Sunday, 25 September 2016

Small farming community, East Meon is the setting for unravelling family mysteries....



We are claiming George Dovey b 1867 in East Meon as one of ours. That is, he is a first cousin 2x removed from my husband.

At first it was the case of mistaken identity. Originally we had claimed him as my husband’s grandfather – George Ford- thinking his baptism in 1867 was an adult baptism but that is not so….
George Ford of East Meon led us a merry chase when we looked for his origins.
All Saints Church East Meon has witnessed many baptisms

To recap, George Ford as we know him is christened George Wilkes (his birth is registered as George Wilks), son of William Wilks and Harriet Wilks nee Foard. His mother died in 1859. He is known to have had two older brothers William and Charles Ford born of different fathers illegitimately. Theirs was a small community, of poor farm labourers.  Brother William had joined the Army but appears to have been stationed around the village. George had lived in East Meon from his birth 1851 to 5 January 1868 when his brother William Ford signed papers for his enlistment into the Royal Navy at Portsmouth that day in 1868.

Our first document for George ford is a naval record which has father William Ford followed by his marriage certificate. This marriage certificate has George Ford marrying Alice Barter with father William who following on from the naval record we assumed was a William Ford  

The conversation may have gone something like:
"I'm his brother William Ford. Me mam’s died and I’m bringing my brother George to sign up for the Navy."
"Okay. Father's name?"
"William"
"Right then George (Ford) your brother has vouched for you. Welcome to the Navy"

George signed on the dotted line, William had got his age wrong by about a year but neither has noticed the incorrect surname. From then George is known as George Ford, Seaman and the Ford name carries on.

However during this time of discovery George’s great grandson Chris, visited the village of East Meon curious to find a George Ford. He stumbled upon a baptism record with William Ford fathering a son, George Dovey to Mary Dovey. Get it? He would be George Ford and the only George Ford born in East Meon at the time. Looked like a possibility. Mary was a neighbor to the Fords .Only problem was a discrepancy in the birth date. We claimed him as my husband’s great grandfather.
The rear recording has Mary Dovey and William Ford as parents to George-  Illigitimate baptised 3/11/1967

Subsequently we found the real George Ford as George Wilks who was the only legitimate son of Harriet Ford and William Wilks born in East Meon in 1851.George's story and that of his brother William is documented in my Blog How I discovered we are not the Fords

That left us with distinct possibility that our William Ford had fathered this George Dovey. 

George would have been a cousin to my husband's grandfather. As none of his parents seem to claim him –we will.  His mother, Mary Dovey seems to have dropped off the face of the earth after the 1871 census. She is a servant at the home of George Findley a music teacher in 1871 while son George appears in the 1871 census with his grandparents Thomas Dovey and Mary Ann Titheridge.

1871 census featuring young George
In the 1881 and 1891 census he is with his Aunts, Mary Ann Dovey unmarried and Harriett Port nee Dovey at Basing Lodge. Meanwhile, William Ford who was discharged from the Army by this time for being melancholic, was convicted of setting fire to the barn at Basing Home Farm in 1880 and subsequently jailed. Same place as George was living.

1911 census -George with a single son after his wife was institutionalised


Then George married Fanny Quinton Hayes in 1893. but here's where it gets complicated. His Uncle George Dovey married Mary Ann Titheridge's sister Phoebe who died. She was Mary Dovey's Aunt incidentally. Uncle George then married Ann Hayes who already had a daughter –one Fanny Hayes.

George Dovey and Fanny had 7 children (2 dead by 1911 census). After the seventh child it seems Fanny sadly was put in an Institution from 1907 for 30 years until she died in 1937 as a pauper. . Perhaps Fanny suffered from post natal depression something that is very easily diagnosed and treated today.
George Dovey and Fanny Quinton Hayes had the following children:

SYDNEY GEORGE DOVEY was born about 1894 in Froxfield, Hampshire, England.
He appears 1901 at Basing Park Lodge with parents and brother and in 1911 aged 17 with father as a - farm labourer at Privett

WILLIAM EDWIN DOVEY was born in 1898 in East Meon, Hampshire, England. He died in 1904 in Petersfield, Hampshire.

THOMAS SAMUEL DOVEY was born on 03 Jan 1907 in Privett East Meon, Hampshire, England. He died in Mar 1978 in Liverpool, Merseyside, England.

ROSALINE MARY DOVEY was born in 1896 in Petersfield, Hampshire. She died in Jul 1897 in Isle of Wight, Hampshire.

BERTHA VIOLET F DOVEY  was born in 1901 in Petersfield, Hampshire. Bertha is on 1911 census in another household as a border. She married William H Walker in 1927 in Petersfield, Hampshire. William and Bertha had a daughter DORIS M WALKER was born in Dec 1927 in Petersfield, Hampshire. She died in Dec 1981 in Alton, Hampshire, England (Age 80).

MABEL KATHLEEN A DOVEY was born in Jan 1903 in Petersfield, Hampshire.

ELLEN ELIZA A DOVEY was born about 1906 in Privett, Hampshire, England.It is possible she could have been a child who died aged 1 in Pancras making her the second child dead as per the census but it is also possible she is in the 1911 census as Helen Dovey  living with Aunt Eliza Carter widow and Cousin Lillian Carter.

From what I can gather some of the children were farmed out or perhaps adopted as they don’t come up in census or other records.  

The Doveys, Titheridges and Fords are long term families in the East Meon district. As you see from reading my previous blog and this one they were reasonably poor farm labourers, often illegitimate and often in poor circumstances being looked after by family or the poor house.

Anyway it seems we can put the mystery of George Dovey to bed.



Tip of the Day:
The final discovery of George Dovey's life came from revisiting the story. In this case the village was reasonably small- I was looking for farming families in the East Meon area and their movements. I found the links between the Titheridges, Doveys and Fords and their close relationships during census taking.

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