Annie, are you okay?

Thanks to the free Fold3 access for this weekend, I’ve been able to pad out a bit of the extended EBBANS tree.

A blanket search for ‘Ebbans’ threw up the name of Annie Ebbans. It turns out she was listed as wife on the WWI military file of Edward Williams, which also gave their marriage date and place as well as their present address (33 Portland St, Walsall).  The file also listed names of nine children.  A goldmine, right? But was this Annie Ebbans actually linked to my focus Ebbanses?

Ebbans is a fairly uncommon name but is also very often recorded under a wide variety of spellings or just plain mistranscribed so can be difficult to research.  It has appeared as Ebbens, Ebbins, Ebans, Evans, Ettans, Hebbans, Ebbon and Ebben; to name just a few.

There was an Ann Ebbans, born circa 1874 on my tree who was a sibling of a more direct ancestor.  Until now I had been unable to find any info on this Ann Ebbans after she stopped appearing on her parents’ census records.  Now this military record led me to her marriage record where she had been recorded as Ann Evans.  Luckily ‘findmypast’ hold the Staffordshire parish registers which showed her father’s name, William and residence, 20 Augustus St.  These details both match information I hold so I can safely say this is indeed the sister Annie in my Ebbans tree and am able to trace her life further. Viva la free record weekends!

1894 marriage entry of Edward Williams and Annie Evans (EBBANS)

Four Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and a Funeral

While researching gypsy ancestors, I discovered some interesting reports on local ‘gipsy’ happenings. The weddings must have been as much of a spectacle then as they are now (thanks to television programmes like ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’).

Oh, if only there were photographs!

…The bride wore a gorgeous dress of maroon plush, surmounted by an immense hat covered with waving ostrich feathers.  Her bridesmaid was attired in a costume of golden plush. The bridegroom and his friend were in velvet with vermilion neckties…

gipsy nuptials
The Leek Post, 20 Aug 1898, p8
gipsy wedding
Tamworth Herald, 23 Dec 1882, p6
gipsy wedding at windsor
Tamworth Herald, 23 Aug 1890, p6

This fourth wedding was a lot less ostentatious but nonetheless interesting:

Tamworth Herald, 27 July 1878, p4

And lastly, the funeral.  The journalist obviously thought the deceased’s death was interesting enough to write about, but apparently not enough to include her name:

gipsy funeral
The Staffordshire Sentinel, 31 Jan 1863, p2

Looking for Lovell


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.

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.

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:


 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:



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:
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:

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!

Murder in the Family II

(See original post here.)

Another message from my husband’s aunt seems to indicate the belief that Eliza Tharm is the ancestor in question:

“this Eliza Tharm isn’t a direct ancestor but down the line from either a brother or sister of one of our direct ancestors.”

I had come across Eliza in my initial research as she was famously the maid living at Dr. Palmer’s house who became Palmer’s mistress after his wife’s death. says that Eliza gave birth to an illegitimate son in the Palmer House and this child was sent to be cared for by a ‘nurse’. It was claimed that Palmer sent for the young child saying that he wished to see that the child was well.

Sounds very much like the story originally given to me (see here) but that seems far too easy.  If Palmer really was the rogue he was rumoured to be, there was sure to be other mistresses and possibly more illegitimate children.  Google Books have available a copy of Illustrated Life and Career of William Palmer of Rugeley.  I have yet to read it but a skim through revealed this snippet on page 55:

Some time after his marriage, William Palmer had an illegitimate child by a Rugeley woman, of the name of Jane Mumford, and he had, in consequence, to pay for its keep. It is related that this child, a little girl, was brought to him that he might satisfy himself that it was still alive; he saw the child, and sent her home again. Shortly afterwards she died.

Sounds tragically familiar…