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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