Moderator Control Panel ]

Possible wild goose-chase to India and back ...

A problem shared is a problem halved. Post your brick walls here and see whether you can offer advice to others

Possible wild goose-chase to India and back ...

Postby JaneyH » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:14 pm

I've just been looking at the 1861 Census for an ancestor of mine: John Denniss (aged 36, a carpenter); his wife Mary (35) and children Fanny Squire Denniss (12), John Osmer Denniss (10), Squire Denniss (8), Frederick William Denniss (6) and Kate Brookes Denniss (1). They live at River Terrace, St. Neot's, Huntingdonshire and the reference is piece 981, folio 8, page 9.

I was curious to see that the place of birth for daughter Kate was transcribed as "E I. Covinbatore, Middlesex" on Ancestry. Switching to FMP I found the transcription as "Coimbatore, Madras, East Indies". This at least is a real place, although a strange one for a small-town carpenter to have traveled to. Even more tantalising is that I've found a baptism in the India Office Records on FMP for a Kate Dennis with parents John and Mary in 1860 in St. John, Madras. (There is a place-name for the baptism register entry but I can't make it out.) I'm reasonably comfortable that the middle name of Brookes is not shown, but I am concerned with the father's occupation, which is "Inspector, Railway Department" ... my John Denniss was a carpenter.

In terms of surnames the second 's' is sometimes missing from Denniss, and Squire is John's mother's maiden name and used by several of my Denniss ancestors. I don't know where Brookes comes in; John's wife Mary was Osmotherly before she married.

I guess that I'm after an opinion as to whether the baptism ties up, and then any thoughts as to the likelihood of a carpenter travelling to India and back, presumably with his wife and family. I note that there are two-year gaps between the older children and then a five-year gap before Kate was born, which could signify a change in family circumstances. Sadly Kate died in 1863, so there is little else to go on.
User avatar
JaneyH
 
Posts: 563
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:35 pm

Re: Possible wild goose-chase to India and back ...

Postby Sylcec » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:54 am

The baptism record, ref: IOR N/2/41, fol.192 shows:
Baptism place: Apprapully, Arcot (Others on the same page are at St John's, Bangalore, but as Kate is the first entry on the page, I am sure that her baptism will be at the first place listed)
Date of birth: 2 Oct 1859
Baptised: 9 August 1860
Name: Kate, daughter of John and Mary Denniss
Abode: Apprapully in the Cuddapore District
Occupation: Inspector Railway Department.

There are several reasons why John Denniss may have been in India at this time. One of the most likely is that he may have joined the EIC Army in the previous couple of years (1857 was the year of the Indian mutiny), but then the Brits disbanded the EIC and soldiers were given the opportunity of taking their discharge without penalty, even though they may not have served any discernable time, or transferring to HM Army.
The Indian Railways were growing rapidly at this time and many ex-army men were recruited to various jobs with the railway companies.
This is, I believe the most likely scenario, though he could have been recruited from England directly to work for one of the railway companies.

Have you checked to see if there were any other births in India to this family?
Sylvia
User avatar
Sylcec
 
Posts: 2509
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:36 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Possible wild goose-chase to India and back ...

Postby Sylcec » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:05 am

Also in FMP is the burial of a 12 week old boy: Alfred Charles Denniss, son of J Denniss, Inspector MRC at Palghaut on 20 October 1858. Ref: IOR: N/2/C4, fol.168. No idea where Palghaut is, but somewhere in the Malabar district and MRC would stand for Madras Railway Company.

I have also done a parent search using Familysearch.org, but not found evidence of other children baptised or buried for John and Mary Denniss.

Good hunting!
Sylvia
User avatar
Sylcec
 
Posts: 2509
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:36 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Possible wild goose-chase to India and back ...

Postby MaureenE » Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:00 am

The FIBIS Fibwiki contain a page Madras Railway which indicates the first section of line, from Madras to Arcot, was opened to traffic in 1 July 1856.
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/Madras_Railway

At his [John Denniss's] age, with the number of children he had, perhaps it is more likely he was recruited by the railway, rather than by the Army, to possibly initially work on/supervise work on extension of the railway.

Cheers
Maureen
MaureenE
 
Posts: 197
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:04 am

Re: Possible wild goose-chase to India and back ...

Postby Guy » Sun Jan 01, 2017 8:20 am

Just a thought, could "Inspector MRC" indicate quality control rather than a ticket inspector?

It would be useful to have qualified tradesmen checking construction was up to standard.
As I mentioned just a thought as I have no experience with the workings or development of the MRC.
Cheers
Guy
As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.
Guy
 
Posts: 372
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:56 pm

Re: Possible wild goose-chase to India and back ...

Postby JaneyH » Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:02 am

Many thanks to all - what a little gem I've uncovered! Sylvia, thanks especially for finding the additional child and for helping out with the place-names. While I was fine with St. John's, Bangalore I would never have made sense of Apprapully in Cuddapore district!

To reply to the earlier question, none of the other children listed on the 1861 Census were born in India (although Sylvia has since found one who was born there and died as an infant). Interestingly, rolling forward to the 1871 Census I've found that eldest daughter Fanny Squire Denniss (now aged 22) is listed as a "companion" to a Louisa Fenwick, who is a "gentlewoman annuitant" ... born in India (British subject). The Indian connection back home in England could be a coincidence, but I do wonder whether to be "companion" to a lady of independent means would imply some degree of friendship/trust over and above being a servant. (A servant is also listed in the same household.)


Sent from my iPad using WDYTYA Forum
User avatar
JaneyH
 
Posts: 563
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:35 pm

Re: Possible wild goose-chase to India and back ...

Postby ianbee » Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:36 am

Birth of daughter, 2nd October, of Mrs. J. Denniss, at Combatore, East Indies, (late of St. Neots)
in Hertfordshire Express and General Advertiser, Saturday 10 December 1859
ianbee
 
Posts: 2289
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:51 pm

Re: Possible wild goose-chase to India and back ...

Postby Sylcec » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:08 am

As Guy raised the question, almost certainly Mr Denniss was NOT a ticket inspector, but a carriageworks or rolling stock inspector - for quality control or maintenance purposes.
User avatar
Sylcec
 
Posts: 2509
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:36 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia


Return to General research queries


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests