Stuck on your family history? June Bridges
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Family history enthusiast June Bridges wanted some help to chip away at the brick wall regarding her father's birth. We asked AGRA member professional researcher Emma Jolly to share her thoughts on what the evidence reveals, and which leads June can follow up next…
June Bridges’ question:
I wonder if you can help me with my conundrum I have about my father’s birth. My father, Terence Craig was a twin to Edward, born in Bishopsgate, London in 1904. His mother’s name on the birth certificate is Mary Robinson. No-one in the family has heard of this name. As far as we know, our grandmother’s name was Mary Maud Lee. She was married before my grandad and then her name was Mary Maud Mackway.
We would like to know why Mary Robinson is on the twins’ birth certificate.
AGRA researcher Emma Jolly’s answer:
The 1911 census shows the twins with their parents, Edward and Mary Craig in Shoreditch. Both Edward and Mary were born in Bethnal Green. Edward was 40 and Mary was 42. Also in the house was Edward’s stepdaughters, Mary (20) and Rhoda (15) Mackway. According to this census entry. Edward and Mary had been married for 12 years by 2 April 1911.
Their marriage entry appears to be: Marriages Sep 1898; Craig Edward/ Mackway Mary Maud; Shoreditch; 1c, 275. A copy of the London marriage register entry is on the Ancestry database. The couple married at St James Shoreditch, and Mary is shown as a widow and the daughter of Edward Lee, Basket maker.
A marriage was registered in Sep 1885 (Bethnal Green; 1c; 366) of Mary Lee and William Mackway.
I found a possible birth record of Mary Maud Lee on the GRO website with the following details: Lee, Mary Maud; Huard; Sep 1866; Bethnal Green; 1C, 211. This indicates that Mary Maud's mother had the maiden surname of Huard.
I then searched for a possible marriage between Mary Maud's parents and found the following: Dec 1862; Mary Ann Huard & Edward Lee; Shoreditch; 1c, 382.
When your father was baptised on 2nd October 1904 at St Botolph's Bishopsgate, his parents' names were given as, "Edward and Mary Craig" and their address as 14 Rose Alley.
Your father's birth certificate is a little odd in that the mother's name is given as, "Maud Craig formerly Robinson" and the informant's name is, "M. Lee", who was not described as the mother, but instead as someone who was, "present at the birth". This seems an understated description if this was the mother! Your father was born at 14 New Street, Bishopsgate, but M. Lee lived at 14 Rose Alley, Bishopsgate. The registration took place 60 days after the birth.
As Mary Maud's mother appears to have been named Mary Ann Lee (née Huard), could it be that she was the "M. Lee" who registered the birth of your father? If so, is it possible that she made a mistake in giving her daughter's details and gave the name Robinson, instead of Mackway?
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About the AGRA expert
Emma Jolly MA is a London-based genealogist and writer. Her books include My Ancestor was a Woman at War, Tracing Your Ancestors Using the Census and Tracing Your British Indian Ancestors. An AGRA member, her website is at www.emmajolly.co.uk