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Whatever happened to Gt Aunt Jane?

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


lancashireAnn Report 28 Feb 2013 14:32

the Sharples / McKeand marriage was ' register office or registrar attended' which means it was actually in a register office, RC or non-conformist church,. Very few of these registers are on-line and I don't think any are for the Blackburn area.

Lancashire Marriage indexes for the years: 1912
Surname Forename(s) Surname Forename(s) Church / Register Office Registers At Reference
MCKEAND Janet SHARPLES John Joseph Blackburn Register Office or Registrar Attended Blackburn RM/183/49


AnnMac Report 28 Feb 2013 14:35

No joy on his will I'm afraid. He did leave (to a distant half cousin) a family bible which had notes of the deaths of his first wife and of four of his infant children (three from his first marriage, one from his second) . He died in 1937and hadn't made a note of the death of Jane - not sure what if anything to read into that.


lancashireAnn Report 28 Feb 2013 14:37


does that mean that he was estranged from Jane as presumably he left his (rather large) amount of money to the rest of his offspring?


AnnMac Report 28 Feb 2013 14:55

Even tho' he was promoted to Superintendant and worked for 50 yrs for the police retiring on a 2/3rds pension of £353 p.a. - i haven't yet converted that to modern money - I doubt he amassed a lot of cash, because he had so many children (13 seems to have made it to adulthood). He left a widow so I guess his savings went in the first instance to her. She died sept 1940 and I've found her probate record - £1831 left to her 3 sons - none to her daughters or step children. maybe she just didn't like girls!
Curiously,from photos, it seems John Smith McKeand wasn't estranged from my grandmother (his first child) despite him having allowed her to be dispatched into domestic service by the age of 14 (it says 16 on the 1891 census but it's not true) . And that was within a few years of her losing her own mother whi died in childbirth.
I guess what seems shockingly harsh to us was more accepted in Victorian times.


AnnMac Report 28 Feb 2013 15:11

I was just prompted to look up John Smith McKeand's probate which I realised I hadn't done before. He also apparently left his money to the three sons of his second marriage. And it was a decent amount- £3670, or the equivalent of £200,000 in today's money. That's quite an achievement for a man from a family of itinerant agricultural labourers from Scotland. His mother's parents were listed as paupers in their old age on early census records!
Thank you for prompting me to look into this!


lancashireAnn Report 28 Feb 2013 15:49

those are only the executors of the will not the legatees. You need the actual will to see who he left his money to - it might be none of the 3 named, he could have left it all to his widow! The same with his widow, the 3 named were again only the executors, the daughters etc could well have been named in the will.

also it would not have been unusual for a girl to go into service at age 14. Most girls would have left education by then. In fact they were often younger.


Gins Report 28 Feb 2013 17:14

Hmmm....if this is the husband it contradicts the death of Janet in 1920, maybe another person(s)

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966

Name: John Joseph Sharples
Probate Date: 14 Sep 1922
Death Date: 4 May 1922
Death Place: Blackburn, Lancashire, England
Registry: London, England

47 Eldon Road, Blackburn. £2681 1s 5d to Janet Sharples, widow, William Lancster, ass school master, and May Fairclough, wife of Thomas Cook Fairclough

Marriages Sep 1921
Fairclough Thomas C Lancaster Blackburn 8e 1191
Lancaster May Fairclough Blackburn 8e 1191


AnnMac Report 1 Mar 2013 11:53

Thank you very much for the advice on interpreting probate records - it's obvious once you stop and think about it! I can see now why you asked about a will, but I don't rate my changes of finding a descendant of one of the executors who still has a copy - and it's probably a long shot that Jane was left a legacy anyhow.

I appreciate that in the Victorian era many girls would have left education by the age of 14 and it wasn't unusual for those from less well off families to go into service. But I'm pretty sure it's not the fate these girls would have been expecting, bearing in mind that their father had a promising career in a secure job and was earning quite good money. It's also illuminating that the daughters of the second marriage appear to stayed in education well into their teens and then remained in the family home, either until they married or in "genteel" occupations such as milliner or telephone operator. There is a persistent theme in our family folk memory that the girls of the first marriage were not treated well by their step mother and I think the documents tend to support rather than disprove that..
But none of this helps me pin down the elusive Jane after the 1901 census in the lunatic asylum.!
And I haven't even started looking for her sister Mary (born 1884) yet. She was 16 and still living with the family in 1901 but I don't know where she'd gone by 1911.


Potty Report 1 Mar 2013 12:04

It wasn't actually domestic service that Jane was in - she was a nurse in the Asylum - possible there maybe surviving staff records?


MarieCeleste Report 1 Mar 2013 12:08

AnnMac - you don't need a descendant to have a copy of the will, you can just buy it. Here's Jonesey's link on how to do it:

Bear in mind also that often quite well to do young ladies chose a career in nursing. Some of Florence Nightingales assistants were high born ladies who wanted to "do their bit".


MarieCeleste Report 1 Mar 2013 12:29

I think this is the death of John Joseph Sharples who's 1922 probate is posted aove:

England & Wales, Death Index, 1916-2006
Name: John J Sharples
Birth Date: abt 1851
Date of Registration: Apr-May-Jun 1922
Age at Death: 71
Registration district: Blackburn
Inferred County: Lancashire
Volume: 8e
Page: 428

If it was the right chap he would have been a lot older than the Jane(t) that we're looking for.


AnnMac Report 1 Mar 2013 12:41

The domestic service bit was a tangent! That was Rachel, Jane's older sister, who was sent into service at age 13 tho' her employer declared her on the census form to be 16.
So far as Jane goes, I appreciate that hospital nursing became a more respectable career - but I'm not sure that extended to being "an attendant on the insane" in a huge institution with over 1000 inmates and only 3 doctors (one of those was a pathologist)!. I was thinking about researching some more about the asylum - has anyone any tips on how I might go about that?
Thanks for the info on wills - I will look into it.
I'm still not quite convinced that Jane became Janet Sharples because the family referred to her as Janey, but I may get that marriage record from GRO just in case it leads somewhere.

Thanks all for your interest and help.
Any ideas on the fourth sister - Mary McKeand (born Dec 1884 Garston, Lancs) last seen in 1901census at Heald St Police Station, Garston, Lancs age 16, with brother John Proctor McKeand - painter - father John Smith McKeand, police inspector and step mother Mary plus 7 half brothers and sisters.


MarieCeleste Report 1 Mar 2013 12:48

Just posting first record I found - to be proved or disproved!

Liverpool, England, Burials, 1813-1974

Name: Mary McKeand
Birth Year: abt 1885
Age: 61
Burial Date: 1 Mar 1946
Parish: Garston St Michael

Abode was the county hospital, Whittingham


Potty Report 1 Mar 2013 12:51

Could be this one - image has POB as Garston, Liverpool. The image that comes up from the record is blank - you need to go back twice to see the correct one:

1911 England Census
about Mary McKeand
Name: Mary McKeand
Age in 1911: 25
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1886
Relation to Head: Inmate
Gender: Female
Birth Place: Liverpool, England
Civil parish: Paddington
County/Island: London
Country: England
Street Address: Winchester House Rescue Home For Females, 5 Eastbourne Terrace, Paddington, W
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: TYPIST
Registration district: Paddington
Registration District Number: 1
Sub-registration district: Paddington Central
ED, institution, or vessel: 20
Piece: 61
Household Members: Name Age
Susan G Garrod 36
Katie Wilson 27
Eva Evans 21
Alice Course 25
Ada Kuhna 25
Ethel Lingham 28
Mabel Atkinson 25
Mary McKeand 25


MarieCeleste Report 1 Mar 2013 12:54

What about this 1911?

1911 census transcription details for: Rescue Home For Females

National Archive Reference: RG14PN61 RG78PN2 RD1 SD2 ED20 SN286
Reg. District: Paddington
Sub District: Paddington Central
Parish: Paddington
Enum. District: 20
Address: 5 Eastbourne Terrace Paddn W
County: London

Name Relation Condition/Yrs married Sex Age Birth Year Occupation Where Born
MCKEAUD, Mary Inmate Single F 25 1886 Typist Garston Liverpool

(Name is definitely McKeand on original)


Gins Report 1 Mar 2013 13:10

As the father was from Scotland, have you searched Scotlands People for Jane in 1911?

She may have been visiting relatives and she may have married there too?


Potty Report 1 Mar 2013 13:19

Only one Janet McKeand of approx the right age coming up in the 1911 Scottish census - 3 if searching for names beginning with "Jane". Afraid you can't search by POB so no way of telling if any of them could be your Janet without looking at the image.


AnnMac Report 1 Mar 2013 13:21

Wow! You are so quick! It'll take me a while to get the image up - does it looks to you as if she was an employee typist or was she a rescued female?This family research business certainly throws up some surprises!


MarieCeleste Report 1 Mar 2013 13:25

AnnMac - she was definitely an inmate. Rescue homes weren't necessarily about "fallen" women, there could be health issues of varying sorts. I wonder if that could possibly be a connection to a death in Whittingham hospital (which was an asylum) in 1946?

Could that be the reason Jane chose her career?


Potty Report 1 Mar 2013 13:26

As it says "inmate" I would guess a rescued female - the first 3 on the image are Matron, Ass Matron and W Matron, all the rest are inmates and from all over the UK from Shetland to Kent.