My Great Grandmother Alice Elson had four sisters and four brothers. This family has always confounded me, especially the women --- it took me many years to find them. The surname is variously recorded as ELSON and ELSTON. Of course all the women had common names, Ann, Mary, Elizabeth, etc.
Since most poor young women in this era worked as servants, cooks, domestics they ended up leaving their home village and could be anywhere. Finding them in the census is usually only achieved by searching by their birthplace. At some point, it becomes a guessing game, looking for Ann, Mary, Elizabeth born in Fulbeck......then checking the married names against the Civil Registration Marriage Index, to see if you can prove that it's the correct person.
Clearly I had given up on finding Ann and Elizabeth ...... but luckily by finding a bastardy order for Elizabeth son, I was able to track them both down.
Since these are my direct Great Grand Aunts, I took the extra step of ordering death certificates to document the medical history of this branch of my tree.
- Elizabeth Elson, the mother of the bastard son, died at age 22, a year after the birth of her son. The cause was consumption (tuberculosis)
- Mary Elson Stennett Parnham died at age 70 of "softening of the brain" - a stroke and chronic leg ulcer
- Ann Elson Moor Bates died at age 86 of senile decay
- Sarah Elson Pegg died at age 68 of arteriosclerosis and hemiplegia
- Alice (my Gt Grandmother) died at age 78 of influenza and cardiac failure.
I also ordered their Father Thomas's death cert -- he died at age 61 of prostate disease. I've yet to find Thomas's wife Elizabeth's death -- it occurred sometime between 1871-1881, so she would have been between 61-71 when she died.