Also Known As?
I've been researching my husband's mother's family, Dallas. Her father came from England to Canada and then onto the United States. At first this seemed a simple search, look up Dallas in UK census, check out the BMD indexes for his birth, find that and order the birth certificate, check immigration files. Well, as many of us know, especially when we think something will be easy that's just when Murphy's law comes to play.
The only listing I could find for a William Dallas born in the area he stated he was from and the year he said he was born turned up only one child that was stillborn. I expanded the search, but all the William Dallases that I found were not "our" William Dallas. Frustrated? You bet! Finally I found one that was listed in the 1901 UK census,living at a boarding school. This was a distinct possibility because family members told me a story involving a boarding school.
Fortunately there were family papers to look through. William kept journals starting about 1920 and he started to write his autobiography. This is just what I was looking for and I was hopeful that somewhere in these papers would be the hints and clues that I needed to continue my research.
Reading through the early papers I discovered that William told a sad tale about his youth. He describes himself and the events of his life as one ".. who was destined to have a life time of pain and trouble. " Oh boy. I knew then that I had my hands full with this person. In his papers he says that his parents were not married at the time of his conception and birth. He says that his mother, Elizabeth(Luck) Madely was a recent widow living in India, as her husband was a doctor stationed there and died there. His father, Captain Edmund Stanley was also stationed in India. The two met, fell in love and once they find out that she's pregnant the decision is made for her to return to England and it is there that she gives birth to William. "After staying at the midwife’s house for 3 months she returned to her town house in London where soon after she and the Captain were married. It was agreed that the baby would stay with the Matron Mrs. Bottrill until he was old enough to go to the school her other children attended. Of course the name of the boy having been registered in the name of Dallas continued to keep that name. It was never know by the other two children that he was really related to them." The children that he referred to are Edith and Rupert.
This was something for me to go on. My first search was for a marriage record for Edmund and Elizabeth. I found it, they were married in 1893. I then searched for a marriage certificate for Elizabeth's first marriage, and I found that as well. I was also able to find census records for Edmund listing him as a Captain in HMS Army. The listings don't have him in India though, but in London serving at a prison. I also find census records for Elizabeth Madely, a widow living in England and whose occupation is a servant. Visiting the household is a young girl, Edith Madely. This all in the 1891 UK census. From William's papers I discovered that his half sister's name was Edith Madely! This looks to be a match. Searching in the 1901 UK census records for her I discovered her living at a boarding school, just like William's story. Living at the same boarding school is a William Dallas, but no brother for Edith. This started me thinking about William's story of his birth and whether or not he was writing an autobiography or a work of fiction.
What if 'our' William Dallas was in reality Charles Rupert Stanley, son of Edmund T. Stanley and Elizabeth (Luck)Madely? What if he really wasn't born in 1890 but in 1895 as listed in the 1901 UK census. How common is this?
William's writings also tell of his being sent to Canada with Dr. Fagen's children. I searched for this and found nothing. There were no entries for a William Dallas immigrating to Canada with Fagen's groups or others. I did discover a Charles R. Stanley on a ship to Nova Scotia in 1909 with the Middleton group. The age of this Charles R Stanley matches up with Edmund and Elizabeth's child. Could this be the same child? Could this be our William Dallas?
As my search continues to discover who our William R Dallas was I will update this page. My caution here is that when you hit that brick wall it just might be because the name has changed, so be open to all possibilities and keep searching.
Well, my supposition was incorrect and I still don't know anything of William Dallas' life before coming to the States with the exception of what he wrote in journals. I feel that the money I spent finding out who he wasn't was well spent because I can discount those possibilities and look in different directions.