1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. If you're looking for the LostCousins site please click the logo in the top left corner - these forums are for existing LostCousins members only.
  3. This is the LostCousins Forum. If you were looking for the LostCousins website simply click the logo at the top left.
  4. Coronavirus Corner - a place to share your hopes, dreams, and frustrations.
  5. Only registered members can see all the forums - if you've received an invitation to join (it'll be on your My Summary page) please register NOW!

Father's occupations on marriage registers

Discussion in 'Any questions?' started by LynneB, Jun 5, 2015.

  1. LynneB

    LynneB LostCousins Member

    Here is my situation:

    My 3g-grandfather, Charles Keep, lived in Childrey, Berkshire, all his life. He appears in every census from 1841 to 1881, except 1871 which I haven't managed to find yet. In every case, he was living in Childrey as an agricultural labourer, except in 1861 when he was a carter.

    His eldest son, my 2g-grandfather, Reuben, married in Marylebone in 1865. Charles appears on the marriage register as a farmer (what a great step up!). So far, everything is straight forward.

    I then started looking for Reuben's siblings on the censuses. Some were easy to find but his sister Martha, had me baffled. According to the 1851 census, she was born around 1848. This ties with a birth registered in Wantage in the first quarter of 1848. In fact, she is the only Martha Keep registered in Wantage in a twenty year period 1839-1859 (the period covering the births of all Charles' children).

    I cannot find Martha after the 1851 census. There is no death registered in Wantage. Here comes the interesting part: a Martha Constance Keep (don't know where the Constance comes from) married Richard Hambley, butcher, in Battersea in 1869. On the 1871 census, Richard and Martha Hambley are visitors in the home of George and Mary Evans. Martha is listed as being born in Childrey, as are two others in the household: Mary Evans, whose birth tallies with one of the three females called Mary Keep registered in Wantage in the twenty-year period previously mentioned; and 13yo Anne Keep, sister in law of George Evans, and therefore, presumably, sister of Mary Evans. There is only one Ann Keep registered in Wantage in that same period and her birth date fits exactly with my 2nd-great-grand aunt.

    So here I have three women, all born in Childrey according to the census, all apparently with the same maiden name, and all birth dates fit with the registration in Wantage. One would think that would be enough but...

    the wedding register of Richard Hambley and Martha Keep says that her father was Charles (correct), a bailiff. I cannot reconcile this in my head even though all the other evidence is pointing towards this being the correct Martha, Mary and Ann. In fact, given that there is only one Martha and one Ann registered in twenty years almost makes it perfect!

    Should I just ignore the "bailiff" as incorrect information? How would the curate have come to that conclusion?


    To complicate matters, I have a further question about Reuben's wife's father in the marriage register. As I've already said, Reuben's father, Charles, was upgraded on the register from labourer to farmer. His wife, Sarah Ann Hillier, was listed as Henry Hillier, footman. If this occupation was also "upgraded", what was his likely occupation?

    The reason I ask is that Sarah Ann appears in every census after her marriage, 1871-1911. All of them show that she was born in Clapham/Wandsworth area (I'm an Aussie so these are just points on a map to me) in about 1844 (one gives an age which would make it 1834). I have looked for the registration of a birth or a christening of a Sarah Ann Hillier (Hellier, Hellyer) on the south side of the Thames in that time frame (1844 and 1834), with a father called Henry. I found one that seemed to fit, but that Sarah Ann Hillier was the daughter of a boot-maker who employed many people, and she went on to marry Mr Timewell.

    I cannot find Henry Hillier, footman, on any census (although I've found a few man-servants on the 1841 census). I cannot find Sarah before her marriage although there are a few possibilities. Interestingly, although she married in Marylebone, and lived all her married life in the St Pancras area, the eldest child, my great-grandfather, was born in Lambeth. The second child, George William, was registered in Wandsworth and the third, Louisa, was registered in Lambeth, although the censuses show Clapham, Royton or Brixton as her place of birth. I assumed Sarah had gone "home" to have the baby but getting the exact address (23 Glyn Street) from Charles' birth certificate didn't help me! All subsequent children are registered in St Pancras so perhaps her mother had died?

    Any suggestions or comments on any or all of these questions?
  2. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    Hi Lynne, Quite often you find a progression in their professions. Started off as an Ag Lab, maybe a carter and then a farmer etc.

    I found this on the web for Farm Bailiff, which is in keeping with his other jobs.

    A bailiff was the steward or agent of a landowner. He may well have have been involved in enforcing evictions but would also have had responsibilty for keeping a check on poachers and rustlers. He may well have overseen other farm workers and may have been responsible for taking on farm workers. He would have had responsibiity for collection of rents. He would certainly have been responsible for managing staff.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    I also have a relative who was in a similar position but actually described as Farm Baliff so I think that Tim is correct in his assessment.

    Another relative changed/upgraded from Groom to Footman and I understood that to be an earlier form of upgrade from Mechanic to Chauffeur.

    Regarding the various areas of London, many of these were adjacent and boundaries for census registrations did not always align with those for parish and civil administration. I think that I have some instances where Wandsworth was recorded as part of Lambeth, etc., so one needs to be a little flexible. Similarly, some addresses might occur in different districts for successive censuses. I think there was an earlier post by Alexander in another discussion which linked to a map of districts for 1851 (?) when someone was searching for a particular street name which later disappeared. You might find that useful to get your bearings.
  4. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    I've got lots of examples in my tree where the occupation of the father, usually deceased gets "uprated" to more suitably match the social status of the marriage partner. A little white lie perhaps? We can never know but all the other evidence you have points to this being the correct people. As Tim suggests it could have been a part time post assisting the landowner as a bailiff it might never have been formal but the new bride wanting to appear from better background might have embellished her father's position which might have been no more than local "heavy" or "enforcer" to "bailiff"?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Heather

    Heather LostCousins Member

    Hi Lynne, is this him in 1871?

    Name: Charles Keep
    Age: 60
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1811
    Relation: Head
    Spouse's Name: Ann Keep
    Gender: Male
    Where born: Childrey, Berkshire, England
    Civil Parish: Childrey
    Town: Childrey
    County/Island: Berkshire
    Country: England
    Registration district: Wantage
    Sub-registration district: Wantage
    ED, institution, or vessel: 7
    Household schedule number: 125
    Piece: 1268
    Folio: 45
    Page Number: 19
    Household Members:

    Charles Keep 60
    Ann Keep 55
    Charles Keep 16
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  6. LynneB

    LynneB LostCousins Member

    Hi Heather, yes, thank you. I don't know how I didn't find him. I haven't looked at that part of my family tree in a very long time so perhaps I just overlooked it!

    Then again, I have spent quite a bit of time today trying to get Ancestry to find a 1911 census entry that I found in less than two minutes on FMP! In the end, I copied and pasted the data from FMP to each of the seven people in the household do that, when I come back to any one of those indivuals in the future, I will know where I found my information.

    Thanks again, much appreciated.
  7. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Superstar

    Another take on the title of this thread:

    I recently came across the 1882 marriage certificate of one of my husband's relatives, where the bride's father's occupation is given as 'Professional' in inverted commas. I hadn't come across this description before on a certificate, so was intrigued and investigated further. Finding the family in the 1881 census was easy as they had quite an unusual name, and the father in question's occupation is given as Comedian. Of course, I should have realised that the stage was (probably still is) regarded as a profession (rather than just an occupation). So the description on the certificate is maybe not so surprising. I imagine he performed in music hall. They lived in Hackney, but this was 20 years before the Hackney Empire opened!
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1

Share This Page