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Mystery of James Finlen and family

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

FurryFriends

FurryFriends Report 14 Dec 2009 00:36

Anybody interested in doing any sleuth work, this is intriguing.

Recently discovered my 2nd great grandfather, James Finlen b cir 1830 was involved in Reformers League in 1850/60's. He was a bit of a radical as well as deserting his family who found themselves in Islington Workhouse and wife Mary (Magee/McGee b cir 1835 in Clerkenwell, Middlesex?) ended up in Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum. (I think his constant absences and lack of financial support drove her to a mental breakdown)

An excerpt from news article:
The Edinburgh Evening Courant, Tuesday, May 26, 1868, has the following:
'A NOTORIOUS REFORMER IN THE POLICE COURT.
James Finlen, aged 37, described as a French polisher, and a lecturer in the employment of the Reform League, was brought up on a warrant by Moss, Constable of the parish of Islington, and charged before Mr Cooke, at the Clerkenwell Police Court yesterday, with deserting his four children, whereby they had become chargeable to the parish of St Mary, Islington.
Mr W. H. Messer said – I am relieving officer of the parish of Islington. Four children of the defendant – James, aged 9; William, aged 8; Frank, aged 6; and Mary Caroline, aged 4 ½ - were admitted to the workhouse on the 4th of the present month, and are still chargeable. On the 6th I received a note from defendant, saying that he was astonished that the children had been brought and admitted to the workhouse, and that he would in the course of a day or two come and pay up all the expenses that had been incurred, and take the children away. Instead of doing so he took no further notice. I did not see defendant until this morning, when he was in custody.' .....

Also this email from someone researching the Reformer League:
Finlen was, I believe, born about 1830 (would this fit?) and active in the Chartist (working class radical) movement from the early 1850s until the late 1860s. In the late '60s, he became notorious for public defaming of the police in their handling of investigations into Fenian (Irish republican) attacks and calling for the reprieve of convicted Fenians. The popular press of the day did a hatchet job on him - running stories about how he used travel as a radical lecturer, leaving his wife and baby close to destitution.
A collection was raised to pay for the Finlen family to make a new start in the U.S. and indeed (from memory) there was a public farewell. But it seems he didn't go - because about 20 years later a radical lecturer came across him, apparently living under another name, in the north-west of England. '

I have come up against brick wall re Census information. Perhaps James lived in Scotland for a while while his family was destitute in England????

Children were James, William, Francis and Mary Caroline.

James had a sister Kate Finlen, b 1845 in Kingston On Thames, London, who in 1871 Census was a lodger in Islington.

I am interested in any information regarding any of the information above: newspaper articles, census information (Eng or Scotland), death dates ... anything.

If anyone can find info about James and Kate's parents that would be a bonus too.

It is supected he may have changed his name slightly when he off and left the family ...(?)

Said James was a french polisher in newspaper article and on his son, William's death certificate, James' occupation was General Agent (?)

William born 1860, West Hackney married Jessie Eddy and they sailed for Australia (Perth) in 1885.

Thanks
Beverley

Ozibird

Ozibird Report 14 Dec 2009 01:17

So you have Kate in 1871. Do you have any other census info? How do you know Kate is a sister?

Ozi

FurryFriends

FurryFriends Report 14 Dec 2009 01:35

Further newspaper exerpt:
'Mrs Kate Finlen – I am the sister of the defendant, and reside at 87 Caroline Street, Islington. I took the defendant’s children to the workhouse because I could not afford to keep them any longer. It was not convenient for me to keep them any longer.' States 'Mrs" but in census Kate is a lodger at about 26.
Here is census info for Kate:
1871 Census
Name: Kate Finlen
Age: 26
Estimated Year of Birth: 1845
Relationship to Head of Household: Lodger
Occupation: Ironer
Address: 89 Cloudesley Road
District: Islington, Islington West
Administrative County: London
Birth Place: Kingston On Thames

Have no other census information - that's why it is so mysterious and frustrating ....

Beverley

Ozibird

Ozibird Report 14 Dec 2009 01:49

Found him in 1861:

1861 England Census
Name: James Tomlin
Age: 31
Estimated birth year: abt 1830
Relation: Head
Spouse's name: Mary A
Gender: Male
Where born: London, Middlesex, England
Civil parish: Hackney
Ecclesiastical parish: West Hackney
County/Island: Middlesex
Country: England
Street Address: 3 Grays Buildings

Occupation: French Polisher

Registration district: Hackney
Sub-registration district: West Hackney
ED, institution, or vessel: 8
Neighbors: View others on page
Household schedule number: 10
Household Members:
Name Age
James Tomlin 31
Mary A Tomlin 25 - Newcastle
Kate Tomlin 28 - sister, Kingston, Surrey
James Tomlin 2 - Manchester
William Tomlin 9 Mo - London, Middlesex


Births Mar 1859
FINLEN James Chorlton 8c 537

Ozibird

Ozibird Report 14 Dec 2009 01:52

Are these related?

Births Jun 1865
Finlen Jonathan Vickers Islington 1b 245
Births Dec 1866
Finlen Lincoln P Islington 1b 332

FurryFriends

FurryFriends Report 14 Dec 2009 01:58

Thanks Ozi

Yes, William born in Greys building as I have a record -

Born at 3 Grays Buildings, Kingsland, West Hackney, Middlesex, England, presumably the residence of his parents.

But I wonder why the change of name - hiding from the law????

Beverley

FurryFriends

FurryFriends Report 14 Dec 2009 02:04

Not sure about the other 2 Finlens born in Islington, but certainly a possibility.

I have marriage of James and Mary Caroline in 1858 in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear.
England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index: 1837-1983
Name: James Finlen
Year of Registration: 1858
Quarter of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar
District: Newcastle Upon Tyne
County: Northumberland, Tyne and Wear
Volume: 10b
Page: 58
On the same page is Mary Caroline Magee

They certainly moved around!

Beverley

Ozibird

Ozibird Report 14 Dec 2009 02:14

Finlen on image.

1851 England Census about James Finton
Name: James Finton
Age: 22
Estimated birth year: abt 1829
Gender: Male
Where born: London, England
Civil parish: St Pancras
County/Island: Middlesex
Country: England
Street Address: 15 North St

Occupation: French Polisher

Condition as to marriage: unmarried

Registration district: Pancras
Sub-registration district: Tottenham Court
ED, institution, or vessel: 4
Neighbors: View others on page
Household schedule number: 286
Household Members:
Name Age
George Hoppey 30 - French Polisher
Hannah Hoppey 28
James Finton 22
Catherine Finton 19 - laundress, Kingston On Thames [She's determined this is where she was born, but it looks as if she was telling porkies about her age later in life.]

Sorry forgot to say that Tomlin looked like Femlin/Fimlin on image.

FurryFriends

FurryFriends Report 14 Dec 2009 02:20

Ozi

This is getting more and more intriguing!!! Seems like some family skeletons coming out of the closet here !!!

Finton - Tomlin - Finlen.

Seems like Catherine is the same as Kate - as Kingston on Thames is the birthplace for both. And yes, a few porkies from Miss Kate!

Beverley

Ozibird

Ozibird Report 14 Dec 2009 02:23

I don't think they are changing their name. I think it's being mistranscribed, firstly by the enumerator of the census, then by the recent transcribers.

Do you have access to the images?


Ozi

FurryFriends

FurryFriends Report 14 Dec 2009 02:41

Ozi

Given that we know Catherine and James are siblings, is it possible to find their parents and any other siblings?

Beverley

Ozibird

Ozibird Report 14 Dec 2009 05:56

Beverley & I are now corresponding by email.

Ozi

Deborah

Deborah Report 15 Jun 2013 09:59

Hi I suspect a family row got Mrs Finlen and the children in the workhouse, short term stays when there was a family row/crisis were quite common among the poor it got into th epapers because Finlen was who he was; (I am researching the Fenians. Finlen addressed a biggish London Demo on November 30th 1867) Don't know if this helps. D

Deborah

Deborah Report 15 Jun 2013 10:00

Hi I suspect a family row got Mrs Finlen and the children in the workhouse, short term stays when there was a family row/crisis were quite common among the poor it got into th epapers because Finlen was who he was; (I am researching the Fenians. Finlen addressed a biggish London Demo on November 30th 1867) Don't know if this helps. D