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Jessie Worrell - 1881 census

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Jessie Worrell - 1881 census

Postby MoVidger » Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:51 pm

I am struggling to locate my 2nd great-aunt Jessie in the 1881 census, presumably in London. She was born May 1852 in Marylebone and died August 1922 in Holborn.

I have found Jessie in every other census (1861 to 1871, then 1891 to 1911):

1861 – Jessie Worrell (age 8) living with her family at Carlisle Place, Marylebone. Family name is incorrectly listed as “Wood” rather than Worrell.
1871 – Jessie Worrell (age 17) working as a “domestic servant” for Joseph P. Walton residing in Woodboro’ Villa in Wimbledon.
1891 – Jessie Worrell (age 38) working as a “domestic cook” for the Leon family living at Cleveland Square, Paddington.
1892 – Jessie marries William Gregory (an auctioneer’s clerk) in Paddington. I believe this was her only marriage. Jessie was living with her older sister Helen Hughes at 33 Pickering Place, Paddington at the time of her marriage.
1901 – Jessie Gregory (age 43) now residing at 51 Hatton Garden, Holborn with husband William.
1911 – Jessie Gregory (age 50) residing at same address with husband William.

Given that Jessie was employed in domestic service in 1871 and 1891, I will assume that she is probably working for another family in London in 1881. (She did have a younger sister who emigrated to NSW, Australia in 1878, but I haven’t yet found any travel evidence to suggest Jessie was visiting her circa 1881).

There is a London-born Jessie L. Nowell (age 28) employed as a “housemaid” for Archibald L. Smith (age 44, barrister in practice) residing at Chester Square, St George Hanover Square. However, my Jessie didn’t have a middle name. So I've all but discounted this other lady.

If anyone has better luck than I, in tracing Jessie in 1881, I’d be very grateful to hear the details.
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Re: Jessie Worrell - 1881 census

Postby jimbo50 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:11 pm

Hiya. Are you sure this isn't a transcription error ? If you misread the W as a LN, which is the same number of up and down strokes with the pen, you're left with.. owell . that's very close, and again, depending on the style of r's, often hard to distinguish from orrell . Unfortunately I don't have access to images so I can't look. Jim
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Re: Jessie Worrell - 1881 census

Postby MoVidger » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:01 am

I've had another look at the census image. I'm quite certain the surname is "Nowell". Also, this lady has a middle initial (transcribed as "L").

However, my Jessie didn't have a middle name. I have copies of her birth and marriage certificates. She is simply "Jessie Worrell" on both.

So I'm not quite convinced "Jessie L Nowell" is my relation, despite her birthplace and age being spot on. If it turns out she is my Jessie, then perhaps the domestic servants' names provided to the enumerator were off-base to start with.
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Re: Jessie Worrell - 1881 census

Postby sdup26 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:49 pm

There doesn't seem to be a birth for a Jessie Nowell (with or without a middle L) born in London or Middlesex 1850-1856, and I can't find her in 1871. So the census showing Jessie L Nowell may well be your Jessie Worrell, and whoever gave the census information, in theory the householder, just made a mess of it. Note that whoever it was also mucked up the name of the cook Elizabeth Bircor, and got nurserymaid Annie Booth's birthplace wrong and had to correct it. If that wasn't bad enough, even the entry for a daughter of the house (Margaret Smith) has been corrected. Altogether, not too reliable!
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Re: Jessie Worrell - 1881 census

Postby MoVidger » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:33 pm

Yes sdup26, I'm now inclined to believe the Jessie L Nowell at Chester Square is my Jessie. Like you, I couldn't find a birth for JLN either. It does seem the householder providing the details made a pig's ear of the servant's names.

Interestingly, future husband William Gregory's London address in 1881 was 13 Alexander Buildings, St George Hanover Square. Which is just a long "stone's throw" from Chester Square, where Jessie was working. It may be just a coincidence, but perhaps Jessie had met William in the vicinity (circa 1881) prior to their marriage in 1892 ??

What I find odd is the fact William struggled with unemployment by 1911 onwards. Yet, he and Jessie have a servant in the 1901 and 1911 census records. And when Jessie dies in 1922, she leaves £166 to William "of no occupation". I wonder where her money came from? (It certainly didn't come from her own family - they struggled with poverty in Lisson Grove when she was growing-up).
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Re: Jessie Worrell - 1881 census

Postby sdup26 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:59 pm

How strange. I can just about understand having a servant, which sounds grand, but could have been a general dogsbody who slept under the kitchen table in exchange for scraps (or having I been reading too much Catherine Cookson?) but £166 is something like £7500 in today's money, so quite a hoard. Do you know why William had employment difficulties? Maybe Jessie knew he had a problem, so was very thrifty when he had a job, then kept them going on her savings when he wasn't working. It's odd though, that at that time, a married woman could have so much put by, which William didn't seem to have access to. All very interesting.
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Re: Jessie Worrell - 1881 census

Postby MoVidger » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:46 pm

Yes it is very intriguing. I'd love to know where Jessie's money came from. (If my mum was still alive, her imagination would be running wild!) And how could they afford to live at Saffron Hill, Hatton Gardens with a servant for over 20 years, considering William was often unemployed?

I know next to nothing about husband William, except for the fact he was a "clerk" by trade. In the 1901 census, he is listed as a "caretaker". So I'm wondering if that had something to do with their address? On Jessie's 1922 death certificate, William is listed as an "Estate Agent's Clerk".

The 1911 census is very interesting although I can't quite make sense of one of the enumerator's remarks. Beneath the servant's occupation details are written: "at address listed" and then "for firm of dealer's in precious stones". Hmm... Who does that notation pertain to exactly?
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Re: Jessie Worrell - 1881 census

Postby Sylcec » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:14 pm

just adding my 2 bob's worth of opinion ....
re: the census enumeration sheets - the errors were probably not made by the householder, but by the enumerator when he transcribed the householder submissions or his own notes onto the sheets that we use and rely on.

re: Jessie's money. She may have had a legacy from an unidentified bachelor uncle or spinster aunt. Such people create the most interesting wills. I have a distant relative (oldest brother to my gt gt grandfather), John Palmer 1792-1871, who never married and left a considerable estate - his will mentions several nieces, two of whom I have never been able to identify. A sister in the same family also left a will with considerable assets, but my direct family were the major beneficiaries here and I've been able to identify others mentioned. Incidentally - I have no idea where or how these people came by their money in the first place!
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Re: Jessie Worrell - 1881 census

Postby MoVidger » Thu Sep 01, 2016 5:30 am

I'm quite certain Jessie's money wasn't from a legacy or inheritance. She didn't come from that sort of family. In fact, her father spent time in debtor's prison when she was a child. And her mother was in and out of the workhouse during the 1870s, between stints of living rough on the streets.

The money definitely wouldn't have come from Jessie's siblings or aunts either (for various reasons). So she either squirreled her money away, as sdup26 suggests, or came by it another way.

I wish I could make sense of the "dealers in precious stones" notation on the 1911 census, and who it applies to. My mum once told me that my granny (Jessie's niece) had been gifted with some expensive jewelry by a "much loved aunt". So the plot thickens...
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Re: Jessie Worrell - 1881 census

Postby sdup26 » Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:36 am

The address in 1911 is in Hatton Garden, which was (still is?) an area associated with dealing in precious gems. I wonder if Lizzie Mabel was living with William and Jessie, but although described as a servant, wasn't actually a servant for the Gregorys, but as the census form says 'for firm of dealers in precious stones.' In other words, a lodger. The little message explaining this may have been to clarify her position in the household. She's a servant, but although she's living here, she's someone else's servant, not ours. Would that make sense?
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