Author Topic: "Boarding out" children from workhouses  (Read 1109 times)

Offline cati

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Re: "Boarding out" children from workhouses
« Reply #9 on: Wednesday 03 June 20 20:21 BST (UK) »
Thanks for all your help!

I've searched the births at Northwich workhouse but there's no record of a Martha Ann Harding, and as she was fostered I'm not sure if this was her birth name, or one given to her by her adoptive parents. Will have to check the account records to see if there's mention of her parents there.

I'm guessing it would be common for a couple to name an adoptive baby, as it looks like she was only about a year old when baptised - it's also complicated by having 2 different dates of birth. Her gravestone gives her birthday as 17th April 1881, but throughout her life she gave it as 9th October 1882. According to older family members she never mentioned being adopted, so I'm not sure if she even knew.

I wonder whether 9 October 1882 was when she was adopted? It may be that her foster/adoptive parents regarded the date when she became a member of their family as her "birthday".

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Offline chempat

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Re: "Boarding out" children from workhouses
« Reply #10 on: Thursday 04 June 20 07:28 BST (UK) »
Just putting that baptism:

Her birth date on gravestone - which family member provided it, and why that date?
Her birth date throughout life - is that from memories of family members as to when they celebrated her birthday?  Or 1939 census?

Offline chempat

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Re: "Boarding out" children from workhouses
« Reply #11 on: Thursday 04 June 20 07:44 BST (UK) »
Is this her death?
Deaths June quarter  1941
 Martha A Thompson age 58 at Crewe

Referred to as death of Martha Ann Thompson in civilian war deaths, wife of Arthur Thompson, of 11 Wyndham Road, Abergavenny, on 8th April 1941 at 103 Earle Street, from a family tree.

If her gravestone says 17/04/1881 then she would have been 59 at death.  Person who supplied information for death certificate thought she was born October 1882?  Person who supplied gravestone thought 1881?


Offline chempat

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Re: "Boarding out" children from workhouses
« Reply #12 on: Thursday 04 June 20 08:04 BST (UK) »
The marriage in 1916 of Martha Ann to Arthur Thompson (referred to as a khaki wedding,) in Sandwich news of Nantwich newspaper, gives information on his parents, but not hers.  Would that be because both of hers were dead, or because she did not acknowledge them?  No other marriages on that page to compare.

Looked up more marriages in that paper and year, others do not always mention at least both fathers, they do name one but not the other.  So not unusual.

Offline JammyGem

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Re: "Boarding out" children from workhouses
« Reply #13 on: Saturday 06 June 20 17:52 BST (UK) »
chempat - Thank you so much again for your help and digging into this!
I'm not sure about the baptism to be honest, I think that perhaps the vicar was just being officious as you say, as they didn't have any family in the area, so it's unlikely that she was related to them. I guess she may have been a Harding at birth, but it does seem a big coincidence to have the same surname!

The 9th October 1882 birthday comes from the 1939 register. I'm not sure who would have provided the birthday on her gravestone - although the WWII Civilian Deaths record mentions her husband Arthur, they had been estranged for some time when she died. I would presume that it would have been one of her children who gave it, or perhaps even her sister-in-law. Martha was living with her husband's brother Egbert and his wife (also called Martha Ann) at 103 Earle Street when their house was hit by a bomb, killing both Martha and Egbert. There's a whole big mystery in the family as to why her and Arthur separated, as after her death he just disappeared and none of the family heard from him again. I've found his recruitment records from 1915 and apparently he gave false information when signing up, and then deserted a few months later, so we think that possibly had something to do with it.

Her father Henry died in 1893, but her mother Martha died a year after the wedding, so she should still have been around. In the 1911 census she does say that she had 0 children from her marriage, but I don't know whether this is because Martha was adopted, or whether they had disowned each other.

PrawnCocktail - Thank you so much! I will look further into this, as I think you might be on to something there!

Offline julieproctor61

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Re: "Boarding out" children from workhouses
« Reply #14 on: Monday 08 June 20 14:22 BST (UK) »
Eggbert and his wife are at Earle St in 1939, with his wife's date of birth recorded as 17/04/81, so looks like it got mixed up somehow and put on the gravestone
SPICER, HARRIS    Coventry
HUNTLEY     Wiltshire, Monmouthshire
GARDNER    Stoneleigh, Gloucestershire
HOLMES      Warwickshire
COX           Daventry, Coventry, Rugby
HALES        Stockton, Southam

Offline JammyGem

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Re: "Boarding out" children from workhouses
« Reply #15 on: Monday 08 June 20 14:28 BST (UK) »
Eggbert and his wife are at Earle St in 1939, with his wife's date of birth recorded as 17/04/81, so looks like it got mixed up somehow and put on the gravestone

Ah, that's that mystery solved then, thank you. Makes sense really!

Offline jorose

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Re: "Boarding out" children from workhouses
« Reply #16 on: Tuesday 09 June 20 02:57 BST (UK) »
http://www.workhouses.org.uk/boardingout/
 - Technically, she could not have been boarded out. This was only for children between the age of 2 and 10 and it seems she was only a few months old. Also, if she had been through the workhouse I think they would have baptised her while in their care with her birth details.

Despite the use of the term "foster parents" at baptism, this feels more like a straight-forward adoption. Could well have been privately arranged - either through families knowing somebody who needed a good home for an illegitimate or orphaned child, or even newspaper advertisements.  The attached clippings from newspapers of the 1880s give an idea.

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XS66-NGF
 - in 1901 her birth is Winsford (as "Annie Harding"), so perhaps she was born in the area? Or was simply listed that as that is where she was baptised.

https://genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/10355/what-hidden-clues-are-there-in-the-gro-indexes-of-births-and-deaths/10356
 - now, if we were to look at births in Northwich district, we know that the page number for the birth of "Martha Ann Harding" should be in the same page range as other children registered in that subdistrict around the same time.

From the Wharton christenings, birth dates are not given, but there is a Mary Elizabeth Williams who was christened Nov 29 and the matching birth reference is 8a 277.  Among those who share this reference is Edward Kendrick Francis Walsh, who according to the 1939 census was born 11 October 1882.

Pages are by registration date not birthdate but this suggests that a birth reference near this page is what we're looking for.  So then I started looking for illegitimate girls registered about the same time who might have become "Martha Ann Harding".

These two seem to be the main candidates (unless she was born in another area and brought to Wharton):
Annie Joynson (page 274) - possibly the girl boarding with the Threadgold family in Over, Cheshire in 1891, but not with them by 1901.
Sarah Ellen Clough (page 277) - absolutely no sign of her that I can find after this.
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Offline jonw65

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Re: "Boarding out" children from workhouses
« Reply #17 on: Tuesday 09 June 20 08:44 BST (UK) »
But 1891 has Sarah E Clough, 8, born Cheshire Winsford, up in Durham.
Apparently granddaughter to Thomas and Sarah Brooks
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:WF86-MT2

Births for Over sub-dist in Northwich, Dec 1882, start on page 271 (vol 8a) in the GRO index.

Henry and Martha Harding were in Winsford in the 1881 census, Henry a butcher
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q272-JSFY