What’s in a name!
For anyone researching European ancestry, the first clue we look for is a surname. Unusual surnames are easier to research, but even an unusual name in a confined area, can cause difficulties. It is likely that most individuals with the same surname in a given area, would be related in some way, but as time passes, the large number of individuals can become difficult to sort through, especially if many of them have the same given name.
With more common and widespread surnames, (such as Smith), research becomes more difficult, and completely unrelated individuals with the same surname may live side by side.
Further problems arise, as name spellings in former years were not standardised.
This is the research story of an ancestor Joseph Lovell Raine, and his forebears, carrying two, reasonably, uncommon names.
Dwight (also descended from this family), 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.
I begin, with what I know.
My ancestor, Caroline Lovell was born 1852 at the Potteries, Kensington, to Elizabeth Rogers and Joseph Lovell. The Potteries was a very poor area, where many of the inhabitants were labourers eking out a living by keeping pigs and making bricks, the women often supplemented the family income by working in the laundry industry. It was also an area, where gypsies had made their home, and at first we wondered whether there was gypsy ancestry, but on further research, it appears that most of these ancestors were well established in the area.
We were seeking Joseph Lovell, and the first resource used to track him down, was Caroline’s birth certificate, followed by the 1851 Census.
At Potteries, Nottingdale; He was aged 25 and a labourer, he was married to Elizabeth with four children, Joseph aged 4, Elizabeth, 3, William, 1 and George 2 months. By the 1861 census, Elizabeth was widowed, and working in the laundry industry as an ‘Ironer’, with children, Joseph, Elizabeth, William, and daughter Caroline aged 9.
We later discovered that Joseph had died at the Potteries in 1857 from pneumonia. Two further children had been born and died between 1851 and 1857, as well as baby George born 1851 (as yet, no birth, baptism, burial or death reference have been found for him). Present at the death of Joseph, was Jane Cole, who we have discovered, was Caroline’s, cousin.
In the 1841 census, for some reason, we have not been able to find Joseph Lovell or extended members of the family.
The next document checked, was the wedding certificate for Joseph Lovell and Elizabeth Rogers, however, this proved another sticking point.
According to the 1851 census, the first child was born in 1847, when Elizabeth would have been aged 19 and Joseph 21 years. This would mean the marriage most likely would have taken place, between 1844 and 1847.
Searching for a suitable marriage, drew up many blanks, it wasn’t until we did a wide search using many different search filters that eventually we discovered a marriage record.
Elizabeth Rogers was registered as ‘Betsy’ Rogers, and Joseph Lovell, as Joseph Lovell Raine. It also appears that some of the certificate was pre written, as there seems to be two styles of writing.
The wedding took place on November 8th 1846. Subsequent research shows that at this time, Elizabeth was aged fifteen, so was not actually ‘of full age’. The witnesses John and Jane Cole, were Elizabeth’s maternal Aunt and Uncle. Surprisingly, both Joseph and Elizabeth could sign their own names.
This now leads to the question, where did Joseph get his surnames from, and why did he later resort to just Lovell.
Did he have well to do parents with a double barrelled surname? This is highly unlikely, given occupations, abodes, and family relations.
Was he of gypsy ancestry, using a mothers surname instead of fathers or parents not marrying in the conventional sense?
Were his parents unmarried – and if so, how did he use the surnames, – Which surname was his mothers and which his fathers. Normally in illegitimate births, the child takes the mothers name, as Joseph has both names, it appears that Joseph’s father was involved in his life.
Eventually after years of using many different search filters, a suitable baptism was discovered.
Usually for family historians, illegitimate births, are a disappointment, as the fathers name was not given. In the case of Joseph Lovell, his baptism record, gives both parents names.
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.
As yet, no record of a marriage between Elizabeth Rane and Joseph Lovell, has been found, and no census records for them, can be verified. Neither have death records been identified.
A baptism record for a brother to Joseph: George, has been 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.
Using wild card searches, it appears there were two sisters, Elizabeth and Charlotte, and their marriage records 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. John Renshaw was a witness.
On April 11th 1852, at St Mary’s Church, Paddington Green, John Renshaw, married Charlotte Lovell Raine. No father was given for Charlotte. Witness Mary Ann Till (Tell), and William (Rapeley?).
Both Elizabeth and Charlotte could sign their names. Soon after marriage, Charlotte and John, emigrated to America.
To sum up, Joseph was born in 1825, to Joseph Lovell and Elizabeth Raine at Gravel Pits Kensington. One of four known children. His parents never married each other, but his mother married a Henry Till in 1836, and had at least two further children. His father apparently led a very interesting life! Joseph was a labourer/ brickmaker. In 1846, Joseph married Elizabeth (Betsy) Rogers and had seven children. He died from pneumonia in 1857 at the Potteries.
Research and collaboration with a researcher in America, descended from Charlotte Lovell Raine (Dwight Penny), has helped us identify and tell the lifestory of Joseph Lovell Raine’s mother, (Elizabeth Raine), now it comes to the task of trying to identify his father, Joseph Lovell.