Joseph Samuel Allen, bootmaker and gardener

Joseph Samuel Allen was one of Ari’s 4x great-grandfathers. He was born on 2 April 1843 in Parkstone, Dorset, the fourth child and third son of Joseph Allen and Mary Anne Tilley.

His baptism took place on 11 June, at Skinner Street Congregational Church in Poole.


This building is the last remaining eighteenth-century church in Poole, “constructed at a cost of £1,400. This was 1777, one year after America declared independence, 12 years before heads would roll in the French Revolution, and three decades before a rough stretch of heathland to the east of Poole would start life as Bournemouth.” (Lots more details and photos here.)

His first appearance in the UK census was in 1851, when the family were living in Parkstone. Joseph’s father was working as a shoemaker.

In 1861 they were living on Christchurch Road in Parkstone. Joseph was now eighteen and a labourer, possibly in the pottery (can’t quite read his occupation):

Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 11.40.55
1861 census,

In 1868 he married Elizabeth Butt. By this time, he had become a shoemaker like his father:

Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 11.49.21
Marriage certificate, Joseph Samuel Allen and Elizabeth Butt, 16 April 1868, Canford Magna

His older brother Walter was one of the witnesses. The wedding took place at the church in Canford Magna.

Canford Magna parish church

The 1871 census shows Joseph as the head of the family, aged twenty-eight, and a bootmaker. They have two children and are living at Back Lane in Parkstone.

In 1881 Joseph is still a bootmaker. They are now at 4 Laurel Cottage, in Sloop Lane. They have six children, all at school except the baby, Emma Letta.

1891 sees them at 4 Lilac Cottages on North Road. Joseph is forty-nine and a bootmaker. Son William (21) is a gardener, daughter Susan (17) is a draper’s assistant, Ida (16) is a domestic servant, Reginald (14) is a carpenter’s apprentice. Emma (11), Mary (9), Floris (6), and Margaret (4) are at school, and baby Evelyn is seven months old.

By 1901 Joseph has changed his occupation, and the census shows him as a jobbing gardener. They are at the same address and have now been joined by grandchildren Wilfred and Ewart Redmond, children of Joseph and Elizabeth’s daughter Ida, so eleven people in the cottage altogether! We know from the 1911 census that the cottage had five rooms, not counting bathrooms:

Screenshot 2020-07-22 at 11.19.03

In 1911 there were six of them in the house, and Joseph was working as a gardener for Poole Borough Council.

Screenshot 2020-07-22 at 11.21.18
1911 census,

Joseph died on 16 Feb 1918 at 4 Lilac Cottages. He was seventy-five, and still working as a gardener. The cause of death was chronic prostatitis. His daughter Margaret was present and registered his death. He did not leave a will, and I don’t know where he was buried.

Ari, this is how you are related to Joseph:

Screenshot 2020-07-22 at 11.48.30

Ann Best, Wimborne Minster, Dorset

Ari’s 7 great-grandmother, Ann Best, was born in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, in about 1759. (I have found a possible baptism in 1757, with parents Benjamin and Anne, but not yet sure if this is her.)

Books in the Chained Library, Wimborne Minster

On 4 May 1779, Ann married labourer Henry Allen of Corfe Mullen at St Cuthberga’s in Wimborne Minster, after banns were read on three Saturdays in April.

Screen Shot 2019-10-06 at 18.32.39.png
Dorset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812,

There followed the births of thirteen children, all baptised in Corfe Mullen:

1780: Henry; 1781: Jean; 1782: James; 1784: Mary; 1786: Michael; 1787: Thomas; 1790: John; 1792: Anne; 1794: Jane; 1796: Thomas; 1799: William; 1801: Robert; and 1804: Catherine.

Jean died at just a month old, and the first Thomas died at the age of four.

Ann lived long enough to appear in the 1841 census, where she was recorded living in Corfe Mullen, aged 80:

Screen Shot 2019-10-06 at 18.50.54

At four o’clock in the afternoon of 25 Aug 1841, she died of old age, and she was buried at St Hubert’s in Corfe Mullen on the 29th.

Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 14.59.44.png

Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 15.03.32.png
Dorset, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813–2010


Ari, this is how you are related to Ann:

Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 15.07.55


Elizabeth Butt of Christchurch

Elizabeth Butt was born on 27 July 1846 in Christchurch, Dorset.

Sundial Cottage, Christchurch (not where she lived, but very pretty, and for sale!)

She was the daughter of William Thomas Butt and Fanny Briant. We know that her mother died when she was just a baby. At the age of four, she was living with her grandmother Elizabeth (her father’s mother), in Mill Lane, Christchurch.

I’m not sure where she was in 1861, but by 1868 she had moved to Parkstone, Dorset. She married a shoemaker, Joseph Samuel Allen, in Canford Magna, Dorset, on 6 April 1868. This village is also known as Great Canford, and is on the River Stour.


The 1871 census shows them living in Back Lane, Parkstone, with the first two of their ten children: Elizabeth Frances Mary (2) and William Joseph (1).

In 1881 they are at 4 Laurel Cottages in Sloop Lane. Elizabeth was listed as “boot maker’s wife” which was then crossed out (they were only supposed to list women by their own occupation, not their husband’s). By now, four more children had been born: Susan Emma (7); Ida (5), Reginald Woodford (4) and Emma Letta (1).

By the time of the 1891 census, Elizabeth was 44. Several of the chidren were now working (William as a gardener, Susan as a draper’s assistant, Ida as a domestic servant, and Reginald as a carpenter’s apprentice). The four youngest were Mary Maud, Floris, Margaret and seven-month-old Evelyn. They had moved to 4 Lilac Cottage in North Road.

They were still at this address in 1901, now with six children still at home, and also Ida’s newborn baby Ewart. Joseph and two of his sons were now working as gardeners.

Elizabeth lived until the age of 95, so we have a record of her in the 1939 Register, with her daughter Margaret, a dressmaker.

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 16.26.12.png

Ari, this is how you are related to Elizabeth:

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 16.20.08


Mary Anne Tilley

One of Ari’s ancestors (a 4x great-grandmother) was Mary Anne Tilley. Her christening record at St James in Poole helpfully gives her date of birth: 9 February 1812 (in the Dorset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812 collection on

The magnificent Georgian interior of St James comes as something of a surprise to visitors who know little of its history. Its building in 1819–21 resulted from the old parish church having deteriorated beyond repair, and the hazard to public health of the quantity of human remains in the vault beneath. Some of the old memorial tablets from the old building were transferred to the new church.
An unusual feature of the interior are the pine columns in groups of four that support the vaulted roof. They were brought over from Newfoundland, probably on the decks of Poole ships engaged in the Newfoundland trade.

Her parents were Henry and Hannah Tilley. After the christening, the first record we have of Mary Anne is her marriage on 16 December 1834 to Joseph Allen. The marriage took place at Kinson, which was a chapelry in the parish of Canford Magna and is now a suburb of Bournemouth. Mary Anne’s brother Samuel Tilley was a witness to the marriage, as was Elizabeth Allen, possibly a sister of Joseph’s.

In the 1841 census they are living in Christchurch Rd, Parkstone, with their children Sarah Ann (5), Alfred Augustus (3), and 9-month-old Walter Sydna. By 1851, four more children have been born: Joseph Samuel (7), Justin Edward (5), Emily Leodine (3), and Elizabeth Mary (10 months). An aunt of Joseph’s, Elizabeth Redway (75), is also living with the family.

By 1861 their youngest child Edwin Frederick has been born, Sarah Ann has married and had a child of her own, and Alfred has also married and left home. In the 1871 census Mary Anne is staying with Sarah Ann and her family in Christchurch, and she is also listed there as a visitor in the 1881 census, after the death of her husband Joseph in 1876.

Mary Anne died in 1886 and was buried on 4 February, probably in St James’ churchyard, Poole.

Re-erected gravestones in old burial ground, alongside West Street. The burial ground replaced an earlier one in St James’ churchyard, which was prone to flooding, with the risk of corpses being resurrected.

Ari, this is how you are related to Mary Anne:

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 10.50.17