Well, all this mad running around following a research trail has to finish up somewhere. Or at least, one needs to pause and take stock of the information gleaned so far…
The Final Roundup
OK. So what have we ended up with? Let’s lay out some details and see what we have (if you want all the sources, they are in the previous posts):
Alicia Eleanora ELLIS on the one hand:
- Alicia Eleanora ELLIS was born about 1800-1802 in St Pancras, Middlesex
- Alicia Eleanora ELLIS married Henry BRAND in Chard, Somerset on 8 August 1820
- The marriage was NOT announced in the newspaper, nor are any family members witnesses though Henry’s family were only about 30 miles away
- Henry BRAND’s sister married 3 weeks earlier with her father as witness AND it was announced in the newspaper
- Alicia and Henry name one son “John Ingram BRAND” – Ingram is not a name that appears in the Topsham, Devon area or previously connected with the BRAND family
- Alicia and Henry also name one son “Charles Hayman BRAND” – Hayman is a name known in the area but Charles is not a name that is previously connected/used in the BRAND family
- Cannot find a baptism for Alicia Eleanora ELLIS using the above details (inconclusive)
- Henry BRAND apparently knew Charles ELLIS as a business associate (as per the Gazette notice found by my fellow researcher, Penny)
Alicia THOMAS/LOCKHART on the other:
- Alicia THOMAS/LOCKHART born 31 January 1799 and baptised 26 February 1799 at St Pancras, Middlesex to parents Alicia THOMAS and John Ingram LOCKHART
- Charles THOMAS/LOCKHART baptised 22 October 1797 at Saint Andrew, Holborn, London to parents Alice THOMAS and John Ingram LOCKHART
- Court documents name Charles ELLIS as the natural son of John Ingram LOCKHART
- Charles ELLIS named his first two sons after John Ingram LOCKHART
- Charles ELLIS and his sister Alice are mentioned in the will of John Ingram LOCKHART’s father in 1814
- Charles ELLIS died in 1845 at age 47 which makes his birth year about 1797/1798 – the same as Charles THOMAS/LOCKHART
- Charles ELLIS has a woman in his life called Alice ELLIS who may have been his mother. Mother of Charles THOMAS/LOCKHART is called Alice.
- Charles ELLIS apparently knew Henry BRAND as a business associate.
Question: Why No Marriage Announcement for Alicia Eleanora?
The groom in marriage announcements are associated with either a place, their occupation, their father or even nothing at all. However, most women are described in terms of their father. For example:
Monday, at Topsham,…Francis L.W. Ross, Esq. to Anna Maria, only daughter of Nicholas Brand, Esq.1
At the new church, St Pancras, Charles Ellis, Esq. of Verulam Buildings, Gray’s Inn, to Maria, the only daughter of T. Reilly, Esq. of Holly Terrace, Highgate.2
Maybe there is something about Alicia’s parentage that makes it awkward or embarrassing to announce in the newspaper?
Question: Why marry in Chard, Somerset? What were Alicia and Henry even doing there?
Note: Henry lived in Topsham, Devon and articled as a clerk in Totnes, Devon until 18 months previously. Alicia came from London. After they were married, they lived in Topsham and Exeter.
Maybe Alicia was visiting relations of her mother? Maybe she was attending a private school/seminary for girls – like the daughters of Charles ELLIS? Either way, Chard is about 155-165 miles from London (according to modern Google maps), so that is a long way to be from the rest of your family.
Henry may have had business interests in the area. The BRAND family owned ships, property, businesses. Or maybe he had a client that he needed to visit.
Question: If Alicia THOMAS/LOCKHART is the same person as Alicia Eleanora ELLIS, where did the name “Eleanora” come from?
It may have been added after the baptism, or missed by the vicar at the time. Maybe Alicia added it later just because she liked it or in memory of someone in her mother’s family. Basically – no idea.
No one else used the name “Eleanora”. James LOCKHART, Charles and Alicia’s grandfather, didn’t mention a middle name and only referred to her as “Alice” in his will. Likewise, Alicia Eleanora’s husband, Henry BRAND, and father-in-law, Nicholas BRAND, only referred to her as “Alice” in their wills. Alicia Eleanora’s death certificate also only refers to her as “Alice” but the informant was not a family member.
Question: How likely is it that John Ingram LOCKHART would have two illegitimate sons from two different mothers, born within a year of each other and both named “Charles” and who had sisters called “Alice/Alicia”?
I would have thought it very unlikely. Therefore, I’m confident that Charles LOCKHART/THOMAS is the same person as Charles ELLIS.
Question: Why the change of name from THOMAS to ELLIS?
Note: The earliest date I can find documented evidence of the family using the name “ELLIS” is in 1814 when James LOCKHART Snr mentions Charles ELLIS and his sister, Alice, in his will. Before that are the baptisms of the children as LOCKHART/THOMAS. Charles’ mother, Alice, is herself identified as “THOMAS” in her 1835 suit against the estate of John WASTIE (previously known as John Ingram LOCKHART). This makes sense if she was originally given the bonds under the name of “THOMAS” and since the children are baptised under the same name it may have helped to prove her relationship if it came to that.
Assuming that Charles’ mother, Alice/Alicia THOMAS, is the same Alice ELLIS I identified in the 1851 census, then Alice identifies herself as a widow in the census and as a spinster in her will. This seems a rather backward step (in societal status terms) when it would be easier to say you are a widow. So, it appears she didn’t remarry. I still tried to find a marriage and failed but just because I failed to find a record doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
I can also see that Alice ELLIS may have wanted to be discreet about her relationship with John Ingram LOCKHART so using different surnames would help to separate their lives. Especially when dealing with nosy neighbours or census takers.
But, why THOMAS or ELLIS specifically? Which was her real name? Was one her mother’s maiden name? Was THOMAS the first name of her father? Or were they just plucked out of the air? I really hope not.
One thing I noticed while searching around for records was the high number of records for both ELLIS and THOMAS in Wales. What if Alice THOMAS/ELLIS’ family were originally from Wales? Could the answer for the name changes simply lie in Welsh patronymics? I’ll need to do some further research into this and see if will lead to any answers.
I’m comfortable that Charles ELLIS is the same person as Charles THOMAS/LOCKHART.
However, there is still a little bit of a leap from Alicia Eleanora ELLIS to Alicia THOMAS/LOCKHART. What links them are:
- Both Alicia’s are about the same age
- Both were baptised in St Pancras, Middlesex
- Alicia Eleanora named one son “John Ingram” while the other Alicia’s father is John Ingram LOCKHART
- Alicia THOMAS/LOCKHART’s family changed their name to ELLIS – Alicia Eleanora’s maiden name
One of the missing details is why one has the middle name of “Eleanora” and the other does not.
The links between Alicia Eleanora ELLIS and Charles ELLIS are:
- Both share the same surname
- Both were born in London
- Both named sons “John Ingram”
- Alicia also named one son “Charles”
- Charles had a sister named Alicia/Alice born about the same time in the same place as Alicia Eleanora ELLIS
- Alicia Eleanora’s husband, Henry BRAND, apparently knew Charles ELLIS
While there is some circumstantial evidence and also a little overlap between the families, the only thing I’m confident about is that Alicia THOMAS/LOCKHART is the sister of Charles THOMAS/LOCKHART who later came to be known as Charles ELLIS. And that their parents are Alice/Alicia THOMAS probably later ELLIS and John Ingram LOCKHART later John WASTIE.
If only I could figure out how/why the name change from THOMAS to ELLIS. It may help with shoring up the identification between Alicia THOMAS/LOCKHART and Alicia Eleanora ELLIS.
Eventually, I’ll have to decide whether I have enough evidence to prove my theory. But I’m not quite ready to close the book on this one yet. However unlikely it may be to find answers to my questions, I shall continue to look for them a while longer.
But, after all, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve surprised myself with what I uncover when I dig a little deeper.
If you’ve made it this far, I thank you for your heroic efforts in reading this very long story to the end. It was certainly an adventure and a half and I had a lot of fun tracking down the clues. I hope you enjoyed coming along for the ride.
I can’t believe that I started with a hunch then followed this crazy theory for two years and found enough evidence to convert it into, I hope, a workable and plausible theory.
But am I being unreasonable in wishing for more evidence? Would you be satisfied with what I have found and have “called it” by now? Or do you think the theory is way off track and I’ve been following a red herring all this time? I’d love to hear what you think. Or maybe you’d like to share your own success with following a wild hunch? Let’s hear your story!
1 MARRIAGES. (27 July 1820). Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, p. 4. Marriage notice for F.L.W. Ross, esq, to Anna Maria, only daughter of Nicholas Brand, esq. Retrieved 22 April 2014 from: http://search.findmypast.com.au/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000187%2f18200727%2f034
2 MARRIAGES. (20 September 1823). Oxford University and City Herald, p. 2. Marriage notice for Charles Ellis and Maria Reilly, only daughter of Thomas Reilly. Retrieved 30 June 2016 from: http://search.findmypast.com.au/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000991%2f18230920%2f010