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George Frederick Helsden born 22/12/1822

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Re: George Frederick Helsden born 22/12/1822

Postby Justmaz » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:20 am

Hi All
We could never decide whether GFH was born on the ship called the Tagus or if it was the river, we believe that as you say HMS Tagus was broken up in 1822 so we thought that as GFH was in theory born in December 1822, it would be unlikely but not impossible for GFH's mother to still be on board at that time. The only info that we could find on HMS Tagus appears to stop in 1815.

Can anybody please confirm whether GFH would have had to complete a "sign on" document in 1841 when he joined the Royal Navy and if so where it is likely to be stored, because we wonder if he would have had to supply his next of kin, perhaps his father if he was around or if not perhaps his mother? that may be the reason how he knew his birth details through his mum?
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Re: George Frederick Helsden born 22/12/1822

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:47 am

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/royal-navy-ratings-before-1853/

I know a lot less about the Royal Navy than the Army so the best that I can do is point you to the National Archives guide on the topic - link above. I believe that the guide tells you about everything that survives.

I would advise against being too trusting of GFH's birth-date. Firstly people simply didn't place the same significance in it so there was less reason to commit it to memory. Secondly this is a guy who has given false information several times (after he deserted and then joined up again under a false name, when he tried to marry Charlotte, and apparently over Charlotte's name in later years). On the other hand, if the same approximate year appears in all the censuses as well - which I'm not sure of - then, absent of any information to the contrary - you have to run with it.

If I were a betting man, then the information that we have for his birthplace would indeed indicate that he's born on a ship of unknown name off the Tagus river. And, by date, that ship could not have been HMS Tagus since it appears to have been either laid up for a couple of years or even scrapped.

On the other hand, best practice in genealogy says deal with every lead even if it's just to dismiss it. HMS Tagus' last voyage seems to have been late 1818 into 1819, based on the link above. That means that the National Archives do have all her musters, if I'm reading the catalogue right. I'm not sure if the tools on that link to TNA Guide will enable you to check for other names on that ship but I do think it important to double check the possibility of someone being on that ship of importance to us. It's only 4? years difference?


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Re: George Frederick Helsden born 22/12/1822

Postby sparrow » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:29 pm

Small addition to story: name Rodney comes from Charlotte's nephew Rodney Luxton, born to her sister Jane. In the 1861 Census Charlotte's eldest son Thomas Henry Cheetham is living with his aunt Jane.
Adolphus may be from Magee family too as Mary Magee's birth name was Schomberg.
Still not seeing any names from Helsden family.
It seems increasingly likely that GFH did not actually know his family.
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Re: George Frederick Helsden born 22/12/1822

Postby Justmaz » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:59 am

Thank you so much for all your continued help. It just gets more confusing the more we find out. If anybody can work this out we would be grateful. 1861 census finds GFH 38 with Charlotte 37 children Martha, Frederick & Charles in Brightlingsea. 1871 census Portsea, GFH Naval Pensioner born in Bay of Biscay George 48, Charlotte 47, Charles, Georgina, Augustus, Adolphus. 1881 Evelyn Street Deptford GFH 58 ESTHER 57 Augustus Adolphus. We have marriage certificate to say that GFH married Esther in 1846 and we know that Esther died aged 66 in 1891. We have no proof that GFH and Charlotte were ever married so why was it she and not Esther on the 1861, 1871 census and why did Esther appear back on the 1881 census. Confused.com What a mixed up family, we will continue our quest to go back beyond GFH and are hoping that we or somebody will have a ‘light bulb’ moment that will get us on the right track. We think that maybe GFH’s naval records may hold the key but with his change of identity even this may prove to be difficult. What was he trying to hide we wonder!? Thanks again, we appreciate all of your help.
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Re: George Frederick Helsden born 22/12/1822

Postby ianbee » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:41 am

You could get the death certificate I mentioned earlier
June 1849 Stoke Damerel 9 293
Helsdon, Esther
age 22

Available now from the GRO as a £6 pdf copy!
Buried as Esther Helson

It was shortly after this that George asked for his money to be sent to sister Charlotte Cheetham rather than wife Esther (Royal Navy Allotment Declarations).

If you can draw up a timeline of known events, including Charlotte Magee, that may help.
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Re: George Frederick Helsden born 22/12/1822

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:01 am

And following on from that 1849 death, to spell it out, I think that there is a distinct possibility that all subsequent references to Esther are actually, in reality, Charlotte.

I think that I earlier discussed the possibility that Charlotte assumed Esther's identity - or GFH pushed it on her - because, maybe, possibly, perhaps some payment could only be made to a wife and GFH wasn't married to Charlotte but he did have a certificate saying that he was married to someone called Esther. "Charlotte, dear, henceforth, for the purposes of my .... pension? ... you are now Esther."

It's also possible that Charlotte died and he remarried another Esther who came from the same area for census purposes, but I think we looked for that death and remarriage and nothing appeared.

This is quite the most complex and interesting case we've had since the case of the druggist / abortionist / medicine man Madame wossername - who went through several names as well, I think.

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Re: George Frederick Helsden born 22/12/1822

Postby sparrow » Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:07 am

I think the key to the theory that Charlotte took on the identity of her dead sister Esther is in the age quoted 1861-1891.That is Charlotte's age not Esther's age.
I know we have all seen branches of the family where quoted ages fluctuate quite markedly.But George and his 'wife' were remarkably consistent.
I can't access the banns but unless George claimed to be of the same parish they would obviously have been read in two parishes. So I don't entirely rule out the possibility that George and Charlotte married, even if their marriage was not legally valid.But I agree it is increasingly unlikely.
The PDF pilot is a wonderful incentive to buy more certificates than one might have done in the past.Mother's name on birth certificates would certainly help pinpoint when the identity swap happened.
All of this against the background that Charlotte's first husband appears to have disappeared without trace which left her very much in need of protection.
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Re: George Frederick Helsden born 22/12/1822

Postby ianbee » Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:26 pm

The banns leave little doubt. Charlotte described as a widow, but name is Mc Gee.

AdrianB38 wrote:If you look at the banns entry, the bit for the "Married" date is actually empty - not even a tick.

And no entry found in the GRO marriage index, suggesting that there was no marriage anywhere.

Does it say George was a Seaman and name a vessel?
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Re: George Frederick Helsden born 22/12/1822

Postby sparrow » Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:42 pm

Thanks for posting.
I'm reading HMS Sultan!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Sultan_(1807)

So could they in fact have been married at sea???

I'm not entirely surprised that Charlotte described herself as a widow if her first husband had disappeared without trace, though obviously use of maiden name is a little odd.Interesting that of her Cheetham children her oldest (who had presumably known his father) did not join the blended household.
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Re: George Frederick Helsden born 22/12/1822

Postby Justmaz » Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:45 pm

Thanks for your help today, we can confirm that the banns read GFH as Seaman HMS Vulture, which we know he served on. Again, you have come up with possibilities that we hadn’t even thought of!! We had no idea that there was such a thing as GRO pdf (I’ll be honest, I had to Google it because I didn’t know what it meant) and we are going to apply for GFH death pdf which may give us some more information to go on i.e Who registered the information, name of father maybe? Also we will go for the same with Esther and see what it brings up. You guys are brilliant, you have such great knowledge, you are helping us so much and spurring us on in our quest to find our roots.
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