Looking for Lovell

Gipsy_Essex_QE1_142
A GIPSY ENCAMPMENT IN ESSEX” c.1889

Carnation LOVELL was born into her gypsy family in Willenhall, 1889. Finding her family has led me on a bit of a run around over the years and I have decided I need to find some solid records and check my information is correct so far (a previous post can be found here).
She appears on the 1891 census with her parents (Matthew and Maria LOVELL), and elder brother Chandos, living in a gypsy tent in Darlaston, Staffordshire.

1891Lovells
1891 Census – Lovells

She reappears on the 1901 census, living in a caravan on Sneyd Lane, Bloxwich, as Carnation FLETCHER with brother Chandos, younger sister Elizabeth and what appears to be her mother listed as married to Eli FLETCHER.  All the children and Maria now carry the name, FLETCHER.

1901Fletchers
1901 Census – Fletchers/Lovells

I started to wonder if this was the same Carnation.  Carnation’s birth certificate cites her mother’s former name as Maria ANSLOW.  Her marriage entry to Eli (7 years after their appearance as a family unit on the census) also records her as Maria ANSLOW, spinster.  So, this is clearly the same woman.  This also indicates that Carnation’s parents were never legally married.  This makes me curious about gypsy marriage customs – was this usual?  Was Eli a gypsy or not?
I am yet to find Carnation in the 1911 census. I’m presuming her name was mistranscribed but all the variants I’ve come up with so far have given me no joy.
Instead, I have decided to gather more family records and information about gypsy life paint a clearer picture of Carnation’s life in my mind.

Next Steps:
  • Find Carnation in the 1911 census
  • Research gypsy ancestors

A Cautionary Tale

After a long (unintentional) break from genealogy, I returned to ancestry to find some ‘wiggling leaves’ attached to Charles RICHARDS (b1851).  There was a death and probate suggestion which seemed very likely and got me a bit excited until I actually checked the detail on the probate entry:

e92ce-charlesrichards

 Although the places were apt, none of the names seemed familiar – my Charles married a Sarah MILLINGTON while this person’s widow was Ellen.  The names Jesse and Florence Edith were unfamiliar too.  So I searched and found a 1911 census record for this couple:

fa93e-charles1911

 

So with that probate ruled out, I went back to my hints page and looked at the other family trees containing Charles RICHARDS and his family.  At least 3 of these trees (which were referring to my Charles -born 1851, married to Sarah, father to 11 children) had listed that particular probate record as a source!
I rechecked the probate record and also listed was a retired shipwright of Liverpool whose widow was Sarah Ann RICHARDS:
fe167-charlesrichards2
Perhaps this is where the confusion lay?  However, Charles had appeared in every census from 1851 – always in Staffordshire and always related to the coal industry (particularly as a coal miner).

Although it IS possible that Charles may have remarried, a simple search of the 1911 census found Charles and Sarah still living in Walsall with four of their children:

f0a05-charlesreal
1911 census record – Charles and Sarah RICHARDS

I left comments on two of the trees informing the owners of the mistake and am keen to hear back from them as they appear to have information (and PHOTOS!) of Charles’ parents and siblings.

In closing, dear fellow geneageeks, PLEASE remember the first rule of genealogy and do not attach information to your tree without confirming it – however much you may want it to be true.  After a long hiatus, I was rusty and nearly fell into this trap – DON’T LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU!

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves

My first post of this blog mentioned that there were gypsies in the family. The gypsies are part of my husband’s maternal side and there’s been a bit of a breakthrough.

Carnation LOVELL was the daughter of Maria ANSLOW and Matthew LOVELL. She can be found on the 1891 census as a baby in a gypsy tent under Porkus Bridge (probably Porkets or Portius Bridge), Darlaston. They appeared to be travelling with 3 other families, all with the surname, Smith.

By 1901, Maria had taken up with a new man, Eli FLETCHER (whom she eventually wed legally in 1908). It has been very difficult to find other records of Carnation’s father, Matthew.

Matthew died in Bloxwich, 1896 and the earliest record I have with him, is his son’s birth certificate in 1883. I have not been able to locate him on any other censuses. Part of the problem appears to be the interchangeability of gypsy names. However, a wall may about to be broken down. I received an email from a fellow researcher (my mother-in-law’s cousin) saying that an author has contacted her about a book he has written concerning Matthew’s great grandparents. I can’t wait!

Peg made by Carnation