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Wife with two names?

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Wife with two names?

Postby Brian Chatters » Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:16 pm

In researching a distant relative, William John Knight, who was a variety artiste using the name William Lorenzi, I have come upon a mystery concerning his wife.
I have copies of William's birth, marriage and death certificates and these are consistent with respect to his age, his father, his occupation, and his wife's name. He married Berth Bailey in 1927 and "Mrs B Knight", his widow, registered his death in 1934. Bertha is listed in the 1939 register living in Croydon (her date of birth is the same as Bertha Bailey who was born in Croydon in 1879). She is a widow and her occupation is recorded as "Wardrobe Mistress Theatre (retired)". The problem is that William's death notice, which appeared in "The Stage" (Trade magazine) a week after his death, identifies his wife as Maudie Bignell. The notice states:

LORENZI – Passed peacefully away January 4, 1934, William John Knight Lorenzi, late of the Sisters Phillips and Brothers Lorenzi, beloved husband of Maudie Bignell. Rest in peace.

The only other reference that I have found for Maudie is a further notice placed in "The Stage" in 1937:

Friends of Mrs Maude Bignell (Lorenzi) will be sorry to hear that she is lying seriously ill in Dulwich Hospital, H2 Ward, where she will be pleased to hear from friends.

The only explanation that I can come up with is that Maudie Bignell was Bertha's stage name although I cannot find any evidence to confirm that she appeared on the stage.

I would like to hear from anyone who has any information about William and Bertha or from anyone who has any other explanation as to why Bertha called herself Maudie.

Brian Chatters
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Re: Wife with two names?

Postby trace » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:37 pm

Might be of interest......

Dundee Evening Telegraph 9 June 1932
....."The Flying Lorenzis" were and interesting family......
One of the girls in the troupe was an English girl, who had married one of the Lorenzi brothers. Maudie Lorenzi was later connected with the famous Lafayette.......
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Re: Wife with two names?

Postby Brian Chatters » Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:11 pm

Trace, thank you, I have seen that article. It was written by an actor, David Keir Gracie, who was reminiscing about his career in the theatres. His meeting with the Lorenzis was about 20 years before the article was written but I think he got some facts mixed up. For example, the Lorenzis were not trapeze artists a that time but the original Lorenzis may have been but it would have been in the 1880s. The Lorenzi troupe which William was part of were comedians. The founder was Frank Lorenzi who had died in 1906. William was performing in revues in 1912. I think my theory that Maudie was the stage name for Bertha is probably correct although I do not believe that she achieved any noticeable success.
Brian Chatters
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Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:38 pm

Re: Wife with two names?

Postby MayHam » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:55 pm

There is a Bertha Knight aged 81 whose death was registered in Croydon in the Jun 1961 quarter.

If she's the same person as your Bertha (Bailey) Knight then clearly Bertha and Maude (Bignell) Knight/Lorenzi were not the same person.

Your William John Knight (Lorenzi) appears to have been born around 1869 according to the Lambeth 1934 death register. I couldn't find a death record for Maude (Bignell) Knight/Lorenzi in Lambeth around 1937.

There are death records for a Maud Knight aged 59 in London City in 1938; Maude Mary Knight aged 58 in Worthing, Sussex in 1939, Maud Knight aged 33 in Surrey Mid-Eastern in 1940; Maud Alberta Knight aged 34 in Chelsea in 1940; and Maude Knight aged 45 in Surrey South-Eastern in 1941 according to the GRO. ... search.asp

The 1939 Register also records a William Knight ca.1885 and Maud A. Knight ca.1885 in Lambeth. Obviously, there were two William Knights of Lambeth. Not sure if that is relevant or not, though.

There was a Maud Bignell living in Lambeth in 1891, aged 5, the daughter of George and Elizabeth.
She may be the same Maud Elizabeth Bignell who died in Lambeth in 1896 aged 7. ... 0032%2f056

There was also a Florence Maude Bignell christened 5 May 1878 in Croydon.
She appeared to marry in either Peter Doe or Fred Lee in Croydon in 1898.
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