Author Topic: Miss Wyrley Birch, Matron of Home for Unmarried Mothers, Bury St Edmunds  (Read 4601 times)

Offline Brandy Snap

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Miss Wyrley Birch, Matron of Home for Unmarried Mothers, Bury St Edmunds
« on: Wednesday 11 April 12 01:48 BST (UK) »
Hi, I'm new to this site and I'm searching for information on a Miss Wyrley Birch who was the Matron of a Home for Unmarried Mothers, Bury St Edmunds in 1914.   I Googled her and this site came up.   When I clicked on it, there was a message from someone from several years ago saying they had documents about her, so I registered but am now stuck.   Can anyone help me please?

Offline Ruskie

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Re: Miss Wyrley Birch, Matron of Home for Unmarried Mothers, Bury St Edmunds
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 11 April 12 02:42 BST (UK) »
Welcome to rootschat BrandySnap. I will have a look in a minute to see if I can help. I'll be back.  ;)


Offline Ruskie

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Re: Miss Wyrley Birch, Matron of Home for Unmarried Mothers, Bury St Edmunds
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 11 April 12 03:43 BST (UK) »
To find a post of rootschat, you go to the bar at the top of the page and click on "Search". You can then enter any key words to find previous posts on the subject.

The only mention of Matron Birch is this post.

I don't know if this is what you are referring to as there is no mention of any documents relating to Miss Birch.  :-\

However I googled and found that someone on rootsweb was searching for information about her in 2005, but she received no replies. Rootsweb is a completely different site.
http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/ENG-BLACK-COUNTRY/2005-06/1119098079
You can always try her email address as per the post, to see if it is still active.

We still may be able to help you search for Miss Birch though. Do you already have any information about her? Is there anything specific you would like to find out about her?

Offline Annette7

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Re: Miss Wyrley Birch, Matron of Home for Unmarried Mothers, Bury St Edmunds
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 12 April 12 01:03 BST (UK) »
I think the lady in question is a Miss Amy Wyrley Birch who is listed in 'Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaelogy & History' - is shown in a List of Members 1917 vii - Amy Wyrley-Birch of 83 Whiting Street, Bury St. Edmunds.   Amy was born Amy Louisa Birch in 1865 at Watton, Norfolk - she died as Amy L. W. Birch Dec.qtr.1954 Eton, Bucks.   The surname is often shown as Wyrley-Birch in records.   

83 Whiting Street now appears to be a posh B & B - googling shows it was a 14C Counting House.   Whether this address was the address of the Home for Unmarried Mothers in 1914 I have no idea - certainly it was Amy's address in 1917.

She came from a well-to-do family - her father was Wyrley Wyrley Birch bc.1837 Lincolnshire, d.1900 - family home was Wretham Hall, Norfolk.   W W Birch was the son of a George Wyrley Birch b.1805 London, Magistrate and Farmer, who in turn was son of Wyrley Birch 1781-1866 who was also a Magistrate and High Sheriff of Norfolk in 1848.   He was the only son of George Birch Esq. and was born at Hamstead Hall, Handsworth, Staffordshire.

Found most of this on Google and there are various snippets about the family.

Feel sure that Amy is the lady in question.   In 1911 still living with her widowed mother in Norfolk though dropped 5 years off her age - her mother died 1914 which maybe precipitated her moving to Bury St Edmunds.

Annette 

 
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Scotland - Spence, Horne, Cowan, Moffat
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Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk


Offline Annette7

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Re: Miss Wyrley Birch, Matron of Home for Unmarried Mothers, Bury St Edmunds
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 12 April 12 01:13 BST (UK) »
The only thing I can find on Rootschat itself is a thread titled Wyrley-Birch - the link being:

www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=6884.0

Someone has documents relating to Hamstead Hall.

Annette
Scopes (One-Name Study - Worldwide)
Suffolk - Grist, Knights, Bullenthorpe, Watcham
Scotland - Spence, Horne, Cowan, Moffat
London -  Monk

Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.   Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.   Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Census Information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Ruskie

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Re: Miss Wyrley Birch, Matron of Home for Unmarried Mothers, Bury St Edmunds
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 12 April 12 02:15 BST (UK) »
Excellent detective work Annette. I did wonder why Matron Birch didn't appear on the 1911 when I entered first name Wyrley and last name Birch.   ::) .... and virtually no google results.

Looking at what you've found, I'm sure Amy must be the lady in question.

Offline Brandy Snap

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Re: Miss Wyrley Birch, Matron of Home for Unmarried Mothers, Bury St Edmunds
« Reply #6 on: Friday 13 April 12 01:03 BST (UK) »
Hello to everyone who has kindly posted messages for me.   Yes it was the message about the documents in the tin box etc. that I had found in my earlier search.   And yes I did find there was another lady also looking for information on the Home for Unmarried Mothers and attempted to contact her.

I should explain the reason I am looking.   My Father was born at a Home for Unmarried Mothers in Bury St Edmunds run by a Miss Wyrley Birch, who became his Godmother.   I only discovered this when my Father died and I found some correspondence.   He had needed a birth certificate in the 1950's in order to belong to the work pension fund.   He knew his birth date and the above brief details, and a copy of his birth certificate was sent to him accordingly.   There was no Father's name, and his own name was not the name he had grown up with.   I gather, from this correspondence, that my Father was unsuccessful in searching for his biological parents, and he retained the name he was brought up with despite it being different to that on his birth certificate.   The Christian name on his birth certificate became his surname, the surname on the birth certificate disappeared altogether, and the middle name became his Christian name.

If I could explain further, the Home for Unmarried Mothers was in fact in Mustow Street, Bury St Edmunds and Miss Wyrley Birch actually lived in nearby Angel Hill.   My Father was born in 1914.   He remained at the Home until he was two years old, when he was suddenly removed from the Home by an eminent (knighted) bacteriologist and his wife (Sir and Lady) who looked after him and paid for his private schooling.   At the end of his school days it was explained to him that he hadn't actually been adopted - he was only a Ward - and he must now make his own way in the world and not come home any more.

Amongst my Father's possessions was just a short form of birth certificate with just his Mother's name and no other details.   Someone helped me to obtain the full birth certificate, and from this information, and by an incredible stroke of luck, I found his biological Mother's family.   Everything was verified and they have accepted me into their family, feeling just as intrigued about the whole thing as I was, as no one knew his Mother had had a child at that time.   She was in domestic service so would have lived away from home.   They have invited me several times for a day out to show me where my Grandmother used to live, where she went to school and worked etc.   So I could at last fill in my Father's Mother on my Family Tree.   I wished so much I could also fill in his Father.

Then we discovered an incredible coincidence.   My newly discovered Grandmother's Aunt ran a lodging house for students at Cambridge University, and amongst the students who lived there was the son of the couple who came to take my Father in 1916.   We know this as there are records of the students staying there.   My Grandmother apparently used to be a frequent visitor to this lodging house.    Tragically, this son was killed in the War in 1916 and shortly after his death my Father was taken from the Home as a Ward by the deceased young man's parents.

So the reason for my request for help is does anyone know if it is possible to obtain records of the babies looked after at the Home including information on who paid the fees?   I was able to contact descendants of the family who took my Father in, and they too think that everything points to their Uncle being my Grandfather, but they have no paperwork which proves it.   Presumably the deceased young man (if he was the Father)  left a Will asking his parents to look after his son should he be killed in the war?   I can't think what else I can do except hope that there are some records somewhere verifying who my Father's biological Father was.

I should dearly love to finally fill in the final piece of the jigsaw and give my Father a Father on the Family Tree!

Incidentally, the Christian name of my Father and the Christian name of the deceased young man were the same.




Offline Ruskie

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Re: Miss Wyrley Birch, Matron of Home for Unmarried Mothers, Bury St Edmunds
« Reply #7 on: Friday 13 April 12 03:22 BST (UK) »
Gosh Brandy Snap, what a fascinating story! It sounds like the stuff of TV programmes. I hope your father had a good life despite the obvious sadness.

You've done a lot of excellent detective work and seem to have been very thorough and covered every angle in your research. I can clearly see why you suspect that the deceased son of the wealthy family may be the father - I think I would have come to that same conclusion. It really wouldn't make any logical sense that the family took your 2 year old father into their care only until he completed his education.

I am unable to help with anything specific related to the search, but I have a few thoughts:

There is every likelihood that your grandmother and the son of the wealthy couple met at this lodging house in Cambridge. I take it that the dates tie in? He was lodging there when your grandmother would have visited?

It must have been dreadful for your father to be told not to return home after he had completed his education. I take it he was a boarder?

I note that you have traced family of the deceased young man. If so, I am wondering if a DNA test might reveal something? I am not that au fait with DNA but I believe you will need to find male descendants - so, a male descendant of the brother who you suspect may be your grandfather. I think that some tests may be avialable via the female line too, so you would need to do some research about this. There are many discussions about DNA here on rootschat, but you would have to wade through a lot of irrelevant discussions. As you have a specific connection that you want to find, you could start a new post specifically seeking advice and what test would be suitable for you to confirm this family connection THere are some very knowledgable people here who should be able to advise you. You may like to just cut and paste most of your last post and use it as a basis for starting a new thread. Do you think you may be able to pursuade a family member of the wealthy family to do a DNA test? Are you a male or do you have a brother?

I would look for a will for the deceased young man, though as he was so young he may not have written one.

As the people you are researching are deceased, you can mention their names if you wish.

Regarding your original question - I'm not sure if this is possible, but have you tried looking for records of the Home for Unmarried mothers? Do you know when this home closed down, or when it morphed into something else? Local archives may have records? As your father was not only born there, but also lived there for two years, there should have been some records kept. It is a matter of finding where they are today, if they survive. Maybe Miss Wyrley Birch was your father's godmother because as a member of staff she happened to be present when your father was christened. Are you thinking that she may have known the family who became his benefactors? This is possible too, as it seems that she also came from a wealthy local family, and the families may have know eachother.

A question - was your father's original first name the same as the deceased young man's first name? (I'm a bit confused as you said his names were swapped around). How old was your father when he was christened?

Sorry my reply is a bit of a mish mash, but I just wrote down my thoughts as they came to me. I hope you can follow.

I reckon that DNA would be the best route to go down.  ;) Best of luck with it, and please let us know how you get on.

Offline MET128

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Re: Home for Unmarried Mothers, Bury St Edmunds
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 19 October 16 11:53 BST (UK) »
Hello,

Could anyone tell me how I could find out more about this home?

I think it is possible my grandfather was born there. His name was Cyril Tanner. His birth registration lists his birth as being in Bury St Edmunds with mothers maiden name Tanner (which implies she was unmarried).

Could anyone help me to trace his family tree?