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Violet Richards, b.1896 - any thoughts?

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Violet Richards, b.1896 - any thoughts?

Postby JaneyH » Sun Oct 23, 2016 4:51 pm

I'm helping a friend with some of his family history and am struggling with researching someone born and bred in London. (I didn't realise that with the vast majority of my own ancestors coming from rural areas just how much harder a task this would be!) Here's what I have so far.

The 1939 Register shows Violet living with her husband James Dean at 1 Rheidol Terrace, Islington in London. Her date of birth is given as 29 February 1896, while her husband's is given as 24 January 1868. They married in Apr-Jun 1917 in Shoreditch (this comes from my friend, and is confirmed in BMD records), so she would have been 21 and James 49. I've been told that James Dean may have been married previously, and may have had children by this earlier marriage; no details are known. It is thought that Violet was at some point his housekeeper before they married.

Trying to trace Violet's earlier life, and her parents, has proved tricky. I've found a baptism for a Violet Richards for St. Clement, City Road, London dated 17 March 1896. The notes in the margin are hard to read but the right-hand side of the register is annotated with dates of birth, and for Violet it appears to read 29 Feb 1896 - which would be the match I'm looking for. Her parents' names are transcribed as Wilman Alfred Richards and Mary Richards on Ancestry. However I've been unable to locate the family in either the 1891 or 1901 Census. The father's first name could be William rather than Wilman, but this hasn't helped much. I've been told that Violet's family were from Shoreditch, Islington, East or West Ham, and were possibly lead-workers.

I have a possible match for Violet (albeit with the age a year out) for the 1911 Census, where she is "training for service" at an institution of some sort at 76 Junction Road in Holloway, north London. I mention this because my friend says his ancestor "was at a school in Holloway as a teenager" but I emphasise this is only a tentative match.

Violet and James Dean are known to have had two children together: Violet Dorothy (b.1919) and Peggy (b.1927). There is a tree on Ancestry which includes a child Leslie Richards - no further details, and unsourced. This could be a child of Violet's prior to marriage, but I've had no luck substantiating this. Details of Violet Dorothy's marriages, to John Hearn and then Alexander Wilson, are known.

Any assistance with further details for the Richards family, or even just confirming / querying anything I've found so far, would be most appreciated.
Last edited by JaneyH on Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Violet Richards, b.1896 - any thoughts?

Postby ianbee » Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:36 am

Hi Janey
It looks as though you have the right Violet, with that birth date match.
In 1901 could she be the Violet Richards, 5, in Hornchurch, Essex, in the Cottage Homes? Birth place unknown. Also there is a possible sister, Jane, age 15.
Shoreditch Board of Guardians, Children in the Workhouse
admitted 28.12.99
Richards -
Jane 12
Alice 8
Voilet 4
Mother M A in this Infy Brought by
Mrs Fry 14 Branch Place
Hoxton

I think the mother died in 1900
Are workhouse admissions in Islington in 1916 of a Violet Richards, 20, may have had illegitimate son. Don't know if she is yours.
John
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Re: Violet Richards, b.1896 - any thoughts?

Postby ianbee » Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:44 pm

Hi
Violet, Jane and Alice were sent to the cottage homes. Violet on 16 January 1900, Jane 13 February, Alice 24 April.
Mrs Fry of 14 Branch Place was their aunt (Register of Children at Hornchurch)
Charles and Harriett Fry are at that address in 1901 (piece 276 folio 152 page 16)
It's quite easy to find their marriage, and trace her back. She does have a sister Mary Ann who may be with a William Richards in 1881, with a possibility for her also in 1891. Haven't found a marriage.
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Re: Violet Richards, b.1896 - any thoughts?

Postby ianbee » Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:30 pm

The second of those 1916 admissions was actually to City Road Workhouse, Holborn Union (not Islington!)
16 Nov 1916
Richards Violet, Factory Hand, born 1896
Richards John Leslie, born 25.10.16

Might be the Leslie Richards of the family tree perhaps.
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Re: Violet Richards, b.1896 - any thoughts?

Postby JaneyH » Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:41 pm

Thanks for that - I looked at the workhouse records briefly and it all seemed to fall into place nicely. I found a birth registration for a. John L Richards, mother's name Richards, for Q4 in Islington which matches well.

I'm mindful that the birth of the illegitimate son is exactly 100 years ago tomorrow - given I'm seeing my friend on Thursday I'll need to handle this one sensitively.


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Re: Violet Richards, b.1896 - any thoughts?

Postby JaneyH » Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:50 pm

Working on the basis that the first name of Violet's father on her baptism record is WILLIAM and not WILMAN (as transcribed on Ancestry) I think I may have found the family in the 1891 Census.

There's a William Richards (38) with wife Mary Ann (37) and children Herbert (7), Jane (4) and Thomas (1) in the parish of St. Luke, City Road - the right area geographically and with daughter Jane (sister to Violet) linking well from the workhouse admissions that ianbee located. The reference is RG12, piece 232, folio 99, page 42. Any thoughts?
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Re: Violet Richards, b.1896 - any thoughts?

Postby ianbee » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:51 pm

That looks like it could be them.
There are a couple of possible baptisms
Thomas William Richards, 16 May 1890, at St Luke (address is 49 Helmet Row, as in 1891 census)
Alice Amelia Richards, 4 Sep 1892, at St Matthew, City Road

In 1911 Herbert Richards, Nephew, 29, is with Charles and Harriet Fry in Shoreditch. Harriet Fry is certainly proving useful.

In the London Poor Law and Board of Guardian Records on ancestry under (browse) Hackney/Shoreditch/Register of Children is "Other Registers of Paupers, 1898-1904",
which is SHBG/02, Report on Children Chargeable, Jan 1898 - Dec 1904
folio 68 (image 81 of 110)
Violet + Alice Richards at Cottage Homes
They are orphaned
admitted 28th Decr 1899
cause - Death of father + illness of mother (since dead)
parents - Father William, dead 19.9.99
Mother Mary Ann died S'ditch Infirmary 2nd January 1900
Last known residence - 10 Branch Place
Aunt Mrs Fry 14 Branch Place
Sister Jane 12 Tottenham Rd Dalston

It says 4 years old on admission (Violet)
" ? born 1st Jany 1895"
" ? born 1892"
I can't see a Violet Richards birth anywhere in London/Middlesex in 1894 and 1895, there are two in March qtr 1896, both out of area in west London, then your Violet in June in Holborn.
So I think they have just guessed at Violet's age. Father is William, and it does seem right. But it strikes a slight note of caution, perhaps.
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Re: Violet Richards, b.1896 - any thoughts?

Postby JaneyH » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:51 pm

Wow! Thanks Ian (again). I'm away from home so won't have time to look at those new records in detail before seeing the friend whose family it is tomorrow evening. In the meantime I think I'll give him what I've written up so far then email an update next week.


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