Saturday, 15 January 2011

The search for Jessie Pugh's mother

When I started doing genealogy I was given copies of some papers my grandfather had gathered together, and some notes he'd made. These included a birth certificate for his mother Jessie Hephzibah Pugh.

According to her birth certificate Jessie was the daughter of Christopher Thomas Pugh and Mary Ann Pugh formerly Milner. The notes my grandfather left stated that Mary Ann was born on 22 August 1843 - there is no note of his source for this, but I assume he asked his mother, so it should be reliable. I looked for a marriage certificate for Christopher and Mary Ann, and found on in 1863.  This stated that Mary Ann's father was "John Milner, gardner".

I found Mary Ann Pugh on the census in 1881, 1891 and 1901 and in all of them, she said she was born in Darleydale, Derbyshire. However, I couldn't find a birth certificate for her. This was back in 2003 when there was relatively little information available online. There was nothing in the IGI for the parish of Darleydale, so I planned a trip to the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock, Derbyshire to look for a record of a baptism in Darleydale.

I read through 10 years of the baptism register, and found plenty of Milners, and a whole family with father John, but no Mary Ann. The 1851 census wasn't available online, so I hadn't yet found Mary Ann on the 1851 census. Derbyshire Archives didn't have a copy of the 1851 census so I walked over to the the Local Studies Library to look through their indexes. I still didn't find Mary Ann Milner, but I did find a household including a Samuel and Sarah Milner and their granddaughter Mary Ann Bateman, born around 1843.

I walked back to the Record Office and back to the Darleydale microfilm, this time looking for Mary Ann Bateman. I found her - baptised 24 September 1843, the illegitimate daughter of Harriet Bateman. This had to be the right Mary Ann!

When I got home after my trip, I looked for a birth registration to match the baptism, and then ordered the birth certificate for Mary Ann Bateman. It gave her birth date as 22 August 1843, and confirmed the mother's name and the lack of a father. I subsequently found a marriage record for Harriet Bateman in 1848 in which she gave her mother's name (Sarah Bateman) in the space reserved for the father's name. I also found a marriage record for Sarah Bateman and Samuel Milner in 1824, several years after the birth of Harriet Bateman.

I think that Mary Ann didn't get on with her step-father (or the other way around), and so went to live with her grandparents.  She eventually took her grandfather's name. When she married, rather than admit her illegitimacy, she gave a made-up name for her father, possibly a composite of her grandfather's surname and her step-father's Christian name.

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