Thursday, September 8, 2016

What about Mary Ann?

Last week, we saw how shifting names can make it hard to follow a family in the census – in this case, the Census of England. Attention to occupation and children’s names, combined with searches in birth registration indexes, led to the John, aka Bartholomew, Lee family in Dorset. This week, we follow a similar strategy to track down Mary Ann Lee, who was not with her mother in 1881 as expected.

Bartholomew Lee’s youngest child, Laurence, was born in August 1869 in Bristol. So, Bartholomew (did anyone call him “Bart?”) was likely still in Bristol in early 1869. But as noted in last week’s post, he was absent by the time of the 1871 census – presumably off to America, possibly in search of gold.

His wife, Eleanor – the former Eleanor Elizabeth Price – supported her young family from what she could earn as a charwoman. At home with their mother was William, 13; Mary A., 9; Charles, 6, and Laurence, 1.  Eleanor’s 7-year old son, John, was living with Eleanor’s parents. As far as is known, Bartholomew never returned. The family believes he died in America, possibly in New Orleans, but he has never been found in American records, alive or dead.

The family situation had changed again by 1881. Widow Eleanor was living in Flooks Court in the St. Philip and Jacob district of Bristol. She was a tailoress. With her were her three sons: John, 18, Charles, 16, and Laurence, 12. This Charles was born about 1865 in Trowbridge. The Charles born in Weymouth had apparently died young, but his death registration has not been found.

Mary Ann Lee did not marry John Tidball until 1884. Where was she in 1881? A good candidate was a Mary A. Lee, 19 and born in Melksham, living in the home of George Pocock in Bedminister, across the river from Bristol. The census identified her as a niece of George Pocock. If a niece, she could have been a daughter of either George’s sister or of his wife Elizabeth’s sister. Indeed, Elizabeth Pocock was Eleanor Lee’s sister. Elizabeth Lee married George Pocock 22 November 1857 in Bristol. Witnesses were Elizabeth’s brother-in-law Bartholomew Lee and a woman named Sarah Laver. Marriage registrations indicate that both Elizabeth and Eleanor were daughters of Charles Price.

This blog post is being written on the edge of the wilderness along the North Shore of the world’s largest freshwater lake, so it has been hurriedly assembled. There just isn’t enough time or internet bandwidth to insert images of any of these people, or the census and civil registration records that would illustrate the path of discovery.  Next week is week 2 of vacation, so no promises that a post will be written, but rest assured, there is more Tidball family history to come. In the meantime, I'm off to Honeymoon Rock to watch the sun set.

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.