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Ward in Chancery - What does that mean?

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Rose Report 29 Mar 2013 19:36

There has to be some reason as to why it was mentioned and it is mentioned in several different type of newspapers and naval notices.

Now that Charlotte's baptism record has revealed that Elizabeth Greenall (Durand) was indeed her mother, I can concentrate on finding out whether a court case which involves a Greenall is connected to Charlotte being a ward of the Chancery or not.

Paul Barton, Special Agent

Paul Barton, Special Agent Report 29 Mar 2013 10:24

One of the main characters in Dickens' Bleak House was a ward in Chancery.


MarieCeleste Report 29 Mar 2013 10:14

I wonder if for some reason they had some celebration of their marriage up north and that's where the papers picked it up?


Rose Report 29 Mar 2013 10:06

The cutting is from Saturday 04 Aug 1838 (p. 3, col. 8)

Yes William Boys married again. He had one further son with his second wife.


MarieCeleste Report 29 Mar 2013 10:00

I guess this must be William with a second wife in 1851?

BOYS, William Head Married M 41 1810 Command R N H Of Coast Guard
BOYS, Elizabeth Wife Married F 40 1811 Isle of Thanet
BOYS, Mary S Daughter F 7 1844 Walmer, Kent
BOYS, George G Son M 6 1845 Walmer, Kent
BOYS, Charles S Son M 1 1850 Isle of Thanet Ramsgate
WEATHERHEAD, Margaret Servant Unmarried F 54 1797 House Servant Norham, Northumberland
HODDIN, Hester Servant Unmarried F 25 1826 House Servant Easting, Kent
ROPER, Mary Servant Unmarried F 24 1827 House Servant Berwick upon Tweed
WILSON, Ellen Servant Unmarried F 16 1835 House Servant Scotland Freewick
SKENE, Andrew Servant Unmarried M 19 1832 House Servant Scotland Berwickshire Chirnside

Piece: 2421 Folio: 614 Page: 12
Registration District: Berwick
Civil Parish: Berwick upon Tweed
Municipal Borough: Berwick upon Tweed

Address: Quay Walls, Berwick Upon Tweed County: Northumberland


MarieCeleste Report 29 Mar 2013 09:48

Rose - do you know the date of that cutting from the Carlisle Journal?


Rose Report 29 Mar 2013 09:39

After I typed in that I had looked for Charlotte's baptism record only today and not found it.... I felt really stupid. Thanks for your comment about records being hidden, it made me feel better :)

Interesting about the Carlisle Journal printing the marriage having taken place at Gretna Green but the records suggest otherwise. William Hodson Greenall was one of Charlotte's brothers. I know next to nothing about the Greenall line. Charlotte sadly died at the age of 25 and her son George settled in New Zealand so there is no family knowledge of Charlotte other than she was his mother.


MarieCeleste Report 29 Mar 2013 09:37

Honestly Rose - I'm sure Familysearch hides things!

Sometimes I find a record but next time I look for it - nothing.


Rose Report 29 Mar 2013 09:30


I can not believe you found Charlotte's baptism record - thank you very much. What I dont understand is how I missed finding it on family search myself earlier today . Plus I have looked and looked before and missed it. Yes it does the solve the illegitimacy question.

Chris Ho :)

Chris Ho :) Report 29 Mar 2013 09:23

(is above Will related?)

Chris :)

253 Mr William Hodson GREENALL, second son of Mr John Greenall of this
parish, Surgeon, 11th April 1840 aged 25, leaving issue by Ann his widow one ...

(above from google on link)


MarieCeleste Report 29 Mar 2013 09:22

According to this she married Biddenden and not Gretna Green:

Charlotte Sophia Greenall, "England, Marriages, 1538–1973 "

Name: William Boys
Spouse's Name: Charlotte Sophia Greenall
Event Date: 21 Aug 1838
Event Place: Biddenden, Kent, England
Father's Name: William Boys
Spouse's Father's Name: John Greenall

Indexing Project (Batch) Number: I03786-1
System Origin: England-EASy
GS Film number: 1473744
Reference ID: 5

Citing this Record

and it was definitely registered there:

Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Marriages Sep 1838
BOYS William Tenterden 5 465
GREENALL Charlotte Sophia Tenterden 5 465


MarieCeleste Report 29 Mar 2013 09:18

Just in case you don't already use it:

I guess that baptism may knock the illegitimacy theory on the head.

How old were Charlotte's sisters when they married? She was obviously a minor (married 1838 so only 17) - perhaps her father wasn't around for some reason to give his consent so that's how the term came into play?


MarieCeleste Report 29 Mar 2013 09:11

Hang on! Did you not look on Familysearch?

Charlotte Sophia Greenall, "England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975"

Name: Charlotte Sophia Greenall
Gender: Female
Christening Date: 14 Mar 1821
Christening Place: Biddenden, Kent, England
Father's Name: John Greenall
Mother's Name: Elizabeth Greenall

Indexing Project (Batch) Number: I03786-2
System Origin: England-EASy
GS Film number: 1473744
Reference ID: yr 1813-1932 p 46

Citing this Record

There is another version which gives baptism location as Bicknor.


MarieCeleste Report 29 Mar 2013 09:03

I'm guessing John Greenall would have left a will, might be worth getting hold of that (if you haven't already) - it may cast some light on the matter.

I agree that illegitimacy may be the issue, but if that was the case he obviously acknowledged paternity.

Am having a look through the newspaper archives in case there's anything in there.


Rose Report 29 Mar 2013 08:41

I think i question whether Elizabeth was her mother because all the other children born to Elizabeth and John have a baptism record. John Greenall family seems to have been in the Cranbrook Kent area for some time, so why is there not baptism record for Charlotte? Is because she was illegitimate?. Also why was her sister Elizabeth not a ward of the chancery when she married?

I have nothing concrete.


MarieCeleste Report 29 Mar 2013 08:01

Hello Rose, have a read of the second paragraph on this write up of John Hurt's WDYTYA:

(Just in case the link doesn't work " ......and reveals that she was a Ward in Chancery - a means by which wealthy fathers commonly provided for illegitimate children")

You question whether or not Elizabeth is actually Charlotte's mother so could this description fit the bill? Is there something that makes you think Elizabeth wasn't her mother?


Rose Report 29 Mar 2013 06:59

Thanks Jax for the Welcome.

Yes I have seen that link before and in some ways it does not quite fit my ancestor's situation. Charlotte's father Dr John Greenall was alive until 1840. So the idea of having parents and dead being a ward for protection does not seem right. If it was because Charlotte's mother was indeed John Greenall's wife she died in 1828 which would make Charlotte 7 years old. Neither of Charlotte's sisters ( Elizabeth Durand and John Greenall daughters) appear to have been wards of the Chancery and one was only 2 years older than Charlotte.

i just can not make sense of it.


jax Report 29 Mar 2013 06:14

Welcome to the boards Rose

Have you googled it?!-What-s-a-ward-in-chancery


Rose Report 29 Mar 2013 05:38

While searching for ancestors I came across this interesting gem about my 3 x great grandmother. Charlotte Sophia Greenall was a ward in chancery. But I am not sure what that means.

All I know is that I have not been able to find a birth or parish baptism record for her. Her birth date is taken from the 1841 census which states she was in 1821 in Kent.

I have a print out of Charlotte father's John marriage to Elizabeth Durand in 1810 in Kent. Elizabeth died in 1828. Is it possible that Elizabeth was not Charlotte's mother?
Charlotte died a month after giving birth to my 2x great grandfather George Greenall Boys in 1845 and so nothing is know about her family.
Does anyone any suggestions about where next to look for information about her?

At Gretna Green, on the 29th instant, Lieutenant Wiliam BOYS, R.N., late of her Majesty's sloop, Harlequin, to Charlotte Sophia, (a ward in Chancery), and youngest daughter of Dr. GREENALL, M.D., of Bidderden, in Kent. (Carlisle Journal BDM Aug 1838