Friday, September 2, 2016

Bartholmew, Where art Thou?

A completely undocumented family story  states that Bartholomew Lee left his family in England for the gold rush in America -- which gold rush is not clear.

Bartholomew Lee was John Tidball's father-in-law. Bartholomew, 21, married Eleanor Elizabeth Price, 21, 12 May 1857 in Bristol. Bartholomew Lee was the son of John and Hannah Lee. The Irish-born family was enumerated in the St. Augustine the Less district of Bristol in 1851. Bartholomew, 14 was a porter.

Jumping forward to the 1871 census, Bartholomew was indeed missing. Eleanor was living in St. Philip and St. Jacob, Bristol, with four children:
William J., 13, born Bristol
Mary A., 9, born Melksham, Wiltshire
            Chs., 6, born Trowbridge, Wiltshire
            Laurence, 1, born Bristol

 Another son of Bartholomew and Eleanor was living with Bartholomew’s parents in1871. John, age 7, born in Trowbridge, was enumerated as “grandson” in the household of John and Joanna Lee in St. James, Bristol. The census indicates John was born in Midleton and Joanna in Castle Martyr, allowing a confident conclusion that 7 year-old boy was a son of Bartholomew.

Bartholomew has never been found again in later records in England or the United States.

Stepping back again in time, the young family of Bartholomew and Eleanor should have been easy to find in 1861. With approximate birth dates from other records the somewhat unusual name Bartholomew, and Bartholomew's Irish origins, searchable online census indexes should have produced a fairly short list of candidate families.

Searches for Bartholomew Lee anywhere in England produced no good matches. Why not? Because, when the census-taker came, Bartholomew gave his name as “John.” John and "Ellen" Lee were living in Melcombe Regis in Dorset. The proof that John Lee was the same man as Bartholomew Lee came from the birth places of the family members and John’s occupation. As enumerated in the census, the family included:

            John Lee, 24, a porter, born in Ireland,
            Ellen, 24, born in Bristol,
            William, 3, born Bristol, and
            Charles, 1, born Weymouth.

In 1851, fourteen year-old Bartholomew Lee must have been a porter for the railroad. The clincher came from the birth registration of 1 year-old Charles. He was born 14 January 1860 to “Bartholomew” Lee and Eleanor, “formerly Price.” The father was a porter for the Great Western Railway.

The last traces of Bartholomew come from the birth of two more sons. John was born September 1863 in Melksham. Laurence was born August 1869 in Bristol So, Bartholomew was probably still in Bristol in early 1869, but off to America sometime in the next two years.

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