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Family Trees From The Garden of England

  • An elusive ancestor......

    For a WDYTYA? Q&A I was asked to seek a Charles David Stroud born 'Fenham, Kent' prior to the 1881 census who could not be found:

    Charles David Stroud merely gives his birthplace as 'Kent' in the 1891, 1901 and 1911 census returns. He is however consistent with his age. 27 on marriage in 1890, 28 in 1891, [age obscured in 1901 but could well be 38], 48 in 1911, 74 at death in 1937.

    I can see no reason why the 1881 candidate would be wrong - he has the right name, age [18], occupation and county of birth.

    Fenham could be a mistranscription. Maybe it is Lenham or 'Tenham' for Teynham but there are no obvious birth entries near these places in the GRO birth indexes. The writing of the F is quite distinct from other 'T's written on the page so it seems quite clear in being Fenham. Comparing a definite 'F' written in the same hand elsewhere it is exactly the same. Using the gazetteer on there is only Fenn Street as a place name beginning Fe in Kent. Another alternative is that it is a contraction of the place name Farningham.

    In 1901 Charles was living on Amberley Road. Further up the street was another Stroud household - was this a coincidence or a familial link?

    The other Stroud family was headed by Charles of Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Further investigations found that he did not have a brother named Thomas who could represent 'our' Charles's father. He did have an uncle called Thomas born c.1823 but he appears to die in 1856. There is no sign of a link to Kent so it seems this is a red herring.

    A Charles Stroud living in Ramsgate in 1871 as a nurse child was ruled out as in 1881 he is listed as Charles Holman, an adopted child of the couple who were caring for him in 1871.

    There is a Charles Stroud in Walthamstow in 1871 aged 8 son of Thomas, a labourer of Egerton, Kent. Charles's birthplace is given as Newington, Surrey. A brother was born in 1861 in Sutton at Hone, Kent and this was where the family were found in 1861- but recorded under the surname Duke.

    Searches for a Charles Duke birth around 1863 in the GRO indexes resulted in a Charles Benjamin Duke born in Newington but he was ruled out as he is in the census with his parents. There is a Charles Duke born in the Sevenoaks district in 1863. This district is only a few miles from Farningham and Sutton at Hone. However, the right candidate could be David Charles Duke whose birth is registered in Newington in the June quarter of 1863.

    This Charles's mother, Emma Duke, has her death recorded as Emma Stroud in early 1871.

    There is no sign of this Charles/David living under the surname Duke later on or another Charles/David Stroud with Newington as a birthplace.

    I would suggest investigating this Charles in more detail by buying the Newington birth certificate as it represents a strong candidate for the man you seek.



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