In any family history research it appears to be inevitable to come to the question of ‘Whatever happened to so and so?’ The proverbial brick wall. I have a number of persons in my tree whom I have a record or two verifying their existence but no record of their demise. Those people where you can not say at the very least; well they were born in this year and died in that year. They are the names where you have a baptism or birth date – they may even appear on a census or two but then there is just a blank in the records.
The following are a list from my English ancestry of those persons the records do not reveal their ultimate fate.
Isaac Pye baptised 26 Dec 1841 in Castle church, Staffordshire. Last record of him found on the 1861 census, listed in West Bromwich, Staffordshire.
Eliza Pye baptised 19 Jan 1852 in Stafford, Staffordshire. Last record of Eliza found on the 1861 census in Stafford, Staffordshire. (I have since found she married and died in 1931).
The following children of William and Mary Pye of Acton Trussell, Staffordshire
William Pye baptised 13 Jan 1828; George Pye baptised 31 May 1835; Emma Pye baptised 7 Jan 1838 and Mary Pye baptised 7 Feb 1841.
William Pye last appears on the 1851 census as a servant in Pickstock, Shropshire. George Pye last appears on the 1871 census (he was not found on the 1861 census), a railway worker living in Dalton, Lancashire. Emma Pye was last found recorded on her sister, Sarah’s, marriage certificate as a witness to that wedding in Shropshire in Jan 1861 but was not found on the 1861 census. Mary Pye married John Scott Marshall on 6 May 1861 in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire – her husband died in 1865. Mary does not appear on the 1871 census and I have not found a record of her remarrying.
There are others that can be added to this list. There is one girl who did appear on two census records, but there is no birth record, no baptism record and no death record for her, and on each of the census records she has a different name. She was the eldest daughter of Timothy and Mary Jane Pye of West Bromwich. On the 1881 census she is listed as Ada Pye aged 6 years and on the 1891 as Lydia Pye aged 17 years. That is the limit to this girl’s recorded history. From the 1911 census I can deduce that Ada (which I believe is her correct name, since the 1891 census recorded another sister’s name incorrectly) died prior to 1911, the census stating that Timothy and Mary Jane had two children deceased at that time – one known to be their infant son; and the other would be Ada. But searching through the parish registers I found baptisms for the four youngest daughters and the burial of their brother, but no record of birth or death for Ada.
However, for all the dead ends encountered through the tree there are all the breakthroughs and very satisfying moments of discovery when persistent detective work comes up trumps. I will keep chipping away at my brick walls until they come tumbling down.