GILES, St Albans, 19th century

August 2001

Sue Burridge of Ampthill tells me that Frederick Giles sometimes known as William Frederick was living in Inkerman Road St Albans in 1891. He was the son of William Giles and Eliza nee Low[e] and was born in 1845 and died in 1907 at Sandpit Lane St Albans. Anything that you can tell me about this family would be of great help in my research. I haven't had much luck looking for him on the 1881 census. I did find a Frederick Giles but he was aged 37 and unmarried and living as a lodger with a family called Rose, but according to other information on the 1891 census the chap that I know for definite was my Frederick was married to an Annie? and had a son of about 17, and other children, so now I am totally confused by these latest findings.

The 1851 census transcript show the family in Sopwell Lane. William was a 30 year old silk weaver born in St Albans, Eliza was a 25 year old loom weaver born in Wheathampstead, and children Frederick (6) and Henry (3) were both born in St Albans. As you undoubtedly know the 1881 census shows William was a 60 year old widower and general labourer lodging in Bedford Road. In addition, as you say, a Frederick Giles (37, unmarried, bricklayers labourer) was in the house of Alice Rose. an unmarried, in Christopher Yard - one of the poorer parts of St Albans. Interestingly the Relationship field of the census form appears to have been left blank - so perhaps the census enumerator was being discrete ... (You had better check the neighbours to see if the enumerator who did Christopher Yard recorded lodgers elsewhere - the omission may simple be because he left lots of things out!)

So is it your Frederick? Quite possibly. His occupation and abode are compatible, in social terms, with his father. Unfortunately you say his wife in the 1891 census was called Anne (not Alice) and the 17 year old child was a son (not a daughter) but it may well be that between 1881 and 1891 Frederick married a widow or unmarried mother with a son born in about 1873/4 who took his stepfather's surname.

The quickest way to test this theory is to get the birth certificate from HALS for one of the children born between 1881 and 1891 as this should give Anne's maiden name and you can then look for her under her maiden name in the 1881 census with a 7 year old son (this will not work if she was a widow). Once you have her surname you should try to get the marriage certificate from HALS, assuming that they married between 1881 and the birth of the first child after this date.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.