SAUNDERS, St Pauls Walden & Ippollitts, 19th Century
Peter Saunders (pds31 @t hotmail.co.uk) writes from Bedford has sent an interesting news cutting from the Herts Advertiser of 14th September, 1901. This relates to a dispute between between his great grandfather Henry and his wife. He reports that he has had difficulty in tracing the family between the 1841 and 1891 censuses. The easiest way for me to look at this problem is to start with the information he provides (in italics) and expand it and then explore what I can find about Henry Saunders, his brother Alfred William Saunders, and the Eugenie Gardiner of the press cutting
Baptism 25 Dec 1830 Henry Saunders, Son of Thomas & Sophia Saunders, St Pauls Walden
Baptism 5 October 1828 Thomas Alfred, Son of Thomas & Sophia Saunders, St Pauls Walden
1891 Census - Pond Cottage, Gosmore, Ippollitts
1901 Census - Gosmore Mill Lane, Ippollitts, Hitchin
OK - Now to try and sort out the mystery
The first thing to say relates to the 1841 census. What probably happened was that Thomas Saunders died, and his widow "Sophia Sanders" married "John Hatten" at St Mary's, Hitchin, on 17th May, 1833. This would mean that Alfred and Henry were living with their step-father and mother. By 1851 John and Sophia Hatton had moved to London:
1851 Census - 39 Poole Street, St Leonard, Shoreditch
Lawrence Height was presumably on higher land near Lawrence End, Kings Walden, close to the county boundary with Bedfordshire. "Nebboth" undoubtedly relates to the nearby village of Knebworth and is the kind of error that is common when the family is illiterate and the original household form is filled in phonetically by someone who is unfamiliar with Hertfordshire place names.
1861 Census - 4 Albert Street, Shoreditch
1871 Census - Canal Road, St Leonard, Shoreditch
It is clear that by the time Sarah Hatton was born in 1846 John and Sophia had moved to the Shoreditch area of London and it is possible that Alfred and Henry initially went with them - although they were not with their parents at the time of the censuses.
Alfred William Saunders (1828-1910)
In 1851 Arthur could be the 22 year old labourer living with his grandmother, the 79 year old Elizabeth Spriggings, at Brook End, Ippollitts. In the same year Martha Peirson, was an unmarried straw plaiter with two children Pheobe Norfolk Peirson and Frederick Norfolk Peirson. (Norfolk may have been the father's name, there was a young man called James Norfolk living at Gosmore, Ippollitts). They were living with Martha's parents John Peirson (a bricklayer) and his wife Frances at Gosmore, Ippollitts. Alfred William Peirson was born in 1853 and Jane Esher Peirson was born in 1857 - and the evidence from later censuses points to Alfred being the father. In 1858 Martha Pearson married William Alfred Peirson and Martha Peirson Saunders was born the following year.
The 1861 shows the family at Gosmore, with Alfred being a dealer in wood, and Martha is recorded as being blind. They were still there in 1881, Alfred being described as a general dealer. Many of the children had left home and there were two more children, Hubert and granddaughter Emily (possibly the daughter of an unmarried daughter). In 1891 Alfred was described as an agricultural labourer, living at Hopland Cottage, Ippollitts, with two children and two grandchildren. The 1901 census return is given above.
Alfred is listed as a timber dealer of Gosmore in Kelly's Directory for Hertfordshire between 1882 and 1902 and his son Hubert is listed as a firewood dealer at Gosmore between 1908 and 1933.
Henry Saunders (1830-1906)
Henry Saunders/Sanders is a very common name and census searches have failed to find him in 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1881, despite the fact that there is no significant uncertainty about his name, date of birth and place of birth. While it is quite common for census entries to be missing (either not recorded, recorded erroneously, or mis-indexed) four missing in a row is exceptional. In addition when he reappears he is described as "Living on Own Means" which indicates that he has somehow acquired a private income. In addition the 1901 court case was undoubtedly brought because Eugenie knew that Henry had sufficient money to be worth bringing the court case, as there is no point in suing a pauper. However it is clear that Henry's funds must have been pretty limited as he died a pauper four years later
So did Henry go abroad - perhaps to Australia or New Zealand - and earn just enough money to allow him to retire back in England? He could have missed out of the census by being in the army, and posted overseas, but in that case he should have been described as a pensioner (or even a Chelsea Pensioner). There could be a very interesting story here but Hertfordshire records are unlikely to help. I haven't checked if he left a will, but if he did (and most people did not) this could be particularly interesting.
Sorry - but this part of the story remains shrouded in mystery.
What was Henry doings in the missing years?
Jeanetta Eugene Gardner (circa 186?-19??)
Jeanetta Eugene Gardiner married Henry Saunders in London early in 1890 (Ref: March 1890 Hackney 1b 481) and if you simply look at the indexes there are two possibilities. [I initially missed the fact that details of this wedding are now available on Ancestry - Jeanetta Eugene Gardiner was only 24 and her her father John Freeman Gardiner was a photographer. Henry Saunders son of Thomas Saunders deceased was 60. He is described as a widower and a farmer. Thanks Anthony for the correction.]
In 1865 the birth of "Jeanetta Jane Gardner" was registered in the Strand area of London - and in 1871 the family was living at Maiden Lane, St Paul, Covent Garden, Strand, London, where she was recorded as Eugenie.
1881 Census - 10 New Street, St Martin in the Fields, Strand, London
In addition a Jeanetta Lattimer married Arthur Gardiner in 1886 (registered Hackney). Jeanetta could be the Jenny in this family:
1881 Census - 307 Essex Road, Islington
At first sight (and without actually purchasing the marriage certificate) there are two possibilities - One that Eugenie Gardiner had been ditched at the time of the wedding but before the certificate was signed - and that the wedding took place and the wedding in 1890 was bigamous - and hence invalid.
Peter confirms the latter situation and the fact that the Latimer family used the forename Freeman, coupled by the place of birth supports this conclusion
As already mentioned Jeanetta Eugene Gardiner married Henry Saunders in London early in 1890 (Ref: March 1890 Hackney 1b 481). Ernest Freeman Saunders was born in Hertfordshire later the same year (Ref: Dec 1890 Hitchin 3a 473) and the birth certificate should give further information about the parents.
The press report says "Soon after this she met with Saunders, and by him she had a child. She took out a summons, and got an order for 5s a week against Saunders. Six months after this Saunders married her." This suggests that Bertie was the first child and he must have been born six months or more before the marriage, the census returns suggesting London. A simple search will not find his birth registration - but a Bertie Charles "Gordon" was registered early in 1889 (Ref: Mar 1889 St Saviour 1d 172) and if handwriting on the original was bad "Gardner" and "Gordon" could be confused - but this turns out not to be the case - so the correct reference is still to be found.
The press report refers to three other children who died in infancy - and as Bertie was the oldest followed quickly by Ernest the others must have been born after 1890, most probably in the Hitchin area. Ten infant deaths were registered under the name Saunders in Hitchin between 1890 and 1899 and two have names that strongly suggest that they refer to this family. One was Janetta Saunders (Birth Ref: Hitchin Jun 1894 3a 536; Death Ref: Hitchin Jun 1894 3a 355). The other was Violet Eugenie Saunders (Birth Ref: Hitchin Jun 1895 3a 511; Death (of Violet) Ref: Hitchin Jun 1897 3a 305). If you then assume at least a year between births the most likely other child is Reginald Saunders (Birth Ref: Hitchin Dec 1891 3a 503; Death Ref: Hitchin Dec 1892 3a 276) but this is only a guess.
Peter writes: I found the story of the court case that was in the Hertfordshire Advertiser in 1901 this time in an Australian paper in 'Broken Hill NSW ' is the name of the town and the newspaper is called Barrier Miner. Broken Hill is in the outback and is an old mining town . NOW . . . Did the story make it over there because Great-Granddad Henry was a former resident or is this where Great-grandmother Eugenie was hoping to settle with her 1st. hubby of 5 minutes?
The British Newspaper Archive currently has two reports relating to this trial - and I suspect that as the archive expands other papers will turn up.
Western Times 7 September
Portsmouth Evening News of 11 September
Stories like this one were widely circulated and I suspect they were used a space fillers if there was a dearth of local news. Occasionally such stories turn up in places like Australia and New Zealand and in some of these cases it is possible to find a direct link. However all that may have happened is the the Barrier Miner subscribed to a UK newspaper and lifted stories with a Australian connection.
Peter has drawn my attention to a posting on tumblr relating to the death of Private Ernest Saunders, in the First World War. It reports:
He enlisted in the Army in London and was drafted into the 1st Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers, which came under the orders of the 86th Brigade, 29th Division, on the 2nd January, 1915. Although no Service Record appears to exist for him it would seem that he undertook his initial training and then on the 16th March sailed with the Battalion, via Egypt, and landed in Gallipoli on the 25th April, 1915, when he was killed. ... ... He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli, and on the St Ippolyts War Memorial, Hertfordshire.
Peter adds: Sophia Saunder (nee Spriggins) had a brother James, who was a bricklayer and went to London too He is in the 1841 census but not in the 1851 census/ Perhaps he went to Australia - see SPRIGGINS, Walkern, 1840s.
If you can add to the information given above tell me.
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