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Alce and Ellis - both sussex families

I am looking for my Ellis ancestors and have discovered that the person reporting the death of Mary Ellis, aged 71, in 1872, was a Robert Alce (present at the death).
The similarity of the sound of these two surnames made me believe that it was a misprint. However, Robert Alce is shown in the 1871 census at the given address in Eastbourne, Sussex, with a large family. Mary was the wife of James Ellis, both of whom lived elsewhere in the Eastbourne/Hastings area.
Does anyone have any knowledge of any "Alce" families or any connections with "Ellis"?
Any help would be appreciated.

3 comment(s), latest 13 years, 6 months ago

ASHBY family, Hampshire and Warwickshire

My mother was Elizabeth Esther ASHBY, who had nine brothers and two sisters.
One brother and one sister survived only a few hours each.

Six of her brothers, and their father all served in the Royal Marine Light Infantry (later the Royal Marine Corps).

The siblings were all born in Gosport Hampshire, whilst their father, John ASHBY was born in Coleshill, Birmingham, Warwicks in 1872. He was the son of another John ASHBY and Ann PEACOCK, both of Coleshill.

Can anyone help me to go back further on this ASHBY line?

My grandfather John ASHBY (born 1872) married Margaret Annie Hankcock in Gosport in 1900. She was the daughter of William Henry HANKCOCK (note the unusual spelling) and Esther GUNTON. He was born in Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales and Esther was born in Chatteris in Cambridgeshire. They married in Chatham Kent in 1877.

Just goes to show how people moved around even in the 19th Century!

3 comment(s), latest 13 years, 7 months ago

Death at Sea, Alexander on ss Oceanic 1912

My paternal Grandfather was Charles Victor ALEXANDER, b 1886 in Portsmouth Hampshire UK.
He joined the ss Oceanic (a White Star Liner) as a Coal Heaver and was killed on the return journey from New York to Plymouth Cherbourg and Southampton.
He was "superintending the 'Ash Hoist'and when looking down the shaft, was struck on the head by the counter-balancing weights." He was killed instantly and was buried at sea the following day.
The death at sea is recorded as 18.12.1912 in mid-Atlantic (46.22N, 35.57W)
If anyone knows where the ship's log would be, please let me know.

His parents were William Alexander b.1857 in Orcheston St. Mary, Wilts and Martha Alford b 1850 in Gillingham, Dorset.
William's parents were William Alexander b 1834 in Westbury Wilts and Mary Ann West b 1837 in Orcheston St. Mary.

If anyone is interested I can go back a few more generations.


Ellen ELLIS late COOK formerly WARNE(s)

I am trying to find birth and marriage details of my Great grandmother. I have birth certs for her children which all show her as Ellen ELLIS, late COOK formerly WARNE(s). The father (presumably her husband) is James Henry ELLIS a hawker.
I have been unable to trace birth details for Ellen or James Henry,nor can I find a marriage for Warne to Cook, nor Cook (or Warne) to Ellis.
Can anyone help, please?
Ellen never appears on a census and James Henry only appears from 1891 onwards.
His birth year should be 1840 and Ellens c1839. The children were all born in Hastings, Sussex and the family appeared to live in Portsmouth in the 1880s. Ellen died in Portsea in 1885 aged 46 and the death cert again shows her as Ellen ELLIS, late COOK formerly WARNE(s).
This has been a brick wall for some 10 years now! Please help if you can. Thank you
John Alexander


The above spellings and misspellings of my maternal granmother's name appear on various census forms and even on birth, marriage and death certificates.

As far as I can tell, HANKCOCK is the correct version, as several documents with alternative spellings have been amended to this version and one doc. I have bears a signature with this spelling.

This HANKCOCK side of my family (going backwards) is:
Grandmother: Margaret Annie HANKCOCK b 1877 in Medway, Kent (married to John ASHBY)

Great Grandfather: William Henry HANKCOCK b1847 in Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales (married to Esther GUNTON)

G-G-Grandfather: Richard HANKCOCK born c1816 Cornwall (married to Margaret Harris VITTLE)


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

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!

4 comment(s), latest 9 years, 1 month ago

The Grenadier Guardsman who married three sisters - or did he?

My mother's grandmother was Esther Gunton (b. 1845 in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire). She had an elder brother called Thomas Widdows Gunton (b.1843 Chatteris)who was witness at her (first) wedding.

Thomas married three times, each time to ladies called Passingham.
I have the three wedding certificates plus other evidence to show that it is the same Thomas and that the three Passingham ladies were sisters.
In chronological order of events, the tale unfolds thus:

1865 on Esther Gunton's Marriage Cert., one of the witnesses is shown as Tho.Ws.Gunton,Serg. 3rd. 13th.Grenr.Guards.

1869 - Marriage Cert. Thomas Widdows Gunton (full age) - Sergeant 3rd Batt.Gren. Gds. married Maryann Passingham (full age). Thomas's father is Richard Gunton, shoemaker, Maryann's father is John Passingham, Wheelwright. Thomas's address is Windsor Barracks and that of Maryann is shown as "Tower Liberty". The wedding took place in the Royal Chapel in the Tower of London.

1871 (31st January) Marriage Cert. Thomas Widdows Gunton (full age) Drill Sergeant in the Grenadier Guards at Chelsea Barracks, (father, Richard Gunton, shoemaker), married Annie Passingham (full age) of
9 Oxford Street, father John Passingham, wheelwright. The wedding took place at The Parish Church of St. Simon, Chelsea.

1871 Census shows Thomas W. Gunton (29) Colour Sergeantand wife Annie (23) living atChelsea Barracks.

1881 Census shows Thomas Gunton (40) Quartermaster Grenadier Guards and wife Anne (33) at Chelsea Barracks.

1882(1st February) Death Cert. for Maryann Gunton, wife of Thomas Widdows Gunton (Quarter Master 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards. Cause of Death - Suicide by Drowning while of uncertain mind. At this time they were based at Windsor Barracks and an Inquest was held in New Windsor on 2nd January 1882.

1883 Wedding Cert. Thomas Widdows Gunton (39) Widower,Quarter Master Grenadier Guards, father- (Richard Gunton[deceased]-Bootmaker), married Emily Theresa Passingham, father John Passingham, Coach Builder. The wedding took place at "The Church in The Grove, Sydenham"
in Lewisham, by Licence'in accordance with the Rites and Ceremonies of the Congregationalists'.

Later census forms show Thomas and Emily with their children, Thomas being described as a retired Captain. He was called up again in World War I with the rank of Major. I understand that he may have retired finally with the rank of Colonel.

The mystery surrounds the first two marriages. Were Maryann and Annie the same person and if so, why did they marry twice? It could not be that they were 'underage' as at the time of the first wedding in 1869, Thomas would have been 26 years old and Maryann would have been 22 years old. As her father was present at all weddings (he is shown as a witness) they could hardly be marrying without consent, even if it had been needed. It is a puzzle that if Maryann and Annie were two different people, how is it that the death cert of Maryann in 1882 shows her to be Thomas's wife, when he has apparently married Annie some ten years previously?
Why did she committ suicide? Did she think that Thomas was 'carrying on' with her younger sister? There are many unanswered questions here. Can anyone help? For example, how do I go about finding the Coroner's report?
Any help to explain the mystery would be appreciated.

8 comment(s), latest 9 years, 1 month ago

VITTLE in Cornwall and Wales

Does anyone have any connections with the surname VITTLE, from Wales and/or Cornwall?
My3xG.grandfather was Richard VITTLE, b.Marloes, Pembrokeshire c1790. He was a Boatman in the Preventive Boat Service and later a Coastguard and a Customs Officer and as such, frequently moved address in the South West.He married Margaret Harris who was b 1796 on St Michaels Mount in Cornwall.

They lived in Sennen and had a son John VITTLE who was christened 29.11.1818 and a daughter, Margaret Harris VITTLE, christened 27.08.1820. John also became a Coastgoard, serving in various parts of Cornwall before retiring inPerranporth.

Richard and Margaretare known to have been in Sennen in 1817 until after 1820, and eventually moved to Polkerris and Tywardreath, where daughter Margaret Harris VITTLE married a Richard Hankcock, another Coastguard, on 07.12.1843.

They moved to Imble Street in Pembroke Dock in Wales where they were joined By Richard and Margaret when Richard retired. They lived next door to each other).

The more recent history can be tracked on Census forms (although sometimes VITTLE has been transcribed as VETTle, and HANKCOCK as HANKOCK or HANCOCK), and with the help of various BMD certs that I have. However, I am unable to find anything concrete before the births of Richard in Marloes and Margaret in St, Michaels Mount. Any help would be appreciated.


5 comment(s), latest 1 year, 1 month ago