Making a Case for the Myhills


Samuel Myhill (born about 1856, Dilham, Norfolk) featured here almost a year ago with the first results of a scanning session on old family photos. He married my great great aunt Mary Watts in 1879. I have finally been able to get a better picture of what happened to most of their children, appearing as adults in one of the photos, largely thanks to the latest 1911 census update on Ancestry.

Original caption: Uncle Sam and family: Laura, Syd, Emma, Kate, and Sam

To work backwards, my favourite approach, from the youngest offspring:

Sidney Frederick Myhill

Born 16th December 1887, Dilham. In 1911, he appears in Southwaite, Cumberland, a ‘groom gardener’, married but living on his own – perhaps Monkcastle is the name of the farm he works for. I have now located his wife, married 1909 Penrith district, Isabel Morrison. She is not far away at Unthank End, Hutton-in-the-Forest visiting James and Eleana Ann Turner. As neither of these two are born in the same area as Isabel (Brompton, Yorks), are they just friends rather than relations? She would have been a couple of months pregnant with their first son.

Good, I thought, relations on the edge of the Lake District, might be nice to visit. It was disappointing to discover that two out of the four children I could find, Annie and David, died in their first few years – and certainly more than disappointing for the parents. One child, Rosalind M Myhill born 1924, still eludes me in finding further traces {3}. The eldest, Ronald Sydney born November 1911, died in 1989 with his only child not surviving beyond a few months (unless I’ve missed someone). Ronald’s wife Jessie Blakeney died 1990. Sidney had died in the Carlisle district 1972, wife Isabel had gone in 1961.

So no living relations here then?

Emma Sarah Myhill

Born 10th June 1885 Dilham. In 1911, a parlourmaid in St Marylebone, London, 29 Circus Road. Her employer is Frederic Clare Melhado, hospital superintendent, presumably at the nearby Wellington Hospital (in fact StreetView shows it as being right next door). Emma marries Willie Frank Pavey Case 1916 in Watford – why Watford you will find out further on. One child discovered, Margaret E Case born 1917 Hackney, probable marriage to Alfred J Arthur 1946, Edmonton district, and likely died 1980 Enfield. Willie died 1944 Edmonton, Emma probably 1968 Haringey.

I’d very much like to find out more about Willie. Unfortunately the full name doesn’t bring up any records other than the electoral roll (one address is 67 Seymour Avenue, Tottenham), and I am uncertain whether a birth in Portsea, Hants in 1878 is him, especially as no matching census records appear to exist. {2}

Anne Laura Myhill

Born 3rd April 1883 Dilham (or Smallburgh – rendered as Smallbow in 1901). At 1911, parlourmaid in Hendon to Basil Smith, ship broker, plus wife, 2 grown up children and a daughter-in-law. No sign of a marriage for Annie Laura, likely died in Reading 1973.

Mary Ann Elizabeth Myhill

Born 21st October 1879, Worstead. In 1911 with husband Joseph Edward Alfred Harris (they married 1905 Smallburgh), a publisher’s manager, with daughter Violet Mary Harris age 4, living in Green Lane, Palmers Green. Unfortunately Harris is too common a name to research quickly and cheaply. {1}

Why is she absent from the photograph? {1}

Katie Jane Watts Myhill

Born several years before Samuel and Mary married, so actual father unknown – 28th November 1875, Worstead. Katie marries Edmund John Pike (widower) in 1903 (Smallburgh), having been an attendant at Colney Hatch lunatic asylum in 1901. At 1911, they are living in Watford, with one child Harold Edmund Baron Pike age 6. Edmund senior is a friendly society clerk (accountant), dying when only 54, naming his accountant son Harold as executor in his will.

Katie clearly took her role as eldest sibling seriously, with not only her sister Emma’s wedding taking place in Watford (1916), but her father (or adopted father) Samuel’s death registered in the town in 1930, 8 years after his wife Mary died back in Smallburgh. I would now guess that the family photo on this page is taken at the time of Mary’s funeral at the old family home – why else would they all travel from their far-flung places, and dress so smartly? And then Samuel moved to Watford to live with Katie soon after, age 65.

On the other hand, the Harris family led on the baptism of both Harold Pike and Violet Harris – baptised together, a few weeks after Violet is born but almost 2 years after Harold’s birth. At St Anns, Stamford Hill, 18th July 1906.

Domestics in the family

Before collating the above, I tended to reckon that the family tree didn’t really contain any domestic servants, other than the odd woman filling this role for a few years before she got married. But it is still safe to say none worked in a ‘big house’ like Upstairs Downstairs or Downton Abbey.

It is interesting that the women all went to town to seek work, while Sidney didn’t move far in terms of the type of work, but went a very long way physically to get it. His father is described in 1901/11 censuses as a Yardman or Cowman on farm. The area around Worstead was hardly thriving, it seems. Local pub The White Lady has some Worstead history.

Notes and Updates

  1. Mary Ann Elizabeth is missing from the photo as she had died between 1911 and 1915, when her husband remarried. Ancestry’s Surrey records and the 1939 register on Findmypast has allowed more research on daughter Violet, who married Robert George Stokes in 1935.
  2. The record for Willie and Emma in the 1939 register adds more – he is a language instructor.
  3. Update: Can a marriage in Carlisle district in 1991 be hers? To Richard J Thompson. If so, her death is recorded as Rosalind Mary Thompson in 2004.

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