Mary Elizabeth Ellen (Nellie) Wheeldon

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Ari’s great-great-grandmother, Nellie Wheeldon, was born on 23 Feb 1911 at 167 Nottingham Road, in Belper, Derbyshire.

Her father, John Edgar Pearson Wheeldon, registered the birth on 3 April. He gave his occupation as blacksmith (journeyman). Nellie’s mother was Elizabeth Anne Murfin.

We have a copy of her birth certificate that was issued for the purposes of unemployment insurance in 1932.

She appeared in the 1911 census at five weeks old:

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1911 census, Ancestry.co.uk

Her christening took place in Wirksworth the following month, by which time the family had moved to Alderwasley:

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813–1916, Ancestry.co.uk

Nellie worked as a winder before her marriage. She married Horace Sims on 27 Feb 1932 at St Peter’s in Belper. Her address at the time was 189 Nottingham Rd, Belper.

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Derby Evening Telegraph, 15 Nov 1941, Findmypast

Nellie’s signature can be seen on the marriage certificate, as well as that of her mother and her brother (her father had died eight years earlier).

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By the time war had broken out, Nellie and Horace had one son, John Norman (Ari’s great-grandfather). They were at 36a Penn St. in Belper.

“Once war became inevitable the British Government knew they had to issue National Identity cards. They planned for the wide-scale mobilisation of the population and the eventual introduction of rationing. The most recent census was now almost a decade old, so more up-to-date statistics were needed. Some preparations had already begun for the 1941 census, so the Government capitalised on this to take a register of the civilian population. They issued Identity cards immediately afterwards (which were used until 1952).” (FindMyPast)

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1939 Register, Ancestry.co.uk

This is an undated photo of Nellie and Norman.

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Nellie can be seen in this colorized and enhanced photo from Norman and Audrey’s wedding in 1957:

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This one is of Nellie with her two grandsons in 1963:

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And a couple of years later:

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With Horace

Nellie died on 16 Jan 1985 at 21 Ecclesbourne Close, Duffield. The cause of death was squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue and rheumatoid arthritis.

Ari, this is how you are related to Nellie:

Samuel Syms of Broadholme, yeoman

Samuel Sims was Ari’s 7x great-grandfather.

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View of the Derwent valley from Broadholme Lane

He was born in 1727 in Broadholme, Belper, Derbyshire, and baptised on 24 September that year at St Alkmund’s in Duffield.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812, Ancestry.co.uk

Samuel’s parents were James Syms and Hannah Barber, and he was their fifth child.

On 11 February 1752 Samuel married Mary Smith at the church in Duffield.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812, Ancestry.co.uk

(Although it says 1751, this entry comes after the page for December 1751.)

Samuel’s father James died in 1763, and his will mentions Samuel as follows:

Item. I give and bequeath to my beloved son Samuel Simms all my share of land being situate and lying at Hithin(?) Holler. Item I also leave to my said son Samuel Simms the Swinny Croft and the Dunge Pingle; I also leave to my said son Samuel Simms all the whole possession of Broadholm living with all the personal estate thereto belonging.

Item. I leave to my said son Samuel Simms all the whole possession of the Fishyards my son Samuel paying his brother Charles the sum of ten pounds to be paid at the expiration of twelve months after my decease. And I do hereby nominate and appoint my said son Samuel Simms my sole executor of this will and testament.

At some point I will have to investigate old maps of the area to see where these pieces of land are. I have seen references to Dunge Wood and Dunge Farm on Broadholme Lane. A typed bulletin of the Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society from 1957 has this:

“Going back to the Alport Road we come to Sandiford Lane, where another road seems to have gone East down to the Derwent where there was a ford by Dunge Wood. The name Sandiford must have been used for this ford. … This road … is the boundary between Belper and Alderwasley. The road goes by Dunge Wood and the top of Broadholme Lane, across Crich Lane, over the Heage and Belper Common to the Bent. It appears to have led to Morley Park and Rykneld Street and was probably used for both lead and coal for Wirksworth for smelting purposes. The road from the top of Broadholme Lane would be to an alternative crossing at Belper if the other ford was difficult.” (p. 65)

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Perhaps some kind person reading my blog one day will help out with the place names!

On 17 November 1791, Samuel made a will, as follows:

In the name of God Amen I Samuel Sims of the Liberty of Heage in the county of Derby, Yeoman do make this my last will and testament in the manner following that is to say I give unto my wife Mary all my moneys and securities for money and all my personal estate during her natural life while she keeps in the same name and then I bequeath all my effects after her decease unto my three sons Samuel, James and John equal share and share alike their executors administrators and assigns only paying to my four daughters Hannah Sarah Elizabeth and Ann the sum of twenty pounds to be paid twelve months after my wife decease. I nominate and constitute and appoint my wife Mary and my son James joint executors of my last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal’d this seventeenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety one.

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Staffordshire, Dioceses Of Lichfield and Coventry Wills and Probate 1521–1860, Findmypast

His 5x grandson will be pleased to see that he signs his own name as Sims, not Syms.

Samuel died in February 1792 and was buried in Duffield on the 19th of that month. His will was proved on 24 April 1792. The will was very helpful in confirming who his children were.

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Broadholme in the news: Derby Mercury, 13 July 1842, Findmypast

Ari, this is how you are related to Samuel:

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John Sims, farmer

Ari’s 6x great-grandfather John Sims was born in Heage, Derbyshire, in 1775 and baptised on 17 July at St Alkmund’s Church, Duffield. His parents were Samuel Sims and Mary Smith.

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Sheep grazing in the snow, below Heage Windmill

On 19 May 1807 John married Sarah Badder at Bradley, near Ashbourne. They had a daughter, Sarah in 1810, and then John’s wife Sarah died in January 1815 just after giving birth to a son, John.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Burials, 1813–1991, on Ancestry.co.uk

Sarah was buried at St Peter’s Church in Belper, and the residence is given as Morley Park.

John married his second wife, Ann Slater, at the church in Duffield two years later.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754–1932, on Ancestry.co.uk

They went on to have at least six more children: Samuel, George, William, Mary Ann, Elizabeth-Jane, and Betty. We know from the baptism record of William in 1826 that John was a farmer at Morley Park.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813–1916, on Ancestry.co.uk

John is listed in an 1829 County Directory as a farmer and freeholder. The 1841 census shows John at Yeldersley:

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1841 census, Ancestry.co.uk

Also in the household were Ann, sons George and William, and three servants.

The 1851 census tells us that John was at Yeldersley Farm, farming 250 acres.

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Derbyshire Courier, on Findmypast.co.uk

John died on 3 July 1858 in Yeldersley and was buried at All Saints Church in Bradley.

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john sims grave Bradley.JPG

John left a two-page will.

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One of John’s grandchildren was Joseph Sims (son of John born in 1815). After his death, Joseph’s wife Julia Hannah Alldread paid for this beautiful stained-glass window in St Peter’s Church, Belper which we recently discovered thanks to Julia’s will: “to provide a stained glass window in Saint Peter’s Church Belper on the North side thereof at a cost not exceeding the sum of Two hundred pounds”.

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Ari, this is how you are related to John:

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David Spencer, limestone quarry delver

One of Ari’s 3x great-grandfathers was David Spencer. David was born on 11 May 1867 in Middleton-by-Wirksworth, Derbyshire, to Judith Brooks and William Spencer.

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David’s birth certificate

He was their eighth child. His baptism took place one month later.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813–1916, Ancestry.co.uk

The 1871 census shows David aged three, living at Rise End in Middleton, and at school. There is a school record for Middleton By Wirksworth National School showing his admission at 3 years, 7 months in October 1870.

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Front cover of the register, National School Admission Registers & Log-books 1870–1914, Findmypast.co.uk

David was still listed as a scholar in 1881 at the age of fourteen, when the family were living in Water Lane, but by 1891 he was working in a quarry, probably a limestone quarry (where his father William worked). His mother, Judith, had died the year before.

On 9 May 1897, David married Elizabeth Pearson at the parish church in Wirksworth. His profession was given as Quarryman.

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The 1901 census shows them living at 11 Dale Street in Wirksworth with their two daughters, Mary Ann and Elizabeth. David’s mother-in-law and father-in-law were next door.

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1901 census, Ancestry.co.uk

In 1911 David was a limestone quarry delver, living at Coldwell Street in Wirksworth.

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1911 census, Ancestry.co.uk

(Sadly, baby Emma, their last child, had died in 1908.)

I have this photo of the family (Elizabeth and David on the left, then Harry, with Mary at the back and David on the right).

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David died on 19 January 1938 at 26 Queen Street, Belper. By this time he was working as a hoist man (lift operator) at the English Sewing Cotton Company. His son David was present at the death.

I have to share this story featuring Queen Street in 1930!

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Derby Daily Telegraph, 15 February 1930, Findmypast.co.uk

 

The house is still there, in the middle of this picture:

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Ari, this is how you are related to David:

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William Boothby, coal higler

Ari’s 5x great-grandfather William Boothby was born in 1809 in Milford, Belper, Derbyshire.

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The River Derwent from Milford Bridge, looking downstream and south. The river passes over two V-shaped weirs.
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The well dressing at Milford from 2017

William’s parents were Samuel Boothby and Elizabeth Saunders (both cotton framework knitters), and William was baptised on 2 July 1809 at St Alkmund in Duffield.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812, Ancestry.co.uk

The next record for William is his marriage to Eliza Kent on 20 April 1841, also at that church. The marriage certificate describes him as of full age, a Bachelor, and a Labourer. His residence at the time of marriage is Little Eaton. He did not sign his name.

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Little Eaton Gangway, a horse-drawn plateway which operated from 1795–1908, carrying material from quarries to the Derby Canal.

William and Eliza were at Holbrook Moor by the time of the census in 1841, with a one-month-old baby, Anne. Their house was owned by Jedediah Strutt, and can be seen marked as no. 59 on a tithe map of the estate, dated 18 Jan 1840 (see Tithe Apportionments, 1836–1929. TheGenealogist.co.uk 2019).

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By 1851, sons Samuel, William and John had been born, and a second daughter, Ellen. They were still at Holbrook Moor, and William was a farm labourer. Sadly, baby William had died at only eight months old. He was buried at St Michael’s Church in Holbrook.

Eliza died in 1859, leaving William with one more child – a second William – born in 1856. The 1861 census shows him as a widower with five children at home: Ann (19), whose job is House Work, Samuel (17), Labourer Agricultural, Ellen (14), and William (4), at school. William and his son John (12) are both shown as coal higlers.

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1861 census, Ancestry.co.uk

This is one of those old occupations that can be found in the census, and meant someone who sold coal to householders, probably travelling with a horse and cart.

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Higler’s cart (from A new book of horses and carriages: The Rhedarium). Artist Thomas Rowlandson, 1784.

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Derby Mercury 28 April 1780, Findmypast.co.uk

William died in Holbrook on 17 July 1863. The cause of death was “Disease of the Heart, Debility”, and someone called Thomas Mee was in attendance. He was buried at Holbrook three days later.

Ari, this is how you are related to William:

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John Edgar Pearson Wheeldon

Ari’s 3x great-grandfather, John Edgar Pearson Wheeldon, was born on 27 July 1878 in Holloway, Belper, Derbyshire. His parents were Samuel Wheeldon and Mary Ann Bunting.

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Primitive Methodist Chapel, Holloway

John was not christened until 1896, and this event took place in Wirksworth.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1916

The 1881 census had shown John as a two-year-old, living with his parents and three siblings in Holloway. His father was a hosiery dresser.

In 1891, John was still at school.

On 12 March 1898, he married Elizabeth Ann Murfin at All Saints Church in Mugginton, her parish.

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The leaning porch at Mugginton church

The marriage certificate tells us that John was now working as a wheelwright.

In 1901, John and his wife are living at Little Hays in the parish of Alderwasley, Wirksworth, and John is a blacksmith’s striker. Two children have been born: Lawrence Edgar and John Henry Francis (Frank).

In 1907, John appeared as a witness in the newspaper account of a fatal injury (read left to right):

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Belper News, 20 September 1907

Four more children would be born before the next census in 1911: Winifred Ethel, Arnold George, Edward Oliver, and Mary Elizabeth Ellen (Ari’s great-great grandmother). By then the family had moved to Nottingham Road in Belper. John is described in the census as “Journey blacksmith, wheelwright & general smith”. Another son, Lewis Mervyn, was born the following year but died at only a few months’ old.

John lived to see the marriage of two of his children, but sadly died at the age of only forty-five, on 4 February 1924, at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary. The cause of death was given as broncho-pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma.

Ari, this is how you are related to John:

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Harry Spencer of Wirksworth

Harry (christened Henry) Spencer was born on 15 August 1901 in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, and was Ari’s great-great-grandfather.

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His parents were David Spencer and Elizabeth Pearson, and their address when he was born was No. 6 Bowling Green Lane, Wirksworth.

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Bowling Green Lane
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Baptism record, Wirksworth St Mary’s (Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1916)

Harry attended Wirksworth New Bridge School from 1912 until 1914.

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National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914

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From various records, we know that he had several different jobs. In 1928, when he married, he was a service mill hand. In 1934 he was a glove trimmer at the British Celanese factory in Spondon.

 

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Derby Daily Telegraph 31 December 1932

Harry married Edith Winifred Morris on 7 April 1928 at the Salem Chapel in Belper.

They had three sons and three daughters.

Harry was listed on the 1939 Register as an unemployed glove puncher. In 1957, when his daughter Audrey married, he was a fitter’s mate at the locomotive works in Derby.

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1957

 

 

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Harry died on 2 April 1971 and is buried at Belper Cemetery.

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Ari, this is how you are related to Harry:

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Another sad story: Joseph Phipps

Joseph Phipps was Ari’s 4x great-grandfather. This is the only photo we have of him.

Joseph Phipps

He was born on 25 October 1848 in Holbrook, Belper, Derbyshire, the son of William Phipps and Mary Taylor. He was baptised on 6 October 1850.

In the census of 1851 we can see him aged 3 with his parents:

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By 1861 he is working as a cotton mill hand, with his older brother John and younger brother Francis.

On 30 December 1867 he married Ellen Boothby at St Alkmund’s church in Duffield, and by then his occupation was collier. The 1871 census shows him as a coal miner, and the couple have two children, William and Joseph. They are still living in Holbrook.

By 1881 he appears on the census as a labourer, and three daughters have been born: Mary Ann, Elizabeth and Emma.

In 1891 he is a quarry labourer, and they are living in Holbrook St.

In 1901 he has a new occupation, that of newsagent, and in 1911 the description “Nottingham Guardian” is added. He is now 63. Two sons, Joseph and John, are living with him and his wife, and the census shows that they have had eleven children altogether, with five having died before 1911.

Now we come to the sad part of the story, discovered through newspaper accounts. Joseph appeared in the newspapers a few times during his life.

This was in 1885:

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Derby Daily Telegraph, 30 Jan 1885

This episode was from 1896:

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Derby Daily Telegraph, 5 Nov 1896

On 23 July 1915, the Belper News reported:

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An inquest was held the following day.

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Let’s do a happy story next! Ari, this is how you are related to Joseph:

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Horace Sims

One of Ari’s great-great-grandfathers was Horace Sims, the son of Frederick Sims and Elizabeth Phipps.

Horace and family

Horace was born on 1 Nov 1909 in Holbrook, Derbyshire and appears in the 1911 census as the sixth of seven children, living in Town Street, Holbrook. Horace worked as a motor bus conductor and a foundry worker. He appeared in the Derby Daily Telegraph on 27 March 1931:

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On 27 Feb 1932 he married Mary Elizabeth Ellen (Nellie) Wheeldon, and an announcement was published in the Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald on 5 March:

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On 29 Sep 1939 Horace appears in the 1939 Register as a builder’s labourer, living at 36a Penn Street, Belper and in 1940 he was fined 5 shillings:

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Derby Daily Telegraph 12 April 1940

Horace and Nellie had three children. He lived to the age of 86, long enough to pass on some family stories to me, to enjoy the weddings of his grandchildren, and to know some of his great-grandchildren.

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Ari, this shows how you are related to Horace:

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Finding Grandma’s birth family

Ari’s great-great grandmother Winifred (Nigel’s Grandma) was adopted as a baby, and this has always been the most solid brick wall in our family tree.

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Yesterday, I was thinking about putting her story on the blog in case anyone could help solve the mystery. I started by looking at her birth certificate, which shows that she was born Edith Winifred Morris on 22 Jul 1903, to Annie Morris, a milliner, residing at The Fleet, Belper (no house number given).

I had read recently that it is a good idea to check the birth address in case it was a nursing home or institution that might have some adoption records, but with no house number this wasn’t so easy. While I was looking at the certificate and thinking about this, it occurred to me that it might be possible to see if another child had been born at the same address, i.e. a sibling of Winifred’s.

Now that we can use the GRO website to check for births without having to order the birth certificate, it is a bit easier. I started by looking for a male or female baby with the surname Morris and mother’s maiden name blank in 1901, but nothing came up as a match. Then I tried 1905 and found a Frederick Hargreaves Morris born in 1904 and an Ida Morris born in 1905.

So the next step was to check these two children in the 1911 census. I could rule out Frederick as I found a baptism with a mother Agnes. But I got very excited as I looked for Ida! It didn’t come up on Ancestry immediately as it had been transcribed as Jda, but this is what I saw:

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As I clicked on the link to the census page, I was thinking “Please be a milliner!”

And look what I found:

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The family are living at 100 Dale Rd in Derby, but Annie’s parents were both born in Belper. So it seems likely that this is Winifred’s mother Annie, with another child Ida, living at home with her parents, William and Caroline.

Of course, this raises almost as many questions as it answers. Why did she keep Ida but give Winifred up for adoption? Did the two girls have the same father? Did Winifred know that she had a sister? Did Annie and Ida ever go and see her or keep in touch? Who was the friend or relation in The Fleet, Belper, with whom Annie stayed to have the baby? There is much still to discover. There was a story that Annie had gone off to America, but I had never managed to trace her (especially as I had guessed her age to be younger and hadn’t thought to extend the search to Derby).

Winifred worked as a hosiery mender at Brettles Factory, and married Harry Spencer on 7 Apr 1928 at the Salem Chapel in Belper. She had six children, three of whom are still living in Belper.

I have now ordered the birth certificate for Annie and the marriage certificate for her parents William Morris and Caroline Dawson. I am hoping that having Annie’s exact birth date will allow me to find out what happened to her and to Ida, but in the meantime there are plenty of cousins to find, and maybe Nigel’s DNA matches will provide evidence for this new connection.

Henry Winifred

Postscript 21 Aug 2017: I now have the birth certificates for Annie and Ida, but still can’t track them down! Annie was born on 14 May 1880 at 6 Harrington Street in Derby. Ida was born on 25 Jul 1905 at Swainsley Court, Milford, Belper. This has now been demolished but was apparently a building where single mill-workers lived. The birth certificate supports my view that this is the right family though, because Ida’s mother is also Annie Morris, a milliner.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Winifred:

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