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A problem shared is a problem halved. Post your brick walls here and see whether you can offer advice to others
Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:40 pm
To the end and beyond - I think.
Not certain of this because I'm relying on memory but I saw a tree on Ancestry that mentions either Augustus or Adolphus. He went out to Australia and there must be family involvement because there's a picture of him. The index to his death out there gives the full name of his mother and it is, I think, Esther. So they certainly thought that his mother's name was Esther. What he thought is another matter, of course.
I do keep worrying that I've made some dreadful assumption somewhere. But I don't know where.
Of course, getting some birth certificates would be important. I do wonder about the Cheatham children - did their descendants go around thinking that they were Cheatham or Helsden?
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Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:26 pm
This is listed as a marriage, not just banns--perhaps it will help:
Name: George Frederick Helsden
Event Type: Marriage
Event Date: 1846
Event Place: Devon
Birth Year (Estimated):
Spouse's Name: Esther Magee
Digital Folder Number: 004634232
Citing this Record:
"England, Devon, Parish Registers, 1538-1912," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KC94-4HL
: 4 November 2017), George Frederick Helsden and Esther Magee, 1846, Marriage; from "Church of England parish registers 1538-1911," database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com
: n.d.); citing Devon, archive reference , images provided by FamilySearch International.
Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:32 pm
Our Great Grandfather was Adolphus Rodney Helsden and he emigrated when his wife, Jane Waller died, he abandoned his two children, so our Grandfather brought himself and his sister up alone. Herein lies our problem, because our grandfather had no contact with his father, the family history is sketchy to say the least. We have always been under the impression that Esther was our great great grandmother but we are now thinking maybe it is Charlotte! Every corner we turn seems to lead to another blind alley. We can’t find any evidence of George Frederick and his family prior to his navy records and not much evidence after either. You have all given so much help and ideas we are amazed! We just wish we could find James, his wife and GFHs siblings (assuming there are some) we have tried so many sites and emailed so many people.
Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:00 am
Some form of marriage must have seemed desirable in 1856 because of the imminent arrival of son Charles (1871 Census-'hidden' on Ancestry because surname transcribed as Hetsden).
HELSDEN, CHARLES EDWARD MAGGEE
GRO Reference: 1856 D Quarter in LEIDEN & WINSTREE UNION Volume 04A Page 228
Possibly before that George and Charlotte had lived as man and wife after death of Esther?
Possibly Charlotte genuinely believed herself a widow but could not provide proof of her first husband's death? And how aware were people of the prohibition on a man marrying his deceased wife's sister?
Birth certificates for children (beginning with Charles) may be helpful? Certainly hard to escape the conclusion that Charlotte Cheatham nee Magee simply took her late sister's identity, but worth pinpointing exactly when.Possibly at a point where she might need to prove she was legally George's wife?
(If this all seems farfetched I have an example in my extended tree where as late as 1915 a woman entered into a second marriage with a man in the same town, then went back to first husband with daughter of second 'marriage'!)
As well as Charlotte Esther we have
HELSDEN, ALFRED PETER MAGEE
GRO Reference: 1864 J Quarter in EASTRY Volume 02A Page 737
(died April 1870)
HELSDEN, GEORGE ALFRED MAGEE
GRO Reference: 1858 D Quarter in TENDRING Volume 04A Page 191
Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:37 am
Re the Deceased Wife's Sister Prohibition - it was a long standing prohibition, that much can be said. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deceased_Wife%27s_Sister%27s_Marriage_Act_1907
However, I have to say that I've seen it ignored many times... I think that there was even one case where I couldn't believe that the parish priest didn't know what was going on.
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Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:45 am
Yes I too resorted to Wikipedia.Which did raise the interesting possibility that George and Charlotte aka Esther might have married overseas, though given the numerous births (at home) this seems implausible.What is perhaps most surprising about the banns is that they were read in the Magee family's home territory where as has been said it might be expected that someone would have known.(I can't access them, is George listed as being of the parish too?).
In this instance one can certainly see why the issue was hotly debated.Charlotte is presumably left near destitute with her Cheetham children after the death (or disappearance?) of Thomas Cheetham and George, who has already supported her financially, is in need of a wife as he settles down to life on shore.
The solution is 'obvious'...
Moving away from their home area certainly facilitated a de facto solution but leaves us with the mystery of the name change.
I may be wrong but is it likely they actually had a piece of paper in their possession??
Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:59 am
Ah I see Charles Edward Helsden followed his father into the Navy.http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.u ... r/D7949281
Could his enlistment be the point at which his mother decided to legitimise him by changing her name???
in any case the fact that we now have his precise birthdate lends credence to the idea that it was awareness of her pregnancy that led George and Charlotte to take the first steps towards marriage in mid 1856.
Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:37 am
As to what the Cheetham children believed...
Can't spot Martha but Frederick seems to have considered himself a Helsden (and I suppose may have been). He married Ann Burgess in 1869 in Liverpool (age on 19, GFH recorded as father ) and died in London in 1916, having apparently (National Probate Calendar) had a reasonably successful career.
Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:15 pm
Thank you all we feel extremely privileged to have your help and thoughts, to be frank we didn't know that there were people out there that would give there time and experience to help us out of this blind alley without even knowing our family.
You have certainly given us some areas to investigate, but could I please add that I believe I found a lead on a sibling of GFH, the entry said "Sibling to GFH was Maria Helsden" with the father James. Unfortunately like some of you I don't sleep very well and this happened around 3:30 am and I am embarrassed to say that try as I may, for the life of me I cannot remember where I found it.
The area we have been concentrating on of late is GFH father James as the entry on GFH marriage is as a mariner but again the trail goes cold, we keep asking ourselves where did the family come from in 1822 where did they go with a new born!!
Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:01 am
Other people's brick walls can be very instructive! Coincidentally one of my many is a mariner named James, probably around the same age as yours (born 1790), I know where he came from but I have no idea where he went to!
Not a direct ancestor but possibly had a pivotal part in family story.
Keep hoping someone is going to post here about some obscure set of early 19th century naval records that may help both of us.
Until then: I did lie awake briefly last night (does genealogy cause or cure insomnia?) reflecting that wherever GFH was born his baptism (assuming it occurred at all) would almost certainly have taken place back 'home' in England.A branch of our family that were sailors (not i think RN or Merchant Navy) had a lot of children baptised very late, sometimes immediately prior to marriage.I suspect not all clergy asked/checked whether people presenting for marriage had been baptised.
I find the early 19th century especially challenging because if you think you have found someone there are not enough cross checks to be sure.Add to this the obvious point that everything GFH said /claimed about his birth was what he had been told. By the time he married he might not have seen his father for years (if at all). I noticed in a later census he said he was born in the Bay of Biscay (rather than off the Tagus).Not a huge discrepancy, just interesting. Did wives of non officers in the Navy travel with husbands?
Without more evidence of what 'at sea' and 'mariner' might mean, what remains is vaguer things like prevalence of the name Helsden/Helsdon.It's very tempting to hone in on Norfolk but could the name show up on Ancestry mainly in Norfolk (for the earlier period) because those are the records that survive?(I have the same problem with Irish ancestors).
Certainly one can find possibilities for George, James and indeed Maria in a small area of Norfolk.But 'proving' they are 'yours' is another matter.
Usually I get some help from names chosen for children (which is why the later stuff might help you locate siblings and mother of GFH).But I'm not seeing any patterns here (and unfortunately not much is known about the Magees either!).
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