Does a witness hold the clue?
Researching ancestors often leads us to brickwalls and dead ends. The excitement and sense of achievement we get from making breakthroughs is no doubt part of what makes the hobby of family history research so interesting. Although we may feel it would be better if we could work our way back generation by generation, without holdups, it would remove the challenge of discovery.
Researching the life of, and trying to identify Elizabeth Raine (or Rane), has proved just such a challenge. To date (06.03.2021), we still have a way to go. With the help of Dwight Penny from America who is also a descendant of Elizabeth, we may be a little closer. We have exchanged information, bringing together the tiniest and apparently insignificant clues we each hold, and putting forward our suggestions.
Dwight has created a Google map, to log the places these ancestors lived and churches they used, in an attempt for us as family historians to understand the locations they lived.
The search for Elizabeth Raine, mirrors her son, Joseph Lovell Raine, to start with. So please read about him from this link, before continuing into his mothers story.
To Recap; On April 18th 1825, at St Mary Abbotts, Kensington, Joseph was baptised, born to Elizabeth Rane and Joseph Lovell, a labourer. They lived at Gravel Pits. Gravel Pits became the Potteries and Piggeries. Elizabeth and Joseph were not married.
Following extensive searches, using many different filters, a baptism record for a brother to Joseph: George, was found; 9th September1831, confusingly, he was baptised with christian names George Lovell, to Joseph and Elizabeth Rain at St Mary Abbotts Kensington. Joseph was a labourer, living at Gravel Pits.
In 1833, Elizabeth Raine, acted as a witness at the marriage of William Lovell to Ruth Woodfield 22nd July at St James, Paddington. I surmise this William is brother to Joseph Lovell (partner to Elizabeth Raine). It also gives a first link to Paddington (see more further on).
Further searches eventually bought up two sisters, to Joseph Lovell Raine – Charlotte Lovell Raine and Elizabeth Lovell Raine, by their marriage records. No records of their baptisms have been found.
Elizabeth was married on 22nd September 1851 at St Johns Church, Notting Hill, to Edward Joseph Paul. They both lived at Mary’s Place (The Potteries). Elizabeth’s father was given as Joseph Lovell Raine, Brickmaker.
It may be, that when the registers were filled in, it was done almost automatically, so that as Elizabeth gave her surname as ‘Lovell Raine’, that was the name entered for her father too. John Renshaw and Mary Ann (Tell?) were witnesses.
On April 11th 1852, at St Marys Church, Paddington Green, John Renshaw, married Charlotte Lovell Raine. No father was given for Charlotte. Witnesses Mary Ann Till (Tell) and William (Rapley?). In 1841, John Renshaw was a servant in the house of ?Allen, a merchant, and so was William Rapley
Both Elizabeth and Charlotte could sign their names.
Soon after marriage, Charlotte and John, emigrated to America, and this is the branch that Dwight Penny and his relatives in America descend from.
It now appears that the one of the witnesses to both marriages, (Mary Ann Till) may hold the key. Dwight suggests that Mary Ann Till was a step sister to Charlotte, and he holds a handwritten note that Charlotte was born 31st December 1829, with stepfather surname ‘Till’.
Having this information, I tried different searches for Elizabeth Raine. There had been no record of her marriage to Joseph Lovell, or suitable reference of her in any census. Inspite of Raine being a less common name, a death could not be identified either.
Then a marriage of Elizabeth Raine to Henry Till showed up – 3rd October 1836 at St James Paddington. Elizabeth was unable to write her name. Witnesses, Kezia (Crockham?) and John Kemp. Previously this marriage may have been discounted due to taking place in Paddington, but we now have a connection as Charlotte married John Renshaw at Paddington.
Following on from this, I discovered a baptism record for a Mary Ann Till to Henry and Elizabeth Till at Gravel Pitts, St Mary Abbots, Kensington. Henry was a shoemaker. This appears to be the missing link, but now I needed to find Elizabeth (Raine) living with or connecting with members of her family to prove it. Brief searches in the census records, did not bring anything up.
This helped with identification, but throws up more questions. Had Joseph Lovell died by 1837. Were there more children born after Mary Ann. Why are the family not showing in census records. Why did Elizabeth Lovell Raine, give Joseph Lovell Raine as her father at marriage in 1851, but Charlotte leave the father blank in 1852.
Further searches revealed a John Till born to Henry and Elizabeth Till and baptised 23rd September 1849 at Holy Trinity Paddington. Home address given as 27 Salem Gardens, occupation of Henry, Shoemaker.
This gave a gap of twelve years between the birth of Mary Ann and John, were there other children in between? The names of parents, surname and occupation of Shoemaker, tied the two births.
Mary Ann’s birth at Gravelpits, St Mary Abbots, linked the family, to the Elizabeth Raine and Joseph Lovell family, and John’s baptism at Holy Trinity Paddington, linked the family with Charlotte Lovell Raines marriage in 1851.
On 19th March 1848, and 18 months before John was baptised, Henry Till was buried at St. Mary Paddington. Aged 47 years. The home address is given as Salem Gardens, Bayswater.
Still not sure whether I had been making facts fit a story, and following extensive searches, I eventually discovered in the 1851 Census, at Salem Gardens Bayswater:
Elizabeth Tell, a widow and Charwoman, aged 46 born Denham Buckinghamshire. At last, we had a reference to her birth date and place. With her were Mary Ann Tell, daughter, aged 16, a servant born Kensington, and John Tell, a scholar aged 4 born at Bayswater.
This Census reference links all of them together.
However, in 1850, there is a reference on Ancestry.co.uk of Banns, read, 7th, 14th and 21st April, between Elizabeth Till widow of North (unclear) Road, and Thomas Francis Butcher, widower of Green Street, at Paddington. Could this be our Elizabeth?
There is no record that the marriage took place, and as we have seen, in 1851 census, Elizabeth refers to herself as ‘Tell’ and ‘widow’. On April 11th 1852 Thomas Francis Butcher is buried in Paddington from Moscow Gardens, Paddington.
Sadly, a year later, on July 11th 1853, Mary Ann Till was buried aged 16 at Paddington, from Richmond Place Marylebone, presumably, where she was a servant.
I carried out a search for an Elizabeth Raine born about 1805 at Denham, Buckinghamshire, ‘lo and behold’, a baptism was found on 2nd January 1805, to Joseph and Elizabeth Raine at Denham Buckinghamshire. (Another set of ancestors called Joseph and Elizabeth to follow up on at a later date 🥺). These details were found on ancestry.co.uk, but as a text only entry.
A Joseph Rane was buried at Denham on 3rd January 1822, and the following year, an Elizabeth Rane was buried on 31st August 1823. Were these events the catalysts to send our Elizabeth to St Mary Abbotts, or was she already there by then.
There are still questions to answer concerning the life of Elizabeth Raine, but now, we have a framework to work with.
When and where did she die, where was she between 1851 and date of death. Where was she in 1841. Did she have any other children?
To be continued……