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Archiver > LONDON > 1999-10 > 0940761628

From: Liz <>
Subject: Re: Missing death registration
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 1999 11:40:28 +0100

> Hi
> I wonder if anyone might be able to shed some light on the following.
> My g-g-grandmother Mary Ann EVANS is said to have died in 1900 and be buried
> in Highgate Cemetery. (Unfortunately she's not the famous one!)
> On my last trip to the FRC I checked the indexes from 1899 to 1901 but could
> not find her either under EVANS or her maiden name of STOREY.
> There has been somewhat of a veil drawn over her final years. She moved to
> London with her husband John Henry EVANS (and 3 children) in abt 1885 to be
> domestic servants in Highgate area. He died about 5 years later and she
> subsequently had 2 further children by "father unknown".
> I have not been able to find a) The death of John Henry EVANS from 1885-1892
> b) The births of her 2 illegitimate children Robert EVANS and Mary EVANS (who
> were placed in a Barnardos home on her death) or c) Mary's death.
> It is said she died of starvation as none of the "respectable family" would
> have anything to do with her and I have a letter from her brother to one of
> her daughters (my g-grandmother) dated April 1901 referring to her death the
> previous year, the "unhappy nature" of her life in London prior to her death,
> and the family's approval of the decision to place the two "unfortunate
> children" in the care of Dr Barnardos.
> This is leading me to suspect that she perhaps may have turned to
> prostitution - am I reading too much into it do you think? Is there any
> logical reason why (apart from my own incompetence) I cannot find the births
> of her illegitimate children and especially Mary Ann's death, the year of
> which I have letters to support being in 1900?
> Any advice you might be able to offer would be very welcome indeed.

Dear Leigh,

Prostitution is a possibility, but it is worth bearing in mind that, in
the eyes of the 'respectable' living in an 'irregular' relationship
would be equally condemned.

I would be inclined to undertake the somewhat daunting task of searching
for her and the children in the 1891 Census for the Highgate area. it
would not entirely surprise me if you found her employed as the
housekeeper of some gentleman, perhaps a widower. If so, take note of
his name, especially if there are no children called Evans but a couple
of youngsters with *his* surname in the household. Just such an
apparently straightforward household in my research, turned out to cover
an illicit relationship.(Leaving me with a permanent suspicion about
housekeepers!) Mine eventually led to marriage, but in Mary Ann's case
it may be that her gentleman would not 'marry beneath' him for family
reasons and subsequently died or evicted his mistress for whatever
reason. If her children had been registered with his surname she may
then have used that name herself, posing as his widow and therefore the
children's births and her death would all be in the surname of this
gent. Cherchez the employer!

If the children were sent to Barnados as Evans this may be the result of
the respectable lot wishing to overide her fiction and make it clear
that the poor things were bastards. Such self-righteousness would be

It's a long shot and you'll curse me as you go cross-eyed over however
much film Highgate takes up - but I've had longshots like this pay off
myself or I wouldn't suggest it :-)

Liz (Greenwich UK)

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