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Last-ditch attempt to find Florence Maud Marjorie Brooks

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Re: Last-ditch attempt to find Florence Maud Marjorie Brooks

Postby JaneyH » Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:26 pm

Ian,

I'm just on the train home and catching up with both of your posts - they've certainly brightened up an otherwise dull day in the office!

The whole Brooks / Hamilton theory is an extremely interesting proposition, and one that I need to follow up properly. Having found this brick wall particularly high and impenetrable I've left it on the back-burner for a while.

The only Bowdler/Brooks child for whom I have a birth certificate is Peter, since he survived into adulthood and something is known about his life. From memory that certificate simply names Florence as the mother, but without any elaboration as to other surnames. I think my first move will be to get the birth certificate for one of the Devon children - different place, different registrar etc. After that I'll see where the facts take me.

My biggest frustration in all of this is not having enough time to devote to it - full-time job, commuting, wife, mother ...

I'll update this thread with any breakthroughs!

Janey




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Re: Last-ditch attempt to find Florence Maud Marjorie Brooks

Postby ianbee » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:58 pm

Hi again Janey
I'm terrible - can't stop!
It's just that with the various references to the Bowdlers at Upcott in the local newspapers I wondered if Florence really could have died - if she did - without there being some sort of mention?
Anyway, now with a possible much narrowed time frame, I had another look on BNA, and then another!
Eventually, just searching for "Upcott" in Devon in 1930, found her! The OCR text has altered Bowdler to Bowdier!

The Western Times, Friday, 4 April 1930, page 13, column 3 (bottom) continues column 4
Meeth.
On Sunday the death took place of Mrs. O. Bowdler, of Upcott, who had been in declining health for some time. She was laid to rest in the parish churchyard on Thursday week. The Rector (Rev. A. Ledbury) officiated. The immediate mourners were: Mr. Bowdler, Dennis and Hubert (sons), Nellie and Fidora (daughters), Mr. and Mrs. Brooks, Coombe Ball (uncle and aunt), Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Lewdown (cousins), Mr. and Mrs. Collier (Germansweek). The coffin was of polished oak. Deceased was 35 years of age. The bearers were Messrs. L. and W. Cobbledick, F. Cook (Petrockstowe), G. Hookway, W. Reed (Wembworthy), F. Stevens (Wembworthy). Others who assisted were Messrs. J. Cobbledick, J. Heale, J. Hurford, L. Jones (Hatherleigh), W. Piper, and W. Spicer Others present were Mesdames W. and L. Cobbledick, G. Hookway, W. Piper, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones.

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Re: Last-ditch attempt to find Florence Maud Marjorie Brooks

Postby JaneyH » Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:24 pm

Wow! Thanks for all your digging, Ian. Sadly (really sadly) I'm prepping for a big meeting at work at the moment, but it looks like you've found the proverbial needle in the haystack. Now to match newspaper report to BMD registration!

Incidentally my niece has just moved from Kent to North Devon, and a visit looks more important than ever [SMILING FACE WITH OPEN MOUTH AND TIGHTLY-CLOSED EYES]

Thanks again, Janey


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Re: Last-ditch attempt to find Florence Maud Marjorie Brooks

Postby JaneyH » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:44 pm

Right, I've now had a chance to read through all of this properly.

Starting with the newspaper report of the death of 'Mrs O. Bowdler', this is undoubtedly the correct family: it mentions my grandfather, great uncle and great aunts among the mourners. There is the added juicy morsel of a Mr & Mrs Brooks (uncle and aunt) listed as mourners too. One line to look at is this couple - Coombe Ball (Hill) is not far away, a few miles to the east of Chawleigh.

What is a little odd, however, is that there is no mention of the two surviving children of Oliver and Florence: Peter and Marion. They would only have been about 6 and 3, but reading the article you would surmise that Dennis, Hubert, Nellie and Fidora were their children - but they were all Oliver's children from his marriage to my great-grandmother. Also bear in mind that my grandfather (Dennis) would have been aged 21 by this point - rather old to be the son of 35-year old Florence!

I've checked that Meeth and Upcott were both in Okehampton RD, and I agree that the only death registration that fits in terms of name, age, date and location is the Florence M Hamilton mentioned by Ian. Working back from this, I also agree that the 1916 marriage in Devonport is the only viable option for Brooks-Hamilton. I think my next two steps are to get copies of the death and marriage certificates. Hopefully Oliver William Bowdler will be the informant on the death certificate, and hopefully the marriage certificate will include the bride's middle names. Even better would be a father's name, residence and age.

Whether I can link the Hamilton couple in the newspaper story to Oliver's Florence I don't know. It's certainly fascinating that this one is in Cardiff not long before he arrived there in 1923.
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Re: Last-ditch attempt to find Florence Maud Marjorie Brooks

Postby JaneyH » Sat Oct 08, 2016 11:45 am

The death certificate has arrived, and BINGO!

When and where died: 23rd March 1930, Upcott Farm, Meeth
Name: Florence Maud Hamilton aged 35 years
Occupation: wife of Frederick Hamilton, merchant seaman
Cause of death: (a) exhaustion (b) cardiac failure (c) phthisis pulmonalis [No P.M.]
Name and residence of informant: Oliver W. Bowdler, present at the death, Upcott Farm, Meeth.

It seems pretty clear from this that the death of Mrs O. Bowdler as reported in the Western Times was in fact the death of Mrs Hamilton as per the certificate.

The only small frustration is that the name of Florence's husband here is given as Frederick Hamilton, not the John Ralph Hamilton from the newspaper reports that Ian located. Nevertheless I've re-checked for a Brooks-Hamilton marriage using this revised first name and the only one is that in Devonport in 1916 already covered. However I can accept that Oliver wouldn't necessarily have got the first name correct. Looks like I need to order the marriage certificate!
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Re: Last-ditch attempt to find Florence Maud Marjorie Brooks

Postby ianbee » Sat Oct 08, 2016 4:01 pm

Hi Janey
It's good news about the death certificate. So that part of the mystery - what happened to Florence -- seems to have been put to bed. Hopefully it will eventually lead you to uncovering her identity.

Another oddity! Florence Maud is not listed at Upcott on the electoral register for 1929. Just Oliver Bowdler and Dennis Bowdler. The registers there are compiled alphabetically by name, but Meeth is not a big place, there are only a few pages. No one else listed at Upcott.

Re the husband, I can't see any record at all of John Ralph Hamilton. He doesn't seem to exist, other than the newspaper report.
In fact there is another brief report of the Cardiff magistrates case in The Western Mail, 16 June 1917. Florence claimed her husband had beaten her.
I agree that it wouldn't be surprising if Oliver knew little of Florence's husband, especially if she was the person in the Cardiff case.

It might be taking a bit of a gamble to get that Devonport marriage certificate, although there are two possible links to Cardiff, the other one being the Dec 1919 birth cert of Margery J Hamilton. You would normally expect Mr Hamilton's name to be on that, but it might be that Florence didn't stay with him after his conviction. In which case the father's name would probably be blank!
Maybe Margery is unconnected. Although the 1938 marriage in Okehampton, spouse Thomas E Brook, could lead to a sighting in the 1939 Register in Okehampton, at "Blue Meadow"
Marjorie J(?) Brook (transcribed Brooks), born 9 Dec 1919, married, domestic duties. No husband was there, one person redacted.
She is not mentioned in any of the funeral reports though, is she?

There's a brief mention in The South Wales Daily Post, 12th October 1910, of a Frederick Hamilton, 27, Seaman, fined for being drunk and disorderly in Swansea. No idea if he was a local
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Re: Last-ditch attempt to find Florence Maud Marjorie Brooks

Postby JaneyH » Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:02 am

Thanks again, Ian. I agree that the electoral registrations are a bit odd with Florence not listed in 1929. (I also noted that Oliver was listed at Boasley Wood Park AND Upcott for 1928, as per your earlier post.) I'll take a punt on the marriage certificate and see what happens.
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Re: Last-ditch attempt to find Florence Maud Marjorie Brooks

Postby phsvm » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:11 pm

Janey - just going back a few posts. You mentioned "little odd, however, is that there is no mention of the two surviving children of Oliver and Florence: Peter and Marion. They would only have been about 6 and 3".

I don't find this odd at all. If I read this correctly the news report was a report of the funeral rather than an obituary. In my opinion I think it is highly unlikely that children as young as that would have been at the funeral hence they weren't listed as 'mourners'. From another angle if it was simply the local report writing the item then unless he had personal knowledge of the famiy he probably didn't know of the existance of younger children.
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Re: Last-ditch attempt to find Florence Maud Marjorie Brooks

Postby JaneyH » Tue Oct 18, 2016 8:55 pm

Thanks for that, phsvm. I guess I was judging the newspaper report by my standards rather than by those of 1920s rural Devon. I've now obtained the death certificate mentioned by ianbee, and await the marriage certificate to track things back further.


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Re: Last-ditch attempt to find Florence Maud Marjorie Brooks

Postby ksouthall » Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:28 pm

JaneyH wrote:Thanks for that, phsvm. I guess I was judging the newspaper report by my standards rather than by those of 1920s rural Devon.


phvsm is right. It is unlikely that the youngest children were at the funeral. As the report lists the funeral's attendees, that is why they were not listed. There is no lack of accuracy or difference in standards between now and 1920s Devon. This is a funeral report, not an obituary. If an obituary does exist, you would probably find the youngest children listed.
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