Thursday, 12 January 2017

One brick at a time...

I have been looking for ages for information about my daughter's 2x great grandmother Mary Millicent (sic) Hogg, nee Barnett or Jerrard/Jarratt. Since before she was born even !! 

When I started researching the family I had married into I asked lots of questions. I have stored all the answers and information, like a squirrel, for safe keeping in my mind. My mother-in-law had told me that her grandmother was a twin, that the twin died and then their mother (her great grandmother) remarried. But there was some confusion about whether the birth name of Mary was Barnett or Jerrard/Jarratt and which name belonged to the stepfather.

Her Australian death certificate has her name as Mary Millicent Hogg nee Barnett – and her mother’s name as Mary Milne.

I purchased her marriage certificate about 12 years ago. She gave her name as Mary Milne Jerrard in 1901 and said she was “over the age of 21”, when she married Thomas Watson Hogg. On most of her children’s birth certificates she gave her maiden name as Barnett.

It was also said that there were more children born in the UK before they moved to Australia, but I’ve not been able to find any registered. Especially now that you can search using the mother’s maiden name which you’ve never been able to do before. On the 1911 census, which was the last one taken before they emigrated, she says she had had 2 children and that they were both still alive (although only my daughter's great grandfather – Robert - was at home with her on census night). The elder child, Margaret, I later found enumerated as a patient in hospital. There are additional deceased children listed on her death certificate – but still no evidence !

On her husband’s Army enlistment papers for WW1 (found on Ancestry) her name is recorded as Mary Milne Jerrard (with Barnett crossed out) with the same marriage date. Just two children are listed, a 3rd was born in 1914 so not on the census, and the 1st had already died and was not included. When they emigrated to Australia after the war their 4th child had arrived.

When I was having a spend up on the GRO in their email pdf trial in November last year, I decided to take a stab at the birth certificate for their first child Margaret in case there was information on there to help. But not really – apart from confirming that the address where they were living in 1902 was the same as in 1919. I found her death in 1913 from TB, aged 10 years. Her death certificate gave her name not just as Margaret Hogg (on the birth certificate) but as Margaret Jerrard Hogg. A clue perhaps, considering the naming patterns that are commonly used in Scotland.

Last night I decided again to see if I could find any additional children born to the Hogg/Jerrard Hogg/Barnett family. Nope.

So I thought I would try again to see if I could find Mary’s birth in Scotland. On the 1911 census (the only official UK document I had found where she had recorded her birthplace) and on her death certificate (where the information was supplied by her children) the place of birth was given each time as Aberdeen.

I’ve looked and looked there so many times !! Even back when one of my nieces was living in Aberdeen - at least 12 years ago, maybe 13. 

Scotlandspeople have updated their website and search function too and things are a little easier to navigate. I tried several searches, changing spelling, looking for the mother’s name as well and then BINGO !! A birth for Mary Milne Gerrard in Aberdeen ! I looked at the birth entry and the mother’s name was Margaret Gerrard (sound familiar ?).

To be doubly sure that I had found the right baby – I looked to see if there was a twin. Yes there was ! James Milne Gerrard, born 20 minutes earlier. (I LOVE the information on Scottish certificates !) They were born in the Poor House in Aberdeen to a single mother. Again, I am wondering if the naming pattern points to their father being a Mr Milne ?

So anyway, still trying to align with the information which I had been told, I looked for a death for the twin, and found one, aged 17 months, in the Poor House from croup. At that point I wondered had she left both of her babies there ? Her occupation on the birth certificates was Domestic Servant, and the same on the death certificate for baby James. How would a young girl look after 2 babies on her own back then in 1882, in a city like Aberdeen ? She would have had to keep working. Who cared for the children ?

The next event I needed to confirm was a marriage. Knowing now that HER name was Gerrard – and that the children’s birth names were Gerrard, the marriage should logically be to a Mr Barnett. And what do you know, there it was, in a slightly different part of Aberdeen. Margaret Gerrard (Domestic Servant) marrying George Barnet (a Paper Mill worker).

I eventually found them living as a family on the 1891 Scotland census, where he was working at a Paper Mill (which is actually still in existence today !) and Mary was listed as his stepdaughter. YAY !! Now I know I have the right people.

In 1901 when Mary and Thomas married, she said she was living in Benwell. I’ve not been able to find her (for sure on the 1901 census) but I did find her mother and stepfather, along with a half-brother and a step-grandparent living in the Benwell area of Newcastle on Tyne. The half-brother, George, isn’t on the 1891 census which is odd. I thought he may not have been born by the time the census was taken, but his birth certificate shows he was born in 1890 – to the correct parents. Maybe the enumerator just forgot to write him down.

Mary’s mother died in 1901 – between the census and Mary’s marriage. She was 38 years old. Her death is registered as Margaret Gerrard Barnet – further confirmation of the naming pattern and correctness of all this searching. Margaret must have been aged about 18 or 19 when she had her twins, and as I suspected Mary was not "over 21 years of age" when she married.

So there you have it, a story passed down which turns out to be true, I love it when that happens.

Very pleased with myself, I am. One brick wall smashed - now to focus back on those other ones. Julius, Mowbray, Charles et al., I WILL find you.


  1. Good work, looking for Gerrard instead of Jerrard

  2. ...a bit like Cupper and Cuper being alternatives for Cooper - who knew