Tag Archives: steadman

Mercy TROWER: what to do next

7 Feb

Having described what I already know about Mercy TROWER and what I want to find out, so now it is time to think about how I am going to do it.

To be honest I am not really sure what more I can do, it seems like I have checked every likely record to find a possible marriage, or two possible marriages for Mercy.

I have ordered her son’s marriage certificate, that may give me the name of his father, who may have been the STEADMAN that Mercy was supposed to have married, if not there is another man in her life that I will need to find out about.

The absence of any marriages in England and Wales (according to the GRO indexes) could suggest that the marriage took place elsewhere. There is no obvious sign of Mercy in any online passenger lists, but it may have been that she didn’t travel that far, so possibly Scotland or Ireland.

My searches of the GRO indexes have been confined to searching on FreeBMD. I need to actually check the indexes images in case something was missed in the transcription process, but I doubt it very much.

Likewise I should check with the local register office, just in case the marriage never made it into the main GRO index. The problem is that I don’t really know where the marriages might have taken place. It would guess it would have been in Sussex, in either Henfield or Brighton.

I could search for the death of a STEADMAN between 1884 and 1891, but the number of death certificates I would need to buy would be too expensive. Although I could start locally (Steyning Registration District) and work outwards, but the odds of finding the correct record are not good.

The only way I would know if I had found the right one is if Mercy (or another TROWER) was the informant, but of course I could find the right STEADMAN and not know it was the correct one if someone else had registered the death.

So, I think I will do three things in my attempt to solve the mystery surrounding Mercy’s life:

  1. Wait for the marriage certificate of Ernest John TROWER to arrive, and hope it provides more clues.
  2. Check the GRO index images to make sure Mercy’s marriage wasn’t missed in the transcription process.
  3. Search the local papers (Sussex Daily News and West Sussex County Times) from 1882 to 1891 to see if there is any mention of Mercy and either of her possible husbands.

Mercy TROWER: what do I want to know?

6 Feb

Yesterday I posted the sum of my knowledge about my 3x great-aunt Mercy TROWER. Today I am going to explain what it is about her life that I still want to find out.

The big question I want to answer is: what happened in Mercy’s life between 1881 and 1891? The rest of her life before and after this decade seems quite normal, it would be nice to find out how and when she ended up at Shoreham Union Workhouse and it would be good to find a baptism record, but they are not so important to me.

The desire to unravel the details of what went on during this decade is starting to become an obsession. I was able to put Mercy to the back of mind for a while, but once again she has come to the foreground.

The information I have suggests four questions about what happened between 1881 and 1891:

  1. Did Mercy marry George BARLEY? If so where and when was it and if not, why not?
  2. Who was the father of her son Ernest John TROWER?
  3. Where and when did Mercy marry someone with the surname STEADMAN and what was his first name?
  4. Where, when and why did this unknown STEADMAN husband die?

Tomorrow I shall go through some of the options and avenues of research still open to me, that might provide me with some answers.

Searching for Mercy TROWER in Chichester

23 Jan

I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning (which is unusual for me), but I had promised myself a visit to the West Sussex Record Office so I made the effort and dragged myself out of bed and took the bus and train down to Chichester, West Sussex.

There weren’t really any specific goals for this visit, it was more about double-checking the information regarding Mercy TROWER (making sure I hadn’t missed anything in my previous searches) and extracting some burials from the Framfield bishops’ transcripts.

I just can’t get Mercy TROWER off of my mind, so I double-checked the banns of marriage for Henfield, Sussex along with the burials for Henfield, in case there was a record of a STEADMAN being buried.

I also checked the National Probate Calendar for STEADMANs, STEDMANs and STEEDMANs between 1882 and 1892 for any sign of a possible husband, but with no success.

I extended my search to her son Ernest John TROWER trying to find banns for his marriage in 1913. I am hoping his marriage entry will give me the name of his father, but so far I have not been identify where the marriage took place. I will probably have to order a copy of his marriage certificate if I am ever going to find out.

Mercy STEADMAN’s will provides no answers

21 Jan

The will of Mercy STEADMAN (née TROWER) has arrived and for once a document has arrived that hasn’t provided me more questions than answers.

The truth is that it hasn’t provided me with the answer I was after, the name of Mercy’s husband, but it has given me a few more scraps of information that fill in a bit more of her life, and where her son Ernest John TROWER and her sister Ruth TROWER were living at the time.

The problem with the will, like the death certificate, is that it was written many years after her marriage and the death of her husband. The will was written on the 14th August 1928 whilst Mercy was at Whitesmith near Chiddingly, Sussex.

The will is quite simple, basically all Mercy had was to be divided equally between her son Ernest John TROWER and her sister Ruth TROWER, who was also named as sole executrix.

The only slight mystery is what Mercy was doing in Chiddingly (presumably she was in domestic service there) and did the choice of witnesses (Laura Julia Rebecca LEWER and Harriet AKEHURST) have any significance?

So the search for the husband of Mercy STEADMAN is no further forward and as I write this I am not sure what my next step will be. Time to go back to the drawing board and re-assess what I have discovered so far.

Who were the parents of Ernest John TROWER?

14 Jan

As well as the death certificate for Mercy STEADMAN I also ordered a birth and marriage certificate for two other individuals, just to try and fill in a few gaps in my database. The birth certificate was for Ernest John TROWER, it arrived the day after Mercy’s death certificate.

Ernest John TROWER was one of the individuals in my database that wasn’t actually linked to my tree. I knew he was related to me but not exactly how. He was shown in the 1891 and 1901 census as the grandson of Henry and Jane TROWER, my 3x great-grandparents.

I have yet to find a baptism entry for Ernest and the only clue to his parents identity was the presence of Martha TROWER, one of the daughters of Henry and Jane, in the same household in the 1891 census.

The birth certificate answered part of the question, it identified his mother, but there was no mention of a father. Ernest John TROWER was born on the 14th October 1884 at Harwoods Farm, Henfield, Sussex. The birth was registered by his mother, Mercy TROWER.

I was speechless, Mercy TROWER, the same Mercy TROWER whose husband is proving so illusive. That was not what I had expected at all and adds a whole other dimension to the mystery.

Was Ernest the son of the unknown STEADMAN, who Mercy may or may not have married, was he the son of George BARLEY who may or may not have married Mercy, and whose banns of marriage I have found, or did Mercy have a relationship with another man.

One thing is clear, the whole story of Mercy TROWER has suddenly become a lot more complicated and lot more interesting. I am going to have to do some serious work on this family if I am ever going to get these relationships sorted out.

Have I reached the end of the trail with Mercy TROWER?

13 Jan

The death certificate for Mercy STEADMAN (née TROWER) has arrived from the GRO and it has failed to provide the answer that I had hoped for. If anything it caused a bit of confusion, until I actually figured out what was going on.

The reason for ordering a copy of the certificate was to try and find the name of Mercy’s husband. Under the occupation heading it should have told me that she was a widow and given her ex-husband’s name.

Unfortunately the informant who registered the death didn’t know what her husband’s name was, so all I have is Widow of — Steadman Occupation unknown. Not very helpful to say the least.

It hadn’t occurred to me that because Mercy’s husband had died before 1891, there would be a good chance that whoever registered the death, possibly four decades later, probably never knew who Mercy’s husband was.

The confusion came from the place of death, 2 Upper Shoreham Road, Kingston-by-Sea. This wasn’t the same as her address that was also given on the death certificate (97 Wellington Road, Portslade-by-Sea).

The key to this puzzle is the Steyning Union Workhouse. It appears that the address of the workhouse was 2 Upper Shoreham Road, and the informant who registered the death was H[orace] W[alter] Cawcutt, the master of the Steyning Poor Law Institution.

I know that when Mercy died in 1929 her estate was valued at £404 12s 2d, so she wasn’t exactly a pauper, so my guess is that she was in the workhouse due to ill health (the workhouse would later become part of Southlands Hospital).

So I didn’t find out who Mercy’s husband was, but I haven’t quite given up hope of finding out his name. Records from the Steyning Union Workhouse are apparently held at the East Sussex Record Office, including admission and death registers, there may be a clue held within their pages.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 2)

10 Jan

It has been a funny sort of week, although I like most of the people in England have been stuck at home because of the snow I haven’t actually done a lot of genealogy. My main priority is finding another job, that in itself is becoming a full time job, however things are progressing slowly on that front.

  • I made a start on sorting out my photos, but I really need to dedicate an evening just going through all my folders and getting all the photos in the right places.
  • I also made a start on getting one of my photos identified, with the help of the Victorian Wars Forum. I still have more work to do on that, but have made good progress so far. Expect to see some blog posts about that in the coming week.
  • I now have a folder full of 1911 census images that need sorting out. Re-naming the files and entering all the data on Family Historian.
  • I ordered the will and death certificate for Mercy STEADMAN last week, along with another marriage certificate and a birth certificate. The certificates should hopefully arrive this week and need processing, but it will probably be a couple of weeks before the copy of the will arrives.
  • I didn’t get any to-do lists done, but from going through my family tree it does look like I have reached the limit of what I can actually do from home (back beyond the census and civil registration) for most of my ancestors, so I really do need to get some archive visits planned soon.
  • I want to start writing the story of Luther TROWER, Henrietta KING and Charles BRINTON. It is an interesting story which I alluded to briefly before. I think I will try and get it researched and written completely before I actually publish it on this blog. I want to start on that story as soon as possible, so I will try and put together an outline this week.
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