There is a George Pye in a distant branch of my Pye tree who married Emily Patience Lawton in 1897. No father’s name was listed for Emily and therefore I assumed that she was illegitimate.
I had not found a birth record for Emily Patience Lawton, but did not really worry as this was not connected to a close relation. Yesterday I was scrolling through StaffordshireBMD, because they are listing more of the mothers’ maiden names on their birth indexes. For George and Emily’s first two children, the mother’s maiden name was listed as Cooper. I had expected to see Lawton.
Today I looked at Ancestry to see if Emily Patience’s birth was listed under Emily Patience Cooper rather than Lawton. There wasn’t, but there was a baptism for Emily Patience Jones in the correct year of birth, to parents George and Frances Anne Jones. Now I had a third surname!! I thought perhaps George died and Frances Ann Jones had married again.
Looking at the 1881 census I found an Emily P Cooper aged 6 years, with mother Frances A Cooper 26 years and her husband Henry Cooper 26 years. There were two sons as well, Thomas H Cooper 2 years and Frederick J Cooper 1 year.
I found a marriage of Frances Ann Farmer Jones to Henry Cooper in 1877. Frances was listed as the daughter of John Jones. Her marital status was ‘spinster’. So Frances had invented a husband for the baptism of her daughter. I found a baptism for Frances which gave her parents as Maria and John Jones. On the 1891 census, 17 year old Emily Cooper was listed as the granddaughter of Maria Hill (Emily was with Frances’s mother, who appeared to have remarried).
From this information I still could not be certain that this was Emily Patience Lawton who married George Pye. But one thing that had caught my eye was the name of Emily’s half-brother, Frederick J Cooper. It seemed familiar to me, therefore I looked at my census transcription charts and saw on the 1901 census a Frederick J Cooper, 21 years, listed as a ‘boarder’ with the family of Emily P. Pye, her husband George and their two sons.
This confirmed it. Emily Patience was born Jones, took the name Cooper when her mother married her step-father. But it did not explain why Emily married under the surname Lawton. Perhaps she discovered her wayward father’s surname and used it when she married, but used the surname Cooper when registering her children’s birth as it was the name she grew up with.
An interesting day’s research with a number of unexpected turns.