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Lost my Witts in 1881

Discussion in 'General Genealogical Queries' started by Bob Spiers, Mar 12, 2020.

  1. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Star

    A family Bon Mot was recently passed on to me by a cousin once removed, now into her 90’s. She related how her mother (my Great Aunt) told her children…” When I married your father, I lost my Witts”. To appreciate the humour, it helps to know Mother was born a ‘Witts’ and she married a ‘Field’.

    I had to confess to my 1C1R I could find neither of her Witts grandparents in the 1881 Census. Yet her Grandmother reappeared in both the 1891 & 1901 Censuses, before she died in 1902. She understood her grandfather died well before her Grandmother but could throw no light on when, or why neither appeared in 1881

    This situation has bothered me for quite some time, so I would like to call on some of the super sleuths in the Forum, to see if they can help me resolve my problem.

    Elias William Witts (the grandfather in question and my 2nd Great Grandfather) was born 11th March 1837 likely in Worcester, but baptised on the 3rd April 1837 in St Martin, Birmingham. His spouse was a Mary Jenkins, born the same year (give or take) in Ledbury, Herefordshire. They married in 1858 at St Michael Bedwardine in Worcester and had a family of 6: 4 girls and 2 boys. Both lived and worked in Worcester. Later some of the children moved to other parts of Worcestershire and Birmingham.

    Elias & Mary can be found in Censuses 1841 through 1871 and with family after they married in 1858. But neither appear in 1881 as far as I have been able to find. Yet Mary appears 10 years later in 1891 (still showing as married) and again in 1901 – a widow.

    I cannot find a death registration for Elias William Witts that satisfies and deduced he had probably died before the 1881 Census. However, this had to be disregarded when I found Mary in 1891 shown as married, and as widowed in 1901 surely this meant his death occurred between 1891 & 1901; but still unable to find.

    To resolve the non-appearance of Mary Witts (nee Jenkins) in 1881, it will help to know that of her 6 children all except Alice & Annie can be accounted for in 1881. Mary Ann (daughter) married as Mrs Wood, and Henry, Emily & John lodging with Hannah Jenkins their widowed grandmother. So where is Mary Witts the mother in 1881 and possibly the two missing children -Alice & Annie? Note all three will re-appear, the girls marry and feature in the 1891 Census and later.

    Enigma one: When did Elias die? No shown after 1871 yet his spouse proclaims herself married in 1891.

    Enigma two: Why cannot Mary (and possibly Elias if still alive) and perhaps Alice & Annie not be found in the 1881 Census?

    The solution to both enigmas may be simply explained, but I have yet to satisfy myself on either count. I hope others may find a way forward.

    Matters to consider:
    There were many Witts families in Worcester at that time, and many of the girls were named Mary or Mary Ann, with birth years only varying by a year or two, albeit with different parents (but cousin related). Children of both sexes, were often referred to by middle names.
  2. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    Sorry, Bob, I don't have a solution, though I see Elias was born in Birmingham on the 1871 census.

    I do have a similar anomaly in my tree with my 2gt-GM - Ruth Gregory nee Collin[g]s, born Rothley Leics 1838 died Bideford Devon 1921 - where she does not appear in 1881/1891/1901 but is on the 1911 census with her daughter Harriett (Steer) in Bideford. However, Harriett Gregory appears in 1881 living with Michael and Ann O'Brian and their two children, but listed as "Daughter". Ruth's husband, John Gregory, died Q1 1871 and Ann Gregory nee Collins married Michael O'Brien at Hungarton in 1876 (where Ruth was living in 1871) and the certificate shows her father as Joseph Collins, the same as Ruth's. Ruth and Ann are the same age and born in Rothley and I cannot find evidence of Ann before 1876. I also cannot find definitive data relating to the O'Brien family after 1881, apart from son John being listed as a R Lancs Reg. deserter in 1900 and a possible "Mineral Water Maker" born Leicestershire residing in Chorlton 1901.

    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1

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