn. I have found no evidence that she was related to any other of the residents. After that I have lost track of her.

    The Jane Gill, aged 80, whose death was registered in Taunton in October 1889 was living in Eastbrook, Pitminster, near Taunton. The informant was her nephew, Richard Shephard. In 1881 this Jane, age then recorded as 60, and Richard were living in the same household in Eastbrook, Pitminster and clearly not the Jane Gill from Devon.

    I would welcome any sighting of Jane from Devon, dead or alive, after 1881

  2. #2
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    could this be her in 1881?

    Name: Jane Gill
    Age: 73
    birth year:abt 1808
    Relationship to Head:Boarder
    Where born: Brent Tar, Devon, England
    Cannington,Somerset
    England
    Marital status: Widow
    Annuitant
    Charles Palfrey 48
    Jane Palfrey 45
    William Palfrey 18
    Eva Palfrey 14
    Arthur Palfrey 12
    Edgar Palfrey 10
    Percey Palfrey 5
    Roy Palfrey 4
    Jane Gill 73

  3. #3
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    Yes, that is her, the last reference I have found to her. It's what happened next that is the mystery. Which black hole did she fall down?

    I forgot mention previously that her husband, George Gill, died in 1876 although he appeared to have accepted the marriage was over some time before that because in 1871 he described himself as a widower.

  4. #4
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    Did Jane have any children? Or brothers/sisters/nieces/nephews?

    Even though she wasn't with them in 1881, she could have gone to live with them later and died there too. So if there were any such relatives, where were they in 1881? (And 1891 - as this could indicate if they stayed in one place or were moving around.)

  5. #5
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    As far as I can determine, Jane only had one child, a son. The last record of him I have found was 1849 when he was in the Royal Navy on board a ship headed for New Zealand.

    Jane was one of 9 siblings and although I have not explored the family exhaustively I have unearthed nothing to suggest Jane may have re-established contact with any of them late in life.

    She lead an eventful life. She was married three times as well as spending much of her adult life as Robert Platt's housekeeper(companion?). She had lived in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Gloucestershire. Also probably Swindon and possibly Dorset. There are countless possibilities where she may have moved after 1881.

  6. #6
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    I've just run a couple of searches at FreeBMD:

    (a) any Jane dying in the Bridgwater district 1871-1881 - there's a Jane Gill in Jun qtr 1881 aged 66, which might be worth looking into since it was unlikely to be family who reported her death; also a Jane Hill aged 75 in 1889.

    (b) any Jane Gill death anywhere 1871-1881, with date of birth entered as 1805-1815 - this produces a fairly manageable number in south-western counties.

    It might be possible, with the help of wills, burial registers and census entries to eliminate some of these possibilities. However, the only other Jane Gills I found in Somerset in 1881 were born in c1819 or later, so there's no other outstanding candidate for the 1881 death.

  7. #7
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    A bit more to add to the above:

    Cannington Cemetery records are online at https://www.
    cannington.org.uk/links/cemetery/

    If you follow the link shown as "Burials Old Cemetery Part Two 2" you'll get to a .docx plan of the graves in the eastern part of the cemetery. (An older version is available as a .pdf at https://www.
    cannington.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Cemetery-Part-2.pdf)

    About halfway down this document, Grave No.454 has the burial of Jane Gill, widow aged 66, in May 1881 - who seems very likely to be the one I found at FreeBMD. Moreover, the cemetery plan shows that this grave is in the Catholic section.

    In case you're wondering how I found this, I simply searched for Jane Gill Cannington, and the .pdf file I mentioned came up on the first page, and I then looked a bit further to see what else was available. What I haven't discovered is whether there is or ever was a headstone.

  8. #8
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    Arthurk, many many thanks. I have just read your most recent post. That looks very promising. I have had a quick look at 1881 and can find no possible alternative Jane, age +/- 66, in Somerset. I have already eliminated Jane of Pitminster.

    The entry you have found ticks several boxes. I hope the informant is Charles Palfrey, Jane's landlord in 1881. This would be conclusive. The only slight hesitation concerns her age. It was correctly recorded (by Charles Palfrey?) as 73 on the census just two months earlier. That aside, I think this is what I have been looking for. I will report back once I have the certificate.

  9. #9
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    Glad I could help. As for corroboration, as well as hoping to find Charles or another of the Palfreys as the informant on her death registration, you might find her address. The 1881 census doesn't give it, but in 1891 the Palfreys were at the King's Head in Cannington.

    I wonder if there might also be some record of her burial, requiem mass etc in RC records? Based on the Somerset Archives catalogue info, the most likely place at that time would have been St John's in Bridgwater, which appears to have been replaced by St Joseph's in 1882:

    https://somerset-cat.swheritage.org.uk/records/A/AAB

    (Interestingly there was also an RC chapel in Cannington until 1838 - https://somerset-cat.swheritage.org.uk/records/D/RC/can)

    It looks as though the Bridgwater registers will be either at the church or at Clifton Diocesan Archives - who, incidentally, might also have information on Fr Robert Platt:

    https://
    cliftondiocese.com/departments/services-and-commisions/archive/

  10. #10
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    I have now received the death certificate for the death of Jane Gill in 1881. Fortunately the informant was Charles Palfrey otherwise I would have had a problem to confirm her identity. The certificate identifies her as aged 66, widow of William whereas she was aged 73, widow of George!
    I am still waiting for a copy of Robert Platt's will to see if he left her a legacy and the Clifton Diocese assistant archivist has also agreed to search for any relevant information. Fingers crossed.

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