No wonder I got confused!

   Posted by: anne   in Research Progress

When I initially downloaded the 1911 census entry for my great great grandfather, James Thomas Watts, I wondered why he had stated that he and his wife Emma Louisa had been married for 22 years and had four children, two of whom had died.

This branch of the family was one of the first I had started tracing way back in the late 1970’s with my uncle. James Thomas was his great grandfather.

We had found the marriage of James Thomas Watts and Emma Louisa Jones taking place on 18 July 1864 and this was followed by the births of, apparently, 12 children, ending with Charles Watts in 1892.

Each census return from 1871 to 1911 showed James Thomas living with Emma Louisa and a variety of their children.

It was only recently that I revisited that 1911 census return and puzzled again over the details given. The first clue was that fact the there were actually three children residing there on census night. This didn’t add up if two of their four children had died!

I decided to look and see if I could find any more clues. James Thomas stated he had been married 22 years so that meant he had married Emma Louisa in about 1889.  If James Thomas had married in 1889 his first wife must have died sometime before. Further investigation revealed a burial for an Emma Louisa Watts 14th October 1886, aged 38 years. So far so good!

Having found a death for James Thomas’ first wife I started a search for his remarriage. That took place on 6th August 1888 to Emma Louisa Weeks. That explained the confusion! His new wife was also Emma Louisa!

That meant that the last two children we had found, Clara Louise and Charles, were actually children from the second marriage. As yet I haven’t found any details of the two children of this second marrige that had died before the 1911 census was taken, although I hope to make progress on that during my next visit to the record office.

This experience shows that it is always worth going over previous details when new information sources become available. Had we decided to get the birth certificate of either Clara Louise or Charles Watts their mother’s maiden name would have rung alarm bells, but as we were tracking the family of James Thomas’ eldest son, James Albert John Watts, and Emma Louisa Watts was continuing to appear as the wife of James Thomas, there did not appear to be a pressing need to do so.

Our family pages will be updated shortly to reflect the latest information we have on this branch of the family (and added information for many others!).

This entry was posted on Friday, June 3rd, 2011 at 23:32 and is filed under Research Progress. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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