Sunday, 19 February 2017

Clara Swaddling - single woman

So who was Lily Edith's mother Clara Swaddling and where did she come from?

There was only one reference to a Clara Swaddling on the FreeBMD website. Her full name was Clara Hannah and she married William Stephen Hoile in 1903 in the Swindon district. FreeBMD is a project aimed at transcribing the Civil Registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales and making them accessible via the Internet. 

By 1911 William Stephen and Clara Hannah were living in Swindon with three children Stephen Alfred George - born in 1904, Vivian Clara - born in 1907 and Eric Edwin James -born in 1909. The children were all born in Swindon but the the birthplace of their parents was not so clear. William Stephen stated that he was 37 years, his occupation was a Coal Carter and he was born in England. Clara Hannah was 36 and also born in England but a small note had been added saying "nothing else known".

So now I had an approximate year of birth, 1875. I found a reference to her on the 1901 census. A Clara H Swaddling was a 28 year old laundry maid in Little Stanmore in Middlesex and this time she was recorded as being born in Headington in Oxfordshire.

Now I had a place of birth, perhaps I would find her living at home with her parents on the 1891 census? No such luck. Poor Clara was 17 years old this time and an inmate at Margaret House, a house for the Aged Poor and for Children in Bath Road, Cheltenham. So what had happened to her parents for her to be in this institution?

If Clara was born in the Headington area perhaps she was also baptised there. I checked the Ancestry Oxfordshire baptisms and found a Clara Anna baptised on the 1st April 1874 at St Philip and St James in Oxford. The entry showed that Clara's mother was also a single woman and her name was Sarah. Their address was Plantation Road, Oxford. So would they be together on the 1881 census?

I did find them both on the 1881 census but not together. Clara was a boarder with a Elizabeth Acock in Aldates in Oxford and Sarah H, did the H stand for Hannah?, was a General Domestic Servant for an Elizabeth E. Leaf in Penge in Surrey. Her birthplace was listed as Dorchester, Oxfordshire.

On the 1871 census, two years before Clara Anna was born, Sarah was working as a servant for a George Ward and his family in the St Philip and St James parish of Oxford. By coincidence Sarah Hannah married an Alfred Ward at St Ann's Church In Tottenham in 1898. He was a 50 year old widower and she was a 43 year old spinster. They didn't have any children so Clara was her only child. Sarah's father on her marriage certificate was an Isaac Swadling. Now I knew exactly who Sarah Hannah was and where she came from. She was born in Dorchester in 1855 and her parents were Isaac and Elizabeth Swadling.

Unfortunately it seems now that Clara Anna was not the mother and Sarah was not the grandmother of Lily Edith because while I was searching for marriage of Sarah Hannah Swadling I came across the marriage of another Clara Swadling and this is more likely to be the mother of Lily Edith as this marriage took place a year after the birth in 1899 in the same church, St Mary and St John, Cowley.

So who was this Clara? The marriage certificate says her father's name was John Charles Swadling.

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