Rosa BAKER, Watford, 1877-1953

August, 2008

Stuart Duncombe (s.duncombe @t of Baldock, Herts, writes: I have recently tried to research my grandmother, Joan Mary Saunders (nee Bennett). She was born on the 17th September 1923, in the Watford workhouse and she married my grandfather on the 1st Jan 1949, she died on the 17th Sept 1998. She never had a birth certificate and I have tried to find one, but with no success. According to the wedding certificate, her father was George Bennett and was deceased as of 1949. I am not sure who her mother was, but it may have been Rosa Baker, who died in Feb 1958.

I have searched many websites and also contacted the Watford museum and visited county hall to look at the records for the workhouse, but with no avail. I know that she attended Watford girls grammar school, but they do not publish any archives. I am not sure what else to do as I cannot find anything more, any help would be greatly appreciated.

In asking this question you appear to have missed the FAQ which explained why I do not answer questions about people born after 1901. However I can make a few general comments - and have some suggestions about Rosa Baker, who was born before 1901.

You wonder if Rosa Baker was Joan's mother without giving your grounds for thinking this. I note from the BMD index that when Rosa died in 1953 her age was given as 84. This would have made her 54 when Joan was born - which makes it extremely unlikely that she was Joan's mother - but she could well have been her grandmother! It was not uncommon for illegitimate or orphaned children to be brought up by their grandparents where this was possible.

A quick look at the 1901 census shows the following family living at 34 Sotheron Road, Watford.

George Baker Head 21 General Labourer Greenford, Middlesex
Rosa Baker Wife 24   Watford
Dorothy Baker Daughter 1   Watford
Emily Baker Daughter 2 months   Watford

This is almost certainly the same Rosa Baker and the age given here (more likely to be accurate than the one on the death certificate) makes her a few years younger at the time Joan was born. While either Dorothy or Emily might be Joan's mother there may be other daughters born after 1901. The 1911 census should be available next year and this could allow you to identify other members of the family.

It is possible that George Baker was the George Albert E Baker who married Rose Perry in the Hemel Hempstead registration district in 1900 - but Dorothy or Emily's birth certificates will give their mother's maiden name.

From the little you told me this must be speculation - but it allows you to tackle the problem from a different angle - and it may even be that a member of the Baker family (perhaps a married sister or aunt) was a witness when Joan married.

I will be most interested to hear how you get on with this line of investigation.

There is a web page for Watford

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


Page created August 2008