Tracing the disparate ancestries of four great families


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Fanny Elizabeth Bedson and her capricious family

Fanny Elizabeth Bedson and her capricious family

from Margaret Jones Dec 2011


FANNY ELIZABETH was born in Betley, Staffordshire in 1885, however, it appears that our branch of the family only moved there at the turn of the 18th/19th century. Iíve looked through St. Margaretís Registers from 1538 up to 1812 and the first BEDSON to appear is a WILLIAM BEDSON who married MARY DAIN in 1744. I cannot find any family connection. It could be, as Grandma was Methodist, that the Nonconformist records could give more information, will have to wait and see.

Of the families marrying into the BEDSON line I have found the first mention of KEEN in 1697, MADELEY in 1682 (although our connection was from Shropshire) and COWPER (COOPER) in 1596. JONESON (JOHNSON) is mentioned in 1585 with MASSEY and HEWITT appearing as early as 1550 and 1576 respectively.

Obviously Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire shared an agricultural background and the BEDSON family like many others worked in this industry and moved, with their work, from place to place. That is up until the Industrial Revolution, when mechanization meant they had to diversify.

Not too much is known about FANNY ELIZABETH BEDSONís family life, other than she was born on 17th August 1885 in Betley, Staffordshire, the second child of WILLIAM BEDSON and MARY KEEN. Her siblings were:

         JAMES BEDSON baptised 23 Oct 1881 Betley, Staffordshire

         LEONARD BEDSON born 6 June 1886

Her father WILLIAM disappeared between LEONARDís conception/baptism and 1888 when MARY her mother married for the second time.

Husband number two was THOMAS BROWN who she married in a Civil Ceremony and , from the information I have, he seems to have been 25 years older than she was and born in Oxford.  MARY and THOMAS had two children -

         GERTRUDE BROWN born 1889

         FLORENCE MAY BROWN born 1893

The 1891 census shows THOMAS and MARY together and LEONARD and LIZZIE are with them listed as being THOMASí stepchildren . JAMES, however, is at the home of his grandmother ELIZABETH BEDSON.

WILLIAM, has disappeared, that is unless he remarried. One thing that leads me to believe that he didnít die, although I could be wrong, is that on Grandmaís marriage certificate he is shown as being her father but the word Ďdeceasedí is not used. I havenít been able to find a death record for him, so hereís hoping.

On the 1901 census MARYís gone. THOMAS has LEONARD, LIZZIE, GERTRUDE and FLORENCE with him and JAMES is still with his grandmother.

Thanks to contact with LEONARDís granddaughter I have discovered where she went. MARY is with a new partner ALFRED ALDERSEA, and they have three daughters:

         ELIZABETH ALDERSEA born 1896

         SALOME NELLIE ALDDERSEA born 1897

         ELSIE MAY ALDERSEA born 1898

They are all living in Moores Yard, Wolstanton in 1901, and in 1911 they are living at Church Bank, Chesterton and in the section where it says how long have you been married they have answered that they have been married for 17 years and have had 4 children!!!!

In 1881 ALFRED ALDERSEA was living in Betley, with his mother.

THOMAS only died in circa 1903 aged 72 which could be the reason why MARY wasnít married to ALFRED until 1914 when a Civil Ceremony took place.

By the time she was 13 years old LIZZIE had lost her father (in what way I donít know yet), gained a stepfather and two half-sisters, then lost her mother, who had left the five children she already had to begin living with another man and have another three children by him.

I can only assume that LIZZIE stayed with THOMAS who no doubt was left to take care of her and her brother, as well as his own children. This could account for the BIRCHALL family thinking that her surname was BROWN.

Hardly surprising that she went into service and then thankfully met and married CHARLES HENRY BIRCHALL who I know gave her a stable home life, possibly for the first time in her 20 years. Her childhood experience also probably made her more determined to make sure that her own children had a sound and stable upbringing.

My mum did once tell me that Grandma had said that her mother left her and her brothers and sisters. Rather naively I took that to mean that she used to go out a lot. Obviously thatís not what she meant. LEONARD apparently was still in touch with her.


Owner/SourceMargaret Taylor
Linked toFanny Elizabeth Bedson

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