Saturday, 24 January 2009

1911 census - Dr George William Fitz-Henry and Isabella

One of the BIG mistakes in any form of research is to let your imagination run away with you. This entry from the 1911 census has neatly brought me back down to earth and reminded me that I shouldn't take anything at face value unless I've seen the documentary evidence to back it up.

In the "Out of Africa" series of postings, we met William Cooper Fitz-Henry and his indefatigable wife Lassie and in passing, a Jack Cooper Fitz-Henry who ran the fire service in Hong Kong. I assumed they were the sons of Dr.
George William Fitz-Henry and his wife Isabella nee Cooper. (George William, also known as William George, was the eldest surviving son of Captain William Fitz-Henry of Ashtead by his first wife Barbara Morrison).

The 1911 census was the first England and Wales census which asked how many children living and dead had been born to that marriage.
George and Isabella stated that they had been married 23 years and had had 4 children, all of which were still living.
Also living at the household were three daughters! This means that at least one of the sons that I had ascribed to them was not theirs!

So for the record here is their census return. Although it's made me eat humble pie, it has also confirmed some other assumptions that I had made.

7 East Dulwich Road, South East London.
George William Fitz-Henry head
aged 49, married, born Winchester Hampshire, General Medical Practitioner
Isabella Fitz-Henry wife
aged 50, married (place of birth not stated) she has been 23 years in this marriage and has had 4 children, all of whom are still alive.
Barbara Eleanor Fitz-Henry aged 21, single, born Lyttelton New Zealand (British Subject)
Dorothea Tighe Fitz-Henry aged 16, born Amberly New Zealand (British Subject)
Margery Bell Fitz-Henry aged 5, single born East Dulwich London.

The births of Barbara and Dorothea in New Zealand confirm that this was the same doctor Fitz-Henry who was appointed public vaccinator and local doctor in Lyttelton in 1887. From the Christchurch Star of
Monday 25 July 1887:
Birth - FITZ-HENRY - July 23 at Lyttelton, to wife of William Fitz-Henry, a son, premature.
As Isabella denied that any of her children had died, then I assume that the final missing (and eldest) child from this census is a son - but who was he?

Dorothea had the middle name Tighe. The only other incidence of this name that I have found in this family is her step-uncle Woodfield Duncombe Tighe Fitz-Henry, the patriach of the Canadian branch of this Fitz-Henry family and the son of Captain William Fitz-Henry of Ashtead by his second wife Martha Eagles.

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