Sunday, 15 April 2018

Week 15 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks


Whilst our ancestors will have been liable for taxes the records may not still exist or may not hold any clues to help our research. As I have not used any of these records to aid my research I am going to write about how taxing it can be to discover or uncover the relevant records to aid our research.

Rebecca Ellis 1844-1921

The registration of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales started on 1 July 1837.
However, there was no penalty for failing to register any of these events until a much later date, and as a consequence, many events went unregistered particularly in the early years.
Although I have found a baptism for Rebecca Ellis I can find no record of her birth having been registered. There are no births registered between 1841 and 1845 for girls who could be her. The same is true for her sister Jane. They were 2 of the 14 children born to her mother Rebecca within a 20 year period.

In 1848 the mother Rebecca died of phthisis or pulmonary tuberculosis. Her maiden name was Bouthway according to her marriage record but I have been unable to find any record of her baptism to prove her parentage. She is presumed to be the daughter of John and his wife Mary Thorold who are living in the adjacent property in 1841 census.

The marriage of George Ellis and Rebecca Bouthway in Edenham

1841 Census Edenham, Lincolnshire

Burial register for Edenham 1848-1849

George Ellis remains as a widower on both the 1851 and 1861 census records. His daughter Mary having taken over the role of her mother keeping house and bringing up her younger siblings. By 1861 his children have all left home and he is found as a boarder

1851 Census Grimsthorpe, Lincolnshire

1861 Census Scottlethorpe, Lincolnshire

If we take a further look at the burial register it struck me that on these 2 pages and within less than a year this family had seen 4 burials in this churchyard. Little more than a month after Rebecca died her brother Charles followed and on Christmas day her father John followed. In January 1849 Joseph the illegitimate son of Rebecca was also buried. This is likely to have had a significant effect on the family.

The marriage of George Ellis and Mary Deacon

By 1863 George is remarrying in Swinstead to widow Mary Deacon and in 1871 census we can see why he has remarried. He has now got a 7 year old daughter Lucy Ann. Her christening in May 1864 given that her parents married in October 1863 would indicate the reason for his marriage.

1871 Census Swinstead, Lincolnshire

Christening of Lucy Ann Ellis Swinstead, Lincolnshire

My original conclusion regarding the maiden name of Mary Ellis was Scoles as her father was given as Charles Scoles. However, in revealing more about her past several documents came to light.
First I looked at the 1861 census in an effort to find her first husband and her previous marriage.

1861 Census Swinstead, Lincolnshire
However, by 1861 she was already widowed.

1851 Census Swinstead, Lincolnshire

Looking at the 1851 census her husband is a Swithun Deacon. But the only marriage I can find is this one in Swinstead.

The marriage of Henry Swithin Deacon and Mary Haines

The bride does not give a name for her father and is using a different surname and the groom has used Henry Swithin and I note he is a widower.
Can I find out more and confirm this is correct?

When I looked for a Mary Haines on Find My Past I found a transcription from Lincolnshire Parish Bastardy Cases which had been supplied by Lincolnshire Family History Society. There was a Maintenance Order against Charles Scoles of Grimsthorpe labourer in 1817 by Edenham Parish for a female child of Mary Haines.

Baptism Ann Haines Edenham, Lincolnshire
This is the only baptism I could find that would fit. When she died the death was registered as Mary Ann Ellis which would fit with both of the first names that were used.

Burial Mary Ann Ellis Swinstead, Lincolnshire

I also discovered that her first husband had been christened Swithin and had been married previously. The older children on the 1851 census were from his first marriage.

Looking in other record sets and thinking around a problem can be time-consuming but can ultimately lead to a result.
Maybe I will find a record that confirms who are the parents of Rebecca Bouthway or should it be Botherway.


  1. Enjoyed reading this post. Most of my ancestors were in what would become the United States of America prior to the American Revolution and by 1800 the majority of those were in the state of Tennessee. Very few census records exist for the earlier yrs and Tax Lists help a great deal. They also help to track some of my ancestors in the years in between the 1830 and 1840 census.

  2. I have found the same problem over and over again with the registration of births. Sometimes the baptismal records are a better source (and sometimes they show multiple children being baptised at the same time). Yes, it is truly "taxing" work.