A Jowett Mystery ….

After I’d found and corrected my mistake with Edmund Jowett’s parents I started trying to follow my newly discovered 4x Great Grandparents backwards. I found a marriage for Edmund Jowett and Martha Theobald in 1807 at St Chad’s in Wilne, Derbyshire.

The marriage entry revealed that they were both born in that parish, so I was able to find baptisms for them both. Edmund (recorded as Edman ) was baptised in October 1787, the son of John and Elizabeth. Martha was baptised in March 1787 the daughter of Richard and Hannah. The vicar usefully adds that she was born on 12th February of that year. Both families were living in Draycott.

So before I start looking into their parents, I wanted to make sure that I have as much information for Edmund and Martha as possible, starting with the 1841 census. I found the family in Draycott, Derbyshire with five children. I went back to the baptisms to make sure I had the right family and found eight children born to this marriage, but not the two youngest children on the census; Theophilus (great name!) and Ann, both aged 2. As Martha would’ve been 52 when they were born I thought they may not be their children.

I found two possible birth references for Theophilus and Ann on FreeBMD and ordered the PDF certificates from the GRO. Whilst waiting for those to arrive, I searched for them on the 1851 census.

Theophilus appears in the 1851 census with the widowed Edmund and is described as his son. Also in the household are Edmund’s daughter Ann, now married to James Brown, their two children Emma and Bertha and a granddaughter, Martha Hooley, aged 14. I found a marriage for Theophilus to Fanny Gill in Nottingham in 1858. In the 1861 census they are in Draycott with their 2 children, Thomas & Lucy and a servant.

When his birth certificate arrived, it revealed that Theophilus is actually the illegitimate son of Ann Jowett, so it looks like he was brought up as Edmund and Martha’s son although he was really their grandson. I wonder if he ever knew? His marriage certificate may reveal who he thought his father was. His mother Ann married James Brown in 1842 and as mentioned above, they were all living together in the 1851 census. So did James know Theophilus was Ann’s illegitimate son? Lots of questions!*

Getting onto the second of the children, Ann Jowett also born 1839, but not in Derbyshire. I narrowed down the list of Ann Jowetts born around that time to one in London. Two other possibilities in Bradford, North Yorkshire were also still living there in the 1841 census, so couldn’t be mine. The certificate when it arrived, just posed more questions.

It looks like Ann is possibly the daughter of Martha Jowett, Edmund & Martha’s daughter. But was she illegitimate? Who is Edward Jowett and why was the birth in London? I have no idea! I also can’t find any Edward or Martha Jowett in London in 1841.

In the 1851 census, Ann is living with an Edward Harrison and his wife and family in Spondon, near Derby. She is described as a niece. Ann is still in this household in 1861, but described as a visitor. Could Edward Harrison be her father? Or Edward could have married a Theobald & Ann is actually the niece of his wife, also called Ann and born in Draycott around 1798? I’ll have to go back another generation to check that, so watch this space!**

From a quick look at the census returns, Martha Jowett went into service in Derby and was with the same family from at least 1851 to 1881. I’ve found a possible death for her in 1882 in Derby. So it appears that she lived apart from her family and putative daughter, Ann, all her life.

*An Update to Theophilus Jowett A distant cousin kindly sent me Theophilus’s marriage certificate to Fanny Gill. He states he is illegitimate, so must have known that he wasn’t the son of Edmund & Martha.

**An Update to Ann Jowett:

1851 Census entry for Ann Jowett

I did find a marriage for Ann Theobald (1796) to Edward Harrison in Wilne, in 1822 – so it would appear that the census entry is correct and Ann Jowett was indeed their niece. Could Edward have been Ann’s father? I guess that’s a question for the future.


© Caroline Cox and Caroline’s Chronicles. 2011 – current year

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