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From Isle of Wight to Argentina

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JPK Report 11 Sep 2020 16:58

Hi. I have William Foss. He was born in1857 on the Isle of Wight and was a coal merchant. I can’t find him after 1871 until 1911 when he ,his wife and family are in Southsea. His four oldest children were born in Argentina.
Why would he have gone to South America. What jobs were there where he could take his wife with him and have a family there?
Any thoughts or suggestions of how to search for answers will be most welcome.
It’s a puzzle I can’t leave alone.
Thank you.


ArgyllGran Report 11 Sep 2020 17:14

For our reference:

William Foss
in the 1911 England Census
Name: William Foss
Age in 1911: 59
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1852
Relation to Head: Head
Gender: Male
Birth Place: Newtown, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Civil Parish: Portsmouth
County/Island: Hampshire
Country: England
Street Address: 6 Somers Road, Southsea
Marital status: Married
Occupation: Green Grocer <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Registration District: Portsmouth
Registration District Number: 90
Sub-registration District: Portsmouth and Mid Southsea
ED, institution, or vessel: 12
Piece: 5604
Household Members:
Name Age
William Foss 59
Ellen Foss 46
Annie L Foss 20 - Rosario, S America
Arthur Foss 18 - C de Goney, S America
Emma Foss 15 - ditto
Mildred Foss 11 - Rosario
William Foss 7 - IOW

Miss Mildred Foss
in the UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960
Name: Miss Mildred Foss
Arrival Age: 3
Birth Date: abt 1900
Port of Departure: Delagoa Bay Natal Capetown Canary Islands
Arrival Date: Jan 1903
Port of Arrival: Southampton, England
Ports of Voyage: Natal [Durban]; Las Palmas; Cape Town; Tenerife; London
Ship Name: Guelph
Shipping Line: Southampton
Official Number: 104040

Travelling with Mrs Ellen, Miss Annie, Master Arthur and Miss Rosa Foss (age 5) - sadly no indication of William's occupation.

Ana Foss
in the Argentina, National Census, 1895
Name: Ana Foss
Gender: Female
Age: 4
Birth Date: 1891
Birth Place: Santa Fe, Argentina
Residence Date: 1895
Residence Place: Santa Fe, Argentina
FHL Film Number: 744124

Image on FMP, apparently.


ArgyllGran Report 11 Sep 2020 17:21

Administration to Ellen Foss, widow - but no mention of occupation:

William Foss
in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
Name: William Foss
Death Date: 10 Dec 1913
Death Place: Hampshire, England
Probate Date: 25 Feb 1914
Probate Registry: London, England

Perhaps if you bought a copy of his Will, it might give some clue?

Order it here:


ArgyllGran Report 11 Sep 2020 17:23

??? Listed as a merchant

William Foss
in the New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957
Name: William Foss
Arrival Date: 28 Sep 1895
Birth Date: abt 1858
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Port of Departure: Liverpool, England
Port of Arrival: New York, New York, USA
Ship Name: Umbria


ArgyllGran Report 11 Sep 2020 17:38

Death of a son, Arthur Henry, in Rosario, 3/2/1899, aged 4 months, of "meningitis tuberculosis", parents William and Ellen.

See entry number 788 on this page:

But still no mention of William's occupation.

But 1911 census says they'd had 5 children, all still living.

And why would they call a child Arthur, when they already had a son Arthur born 1893 (see 1911 census)?
Maybe the first Arthur was using his middle name. [ EDIT: Yes, see later post. His name was Ambrose Arthur.]

There's an A Foss winning school prizes in Class 3 in Rosario in 1902.

Seems to be the wrong age for Arthur 1893, though.
Maybe a different family of fosses.

An Arthur Foss attended the school in 1902, per this - but no sign of the other children:


ArgyllGran Report 11 Sep 2020 18:06


Baptism of Arthur Henry, 16/12/1888, parents William and Ellen, in Rosario.

See entry 1152 here:

William is an engine driver for FCCA.

Re FCCA (Ferrocarril Central Argentino):


ArgyllGran Report 11 Sep 2020 18:10

Daughter Annie Louisa's baptism , 10/8/1890:

See line 1348 here:

William again an engine driver for FCCA.


ArgyllGran Report 11 Sep 2020 18:26

Line 582 - Ellen is witness at a marriage:

Burial of another child -
William Henry, 14/8/1886, aged 2 months, of bronchitis, son of William and Helen.

Line 544:

Baptism of Mildred Ellen, 10/6/1900, parents William (engine driver) and ellen.

Line 1235:

Baptism of Emma Rosa, in Canada de Gomez, 10/11/1895, daughter of William (engine driver) and Ellen.

Line 655:

Baptism of Ambrose Arthur, in Canada de Gomez, 16/12/1892, son of William (engine driver) and Ellen -

Line 268:


JPK Report 11 Sep 2020 18:31

Wow. How can I thank you. I have been chewing on this for a while. You have

made me and another Foss researcher very happy. Plus you’ve done it so quickly!!

An engine driver......... Such a big step to go from The Isleof Wight to be an engine

driver in Argentina.

Thank you again I truly appreciate your efforts on my behalf.


ArgyllGran Report 11 Sep 2020 18:31

Baptism of William James, 24/4/1901, in Rosario, Talleres FCCC, son of William (engine driver) and Ellen:

Entry 1340:

Talleres FCCC seems to mean FCCC workshop.


ArgyllGran Report 11 Sep 2020 18:41

You're welcome, JPK!

It's amazing what a bit of judicious Googling can turn up.


JPK Report 11 Sep 2020 18:43


Another puzzle. The William James I have was born on the Isle of Wight 1904

So did two of their children die very young.? It seems to be a thing in the IoW Foss family to name subsequent children after those earlier children that have died.
also to use middle names as in Emma Rose.

Yet more information on William’s occupation. Taking a chance seems to have worked out for him.



JPK Report 11 Sep 2020 18:45

I wish my googling was so productive!!


ArgyllGran Report 11 Sep 2020 18:47

Yes, Arthur Henry and William James died in infancy - and William James seems to have been "replaced" - though they didn't count the deceased ones when filling in their 1911 census form.

Arthur 1893 was actually called Ambrose Arthur.
Probably, if Arthur Henry had survived, he would have been known as Henry!

Very confusing.