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Mail Order Brides from England?

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Mail Order Brides from England?

Postby DianaCanada » Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:39 pm

Has anyone heard of mail-order brides going from Britain to Canada in the early 20th century?
A relative of mine, Ettie May Bean b. 12 Jan 1880 in Heathfield, Sussex travelled to Canada, landing at Quebec City on 6 June 1913. Before this point she was working in service (confusingly, the 1911 census says Bedfordshire but I think it is Kent). She married a scant ten days later on 16 Jun 1913, in Revelstoke, British Columbia, to Frederick Adams, age 54. Frederick was born in Framfield, Sussex on 17 Nov 1858. Their marriage record from FamilySearch indicates his parents were Henry and Mary Adams but all the other research I have done (a very good obit was published when he died which helped) indicates his parents were John Ebenezer Adams and Harriet Covell. Ettie’s parents were Henry and Mary (Potten) Bean so I believe this is the source of the error. Ettie’s residence was given as Heathfield, Sussex.

Frederick had lived in Canada since 1894. Living with him was his older brother George (single) and two nephews, William and Frederick Adams, b. 1878 and 1880 respectively.

In 1901 William the nephew had married Florence Peters in Revelstoke, she gave her residence and birthplace as Surrey, England. Her death record from FamilySearch indicates a middle name of Selina so I was able to narrow her down to one person, b. in Caterham, Surrey. There are a couple of discrepancies re her parents as well, but am quite sure she was the same Florence Selina Peters (right age, right county).

Florence was still in England when the 1901 census was taken. I cannot find her on a passenger list to Canada.

Both couples married at the local Anglican church in Revelstoke and both married by license.

Ettie and Frederick returned to England, Ettie in 1916 with their only child, a daughter, and Frederick three years later. They lived out their lives in Heathfield, Sussex.

The hasty marriages make me think these might have been “arranged”. Has anyone heard of anything like this? It seems highly unlikely that any of the parties would have been courting in person so many thousand miles away.
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Re: Mail Order Brides from England?

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:10 pm

1. Re the 1911 Census -the next image on Ancestry is the Schedule containing the address, and this shows the address to be "Canterbury Villa, Flitwick". Flitwick is most definitely in Bedfordshire.

2. Her Canadian arrival document is interesting... It's in Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 on Ancestry - index entry is
Name: Ettie May Bean
Gender: Female
Arrival Age: 32
Birth Year: abt 1881
Departure Port: Liverpool, England
Arrival date: 6 Jun 1913
Arrival Port: Quebec, Canada
Vessel: Empress of Britain


There is a string of ticks by all the names on that page - except for hers, which has a cross. Further, there is a stamped "DETAINED". Hmmm. There are hand-written notes that I can't read and might belong to her or the woman above. Interesting....

3. Her outbound list from the UK is on FindMyPast Passenger Lists leaving UK 1890-1960. These seldom show much more but her occupation on the outbound list is "Tourist". This doesn't match her intended occupation in Canada on her arrival, which is Cook. This oddity might be enough to explain the apparent detention.

The other odd thing is that she is travelling on the same ticket, 84123, as Miss M Hofgood(?).

4. Her ticketing companion appears to be this on arrival
Name: Mrs Amilia Hofgood
Gender: Female
Arrival Age: 37
Birth Year: abt 1876
Departure Port: Liverpool, England
Arrival date: 6 Jun 1913
Arrival Port: Quebec, Canada
Vessel: Empress of Britain

She is also stamped "DETAINED". I am not sure if the Canadians have her as married or not.

5. On the FamilySearch marriage, one of the two witnesses was .... Amelia Hapgood (Hapgoad???)

6. You know what's coming next on FamilySearch, don't you?!
Amelia Hopgood
British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938


Name: Marcus Royal Fee
Event Type: Marriage
Event Date: 23 Jul 1913
Event Place: Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Male
Age: 29
Marital Status: Bachelor
Birth Year (Estimated): 1884
Birthplace: Dewdney, British Columbia
Father's Name: Wesley George Fee
Mother's Name: Harriet Vasey
Spouse's Name: Amelia Hopgood
Spouse's Gender: Female
Spouse's Age: 34
Spouse's Marital Status: Spinster
Spouse's Birth Year (Estimated): 1879
Spouse's Birthplace: Eastbourne Sussex, England
Spouse's Father's Name: George Hopgood
Spouse's Mother's Name: Ann Townsend
Certificate Type: License
Registration Number: 13 09 164557

The witnesses are different and Amelia claims residence in Trant Lake, BC, not the UK.

Hm. I am better informed but no wiser.... Is Amelia the key?
Adrian
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Re: Mail Order Brides from England?

Postby DianaCanada » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:27 am

Thank you, Adrian. I will look this over more thoroughly tomorrow. As far as I know, Amelia is not related to Ettie, but more digging to be done.
I noticed the Detained status too, but she couldn't have detained long as ten days later she is getting married. I would guess the train trip from Quebec to Revelstoke would have taken about five days.

I also wondered about her returning to England while WW1 raged; I would have thought civilian travel across the Atlantic would have been restricted.
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Re: Mail Order Brides from England?

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:22 am

Indeed, the detention must have been fairly short, as you say. As for civilian travel across the Atlantic during WW1, I've never heard of it being restricted. There was, self evidently, no other means and it would have been very difficult for the British authorities to restrict travel for Americans so little point in restricting its own citizens. Which does not mean that tickets were cheap or easily available with so much capacity dedicated to the military.

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Re: Mail Order Brides from England?

Postby DianaCanada » Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:09 pm

Just wanted to update this post. I have heard from a descendant of Ettie's and Ettie was NOT a mail order bride! Her future bridegroom did travel back to England from British Columbia a couple of times to court her - what a long voyage back and forth! Their descendant was able to supply some very interesting info and we have figured out we are 3rd cousins.
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Re: Mail Order Brides from England?

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:18 pm

Nice to get a bit of background!

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Re: Mail Order Brides from England?

Postby DianaCanada » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:23 pm

AdrianB38 wrote:Nice to get a bit of background!

Yes, it does make it more "real".

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