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  1. #1
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    Default Biological family search - surname HYDE

    Hello! I'm very new to this site so please bear with me!

    My great-grandfather was given up for adoption when he was a baby and I have been trying to track down his biological family for some time now. My family have both the original adoption agreement as well as letters from his birth mother to his adoptive parents. Although these documents have provided me with the appropriate names, they haven't gotten me any further in finding any other biological relatives.

    In a complete stroke of luck I stumbled upon photos of my great-grandfather's biological mother on an antiques website based in England who were attempting to sell the photos (she had been an actress). These were the first photos my family had ever seen of her and the resemblance to my great-grandfather was truly shocking, especially to my great-aunt, his last surviving child. I got in contact with the owner of the site who said he'd had her entire family tree in his possession but had recently sold all of it, bar the photos, to a relative. He also said our family were descendent of Huguenots. I asked if he would put me in touch with the relative but I never heard back from him.

    I have contacted a number of theatres in London, have checked the National Archives as well as the Essex Archives and used Ancestry.com along with a number of other geneology sites and have found the following information regarding my biological great-great-grandmother:

    Name: Marian Gertrude Edith Hyde
    Birth: 07 May 1873, Victoria Park, London
    Residence: Chigwell, Essex
    Parents: William and Mary Ann Hyde (nee Saint)
    Siblings: William, Ethel, Madeleine
    Birth of son: Cyril, Paris, France, 1903
    Marriage to Wilberforce Blundell Spencer-Richards, 1916, England
    Death: March 1962, Rochford, Essex

    What my family does know from the letters we have is that Marian's stage name was Mavis Hope which was a nod to her family home in Essex, Maviswood House (now a boarding house which I have contacted and had no luck). She gave birth to my great-grandfather in Paris (we assume because France was the only place an unmarried woman could give birth legally). She named my great-grandfather Cyril Hope after her stage name and gave him up for adoption when he was a toddler. He grew up in Potton, Bedfordshire, later moved to London, and then on to Canada where he remained until his death in 1988.

    I've found marriage certificates, birth records, census', voting records, etc. for Marian and many of her siblings and her parents but what I can't seem to do is track the family line to present day or go further into the past, any information I find becomes too convoluted or hits a dead-end. I also don't have enough information to trace any connection to Huguenots in the UK.

    Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated!

    - Madeleine

  2. #2
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    As Marian was an actress you might well find out more about her if you were to search "The Stage" which has been the entertainment industry's newspaper for ever. You can find back copies in the British Newspaper Archive, which is a pay to view site.

    There is a Hugenot Society which offers advice to those who believe that the have family connections. https://www.huguenotsociety.org.uk/family-history.html

    This forum does not help people find living relatives for reasons of confidentiality, but as you aren't from the UK I would suggest that you look at things like the 1939 Register and voting lists. We can of course help you get further back.

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    You could also order a copy of Marian's will from the Government's Find a Will website. It's listed in 1962 under Richards, Marian Gertrude Edith ("Spencer-" is inserted above).

    The index shows her as a widow, so with any luck it won't be of the "all to spouse" variety and will name some family members who were alive then. The executors were a solicitor and a company director, but the index doesn't show whether either of them was a relative.

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    It would be a good idea, I think, to put the Huguenot question aside until you get further back in time and are sure which French names you are looking for. The main escape from France happened at the end of the 17th and start of the 18th century.

    PS Welcome to the British Genealogy Forum!

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurk View Post
    You could also order a copy of Marian's will from the Government's Find a Will website. It's listed in 1962 under Richards, Marian Gertrude Edith ("Spencer-" is inserted above).

    The index shows her as a widow, so with any luck it won't be of the "all to spouse" variety and will name some family members who were alive then. The executors were a solicitor and a company director, but the index doesn't show whether either of them was a relative.

    In case you are not aware of it this is the Government Will site that arthurk is refering to:
    https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills

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    I've had a look at your family tree on Ancestry, and also a look around at the records in general.

    I think that if there is a Hugenot connection that you are most likely to find it in the SAINT family line for a number of reasons:

    (a) the name
    (b) they were silk weavers
    (c) that are of London was famous for silk weaving and it's Hugenot connectons
    (d) if you look at where the James Hyde and Caroline Bilson lines originate from its Ireland and Wiltshire, which are not known for their Hugenot connections - although I could be wrong, and frequently am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurk View Post
    You could also order a copy of Marian's will from the Government's Find a Will website. It's listed in 1962 under Richards, Marian Gertrude Edith ("Spencer-" is inserted above).

    The index shows her as a widow, so with any luck it won't be of the "all to spouse" variety and will name some family members who were alive then. The executors were a solicitor and a company director, but the index doesn't show whether either of them was a relative.
    Thank you! I hadn't seen this before. The company director was listed as Cedric Francis Hodgkins and Marian's sister Ethel was married to a Henry Hodgkins, so I wonder if there was a connection there.

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    Thank you Megan! This sounds like the right direction to look for any Huguenot connections. As for the James Hyde/Caroline Bilson lines, I'm still not even 100% sure these are the right people, the further back I go the less confident I am because no one in my immediate family knows anything about this part of our tree, nor do we have any documents/certificates. So you're probably right about Ireland and Wiltshire. Thanks again!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lesley Robertson View Post
    It would be a good idea, I think, to put the Huguenot question aside until you get further back in time and are sure which French names you are looking for. The main escape from France happened at the end of the 17th and start of the 18th century.

    PS Welcome to the British Genealogy Forum!
    Thank you Lesley!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurk View Post
    You could also order a copy of Marian's will from the Government's Find a Will website. It's listed in 1962 under Richards, Marian Gertrude Edith ("Spencer-" is inserted above).

    The index shows her as a widow, so with any luck it won't be of the "all to spouse" variety and will name some family members who were alive then. The executors were a solicitor and a company director, but the index doesn't show whether either of them was a relative.
    Just an update: It looks as though Cedric was Marian's nephew! He died in 2012 and it seems likely he still has immediate family in Essex. Thanks again!

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