Moreover, my ancestors' souls are sustained by the atmosphere of the house, since I answer for them the questions that their lives once left behind. I carve out rough answers as best I can. I have even drawn them on the walls. It is as if a silent, greater family, stretching down the centuries, were peopling the house.

Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

A slow resolution - tracing Sarah Edwards nee Pope and her husband William

When you get to the period between 1800 and 1830, finding the 'right' person becomes much harder. I am struggling with finding more detail about Sarah Pope and William Edwards, my 3 x great grandparents. I found Sarah, as Sarah Edwards, in the 1841 census. She was living with her mother and father, Elizabeth Pope and John Pope and her daughter Rosina at 102 Upper East Smithfield, Wapping. Her age was given as 40, but I am aware that some pretty serious 'rounding off' occurred in that first census. I had already found her marriage to William Edwards on the 26th February 1826 at St Botolph without Aldgate, Middlesex. Probably, the youngest they could have been at marriage was 16 years of age. So she and her husband were most likely born between  1800 and 1810, with her age more likely between 1805 and 1810.

The 1841 census is the only one I have found Sarah in. After that, her surviving daughter Rosina (there were two other daughters who died in infancy) appears in the 1851 census with her grandparents, then onwards married to Mark Jarvis. 

So the question is -  what happened to Sarah? Between 1826 and 1833, she is listed at a few addresses in Tower Hamlets and Stepney. These appear to be rented lodgings, which fits with the fact that her husband, William, was a Merchant seaman, mainly working as a steward and probably absent for years. He may not have been present for the actual baptisms of the children and it is quite in order that his name appears as the father in these circumstances. The obvious possibilities are that she married or moved in with another man after 1841, or died - They do not appear as a couple in any census - that is, recognisable as a couple, right ages, no children or very young children, having had more babies after 1850.

No possible re-marriages for a Sarah Edwards between 1841 and 1851. From the 1851 census, it is of course possible that she moved on, giving ambiguous or false information - no way we can prove that. She does not appear as a witness at her daughter Rosina's marriage and she is not listed as the informant on her parent's death certificates in 1851 and 1854. 

Between 1841 and 1851 there are 9 deaths of a Sarah Edwards in the Stepney/Tower Hamlets - Whitechapel area. When I put matched these with the National Burial Index, 3rd Edition and burials from 'The Genealogist', two deaths, Jan-March 1848 appear possible, one with an age of 42 which could be the best match. However there are 3 deaths in Stepney in other years, 1 in St George in the East, 2 in Whitechapel and 1 in East London. Elizabeth Pope and John Pope were listed as dying in the Stepney registration district, sub district of Shadwell and Wapping so if Sarah was still living with her parents, or nearby, this is the district in which to look.

Ancestry has a "London, England Deaths and Burials" database and a real possibility leaps up from here - a burial 24th January 1847 in St John, Wapping at the age of - 49!  and the residence is Upper East Smithfield - it must be her!.  so she is a bit older than I thought.....
I really need to get that death certificate! William, her merchant seaman husband, could be the one I have found in three crew lists as a steward, working on the barque,  'Marion' under Captain William Orr Campbell. But his age is listed as 32 and 33 between 1843 and 1845. Could he be some 12 years younger than his wife? Its possible.... A death certificate may tell me who the informant was, and seeing that she pre-deceased both of her parents and was living with them before she died, it is likely that one of them is the informant, but if I am really lucky, it may list her husband.

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