The Bates to Jenkins name change

Elizabeth Jenkins was my great-great-great-grandmother. In 1847 she married Henry Milner in Fazeley, Staffordshire. On their marriage certificate, Elizabeth’s father was shown as Joseph Jenkins and one of the witnesses was Thomas Jenkins Jenkins. It took me a long time to locate Elizabeth on the 1841 census, because I was searching for her as Elizabeth Jenkins. When I couldn’t find her that way, I went back to the old-fashioned way of searching the census, and looked at every page of the census for Fazeley. I couldn’t find Elizabeth Jenkins, but I did find an Elizabeth Bates approximately the right age, in the household of Joseph Bates on Mill Lane, which is where Elizabeth was living in 1851. Could this be my Elizabeth? I have done some research into this, and present here my findings.
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Divorce in the 19th century

From 1 January 1858 a divorce could be granted by the new Court for Divorce & Matrimonial Causes. In its first 10 months of existence there were 288 petitions, but only 37 divorces were granted. In the first ten years there were 1,279 dissolutions of marriage. Until 1937 men could obtain a divorce on the basis of adultery, but women had to additionally prove another offence, such as cruelty.
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Newspaper reports of deaths

Local newspapers can often provide more information about our families than we get from official documents such as BMD certificates and census returns. The British Newspaper Archive website has made searching newspapers much easier. Most of the articles I have found about my relatives are reports of court cases and inquests. Here are some of the tales of unexpected or early deaths in my family. Continue reading

Brailes, Part 2

The death of Henry Clifton

Henry Clifton was my great-great-great-grandfather Daniel Holtom‘s cousin, i.e. my 1st-cousin-5-times-removed. He was shot dead by George Ditton, the gamekeeper of Mr H.J. Sheldon of Brailes, on 18 February 1864, aged 29. As reported in the local newspapers Clifton, a farm labourer, and fellow labourer John Holtom were walking home along a footpath leading across one of Mr Sheldon’s farms when Ditton accused them of trespassing. A struggle ensued and Clifton struck Ditton with a stick. Ditton then pointed his double-barrelled gun at Clifton and shot him dead. Ditton was charged with wilful murder, but committed for trial at the Warwick Assizes on the lesser charge of manslaughter. While in Warwick Gaol awaiting trial, Ditton suffered greatly from remorse and mental anxiety, and his health was in a precarious state. On 10 April he became suddenly worse and died that day. Continue reading