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Shame and scandal in the family! Waldock/Smith/Walker


Paul Billanie
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Hi I am new here and hope that someone may be able to help with this. 

 

This may seem a bit complicated. My Great Grandmother lived in Bedlington around the 1920's. In fact it seems she was born there around 1896 her name was Margaret Alice Walker. She then married a man called Elijah Wilkinson Smith who it seems was about 21-22 years older than her. 

 

Sometime in the early/mid 20's she and Elijah parted. Now I am unsure here how this came about whether she ran away or they divorced is unclear. She then had a relationship with another man and had children with him, the first were twin girls one of which was my Nan, but her birth certificate shows the address of 3, Hirst Terrace Bedlington as the place of birth. The father as far as we are aware was a James Waldock who also appears to have been from the area. It seems he may have been a widower as there may have been a half brother called Tommy/Thomas? 

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Hi Paul, Welcome to the forum.

 

There is a James Waldock 1873 - 1946 who is a possible. He lost his wife Susannah in 1913 when she was 42yrs. It appears that he had a number of children and records suggest he also had a brother Thomas.

 

I think I have picked up on your Nan's birth and would guess that the only chance of a mention of her father would be on her baptism record.

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Welcome Paul.

The Scandals of the past bring our ancestors to life.

It means we view them in a different light.

Their stories can be the ones that are inspirational.

Every generation has difficulties to overcome.

Life and Love can all be challenging.

Our school life , working life can cause us trauma and heartache.

That is where the song 'you can't get me I'm part of the union' can help with a working life.

In other areas we need good friends who are none judgemental.

Sometimes the hardships challenge us but provide us with knowledge !

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  • 9 months later...

Thank you for these replies. Would you have any further information on James Waldock or maybe point me in the right direction? I think though from what I am told this James may be the father of the one I am seeking as he is older than Margaret Walker. This I am told was about the same age gap as her husband as well and possibly the cause of her running away for a younger man. Although saying that this is conjecture as I have very little detail apart from the name although it is I suppose possible that James the elder also named some of his children after himself and his brother Thomas. 

 

I think I found my Nan and her family on old census records, Henry Walker and Dorothy Nisbit (or Naisbet or similar) 

 

I do recall my Nan saying that when they were younger they had aunts and uncles and other relatives in the town who would ignore them as if they didn't exist because of everything that happened. 

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Paul ... I went to school with a lad called George (Geordie) Nesbitt, he'd be 64 now, he also has an older brother (I've forgotten his name but he posted on this Forum years ago so'll be in the member's list somewhere).  Dorothy, who you mention above might be connected to the Nesbitts ... often the Census records had mis-spelt names due to the Census Enumerators mistakes on the doorstep.

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  • 5 years later...

@Paul Billanie

This may be of some help:

 

1911 Census  James Waldock (Occupation: Bill Poster, general) born abt.1874, married with 5 of 6 children still  living (4th is Thomas aged 6) and his wife Susannah living at Cars Back Buildings, Scotland Gate.

 1939 James Waldock (Billposter, light work), born, more specifically, 04 SEP 1873, is now widowed, aged abt. 66 years. Also resident is Margaret A J Smith, born 22 JAN 1897, (now 42 and therefore 24 years younger than James).  Margaret’s civil status is given as ‘married’ and occupation as "umpaid housekeeper" a title usually applied to wives. They are living at Victoria Terrace, Bedlington (number difficult to read but situated between 77½ and 78 which  seems impossible to me).

There is one other person registered here but that record is closed. However, being listed last suggests that it is a child or a boarder. The latter seems unlikely in view of my next findings.

 The 1939 register also records another family Waldock living at 77½ : John Waldock, born 17 OCT 1901 (miner, underground shift work – heavy), his wife Margaret J Waldock born 18 JUN 1905 and one child Lena Waldock (later married Cavoner), born 04 JAN 1935 (year uncertain) now at school. There is one other person registered possibly a child, possibly a boarder but that record is also closed.

 As there is no house or dwelling between 77½ and 78 I think it’s fair to assume that  James and Margaret Alice are living in at 77½ Victoria Terrace. The present occupier, John born 1901 could well be James’ son – aged 9 years on the 1911 census which would agree with the d.o.b  given in 1939.

 I hope this is of some help. If you would like the documentation from which I've taken this info let me know and I will send it in a personal message, or, with your permission, publish it here.

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On 14/08/2021 at 19:24, Canny lass said:

@Paul Billanie

This may be of some help:

 

1911 Census  James Waldock (Occupation: Bill Poster, general) born abt.1874, married with 5 of 6 children still  living (4th is Thomas aged 6) and his wife Susannah living at Cars Back Buildings, Scotland Gate.

 1939 James Waldock (Billposter, light work), born, more specifically, 04 SEP 1873, is now widowed, aged abt. 66 years. Also resident is Margaret A J Smith, born 22 JAN 1897, (now 42 and therefore 24 years younger than James).  Margaret’s civil status is given as ‘married’ and occupation as "umpaid housekeeper" a title usually applied to wives. They are living at Victoria Terrace, Bedlington (number difficult to read but situated between 77½ and 78 which  seems impossible to me).

There is one other person registered here but that record is closed. However, being listed last suggests that it is a child or a boarder. The latter seems unlikely in view of my next findings.

 The 1939 register also records another family Waldock living at 77½ : John Waldock, born 17 OCT 1901 (miner, underground shift work – heavy), his wife Margaret J Waldock born 18 JUN 1905 and one child Lena Waldock (later married Cavoner), born 04 JAN 1935 (year uncertain) now at school. There is one other person registered possibly a child, possibly a boarder but that record is also closed.

 As there is no house or dwelling between 77½ and 78 I think it’s fair to assume that  James and Margaret Alice are living in at 77½ Victoria Terrace. The present occupier, John born 1901 could well be James’ son – aged 9 years on the 1911 census which would agree with the d.o.b  given in 1939.

 I hope this is of some help. If you would like the documentation from which I've taken this info let me know and I will send it in a personal message, or, with your permission, publish it here.

Hi I am unsure if this is the same person as this is Margaret A J however my G Nan is just Margaret A. However I discovered this detail although whether parent, sibling or other relative is unknown at this moment, on the reverse of a copy of the younger image...Blyth connection by the looks of it. 

ymail-tmp-67824784435993302.jpg

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That’s interesting!!

Margaret Alice Jane’s father was Henry Walker – born in Newsham (a district of Blyth). Shelley Crescent is in this area.

1881 Henry aged 18 is living in Shiney Row Bedlington with his parents and 8 siblings. The family seems to have moved frequently with children being born in Bedlington, Barrington, and Newsham before returning to Bedlington where the last six were born.

1891 Henry. Now 28 yo and married, is living in Dr Terrace (the next street), Bedlington at the home of his wife’s parents. This is only a stone’s throw from the boundary with Choppington where Margaret AJ was christened. However, at that time he had only one child, Mary aged 3 months.

In 1901 Henry and Dorothy are living in Glebe Row, Bedlington just yards away from Doctor Terrace. They now have 3 daughters: Henrietta , Mary and Annie. Living in are two of the Dixon Family, Charles (24 yo) and Edward (21 yo) - Dorothy’s brothers. (NB: Henry has now become” Henry J”)

1911 The family have moved from the Bedlington area and are living in Newburn in the western part of Newcastle. (Henry, who himself has filled in the census form, now calls himself Harry). Two of their six children are dead. Still living at home are: Mary (20 yo, single, born Bedlington), Henry jr. (9 yo, born Bedlington) and Madge (5 yo, born Bedlington). So, the family seems to have been in the Bedlington are until at least 1896 and I believe that Madge (a common short-form for Margaret) may well be your Great nan.

It’s not uncommon in census returns for parents to write the name they commonly use for their child rather than the registered/baptismal name. My grandfather was called Francis but is always recorded as Frank in census records - because that's what his parents called him. You can see here that Henry Walker does the same thing. It might be worth having a look at this family. Do any of the names I've mentioned  ring any bells? Is there any history of the family moving away from Northumberland?

 

 

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On 17/08/2021 at 14:13, Canny lass said:

1911 The family have moved from the Bedlington area and are living in Newburn in the western part of Newcastle. (Henry, who himself has filled in the census form, now calls himself Harry). Two of their six children are dead. Still living at home are: Mary (20 yo, single, born Bedlington), Henry jr. (9 yo, born Bedlington) and Madge (5 yo, born Bedlington). So, the family seems to have been in the Bedlington are until at least 1896 and I believe that Madge (a common short-form for Margaret) may well be your Great nan.

Apologies! This info can't be correct. Madge is only 5 yo so must have been born in 1906 rather than 1896. back to the drawing board.

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On 17/08/2021 at 16:25, Canny lass said:

Update. it was also Margaret A J who married Elijah Wilkinson Smith in the second quarter of 1922.

Now this is getting more and more curious. Is it possible my G Nan was dropping the J from her name at times or are these 2 totally different individuals being confused for one another? I'm developing a headache in this family research I think, however I'll never give in...Try as I might I couldn't find Elijah getting married so well done for finding him.. is he the same one from Haltwhistle

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No, no, no! You must never give in!

Yes, it's very possible your G nan dropped initials - or even whole names. It's also possible that someone else was doing the 'dropping'. In the case of census records the original household form was transcribed into the enumeration book and these don't always match. The book has been further transcribed to digital format by companies like Ancestry and again, they don't always match. People didn't always give their regitered name and simply wrote down the names in every day use and lastly the birth reister birth certificates) doesn't always match the baptismal register. Forms didn't always have room for all names and the writer sometimes abbreviated to an initial or simply missed out a name. Going back a hundred years or so, parents waited much longer to baptise their children than they do today so many had time to think and the baby got an extra name at the baptism which doesn't appear on the birth certificate, So, you need to think of all those possibilities, variations, additions and transcribing errors when you research.

When I first looked at your query regarding Margaret Alice Walker I couldn't find anybody with that name: I only found Margaret Jane Walker or Alice Jane Walker with that birth year and birth place. Margaret Alice Jane showed up first in baptismal records and marriage records for the appropriate year and place. So it's possible your G nan got an extra baptismal name. Two of them had parents named Henry and Dorothy (but two completely different couples) and one of them had parents named Michael and Mary J. I chose to follow one of the henrys because of the Blyth connection.

 

I can't say with certainty if Elijah on the marriage certificate is from Haltwhistle. Even the marriage certificate wouldn't give that information - only his residence at the time of the marriage. However, it would give the name of Margaret Alice J's father which would solve the query of her parents. Myself I'm 95% certain that it is the same Elijah because so many other things fit in. Had he simply been called Elijah Smith I wouldn't be sure but how many Elijah 'Wilkinson' Smiths married a much younger girl named Margaret AJ Walker in that registration district in the early 1920s? I can't find any. Likewise, I am 95% certain that it is the same Margaret A J living with James Waldock in 1939.

Two questions:

Do you know if Margaret Alice and Elijah had any children? There are some interesting Smith births (mother's maiden name Walker) in the early 20s.

Margaret Alice's twin girls - did they have the surname Smith (as Margaret doesn't seem to have married Mr Waldock)

Divorce, way back, then was relatively new (1858, first divorce law) and an expensive luxury affordable only to the rich. So people chose to go their own way and "live over the brush" with someone else. I'm not sure, but I also think that it was only men who could apply for a divorce. Some, almost certainly refrained deliberately to prevent their estranged wife from re-marrying. You hint that shame or scandal may have been involved. It needn't necessarily be so. Perhaps Elijah wasn't kind and Margaret left him.

Whatever the case may have been, I think your G nan must have been a very strong woman. It can't have been easy remaining in Bedlington with all the wagging tongues. Her early life was either exciting or tragic and it's up to you to get to the bottom of the mystery. If I can be of any help feel free to ask.

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