I am sure that during your research you have found some people who you cannot pin down. This is the story of my chase for information on Lucy Ann Lines, the wife of Edwin Mark Hartwell. Before I start, I think I had better tell you how I do my family history.

Research Sources

I am mainly an “armchair” genealogist by which I mean I do most of my research on the web. I have a 12 Month World Subscription with Findmypast.

On my bookmark bar in my web browser I have short-cuts to all the census search pages in Findmypast – 9 in all: 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 and 1939. This makes it much quicker to do a search in a particular census than starting at the home page of Findmypast.

I also have several other short cuts bookmarked which include:

  1. GRO Register of births at The great thing about this site is that it allows you to search for births with the mother’s maiden name even for births prior to 1920.
  2. FreeBMD at A great source for births, marriages, and deaths from 1837 to 1989.

There are many other websites that I use but these do not really impact on this story.

Research Process

When I find a new marriage in my family tr ee, I have a number of steps that I will follow to complete the family:

  1. Check what children they may have had using the GRO register of births.
  2. I will then check that I have the right children by using the censuses that occur after the birth date. One of the most important of these is of course the 1911 census which tells us the number of children a family has had and how many are still alive.
  3. Sometimes you can find the family but not the child, I would then look for the death of the child on the FreeBMD site.

Building the Family

I first came across Lucy when she appeared in the 1891 census as the wife of Edwin Mark Hartwell, one of my blood relatives. They were living in Byfield Northamptonshire.

1891 Census

First Name(s)Last NameRelationshipMarital StatusSexAgeBirth YearBirth Place
Edwin MHartwellHeadMarriedMale241867Byfield, Northamptonshire
LucyHartwellWifeMarriedFemale241867Little Brington, Northamptonshire
Albert HHartwellSonMale31888Byfield, Northamptonshire
FredHartwellSonMale11890Byfield, Northamptonshire

This gave me the basis for finding additional information about the family.  I now looked for the marriage on the FreeBMD site. Here I found a marriage between Edwin Mark Hartwell and Lucy Ann Lines in the September 1887 quarter registered in Daventry, Northamptonshire. So, I now had Lucy’s maiden name.

Next, I headed to the GRO site to look for children. For those of you who have not used the site, a screenshot of the search form is below. It allows you to search a maximum 5-year period at a time and you have to search for males and females separately. Using the ‘Surname at Birth’ and ‘Mother’s Maiden Surname’ limits the number of matches returned.

Screenshot of search form in GRO site
Screenshot of search form in GRO site


I found the following:

NameMother's maiden nameDateQuarterRegistration District
Hartwell, Fred Lines1889DDaventry
Hartwell, William FrankLines1893JDaventry
Hartwell, William ThomasLines1895DDaventry
Hartwell, Bertha Lucy AnnLines1897DDaventry
Hartwell, Horace ArthurLines1899JEdmonton
Hartwell, EthelLines1901JEdmonton
Hartwell, WalterLines1904DEdmonton

These results threw up a few questions:

  1. Where was Albert Henry who appeared in the 1891 census?
  2. Why were 2 sons registered as William so close together?
  3. Why were there so many children registered in Edmonton? Were they actually a different family?

The first question was fairly easy to resolve by searching for Albert on the GRO site by name but omitting the mother’s maiden name. This gave me the following results:

NameMother's maiden nameDateQuarterRegistration District
Hartwell, Albert HenryLine1888JDaventry

This was obviously mis-recorded information on the original registration.

My first suspicion when I see 2 children with the same name is that the first one died. Searching the FreeBMD I found the death of William Frank Hartwell, aged 4, registered in the September quarter of 1897 in Edmonton. This was the same district as the suspicious births.

The third question was solved when I found Edwin and Lucy on the 1901 census. Their address was 24 Pembroke Road, Tottenham. So, they must have moved between the 1891 and 1901 censuses.

But the 1901 census added further questions. The household was listed as follows:

1901 Census

First Name(s)Last NameRelationshipMarital StatusSexAgeBirth YearBirth Place
MarkHartwellHeadMarriedMale341867Byfield, Northamptonshire
LucyHartwellWifeMarriedFemale341867Brington, Northamptonshire
AlbertHartwellSonMale121889Byfield, Northamptonshire
FredHartwellSonMale111890Byfield, Northamptonshire
EdwinHartwellSonMale91892Byfield, Northamptonshire
WilliamHartwellSonMale51896Byfield, Northamptonshire
BerthaHartwellDaughterFemale31898Edmonton, Middlesex
HoraceHartwellSonMale21899Tottenham, Middlesex
BabyHartwellDaughterFemale01901Tottenham, Middlesex
BerthaCaswellVisitorMarriedFemale221879Brington, Northamptonshire

The things that struck me immediately was the following:

  1. The head of the family was recorded as Mark but then I did know that he was christened Edwin Mark and it was not unknown for people to use their middle name.
  2. There was a baby daughter born in 1901 who was obviously Ethel registered in the June Quarter of 1901.
  3. There was also a son Edwin who was recorded as being born in 1892.

It was back to the GRO site to find Edwin Hartwell born about 1892. What I fo und startled me. It gave me the following result

NameMother's maiden nameDateQuarterRegistration District
Hartwell, Edwin MarkGeorge1893JDaventry

This was puzzling as it was also the same quarter that the William who died was registered. Also why was the mother’s maiden name George!

I put this puzzle aside for a bit and looked for the 1911 census so that I could confirm the total number of children that the couple had, only to find yet another conundrum. Their address was Silver Street, Tottenham.

1911 Census

First Name(s)Last NameRelationshipMarital StatusSexAgeBirth YearBirth Place
E MHartwellHeadMarriedMale451866Byfield, Northamptonshire
Lucy AnnHartwellWifeMarriedFemale451866Great Brington, Northamptonshire
FredHartwellSonSingleMale211890Byfield, Northamptonshire
E MHartwellSonSingleMale191892Byfield, Northamptonshire
WilliamHartwellSonMale151896Byfield, Northamptonshire
Bertha LucyHartwellDaughterFemale131898Edmonton, Middlesex
Horace ArthurHartwellSonMale111900Tottenham, Middlesex
EthelHartwellDaughterFemale101901Tottenham, Middlesex
WaltyHartwellSonMale61905Edmonton, Middlesex
StanleyHartwellSonMale41907Edmonton, Middlesex
JamesHartwellSonMale9m1911Edmonton, Middlesex

The other bit of information I got from this census was that Lucy had a total of 11 children, 1 of whom had died. As with all the other census, this one threw up some questions:

  1. Albert Henry had obviously left home and I have to look for him in the 1911 census.
  2. Where had Stanley come from as he was not one of the children I had previously found
  3. Also, what was the story with Edwin Mark Junior as his registration date did not really tally with his age?

For Stanley I went back to the GRO site and found the following:

NameMother's maiden nameDateQuarterRegistration District
Hartwell, StanleyGeorge1907MEdmonton

Another child registered with George as the mother’s maiden name!!

I decided that I would double check Edwin’s birth on the FreeBMD site and found the following:

QuarterSurnameFirst Name(s)DistrictVolPage
Dec 1891HartwellEdwin MarkDaventry3bsee J/93
Jun 1893HartwellEdwin MarkDaventry3b105

FreeBMD implies that the second entry is a late registration of the birth. So, I believe that Edwin was only registered when his brother William Frank was registered.

None of this explains why for two of the children Lucy’s maiden name is given as George. I have not been able to find Lucy prior to her marriage in 1887 but it is on my list of “brickwalls” to break down as I am intrigued by this anomaly.

Berkshire Family History Society

Berkshire Family History Society