My brick wall - James ELLIS or ELLISS of Sussex and Hampshire UK :: Genealogy
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My brick wall - James ELLIS or ELLISS of Sussex and Hampshire UK

Journal by jonalex

Please can anyone help?
I have hit the proverbial brick wall, trying to track down my Great-great-grandfather. I have the following details of my grandmother and her parents. The problem is that I have found "potential" parents for them, but cannot prove it.

My Grandmother was Lily Ellis b.1879 in Hastings in Sussex. I have copies of her birth cert, marriage certs(2) and Death cert.

These docs confirm the place of birth and her age. The birth and Marriage certs also confirm her father as James Henry Ellis, variously described as a 'Hawker' or a 'Flower seller'. Her mother is shown as Ellen Ellis, late Cook, formerly Warner. I also have a copy death cert for Ellen aged 46, which again confirms the name of her husband and gives his occupation as 'Street Hawker'. She died in 1885.

I am aware that Lily had an elder brother, Frederick John, and I have his Birth cert and marriage cert, both of which give the same info as Lily's certs.

I can find no trace of the birth of either James or Ellen.
Frederick John Ellis (Lily's brother)was born in 1874,so I assume the marriage was before that, but looking from 1850 to 1880, I cannot find any record of an Ellis/Cook or Ellis/Warner wedding (nor an earlier Cook/Warner wedding. Looking from 1837 to 1845 I cannot trace a birth for either James Henry Ellis or Ellen Warner.

There are no census returns where they are found as a family.
The first possible trace is the census 1881, where an 11 year old Frederick Ellis is a boarder at a school in Preston, near Brighton.There is no trace of James, Ellen or Lily.

Ellen died in 1885, and the death cert gives her address as Camber Alley, Portsea.
In 1891 a James Ellis (shown as born in Portsmouth)is found at Camber Alley in Portsea, with his 17 year old son, Frederick (born in Hastings). James(41)is described as a Flower Seller. They share the house with a spinster, Hannah Marshall.
There is a Lily Ellis (11 yrs) boarding at "The Southsea Nursery". This is within 3 miles of Camber Alley.
In the 1901 Census James H Ellis (born Portsmouth), his new wife Hannah and Frederick J Ellis (born Hastings)are living in East Street Portsmouth, just yards from Camber Alley.

With lack of evidence of the birth and marriage details of both James Henry Ellis and Ellen Warner/Cook/Ellis, I cannot trace their parents.

The only possibility I have is the appearance on the 1881 census of a James Elliss and Matilda Elliss (Note the double 's' in Elliss, in Eastbourne, Sussex. He is described as a retired Hawker. I can track him down through all earlier censuses together with details of his first wife, but he never appears to have any children. He looks an possible candidate to be James Henry's father, but how do I prove it?

Please, can anyone help?
Thanks for bearing with me!

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by jonalex Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2007-02-07 16:22:12

jonalex , from Devon, UK, has been a Family Tree Circles member since Jan 2007. is researching the following names: ALEXANDER, ASHBY, GUNTON and 13 other(s).

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by rosemarydearman on 2007-08-17 03:11:48

I wish I could help you but this is my brick wall too. I am James Henry's great granddaughter through his son Frederick.

My uncle did a lot of research, and told me that it was thought that James Henry was a Londoner and followed that tack - a birth in Hoxton. But I am pretty sure he was wrong. This is because the two census records I do have - 1891 and 1901 say he was born in Portsmouth, where he spent the last years of his life. He married Hannah Marshall and I do have a marriage certificate for this. The marriage was on November 7th 1892. James is described as a widower - and his father is said to be James Henry Ellis a sailor. I also have his death certificate - he died on 27th October 1922 at 27 East Street, Portsmouth. According to my aunt he sold flowers in Portsmouth market.

On the negative side - I took out a month's subscription to Ancestry and scoured all the censuses - nothing for either him or Ellen or his father. Incidentally both my uncle and I thought her surname (or one of them) was Warnes. Like you I cannot find a birth for her oldest daughter Ellen, though I do have the birth of James and also of Letitia. Both James and Letitia died in 1878. One thing I did discover is that in the Ancestry 1871 census records for Hastings there is a page missing - around where the children were born, so I bet that is why we can't find them then. I am trying to get my sister to go to the records office and check if the actual page is missing.

I suspect that Ellen the daughter may have been in service in Devon in 1891. She married in 1896 - but I think you knew this.

I'm continuing to search - as are my cousins and my sister (from time to time) and if we find anything I will let you know.

All very frustrating.

Rosemary Dearman

by jonalex on 2007-08-19 08:35:09

Thanks for that Rosemary,

If James Henry Ellis and Ellen Cook/Warner or Warnes or Warne are our common Gt-grandparents, the we must be second cousins.

You seem to have more info about their children than I do. I knew nothing of baby James and Letitia nor of a daughter called Ellen.

To avoid confusion and to confirm we are talking of the same family, here are the details I have.
Where I hold a certificate or copy census form I have marked the 'fact' with '**'.

James Henry Ellis b 1841
- married (date not known) to Ellen Cook formerly Warne(r) or Warne(s) or Warne.
Ellen Ellis died 19.09.1885 aged 46 at 3, Camber Alley, Portsea.**
James Henry then remarried, to Hannah Marshall on 07.11.1892.**

Children of James Henry and Ellen:
1. Son -Frederick John Ellis b.21.12.1873 Hastings**
He was living with father at Camber Alley,Portsea in 1891 census** and in East Street in 1901 census**
He married Alice Maud Richards on 19.12.1908**
2. Daughter - Lily Ellis b 10.08.1879 Hastings**
She is shown as a boarder aged 11 in the 1891 census in the 'Southsea Nursery'**
In 1901 census she is a domestic servant in Bristol**
She married Charles Victor Alexander in Portsmouth on 29.06.1906** (He was killed in an accident on ss Oceanic and was buried at sea in Dec,1912**)
Lily remarried in 02.08.1925 to George Edward Radford**
She died in Droxford near Fareham, Hants 26.06.1974**

I trust these are the same details you have, and if so would welcome any information on the other children.
Thanks again,

by rosemarydearman on 2007-08-20 00:24:01

Just a little bit more information about James Henry's other children.

Re James Henry?s other children.
ELLEN ? none of us have been able to find her birth certificate. I think I found her in the 1891 census in service in Devon, but have temporarily lost the reference, she gave her birthplace as Hastings. However, she definitely married Samuel Francis Lee on April 5 1896 in the Parish of Portsmouth. Father is given as James Ellis, flower seller. He is a witness and signs himself, James Henry Ellis. They had at least two children, Ellen and Samuel, but I have not followed this up.
LETITIA born August 9 1875, 5 East Hill Passage, All Saints, Hastings. Died May 22 14 West Street, St. Clements, Hastings of Tuberculosis (2 months) and Meningitis.
JAMES born May 11, 5 East Hill Passage, All Saints, Hasting. Died May 1 1878 7 East Street, St Clements, Hastings

Must have been a really tragic time for them all ? only other facts to be gleaned from this is the location ? stayed a 5 East Hill Passage for a couple of years, but then moved around a bit.

It seems to me that both James and Ellen would have been relatively old for those times when they married, so maybe James had been married before too? In the 1861 census there is a James Ellis, hawker living in Bethnal Green ? age 25. He was born in Bethnal Green though. I?ll try and follow him up a bit.

by triron on 2011-09-13 18:19:00

I have just found 2 of my Sullivan in Southsea nursery 1891.
Camber Alley also feature in my tree - bailey sullivan. Let me know if still on this site. I need to explore further

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