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Bits of a Puzzle

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


JannieAnnie Report 29 Jul 2013 15:05

That Joseph and Lucy are correct - bit confusing I know - they like to stick with the same names as on the 1871 they are Joseph and Louisa with Joseph John with 1859/1860 and I suspect that the 1892 death is correct - year of death shown on other trees plus Louisa is with one of her daughters in 1901, then one of her other sons in 1911 - so Joseph had obviously gone


ADDED: Thank you KempinaPartyhat, I looked at those trees this morning and thought that one might have the two marriages shown - but I think it is the Mary factor. From the information you Brummiejan and Kath have provided I am fairly confident I have read it correctly - John married twice, both named Mary.


JannieAnnie Report 29 Jul 2013 15:31

I think the next step is to try to get a birth certificate for Joseph John - which could be the Camberwell 1838 one. Perhaps because they were in London they might just have bothered to register their children.

Also if John was married to Mary1 and other trees are correct and she was called Mary Ann Clifton, then if I order a cert for Joseph French via GRO naming parents as John French and Mary Ann Clifton and put London 1838, then they will check 1837, 1838 and 1839 - if it checks out - all well and good. Plus any information on occupation and address will confirm it hopefully - as they didn't move much. If parent details do not agree, then I won't get anything!

I will see what they give me then I will go for the 1892 death.

I wonder if the daughter Jane (aged 5) was the last child of Mary1, might need to think about that as I have not included her in my tree as I wondered if she was the daughter of Mary2. If the second marriage was in 1850 then perhaps she was Mary1's daughter.

Will let you know what happens with the birth certificate.

Thank you all again.


Chris Ho :)

Chris Ho :) Report 29 Jul 2013 16:33

Baptism (Find My Past)
Fathers forenames:John
Fathers occupation:Coppersmith
Mothers forenames:Mary Ann
Birth date:
Location of church:Stepney
Parish:St Dunstan
Church address:High Street
Entry No:175
Source Ref:X024/020
Record source:Docklands Ancestors

Fathers forenames:John
Fathers occupation:Copper-Smith
Mothers forenames:Mary Anne
Birth date:23/02/1826
Location of church:Limehouse
Parish:St Anne
Church address:Commercial Road
Entry No:1393
Source Ref:X097/275

Fathers forenames:John
Fathers occupation:Copper Smith
Mothers forenames:Mary Ann
Birth date:11/06/1828
Location of church:Limehouse
Parish:St Anne
Church address:Commercial Road
Entry No:2221
Source Ref:X097/275

(saw above)

Chris :)

NORTH, Thomas Head Married M 30 1831 Shoemaker
St George in the East, Middlesex
NORTH, Mary A Wife Married F 22 1839 ...Maker
St George in the East, Middlesex
NORTH, Sarah A Daughter F 3 1858
Limehouse, Middlesex
Piece: 286
Folio: 33
Page: 5
Registration District: Stepney
Civil Parish: Limehouse
Municipal Borough:
Address: 13, Eastfield Street, Limehouse
County: London

(not sure if Marriage witnesses above)


Potty Report 29 Jul 2013 16:39

I don't think the Camberwell birth will be the correct one. Camberwell then was in Surrey and quite a long way from the East End.

There was no penalty for failing to register a birth until 1874. In fact it was the local Registrar's duty to find out about and register births and not the parents'. From this site:

"It was up to the local registrar to find out about births and deaths, issue a certificate and then copy the information to the superintendent registrar "


JannieAnnie Report 29 Jul 2013 21:31

Hi Chris

Thank you for the baptism - I suspect it is one of mine (theirs) - although might not be Joseph but his brother John (who was 2 years older according to the census) - either way I will add it to my info. Just wish they had been a bit more consistent - although consistently using the same names is a problem - I keep forgetting which great great etc am dealing with. Those Norths look like they could be the witnesses too.

Hi Potty

I agree with you Camberwell is unlikely but it does look very good - I am sitting here about 3 miles from Camberwell and about 6 from Limehouse - I know them both so well! But I am not surprised at anything as I just got a death cert for a Woolwich death - but the family lived in Bromley-by-Bow and it is definitely mine. I did see a John French birth in March 1839 St George in East and another Joseph in Poplar June 1840. Although Joseph has been consistently shown with London / Middlesex / St George in East for his place of birth on census records. That is a why I hoped for a baptism for him as I wasn't sure whether he would have been registered as it was very early in the process.

All being well if the information I give doesn't agree with the Camberwell one then I won't get the cert - and should get a refund........



ChristinaS Report 30 Jul 2013 18:22

Jannie Annie, I agree with you that the birth in Camberwell doesn't feel right.

I think if this was my family I would order the birth certificate for:

Jane French - Jan-Mar 1846 - St.George in the East - Vol 2 - Page 121

I know this would probably show a different mother to Joseph's, but if it was Mary Ann Charles (whose father was John Brooker, so that was probably her maiden name) then that would almost certainly be the same John French as the one who married Mary Ann Clifton, as the "John French" signature on both the marriage certificates is almost certainly done by the same hand.


JannieAnnie Report 30 Jul 2013 20:06

Hello ChristinaS

I like the suggestion but I have reservations because I have a feeling that Jane French (1846) could be the the final child of John and Mary1 - or even possibly the child of Mary (the unmarried daughter - bit young I know but not impossible) but just noted as 'daughter' .

My reasons are the 'odd' order of the children - not conclusive I know but to me the 5 year old seems to be out of order in the list. Also if John married Mary2 in 1850 then Jane might not be theirs?

I think that Jane could well have the same mother as Joseph (Mary1). I tried to look for a death for Mary1 - found a couple of possibles but not positive. It also occurred to me that there were 2 other daughters (on 1841 Eliza born c1826 and Sarah c1828) but I have not found them yet - perhaps they married! Which leaves daughter Mary aged 20 - possibly due to get married? - and then leaving 56 year old John with work, 2 sons and a small child - perhaps marriage to Mary2 was the answer.

I need to try to find whether the daughters Eliza, Sarah or Mary married before I go for Jane's certificate.

I did a quick search for the earlier marriage for Mary2 - but nothing came up - which makes me wonder if Jane was her daughter by unknown husband (or no husband) and just down as French.

Mmmmm more secrets to try to uncover.....



ChristinaS Report 30 Jul 2013 21:15

I've found the marriages.

Sarah Ann married Charles Catchpole - 6th March 1848 at Bethnal Green
Witnesses: Henry Catchpole and Mary Ann Gutheridge

Eliza married Samuel Bick - 12th August 1849 at Bethnal Green
Witnesses: Charles and Sarah Ann Catchpole

Mary married George Catchpole - 24th March 1856 at Bethnal Green
Witnesses: Charles and Sarah Ann Catchpole

Jane married William Henry Precious - 23rd March 1867
Witnesses: Samuel and Eliza Bick

(Jane gives her father's name as John French, coppersmith )


JannieAnnie Report 30 Jul 2013 21:42


Thank you - seeing those names I think I recognise them, they are all a bit different - probably when I have contacted other members with French in their tree (or viewed public trees on other sites).

So perhaps some of my theory is correct - Mary1 died after Jane, John remarried - and perhaps not just to have someone to look after the youngest ones, as daughter Mary married 5 years later (not immediately after John & Mary2 as I suspected). I have so far been unable to find John after 1851 (not looked for him for a while though) - he wasn't a young man according to 1851, and shown as Blacksmith - not easy work plus it seems his sons went off to make umbrellas!



ChristinaS Report 30 Jul 2013 21:57

My copy & pasting never comes out right, so

1861 census - St.George in the East - 13, (afraid I can't read the street)

John French - head - 55 - coppersmith - Chingford, Essex
Mary Ann French - wife - 35 - St.George in the East
Jane French - dau - 15 - scholar - St.George in the East

I noticed that in 1871 Joseph French was living at 59, Morgan Street, Mary and her husband, George Catchpole, were living at no.35 and one of my 3 x gt.grandmothers was living at no.12! They may well have known each other!
Isn't that a funny thought.


JannieAnnie Report 30 Jul 2013 22:01

Just searched all trees and found I had been given access to a tree when I first started researching - it has Bicks, Catchpoles and Precious' - but not the tree of a direct descendant of Jane (died young in 1889 apparently) - and no sign of Mary2.

Interestingly there is a note of John's death occurring in 1880 in Bethnal Green (aged 74) - so he must have been somewhere in 1861 and 1871.


EDIT: 22.43 - Another tree has Jane's date of death as 1927! Typical


ChristinaS Report 30 Jul 2013 22:12

Okay, so here's the 1871 census, just to send us loopy.

St.George in the East - 80 Anthony Steet

John French - head - 65 - coppersmith - Chingford, Essex
Mary A. French - wife - 65 - St. Georges, Middx.


JannieAnnie Report 30 Jul 2013 22:26


Sorry missed your 1861 as I was posting - and how funny that your ancestor lived in the same street!

I was looking on another site beginning with M - found Mary Ann Clifton - variously born in St Olave (SE London) and St Georges (East London) who seems to have died in 1879 - or was that Mary2.

If it wasn't for the marriage in 1850 I would think it was the same Mary in 1871 - bit concerned that she has now aged 20 years again - then again he might have been confused which one she was! Also a bit surprised that there were no further children - she was still quite young when they married.


ChristinaS Report 31 Jul 2013 08:54

Here's some food for thought.

On the marriage certificiate for John French and Mary Ann Charles, Mary Ann's father is John Brooker, a hatter.

Baptism 22nd April 1803 - Denmark Park, Southwark
Mary Ann Brooker - parents John Brooker (a hatter) and Rebecca Brooker

Marriage in 1827 between Mary Ann Brooker and Edmund Charles

Mary Ann and Edmund Charles have a daughter - Elizabeth Rebecca Charles, baptised 1831 in Westminster

This Elizabeth Rebecca Charles marries Francisco Lopez in 1848
The witness of the certificate is Mary Ann Charles

This is all on Ancestry. If you take a look at the signatures for Mary Ann Charles on Elizabeth Rebecca's marriage certificate, and the Mary Ann Charles on the John French marriage certificate, I think you will agree that they look very similar.

But I also think the John French signature on both the Mary Ann Charles marriage certificate and the Mary Ann Clifton marriage certificate are made by the same person.

So maybe John French did get married to two Mary Anns. But how did he get the ages so wrong!?

What do you think?


JannieAnnie Report 31 Jul 2013 09:34

Hi ChristinaS

Thank you so much for all that research, I really appreciate it, so interesting and probable. I have booked a place a the library later today so will look at the marriage certs.

I need to think about it - because if Mary Ann Brooker was baptised in 1803 - then the aged 30 (born 1821) on the 1851 is incorrect and should be aged 50(ish) - unless she told him she was 30 (daughter already married in 1848) - I don't think she had her daughter when she was 6! Plus on the 1861 their ages are closer together and finally agree on the 1871.

It makes more sense to me that an older widow would remarry - more convenient than a 30 year old would marry a 56 year old - unless she had small children to care for which she apparently didn't, maybe a 30 year old could get work easier?

I am more convinced that there were 2 Mary Anns - both about the same age - and either an error or a lie somewhere. It also explains why John and Mary2 didn't have any more children perhaps?

Not yet but I think at some point to prove it I might need to try to get a death cert for Mary1.


ChristinaS Report 31 Jul 2013 10:55

No!! I've gone back on the wrong family. So, your John French isn't the one who married Mary Ann Charles.

Found this family on the 1851 census:

St. Giles

John French - head - 50 - coppersmith - Croydon, Surrey
Mary French - wife - 48
Fanny Charles - - 18
Edmund Charles son in law - 9
Thomas Brooker - newphew - 22

So there's two John Frenchs who are coppersmiths!

Chris Ho :)

Chris Ho :) Report 31 Jul 2013 11:28

(have put your Census findings together folks, if it helps!)

FRENCH, John M 35 1806 Middlesex (Coppersmith)
FRENCH, Mary F 35 1806 Middlesex
FRENCH, Eliza F 15 1826 Middlesex
FRENCH, Sarah F 13 1828 Middlesex
FRENCH, Mary F 11 1830 Middlesex
FRENCH, John M 5 1836 Middlesex
FRENCH, Joseph M 3 1838 Middlesex
Piece: 696
Book/Folio: 9/13
Page: 18
Registration District: St George, East
Civil Parish: St George
Municipal Borough: Tower Hamlets
Address: Grove Street, St George, Tower Hamlets
County: Middlesex

FRENCH, John Head Married M 56 1795 Blacksmith
FRENCH, Mary Wife Married F 30 1821
FRENCH, Mary Daughter Unmarried F 20 1831 Umbrella Maker
FRENCH, Jane Daughter F 5 1846
FRENCH, John Son Unmarried M 16 1835 Umbrella Maker
FRENCH, Joseph Son M 14 1837 Umbrella Maker
Piece: 1547
Folio: 457
Page: 41
Registration District: Saint George in the East
Civil Parish: Saint George in the East
Municipal Borough: The Tower Hamlets
Address: 3, Matilda Street, Saint George In The East, The Tower Hamlets
County: Middlesex

FRENCH, John Head Married M 55 1806 Coppersmith
FRENCH, Maryan An Wife Married F 55 1806
St George in the East, Middlesex
FRENCH, Jane Daughter Unmarried F 15 1846 Scholar
St George in the East, Middlesex
Piece: 277
Folio: 98
Page: 11
Registration District: St George-In-The-East
Civil Parish: St George East
Municipal Borough:
Address: 12, Marmaduke Street, St George East
County: London

FRENCH, John Head M 65 1806 Essex (Coppersmith)
FRENCH, Mary A Wife F 65 1806 Middlesex
Piece: 538
Folio: 27
Page: 5
Registration District: St George in the East
Civil Parish: St George, East
Municipal Borough:
Address: Anthony St, St George, East
County: London, Middlesex

Chris :)

(also added with other Baptism, Eliza and Sarah. Mary and Joseph not found, yet!)


JannieAnnie Report 31 Jul 2013 12:43

So two John Frenches who were coppersmiths married two Mary (Anns) - and the census age for Mary aged 30 in 1851 was just a red herring it seems.

Thank you for all your hard work - clears up my Mary ? Mary ? query - I have ordered via GRO a request for a search for a birth cert for Joseph John c1838 - will wait (until 21st August) to see if anything results.


Chris Ho :)

Chris Ho :) Report 31 Jul 2013 12:56

Name: James Thomas Clifton
Record Type: Burial
Estimated Death Date: abt 1847
Burial Date: 6 Sep 1847
Age: 44
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1803
Parish or Poor Law Union: St George in the East
Borough: Tower Hamlets
Register Type: Parish Register
(Prospect Place)

(just saw above, and thought of witness on 1825 Marriage, in case it matches with any future reference!)

Chris :)


ChristinaS Report 31 Jul 2013 13:27

Looks like the Mary Ann Clifton marriage was also a red herring. As, going by the signatures, the John French who married her is the one who later married Mary Ann Charles.