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.