ROSE, Bishops Stortford, birth 1908
[This query starts with a birth in Hertfordshire, and Theresa provided a lot of information. However, apart from the birth, all the research has been outside the county and this "answer" concentrates on the recommendations.]
Theresa Horsler (theresa.horsler123 @t tiscali.co.uk) of Aylesbury, Bucks, had what superficially was a straightforward question for information on her grandmother's parents. Her grandmother was born in Bishop's Stortford on 18th Jan 1908, her name was Annie Rose Rose (yes two Roses). Her father's name was recorded as George Rose (pork butcher) and her mother's name was recorded as Annie Martha Rose formerly Wills. Theresa wanted to know who her parent's were, and when and where were they married. Unfortunately no other definite information could be found on either George or Annie (so their ages, place of birth, and years of death is unknown) and searches of the normal sources (the marriage register index, the 1901 census on Ancestry, etc.) had failed to come up with anything obvious.
A search of the 1901 census using 1901census makes it possible to search for occupation (not possible on Ancestry). A search for all George Rose butchers came up with four possibilities. The "most likely looking" was a pork butcher living at 57 Ford End Road, Bedford St Paul. The only complication is that he had a wife and two young children. He is listed at that address in the 1903 Kelly's Directory (Digital Library of Historical Directories). However, if this is the right George Rose the presence of a wife might help to explain your grandmother's reluctance to say anything about her parents - and also the failure to find a marriage.
Theresa provided some important additional piece of information. Annie Rose had a "brother" called Walter Mills and a sister called Naomi Mills. "Eureka" I hear you say - the "Wills" on the birth certificate is actually a mistranscription of "Mills" (see A Comedy of Errors) and Walter and Naomi are half brother and sister to Annie Rose.
There is one serious problem with this theory. Documentation on Walter and Naomi, and their parents, shows that their parents were Walter Mills and Sarah Wells. (Could "Wills" be a mistranscription of "Wells"?) This suggests that their mother was not Annie Martha.
Theory 1: People sometimes change their name - so we must not rule out the possibility that Walter Mills senior died and Sarah Mills nee Wells and Annie Wills are one and the same person. Sarah/Annie then "married" George Rose and Walter Mills junior and Naomi Mills would then genuinely be Annie Rose's half brother and sister.
When children became orphaned (or their parents couldn't cope) the extended family frequently helped out informally (so there my be no documentary evidence of what happened). When a wife died (deaths in child birth were not uncommon) one sometimes finds that a younger unmarried female relative moved in to look after the children.
Theory 2: Annie Martha was an aunt who got involved when Sarah died, helping Walter senior to look after Walter junior and Naomi. Then Walter senior died ... The only "blood" aunts I have been able to trace are Kate Mills (12 in 1891 census) and the following Wells aunts: Debrah (born c1865), Rose (c1871) and Naomi (1882). Unfortunately none are called Ann, Annie or Martha. - Or maybe Annie was an Aunt by marriage - or even a close cousin.
Whatever actually happened, and there are other possibilities, I suspect you will find that there is a family link somewhere. Your best bet in the absence of a marriage certificate will be to collect as much information on George Rose, Walter Mills and Sarah Wells and their families - and a clue may well emerge somewhere where you were not expecting it. In particular it could be worth trying to find out when George, Walter and Sarah died - and if any of them left a will.
All may become clear when the 1911 census becomes available - possibly in 2009.
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