Monday, 28 September 2009

Anastasia Welch - the "She was Irish" theory

Bear with me on this one, as I have nothing but a big heap of circumstantial evidence about this theory, but I think it is more likely that she was Irish than English.

The only census that Anastasia featured on was the 1841 census. The options for stating your place of birth on this census were tick boxes for "in this County", "not in this County", and a "born abroad" box in which the enumerator entered S for Scotland, I for Ireland and F for "Foreign Parts".
In this census, Anastasia and her husband Michael Fitzhenry are living in Silver Street, Bloomsbury, London with their four children. They are entered as being born "not in this County" (which for that part of London was Middlesex) rather than Ireland.
By the 1851 census, Anastasia had already died and Michael is living with his son John. Here Michael is registered as being born in Ireland. So as Michael had his place of birth wrongly entered in the 1841 census, this may have happened to Anastasia too.

The second piece of evidence is the Catholic link.
Looking at the date for Michael and Anastasia's wedding (Nov 1825) and the birth of first son Patrick (April 1826 - from his baptism record), they "had" to get married.
In the early 1800s, the only religions allowed to sanction their own marriages apart from the Anglicans were Quakers or Jews. Catholic marriages were not legally recognised and it was not until the mid 19th century that Catholics were allowed to build their own churches. Hence Michael and Anastasia were married in the Anglican church of St Marys Lambeth, but all of their children were baptised in the Catholic chapel of St Mary Westminster.

Here's a note I had against the baptism of their second son Michael
From the Catholic Family History Society Library, Lancing Street London
Westminster St Mary's Baptisms
Vol 78 1809-1838
Page 83
Three seemingly related baptisms on 23 March 1828

David Sullivan to David and Ann (nee Welch)
Sponsors Michael and Anastasia Fitzhenry
Born 25 January 1828

Michael Fitzhenry to Michael and Anastasia (nee Welch)
Sponsors David and Ann Sullivan
Born 17 February 1828

Patric Regan to Michael and Ellen (nee Sullivan)
Sponsors John Sullivan and Catherine Welch
Born 17 March 1828

I think that Ann Sullivan (nee Welch) is Anastasia's sister - and she's Irish.

The Sullivans are still in Lambeth in the 1841 census - David senior is a plasterer. David junior has the right birth year. Here's the census entry
SULLIVAN, David M 35 1806 Ireland
SULLIVAN, Anne F 35 1806 Ireland
SULLIVAN, Joseph M 15 1826 Surrey
SULLIVAN, David M 13 1828 Surrey
SULLIVAN, Ann F 10 1831 Surrey
SULLIVAN, John M 6 1835 Surrey
SULLIVAN, Dominick M 4 1837 Surrey
SULLIVAN, Catherine F 2 1839 Surrey
Princes Road, St Mary Lambeth, Surrey

Unfortunately I haven't found the Sullivans in either the 1851 or the 1861 censi yet, but when they do turn up they may give us a clue to whereabouts in Ireland the Welches (and maybe Michael Fitzhenry) hailed from.

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Saturday, 19 September 2009

The right Anastasia Welch!

It's twenty to two in the morning here in England, and I've been like a kid in a sweet shop all evening.
Because the London parish registers are scanned and up on Ancestry.
So for you delight and delectation, having been thwarted once in finding the wrong Anastasia Welch, I can now present the right one.
Or more prescisely her marriage to Michael Fitzhenry
So here goes (drum roll)

Marriages solomnised in the Parish of St Mary's Lambeth in the County of Surrey in the year 1825
Michael Fitz Henry of this parish bachelor

Anastasia Welch of this parish spinster
were married in thIs Church by Banns
on the 1st day of November in the One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty Five.
By me, Charlton Lane, curate

This marriage was Solemnised between us
Michael FitzHenry
X the mark of Anastasia Welch

In the presence of James Longman Gawler and (this one I can't read but it looks like the surname is Seager)
Here's a scan of the signatures - let me know what you think.

I suppose I'd better go to bed now

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Sunday, 13 September 2009

Charles Edward Fitzhenry - 9th Battalion Australian Infantry Forces

Gary Wemyss sent me an email after he had taken a trip to France and found the mark of a Fitzhenry in an unusual place.
He writes:

I came across this tourist brochure a while ago in France. The brochure is for the Caves of Naours an underground city built in the 3rd century and used during the 2 world wars by the Australians during WW1 and the Germans during WW2. Not terribly interesting on a first look but one of the pictures shows some graffiti from the WW1 made by members of the 9th Battalion Australians. What's interesting is the name of one of them being C Fitzhenry.

Full text is:
9th Batt Australians
C Fitzhenry
Paddington Sydney NSW
1916 July

Alistair Ross

It is possible that this could have been made by Charles Edward FITZHENRY?
(b. 1889, Sandy Ck,Casino NSW, son of William Herbert and Elizabeth Fitzhenry. Occupation shearer, d. 21 Aug 1918, France, buried Aug 1918, Le Treport, France. Memorial of death found on parents grave at Waverley. NSW.)
I think this indeed the same man. Charles Edward Fitzhenry is a member of Alan Hagenson's Fitzhenry tree and Alan's information about him supports him being there in France at this time. Interestingly Charles Fitzhenry enlisted and served as William Doyle.

Gary has put a super photo of the graffiti on his website, and also scans of the front and back of the brochure.

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"Dwarf Overwhelmed by Snow"

... is not a headline that you come across too often.

From the New York Times March 7 1900
BUFFALO NY - March 6:- "Major" Fred Fitzhenry, the dwarf, who has travelled with Barnum's Circus for a number of years, was found buried up to his neck in a snowbank early this morning, more dead than alive. He was sent to the station house.

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Saturday, 12 September 2009

Henrietta Fitz-Henry, daughter of William Fitz-Henry of Ashtead

When I obtained the will of William Fitz-Henry of Ashtead (1830 -1885) I wondered why his eldest daughter Henrietta (by his first wife Barbara Morrison) was not mentioned, even though she was still alive. All his other living children by Barbara (George William, Norman and Annie Eliza) were provided for, and his four surviving children by his second wife Martha Eagles were still too young to be independent from her.

Brian Bouchard, who has done extensive research onto the local history of Ashtead sent me the text of William's army service record. This showed that Henrietta was born in 1855 but William and Barbara were not married until December 1856.

I knew that Barbara had been married before, so I asked the Channel Islands Family History Society to have a search around and this is what they came up with.

Barbara was originally married to Charles Le Sauteur who was a merchant in Jersey from an old Jersey family. He died of a fever on 11th October 1855.
They had at least 2 children. The elder Elizabeth Morrison Le Sauteur died on 23rd May 1855 aged 19 months.
The other was Henrietta Le Sauteur born 25th February 1855 in St Nicolas in the parish of St Peter, Jersey.

William and Barbara were married in St Saviour December 12th 1856. Here's the details from their marriage certificate:
William Fitz-Henry
aged 27 bachelor, Colour Segt. 60th regiment, resident in St Peters
Place of birth St Marys Dublin
Father: Robert Fitz-Henry, linen draper

Barbara Morrison, widow of Charles Le Sauteur
Aged 28 Widow resident in St Peters
Place of birth Inverness Scotland
Father Charles Morrison, gardener

This partially answers the question as to why Henrietta was not mentioned in William's will (although I can't believe this is the whole reason) as she was not actually his daughter. However, from the 1861 census onwards she is always referred to as Henrietta Fitz-Henry and referred to as a daughter rather than a step-daughter. She did not marry as far as I am aware, so I can't check on a marriage certificate if she knew who her father really was.

The other striking thing is the name and occupation of William's father. In this marriage certificate, his father is Robert a linen draper. In his second marriage to Martha Eagles from the wealthy and socially superior Eagles family, his father is Hester a Dublin lawyer. I have several other anomalies like this in my research - in fact my great great grandfather was a dock porter in the East End, but all 5 of his daughters put on their wedding certificates that he was a master butcher!

I also wonder if there was another Fitz-Henry child between the marriage and the birth of George (1859) as this pair were quite prolific. If they had another child in this 1856-1859 gap, this child would have died before 1861, as he or she is not mentioned in the 1861 census when the family are resident in the Winchester barracks.
In order I have so far:
George 1859-1860
Alexander 1861-1862
George William 1862-1940
Charles Robert (knowing the names of William and Barbara's parents this now makes sense!) 1864-65
Norman Edward 1865 -1901
Annie Eliza 1865 - after 1885 (mentioned in her father's will)

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