Having confessed that I made a mistake identifying the wrong Ellen NICHOLLS as my 3x great-grandmother, I now need to think about what I can do to put it right.
I can’t get the idea out of my head that my Ellen NICHOLLS may still be the daughter of Thomas and Martha NICHOLLS, named in memory of her dead sister.
There is a four year old Ellen NICHOLLS living in Seasalter, Kent who is the niece of James and Jane BARNES. Jane BARNES was born in Chiddingstone, Kent (which is where Ellen was supposed to have been born). Interestingly James BARNES married Jane DRAPPER in Q4 1841 in Sevenoaks Registration District.
Could it be that this Jane DRAPPER was the sister of Martha DRAPPER who was the wife of Thomas NICHOLLS. This would match the niece relationship in the census.
The 1851 census gives Ellen’s place of birth as Blean, Kent, and her age means that she would have been born about 1847. This date of birth matches quite well with what I know about my Ellen NICHOLLS, but of course the place of birth doesn’t.
Now there should be a birth registration entry for Ellen around 1847, but there isn’t. What there is however are two entries in the GRO Birth Indexes for female NICHOLLS (meaning the baby girl hadn’t been named). Both were registered in the Blean Registration District, one in Q1 1847 and another Q2 1847. Could one of these have been Ellen?
I know that Thomas NICHOLLS died before the 1851 census because his wife Martha is shown as a widow, and guess what? There is a death entry in the indexes for Thomas NICHOLLS in Q1 1848 also in Blean Registration District.
Maybe I am just clutching at straws, but I have a good feeling about this scenario. It is the best bet I have at the moment. My next step is to have a look at the parish registers for Blean, Kent to see if there is any mention of the NICHOLLS, otherwise I might have to take a chance and spend some money on some GRO certificates.