Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thomas Carlyle and his wife Jane mentioning Henry Fleming in their letters to each other

Henry Fleming lived at No. 2, Charles Street, Berkeley Square, London in 1871, and was Secretary to the Poor Law Board.

Earlier posts:

1. A map and Google Street View of the house today, and the 1871 census extract

2. Who was Henry Fleming? A dandy? A heartless villain? Both? Neither? More history from Charles Street, Berkeley Square

Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish writer who gave us, among other things, "the dismal science" as a cute little name for the field of economics, wrote to his wife Jane quite frequently, perhaps as a way of avoiding speaking to her. From their over 9,000 published letters, there are a few mentioning Henry Fleming. In "Who was Henry Fleming?", we found out he was something of a social gadfly in the 1840s.

Here are a few selections from the Carlyles. My own comments are in italics. Items in square brackets within the quoted passages are my own additions. The citation for the letters is at the end of this post.

September 11, 1844, Jane to Thomas

"Yesterday was very weary — Mazzini came then Darwin, then Mr Fleming …. They were all mortally stupid especially Mr Fleming of whom one might have carried the simile of the Duc in Thunder to that still more offensive one of 'Jenkin's hen' —"

Jenkin's hen, not a very nice thing to call someone. So, Jane thinks the charming Henry Fleming is particularly morta'ly stupid.

The footnote on the Duke University Press Carlyle website explains this further:

"Proverbially a duck in thunder is said to roll its eyes or turn them upward. In Scots, Jenkins's hen is one that never knew a cock; thus an old maid, suggesting 'the maximum of pusillanimity' (Froude, LM 1:294)."

September 12, 1844, Thomas to Jane

"We are a small party, no Stranger beyond Strachey and me yet: the Howicks have 'taken cold,' or something of that sort; Buller continues silent, absent not known where. Did Jenkin's Hen say nothing of him?"

Thomas seems to enjoy Jane's nickname for Henry.

September 13, 1844, Jane to Thomas

"Do you know Bain is John Mills great man at present!!! Mr Fleming told me that he had described him to him as a person of 'the wonderfullest insight and general information that he had ever fallen in with'! — Poor Mill should be sent to Wandsworth — really. on Wednesday night I had Bolte Tizzy and Mr Fleming — with the valuable ingredient of Darwin who struck Mr Fleming with an awe which was quite edifying — It seems he (Jenkins hen) 'respects tranquillity of manner above every thing' and Darwin gave him enough of that — Mrs Buller quite regrets not to have seen Darwin in consequence of the splendid things Fleming said of him —"

Nineteenth centrury name-dropping. John Stuart Mill. Charles Darwin's brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin. One gets the impression Fleming may be the bimbo in the room, according to Jane. And certainly Henry is doing a good job of spreading news from drawing room to drawing room.

September 18, 1844, Thomas to Jane

"I read your account of Jenkin's Hen to Lady Harriet and Buller (with reservations), the former of whom was greatly amused by it."

Tsk, tsk, Thomas. Talking about Henry behind his back like that. 

December 18, 1844, Jane to her cousin Jeannie

"Mr Fleming tells me that Tizzy who is 'the most artful little Devil' in nature has got provoked with Miss Bolte for too much repressing her premature tendencies to unfortunate femalisings and tells Mrs Buller all sorts of lies to get her turned off which Mrs Buller is silly enough to believe — When they have rid themselves of Miss Bolte — if death alas do not anticipate them — they may turn their hand with that young lady of theirs as they like …"

Impressive chain of gossip. Jeannie hears from Jane, who hears from Henry, who hears from Tizzy who is provoked with Amalie for telling lies to Mrs Buller

December 22, 1844, Thomas to Lady Harriet Baring

Lady Harriet has apparently taken in another woman, Miss Amalie Bölte, who sounds like quite a pain, sickly and clinging if I read it right. Thomas has written to privately thank her, probably for ridding the rest of the gang of the responsibility and guilt.

"Poor Fleming, who seems to come here every Sunday (tho' I keep carefully up stairs), says, 'It is a noble trait of Lady Harriet':— Yes, Fleming, my man. In fact, we are all most grateful to the said Lady, and some of us, as I mentioned before, are partly proud of her in a silent way."

Perhaps Thomas feels if he stays upstairs and is very quiet when Fleming comes round, Henry will by osmosis learn to stop gossiping. However, as that seems to be what keeps him in favour with Mrs. Buller and others in the social circle, he may not be able to stop.

February 6, 1845, Jane to her cousin Jeannie

"Last Sunday Mr Fleming came while he [Richard Plattnauer, another apparent friend Thomas complains about] was here, and very soon he gave indications of thinking that his (Mr F's) visit was prolonging itself needlessly — He started from his chair at last, seized the Cat — danced her in the air a while like a Baby — then pitched her on the floor — and asked if he might go up stairs for some of his books still here — I said by all means — and he went off—not up stairs but down to the kitchen where he marched to and fro smoking and talking very loud to Helen —

"I am certain in my private mind that he went away because he felt that if he stayed he would do Mr Fleming a mischief — He told me once already how tempted he had been to 'seize the poker and dash out the brains' of a little Aberdeen man who sat 'talking the horridest stuff to me, which no woman but myself could have listened to; for three deadly hours'! Oh for a good inspiration how to put a peacable end to these visits, the chief indeed sole interest of which has come to be the question ever in my mind; will he or will he not to day or some other day do to myself or one of the others some mortal harm?

"Poor Mr Fleming! he is the greatest coward, that man, out of petticoats! and on Sunday he was even more cowardly than usual having just transacted an inflamation of the bowels — So there he sat all in a tremble — perceptibly to the naked eye, — and then hurried off an hour before he would have gone in the course of nature —"

One wonders why the Carlyles ever answered the door.

February 26, 1845, Jane to her cousin Jeannie

Jane has been suffering from one cold after another and is down with it again.

"Certainly I am better within the last two days, I am not so weak, nor so hoarse, nor so feverish, nor do I feel such noble independence of victual, nor is my temper so very devilish — I still cough enough but Mr Fleming told me on sunday that he heard by the sound of my cough that 'it was going' — a good journey to it! On the whole I have now good hope again that I shall recover entirely when warm weather comes — last week I was rather desperate about recovery under any circumstances

"I have not tried either of your mixtures but keep them in reserve in case one which Mr Fleming brought me on Sunday fails of the splendid success he predicted for it — He is not a Dr Mr Fleming but worth a score such Drs as my Brotherinlaw. He has been urging this mixture on me for weeks back — but (as Mazzini says) I want energy — last Sunday when I told him I had still not tried it he said 'nor ever will unless I get it mixed for you myself' — On leaving he went to a chemist's, and returned in half an hour, and gave the vial to Helen with directions that I was to 'take one spoonful that night— two next day and the next day I should be quite well' — When one's natural helps prove so ineffectual; it is considerate of Providence to raise up such kindhearted strangers!"

Jane Carlyle, the original Blanche "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers" Dubois

October 28, 1847, Jane to Lady Harriet Baring

"I have not seen Fleming since his return — almost dread the thought of seeing him! of witnessing the progress of his emotions —"

Getting the impression Henry was a bit of a drama queen?

February 5, 1847, Jane to Helen Welsh (her cousin)

"The last I heard of Tadpole [Anne Brown] was satisfactory thanks God — Mr Fleming went to see her last Sunday and give her some money for me — and he said she looked very well-doing and quite content in her solitude, with 'one lover and one female friend' her case is not bad — still if she were a fool she might easily think it so."

The social butterfly employed for a noble errand

September 24, 1847, Jane to Thomas

Henry has arrived at the Carlyle house at a very inconvenient time for Jane and will not go away until he delivers a message in person. He says he'll only stay for five minutes. Mainly he wants to brag about being Lady Harriet's new best friend.

"This she [Lady Harriet Baring] had told him (Fleming) when he was 'seeing her off' — And he would tell her my answer 'when he dined with her at Holland House' — 'How very odd', I said, 'that you should be acting as Lady H's Ariel'! 'Oh not at all now! — We are excellent friends now — since we staid together at Sir W. Molesworths — and there is nothing I would not do for her!! she is the dearest, playfullest, wittiest creature! I love her beyond everything.'"

Later in the same letter, some observations on Henry's manner and attire:

"Fleming's ‘five minutes’ prolonged themselves to half an hour — and then I was obliged to tell him that I could sit up no longer — and he went away in his little thunder and lightening embroidered shirt and his little new curled wig, lisping out 'I shall tell Lady Harriet that I found you in a temperature sufficient to produce a bilious fever —' It was all I could do to keep from summoning all my remaining strength together and 'doubling him up' [Yes, Jane wants to drop the gloves, as we say on the hockey rink] — prating in that fashion to me who had just come thro such a week of suffering!"

I love this:
" … he went away in his little thunder and lightening embroidered shirt and his little new curled wig, lisping out 'I shall tell Lady Harriet …'"

September 19, 1848, Thomas to his brother John A. Carlyle ("Jack")

"Our company is not worth talking about, since I wrote last: Buller, little Fleming (Mephisto in a wig, as I called him), a Lady Montague (who sings well), Lady Sandwich (who abounds in cheerful gossip, and knows all manner of women and men)"

November 10, 1852, Thomas to Lady Ashburton

"That is the historical truth;—nor is it a very strange one after what Fleming has taught me of you! Indeed I altogether agree (on reflexion) with that remarkable man"

June 1, 1854, Thomas to Lady Ashburton

"Fleming came next: 'A message from Lady Alice Peel'! cried the divine Fleming, with triumph in his eyes. Unluckily I knew nothing of this Lady, except incidental rumour of her name, thro' Another very greatly more important to me: 'Lady Ashburton is to be there,' said Fleming; 'and the Duc d'Aumale, and' —

Ah, yes, "the divine Fleming".

March 8, 1856, Thomas to Lady Ashburton

"Lady S. was quite brisk and lively, tho' rather avoiding the cruel March airs, which was wise: she expects to 'flit personally' on Monday, and is deep in upholstery, and cheery negociations with upholsterers and decorators of human life. Fleming came in while I was there; charged with gossip to the muzzle, quality clear and bitter, to a superior degree, as seemed, but my dinner hour had come, and I had to leave that interesting spiritual report."

The quality of gossip is not strain'd

All the Carlyle letters and the footnote with biographical information about Henry Fleming come from The Carlyle Letters Online [CLO]. 2007., viewed February 24, 25, 26, 2011.

Our peek at the houses of Charles Street, Berkeley Square in 1871 began at No. 1: Thomas March of 1 Charles Street: One degree from Queen Victoria.

Before that, we started with the Stoker family: Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

Next time: what the Carlyles said about Henry. Thomas Carlyle and his wife Jane mentioning Henry Fleming in their letters to each other. (For what it's worth, I found it pretty funny what they had to say, and how fragrantly they could throw mud at people.)

THOMAS CARLYLE LETTERS TO HIS WIFEMonographs personal and social

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Who was Henry Fleming? A dandy? A heartless villain? Both? Neither? More history from Charles Street, Berkeley Square

At No. 2, Charles Street, which runs from the southwest corner of Berkeley Square in London, in 1871, there lived a bachelor, Henry Fleming, and two servants. Perhaps more people actually lived there, but that's who was home on census night.

Map, Google Street View, and the census return details for No. 2 Charles Street

Henry Fleming in 1871: Secretary of the Poor Law Board

It's there in black and white on the census form, Secretary of the Poor Law Board.

Your mind should immediately be racing to thoughts of Oliver Twist and gruel, poor people (both in the sense of lacking wealth and in the sense of suffering hardship), misery, and the workhouse.

This was 1871, about 32 years after the publication of Oliver Twist, but the poor were still liable to be taken into the workhouse, a place no one wanted to be.

Henry Fleming's involvement with the Poor Law Board dates back into the 1840s, closer to Dickensian times.

Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directory, 1850, shows, at page 16, that the English Poor Law Board's office was at Somerset House, in London. Henry Fleming, Esq. is one of two Assistant Secretaries.

This was a time when Henry's star was rising.

A few years earlier, on July 15, 1844, Thomas Carlyle, the writer, sent a letter to his wife (one of over 9,000) mentioning callers stopping by that day.

 Old Stimabile, Darwin; then after dinner, Fleming3 on horseback to ask If Mrs Carlyle was home?—perhaps by Mrs Buller's order? He would not come in, tho' I by message invited him. 

(From Volume 18 of the collected letters, on  The Carlyle Letters Online, a website from Duke University Press.)

The footnote says:

"Henry Fleming (d. 1876); asst. sec. of poor law board, 1848–59; permanent sec., 1859–71. Introduced into society by Charles Buller, he “made his way by his pleasant manners and amusing gossip. It was said that when Lady Palmerston wanted to know which way the political wind blew, she sent him out on a horse in the Park. He was very good-looking, and [no one could] … guess his age. He wore an undeniable brown wig, and had a lovely complexion and brilliant teeth, how much due to art no one could tell” (Mary C. M. S. Simpson, Many Memories of Many People [1898] 115).

According to another account Fleming was “a kindly little man, … commonly known as the ‘Flea.’ … He was well known in society, a friend of Charles Buller's, and an  habitué of Lady Palmerston's house. He was much made up; and when Lady Ashburton was told of his house being entered by burglars, ‘It was hard on him,’ she said; ‘for he could not move, having unfortunately left his backbone on the dressing-table’” (Algernon West, Recollections 1832 to 1886 [1899] 1:86–87).

His obituary in the Times, 3 March 1876, said: “He was a welcome member of society which his official chiefs [of the poor law board] could often not aspire to enter. … As no one seemed to know his age, it was a constant subject of jocose speculation. His familiarity with Lord Palmerston was attributed to the alleged fact that Lord Palmerston had been his fag at Harrow.”

End of the footnote.

In fact, there are about 20 letters on the Duke University Press Carlyle website where Thomas or Jane (his wife) mentions Henry Fleming.

Our peek at the houses of Charles Street, Berkeley Square in 1871 began at No. 1: Thomas March of 1 Charles Street: One degree from Queen Victoria.

Before that, we started with the Stoker family: Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

Next time: what the Carlyles said about Henry. Thomas Carlyle and his wife Jane mentioning Henry Fleming in their letters to each other. (For what it's worth, I found it pretty funny what they had to say, and how fragrantly they could throw mud at people.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

No. 2 Charles Street Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, in 1871

The last seven posts, starting with

Thomas March of 1 Charles Street: One degree from Queen Victoria

have looked closely at the family who occupied No.1 Charles Street according to the 1871 census.

Charles Street runs from the south west corner of Berkeley Square, and from what I've seen, it was a pretty good neighbourhood back in 1871.

We continue the exploration with the second house on the street.  Here's the Google Maps image as it now is.

View Larger Map

And the current Google Street View picture, with No. 1 on the right (Thomas C. March house in 1871) and No. 2, the blue one, on the left.

View Larger Map

Link in case map isn't visible: 2 Charles Street, Mayfair, and the link to the Street View.

Living at No. 2, in 1871, the census says this.

No. 2: Henry Flemming, 59, unmarried, Civil Servant, Secretary of the Poor Law Board
1 Family, namely Henry himself.
2 Servants, James Austen, 50, and Martha Newman, 17, both unmarried.

Citation from Class:  RG10; Piece:  102; Folio:  75; Page: 31; GSU roll:  838762.

There's a mention here on p. 522 of The British Medical Journal, May 23, 1868:

"IO. Mr. Flemming, Secretary of the Poor-law Board, acknowledges
on February 20th, I867, the receipt of Mr. Trevor's last letter."

The spelling of "Flemming", however, is not consistent in the records. In the majority of cases I've seen so far, it's been spelled with only one "m", "Fleming".

Henry Fleming was a rather interesting fellow, from another interesting family. This family will take us to the poorhouse and to the last gasps of the slave trade.

Our peek at the houses of Charles Street, Berkeley Square in 1871 began at No. 1: Thomas March of 1 Charles Street: One degree from Queen Victoria.

Before that, we started with the Stoker family: Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

Next: Who was Henry Fleming? A dandy? A heartless villain? Both? Neither? More history from Charles Street, Berkeley Square.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Maud Gonne and Thomas Charles March and the English wine merchants who brought us port

Who were these people?

OK, apologies to those of you who've been religiously keeping score. The rest of you, go back and read every single post since January 2011.

Oh, all right, I'll make it easier.

1. I recently figured out (the penny dropped) that I come from a vampire bloodline.
2. Decided to see if Bram Stoker (author of Dracula) was influenced by my vampire family.
3. Looked Bram and family up in the census returns for 1881, 1891, 1901, and 1911, when they were in England.
4. Obsessively started figuring out not just where the Stokers lived, but who lived with them: the servants.
5. This led me to a man named Charles Jarrald, whose wife was the Stoker's nursery nurse in 1881. Charles was dead by then; his wife was a widow working for the Stokers.
6. Going back 10 years, I found Charles working on what turned out to be a pretty posh street. He was a servant at No. 27 Charles Street, Berkeley Square.
7. Since the street was crammed with the upper class in 1871, I decided to do a house-by-house analysis, starting at No. 1.
8. To keep everyone from falling asleep, I also decided to play Six Degrees of Separation with the people in the houses, figuring out how close the people are to (a) Queen Victoria and (b) Dracula, or at least, Bram Stoker.
9. At No. 1 Charles Street, was the family of Thomas Charles March, an interesting enough fellow who was one of the top non-political servants in the Royal Household of Queen Victoria, having a career that went from about 1840 (ish) to his death in 1898.

A few notes on the March family and the connection to Maud Gonne

Thomas Charles March was the second of six children, three boys and three girls.

His two brothers had equally distinguished careers, it appears, and at least one brother (George) moved in high society circles.

The parents, Thomas March and Mary Anne nee Gonne, were both born in Portugal in the late 1700s. I am fairly certain both fathers were wine merchants and also that both families were well off.

Thomas the father was a bankrupt, with a wife and six children, in the mid-1830s. This led to a lawsuit, which is a reported case I found online. It was all intra-familial and a little complicated in its details, but essentially Thomas's creditors (also family) tried to get the money Mary Anne brought with her as a marriage settlement, and which had been set up in a sort of trust to generate income for her and the children. The interesting social background is the law and attitudes about married women having property (or not). Also there is some ongoing intrigue and political scheming between Portugal and England during the period. Thomas's bankruptcy may have been the result of the Portuguese kicking the English merchants out. (I know very little about this but it's fascinating history.)

One of Thomas Charles March's sisters married a clergyman from a noble family in Yorkshire, and another sister lived with them at least for a time. The married sister and her husband had at least two sons.

I sort of lost the third sister and hope she will turn up one day.

The brother George worked in the diplomatic service, I think.

Now to switch to Maud Gonne, known variously as a political radical, Ireland's Joan of Arc, the mystic lover of the poet William Butler Yeats, and the mother of Nobel Peace Prize winner Sean McBride. You may have recognized the same last name, Gonne, as the mother of Thomas Charles March, Mary Anne nee Gonne.

At one point, when Maud was being attacked for her political views, she mentioned in a letter that eventually questions of her ancestry would be cleared up, and that her great-grandfather had been William Gonne, a wine merchant in Portugal.

I haven't constructed a chronology, and it's getting a bit too complicated to pursue it just now, but that William Gonne would fit the generation of Mary Anne's father, whose name was Thomas Gonne.  INCORRECT! Correction: Her father's name was William Gonne Esquire, possibly the same William Gonne as was Maud's great-grandfather.

Scholars of Maud Gonne, please, jump in any time and leave a comment if you know more about Maud's exact family tree. I am a lazy researcher working my way down the street, long before Maud was born, and not even the street where she lived. My Maud Gonne contribution may have to end here.

The Gonne and March families in the wine trade in Portugal would have been shipping port to England. A notable contribution to life there, wouldn't you say? I also suspect that the merchant community in Oporto may have done a little soft espionage on the side. Just a thought.

One more coincidence. Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee was in 1897. Maud Gonne protested against it. Her distant cousin, Thomas March, may have supervised the organizing of it, given his senior position within the staff of the Royal Household. Whether these two acknowledged each other as relatives, I don't know.

Thomas March is the first of many interesting people we will meet on Charles Street in 1871. His story starts with Thomas March of 1 Charles Street: One degree from Queen Victoria.

This article is one in an ongoing series, starting with Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

Next: We leave No. 1 Charles Street, and move along to No. 2. On census night in 1871, this house was occupied by Henry Fleming and two servants.
No. 2 Charles Street, Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, in 1871.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What was Thomas Charles MARCH's Dracula number? Six degrees.

If you stayed with me through the exploration of the Thomas Charles MARCH family, not only do you deserve a medal, but you will already know what I mean by a Dracula number.

I'm playing Six Degrees of Separation with some of the residents of Charles Street, off Berkeley Square in London, in 1871, and determining how many degrees they are away from Queen Victoria (the Queen Victoria number) and from Bram STOKER the author of Dracula (the Dracula number).

By the way, I am using ALL CAPS for surnames here, a convention the police use a lot and family history writers sometimes, because the surname MARCH is too easily confused with the month.

Thomas Charles MARCH, of No. 1 Charles Street, Berkeley Square in 1871, has a Queen Victoria number of 1, having worked in the Royal Household for about 50 years in some high-ranking positions.

There are two connections I can point to between Thomas and Dracula, or at least, Bram.

Bram STOKER was an author of course, bu he was also a theatrical manager, and often described as the friend and manager of Sir Henry IRVING.

Sir Henry was the first actor to be knighted. The ceremony was on July 18, 1895 by Queen Victoria at Windsor. In an online archive of Sir Henry's correspondence, on the website, there are two entries for correspondence between Sir Henry and Thomas Charles MARCH. In each, MARCH is described as Buckingham Palace paymaster, and his address is Board of Green Cloth, Buckingham Palace.

The first letter is from MARCH to IRVING, July 19, 1895. The catalogue description is: "Fees due to the Earl Marshall and British heralds upon knighthood are £26 and he asks for a cheque with the corrected or approved notice for the London Gazette."

The second letter, also from MARCH to IRVING, is dated July 26, 1895. "Receipt for £26 for knighthood fees to Sir Henry B. Irving."

So, from MARCH to IRVING to STOKER would give MARCH a Dracula number of 2, but I think we can do better.

The Lord Chamberlain's Office and the Theatre World of Victoria London

Let me not appear to have any kind of expertise in this subject whatsoever.

What I have inferred from cursory research is that the Lord Chamberlain's Office was in charge of making sure the theatre world ran properly. This included being the censor, and licensing plays as fit for public consumption.

Because of his long, active, and prominent involvement, and his leadership role in the theatre, Henry IRVING was frequently dealing with the Lord Chamberlain's Office, but not specifically with Thomas Charles MARCH. The job of censor appears to have belonged to the Comptroller within the Lord Chamberlain's Office.

From 1857 to 1901, Sir Spencer Cecil Brabazon PONSONBY-FANE was the Comptroller. It's not a long stretch of the imagination to suggest that, given this lengthy tenure, he and Thomas MARCH must have been well acquainted. Apparently both IRVING and STOKER were also well enough acquainted with the Comptroller that IRVING could instruct STOKER, on September 22, 1887 to seek advice from him ("have a chat") as an old friend, regarding some aggravation IRVING was experiencing from a third party, EARLTON(?). This is what the catalogue entry for a letter from IRVING to STOKER says:

"'We will proceed no further in this business' at least for the present. Come to [?] as soon as he [STOKER] can as Irving wants to hear the sound reasons of their wise old friend. Stoker should call at the Lord Chamberlain's Office, deliver the enclosed, and have a chat with Ponsonby Fane. The man Earlton(?) is playing a spiteful game and Irving wants to hear Sir Spencer's opinion of his tactics. Business great and all going well."

STOKER knew PONSONBY-FANE, again, giving MARCH a Dracula number of 2.

Is it too speculative to imagine that over the approximately 40 years in which they worked together, that PONSONBY-FANE and MARCH might have chatted with STOKER together? I am edging toward a #1, though not conclusively there yet.

Another nail in the coffin

One final tidbit has cropped up.

Bram STOKER's Dracula was published in 1897, and although it's his most famous book, it's not the only one he wrote. In 1911, a year before he died, his last book, The Lair of the White Worm, came out. (later made into a movie starting Amanda Donohoe and Hugh Grant. Who knew?) This is not exactly a vampire tale, but it has similar themes and strange supernatural elements. I have not read it. All I needed to see was this: the evil female supernatural creature is a woman (or so it seems) named Arabella MARCH.

Why? I don't know. Inconveniently, no one appears to have published a thesis on the topic, at least, not a thesis prominent enough for Google's attention. I offer these alternative reasons:

1. STOKER knew Sarah COOPER, who became Arabella MARCH, before marriage and thought she was enough of a schemer to be outed as such (years after her death and that of her husband);

2. STOKER knew Arabella MARCH, the daughter of Thomas and Sarah / Arabella, and thought she was a schemer who deserved to be outed as such;

3. STOKER knew either or both of the Arabella MARCHes and liked them, and used the name as a kind of ironic tribute, perhaps with permission;

4. STOKER didn't like Thomas Charles MARCH and took this low shot at him post-humously;

5. STOKER unconsciously chose the name of not just one, but two real persons he had either met or heard of; or

6. STOKER liked the name.

Provisionally, the real Arabellas (mother and daughter) get a Dracula score of 1 and so does Thomas. My game, my rules.

Thomas March is the first of many interesting people we will meet on Charles Street in 1871. His story starts with Thomas March of 1 Charles Street: One degree from Queen Victoria.

This article is one in an ongoing series, starting with Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

Next: Maud Gonne and Thomas Charles March and the English wine merchants who brought us port.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Six degrees of Queen Victoria: How the Thomas Charles MARCH family were connected

To recap, this is a potted history of the people at No. 1 Charles Street in 1871. If you would like to see a fuller version, just look in the post archives and you'll see a series of posts before this one, about the MARCH family.

Thomas Charles MARCH was a lifelong member of Queen Victoria's household staff, finishing his days as one of the top employees. One of the highlights of his career, in the easy-to-find public records, was representing the Royal Household in the procession bringing the Duke of Wellington's body from Kent to London for a state funeral.

Arabella S. MARCH, nee Sarah COOPER, born in Basingstoke, Hampshire, was a spinster with a child (Arabella) when she married Thomas (who was 20 years older) in 1867. How she came to have a child and a house on Sloane Street, and funds before she married Thomas, I don't know.

Arabella MARCH, the daughter, born in St. Luke's, Chelsea, didn't marry and disappeared from my view after selling the family's country home, Forest Lodge in Ashtead, Surrey, around 1901.

Thomas C. MARCH in the 1871 census is Thomas Charles MARCH, who matches a boy who died at the age of 8.

Not shown in the 1871 census, because he wasn't yet born, Reginald George MARCH was the youngest child I'm aware of, and the only one with children, again, as far as I know. He was born at Holmwood, Surrey in 1874, was, like his father, a Clerk in the Lord Chamberlain's office, fought in South Africa with Lord Paget's Horse, was married, and had at least two children. He enlisted for the First World War but does not appear to have seen active duty outside the United Kingdom.

The only person I'm aware of to carry on the MARCH name from this family was Reginald's son, Thomas Charles MARCH, who matches a gentleman who died in 1999 in Winchester.

I promised I would play Six Degrees of Separation, in two forms, for these people:

Six Degrees of Queen Victoria
Six Degrees of Dracula.

The Queen Victoria numbers are from 1 to 3.

1, Personal connection to Queen Victoria

Thomas Charles MARCH. Having served so long and in such important positions, I'm guessing he bumped into Her Majesty the Small Queen at least once in a while.

His son Reginald George MARCH, based on his position in the Lord Chamberlain's office, which could be a stretch. If not a 1, he is a 2, like the rest of the family.

2, Personal connection to a person with a Queen Victoria number of 1

Connected through Thomas Charles MARCH:

His wife Arabella S. MARCH
His daughter Arabella MARCH
His son Thomas C. MARCH.

Next: The Dracula scores.
That takes a bit of explaining.

Thomas March is the first of many interesting people we will meet on Charles Street in 1871. His story starts with Thomas March of 1 Charles Street: One degree from Queen Victoria.

This article is one in an ongoing series, starting with Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

Next: What was Thomas Charles March's Dracula number? Six degrees.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The end of Thomas Charles MARCH, his wife and children, apart from one important detail

The story so far:

Thomas Charles MARCH was a lifelong servant of the royal household during Queen Victoria's reign. He rose through the ranks of the Lord Chamberlain's office and by 1881 was Pay-master of the Royal Household. In sequential census returns, and in some of the other public records ( has online, as well as what others have posted to the Web, I have been tracing Thomas and his family. The larger context started out with Bram STOKER and is explained in previous posts.

Bram Stoker and family in the 1881 English census

I looked more closely at the three servants:

Emma Barton, Bram Stoker's 15-year-old parlourmaid in 1881

Harriet Daw, Bram Stoker's Cook in 1881. The problem of a small spelling error


A brick wall: Elizabeth Jarrald, widow, Nurse to Bram Stoker's baby son in 1881.

Researching Elizabeth led me to the man I think she married:

Charles Jarrald, a well-placed servant indeed.

And then I got on to the MARCH family. I started using the common convention of putting surnames in ALL CAPS when I got to the MARCH family because it's too easy to confuse their name with the month of March.

Thomas Charles MARCH marries

Thomas Charles MARCH married Sarah COOPER in 1867. She brought with her a daughter, Arabella, who went by MARCH for the rest of her life. I think the daughter matches the Arabella MARCH who died in 1944. The probate records for 1944 are not yet available online but when I can get a look at them, I'll be interested to see the size of the fortune, or lack of it, that Arabella had when she died. I haven't found her in the census after 1891. I rather hope she was installed in a nice grace and favour apartment somewhere on the grounds of Buckingham Palace or even Hampton Court Palace for the rest of her days.

MARCH family life in the 1880s and later

Thomas and Sarah had two little brothers for Arabella, Thomas Charles MARCH, b. 1867, and Reginald George MARCH, b. 1874. Sadly, it appears little Thomas died at the age of 8.

By 1881, the MARCH family had decamped from London and were living at a very nice country house called Forest Lodge in Ashtead, Surrey.You can read a bit about it online, courtesy of the Surrey History Centre Archives and their website, Exploring Surrey's Past. They had probably left London for Surrey earlier, in the 1870s, as Reginald was born in Holmwood, Surrey in 1874, and the boy Thomas died, probably at Ashtead (Epsom registration district), in 1876. In 1881, Thomas (the father) was 61 and as mentioned, Pay-master of the Queen's Household.

Reginald was away at school in Cheltenham for the 1891 census. Thomas and the daughter Arabella were the only ones at Forest Lodge. This was Arabella's home until about three years after her father died (he died in 1898), when she sold it to Mr. Augustus MEYERS, who built a beautiful new home there.

Here is what the Surrey History Centre Archives' website says:

"In the early 19th century, the Haunch of Venison inn stood [where Forest Lodge was] but, during the 1860s, Henry Parsons converted it into a house, where, in 1871, he lived with a large household, including five servants. In the 1879 sale of Ashtead Park, Forest Lodge was bought for £3,700 on behalf of Lord Rosebery, although it was occupied at the time by Thomas C March, who held important positions in the royal household and who subsequently purchased the property. After his death, it was sold by his daughter, Arabella.

"Augustus Meyers purchased the estate in 1901 and lived there for nearly fifty years. Soon after he acquired the property, he built the present Forest Lodge, set well back from the road behind the site of the original inn, which had stood near the present entrance. The laying out of the grounds, including the demolition of the earlier house, had been completed by 1911."

Just a side-note about Lord Rosebery: he became Prime Minister of England. He was born in 1847 at No. 20, Charles Street, Berkeley Square. You may recall that Charles Street is what got us here. Thomas Charles MARCH lived at No. 1 in 1861.

There is a privately-published book called Photographic Views of Interior and Gardens, Forest Lodge, Ashtead, Surrey (1911) displayed on the website of Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, as part of an exhibit called "Of Making Many Books There is No End", that will close on March 31, 2011. Only the cover and one photograph (the one the cover picture is based on) are pictured on the website. The book was, I assume, prepared for Mr. MEYERS and depicts his new house, but that is just my best guess.

Sarah, Arabella's mother, died at Forest Lodge on July 7, 1888. Probate was granted, not to her husband, but to her spinster daughter Arabella MARCH on August 13, 1888. Sarah's will may have been set up to name Arabella as executrix because, with Thomas being about 20 years her elder, Sarah expected to outlive him. Sarah's personal estate was valued at £633/0/11.

Before her marriage to Thomas, the 1861 census showed Sarah living at 78 Sloane Street, Chelsea with her occupation being "House and Funded Proprietor". If that means she owned the house on Sloane Street, her fortune could have been considerable. Maybe that was invested in Forest Lodge, or maybe she was less wealthy than I imagine. Students of women's history can perhaps shed some light on the situation of a married woman's property in 1888. Did it remain hers, or did it become part of her husband's wealth upon marriage? I would only be guessing if I answered that question either way.

Link to the map and Google Street View of present day 78 Sloane Street. Dorchester Court, the modern red brick building on the left, is No. 77 through 81.The white building with the blue plaques is No. 76 (at the end close to Dorchester Court).

View Larger Map

It appears Thomas worked for Her Majesty's household until his death in 1898. His occupation in the 1891 census was "Secretary of Board of Green Cloth, Queen's Household".  Probate was granted to Reginald George MARCH, his son, who was then a Clerk to the Lord Chamberlain, on August 10, 1898.

Thomas's estate was valued at £15,387/0/8.
In the National Probate Calendar (Ref: England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1861-1941 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010.Original data: Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London, England © Crown copyright.), Thomas was called Thomas Charles MARCH of 82 Ebury-street Middlesex C.B.

The C.B. was news to me, and stands for Companion of the The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, an honour bestowed by the Queen, to a senior civil servant. I have not been able to find details of when Thomas MARCH was given this honour.

Here is a link to the Google Street View and map for 82 Ebury-street (modern day; the black door on the right, with the two white squares of what looks like paper), in case the embedded map below is not visible. In the 1891 census, this was a lodging house kept by a widow. On census night the widow, two female servants, and one 21-year-old man, an Assistant Engineer in the navy, were there. I would guess this was a convenient place for Thomas MARCH to stay when in London on business, but not likely the sort of place his daughter would have moved to after selling Forest Lodge, if it catered to gentlemen civil servants.

View Larger Map

The two surviving family members, Arabella and Reginald appear, from the scanty collection of records I have seen, to have gone their separate ways. I don't mean they were estranged (who knows?), only that I haven't found them living together. I don't know where Arabella was between about 1901 (the sale of Forest Lodge) and 1944, her death.

I couldn't find Reginald in the 1901 census, either, but I did find a good explanation for that.

In 1914, when the First World War started, Reginald enlisted and gave his occupation as "motor lorry driver". That's rather unexpected for a Clerk to the Lord Chamberlain. The reason comes from his prior military service as a member of Lord Paget's Horse. This was a private regiment raised by Lord Paget to fight in the South African (aka Boer) War. It appears they were in South Africa on census night, 1901.

Lord Paget's Horse recruited gentlemen, and its official initials, PH, were jokingly said to stand for "Piccadilly Heroes".

Also mentioned in Reginald's First World War attestation papers is the fact that he was married, and the papers identify his wife and two children.

Reginald enlisted for "Short Service (One Year With the Colours)" on October 5, 1914 at the age of 30. As mentioned, his stated Trade or Calling was "Motor Lorry Driver". There was also a note "Speaks French fluently and German [illegible]". On November 17, 1917, he was discharged as being medically unfit for service, being over age. His service record shows that he was at Home (i.e., the UK), not sent abroad to fight.

He died in 1918, leaving £2,686/8/1 and naming his wife Ella and two solicitors as executors. It's possible Ella went on to remarry (I found a possible match in 1927 to John MAYLE) and also that she travelled to the U.S.A., and that she died in Winchester in 1973. I haven't tried to check those things out (too remote).

Of his children, the little bit of searching I did suggests (doesn't prove) that his daughter Marjorie Eva went to the U.S.A.  in 1930, for 3 months at the age of 19. The Marjorie MARCH who made that trip listed Mrs. MAYYLE [sic] as her mother on the ship's passenger list, so it all fits.

Reginald's son, Thomas Charles MARCH, matches the age and name of a gentleman who died in Winchester in 1999.

I have a little more information about Reginald that I won't put here; we've strayed rather far from Thomas, his father, already.

The MARCH family into which Thomas Charles MARCH the father was born did very well for themselves. I will show how well in a couple of posts from now.

Next time, I want to show the Six Degrees of Queen Victoria and Six Degrees of Dracula for the MARCH family we've looked at so far.

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If you find these stories interesting, or have a question, please leave a comment. Let me know what catches your fancy and I'll find more.

Thomas March is the first of many interesting people we will meet on Charles Street in 1871. His story starts with Thomas March of 1 Charles Street: One degree from Queen Victoria.

This article is one in an ongoing series, starting with Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

Next: Six degrees of Queen Victoria: How the Thomas Charles March family were connected.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Applying some Jane Austen logic to the marriage of Thomas Charles MARCH, Queen Victoria's Pay-master

I've been tracing the residents of Charles Street, Berkeley Square, based on the 1871 census. This started with the family of Bram STOKER, the author of Dracula, but it is not he who lived on Charles Street. I looked at the Bram Stoker household beginning in 1881, their first appearance in the English census, including examining the three women servants they had then. One, Elizabeth JARRALD, was a widow in 1881, but I found her (assumed) husband, Charles JARRALD in 1871. Even though Elizabeth and Charles were already married then, he, a 22-year-old servant, was at his employer's house on census night in 1871. That house was No. 27 Charles Street.

A little nosing around at who Charles's employer might be quickly showed that Charles Street was full of the upper classes, and so I decided to detour a bit away from the STOKERs, but don't worry, we will get back to Mr. Dracula eventually.

To keep the connection with Drac going, I am now playing two concurrent games:
Six Degrees of Queen Victoria
Six Degrees of Dracula.

The Head of the household at No. 1 Charles Street in the 1871 census, Thomas Charles MARCH, has a Queen Victoria number of 1. In a couple of posts from now, I'll reveal his Dracula number, which may surprise you.

Here's a recap of the 1871 census return for No. 1 Charles Street, from the post "Thomas March of 1 Charles Street: One degree from Queen Victoria".

At home: Thomas, age 50, married, Clerk Lord Chamberlain's Office, born in Marylebone.
His wife, Arabella S. MARCH, 32, born in Basingstoke.
Daughter, Arabella MARCH, 14, born in London St. Luke's Chelsea.
Son, Thomas C. MARCH, 3, born in London, St. George's [Hanover Square].

Thomas and Arabella got married some time after the 1861 census.

There are two little nits about the details of that marriage that make it less straightforward than at first appears.

The first is the name of Thomas's wife. In the 1871 census she is Arabella S. MARCH. I haven't found a matching lady named Arabella in a search for the marriage in the database (which searches the GRO Index and Free BMD, among others). The closest match I've found hangs on the "S": Sarah COOPER. Her age and place of birth match Arabella S. MARCH from the 1871 census, so I have provisionally assumed them to be the same person. There is no other likely Thomas Charles MARCH who matches nearly so closely.

Making assumptions in a blog post doesn't bother me. I try to make it very clear when I am crawling out on a limb, and I hope anyone reading this who has more information, will tell me. In the meantime I hate to let the absence of concrete proof of the facts get in the way of a good story.

The parish marriage register for the Parish of St. Thomas Portman Square (shown in's database as St. Thomas Marylebone), shows:

On March 23, 1867, Thomas Charles MARCH, of full age, bachelor, Gentleman, of 93 Wimpole Street, Father's name Thomas MARCH (deceased), Gentleman,
Sarah COOPER, of full age, spinster, of 93 Wimpole Street, Father's name William COOPER, Gentleman.

The relevant entry is #425, found on page 213.
Source citation, from Ancestry: London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Thomas, Saint Marylebone, Register of marriages, P89/TMS, Item 006

The second nit is about Thomas's daughter, also called Arabella. On the one hand, she would appear to have been named for her mother, or at least, for the name her mother used in the 1871 census and later, but on the other hand, her birthdate is from the 1850s, before Thomas and Sarah (later Arabella) got married in 1867.

Arabella MARCH, Thomas's daughter in every census from 1871 on, was reportedly born around 1857, about 10 years before her parents' marriage.

I tend to assume, perhaps incorrectly, that single mothers in the second half of the 19th century were ostracized by society. Given that Thomas was working in the household more noted than any in English history for its propriety, Queen Victoria's, he is literally one of the last people I would expect to do anything remotely unconventional or scandalous.

This leads to some conclusions and assumptions.

The first assumption is that Arabella COOPER, later known as Arabella MARCH, the daughter, was born to married parents.

Given that, then the question is, were Sarah and Thomas actually married already when they got married in 1867? That seems unorthodox too, and is not my preferred hunch.

The second choice is that Arabella had either a different father, or a different mother, or both, and that one or both parents was either divorced or widowed. I rejected divorce, again because of propriety. It's something I wouldn't rule out conclusively, but it's low on the list of assumptions.

Then we consider: which parent was widowed? To conclude that either was, we have to assume that the marriage register was in error in calling the couple a bachelor and spinster. That does not seem likely, given who we're talking about, but I did look for evidence that either party had been married before. I found no evidence and decided to start a different line of inquiry: that Sarah gave birth to Arabella without marrying Arabella's father or that Sarah is Arabella's mother by adoption.

The out of wedlock birth seems almost inconceivable (pun intended and apologized for). Still, it was something I had to check out.

I searched in for a census return in 1861 for a woman born about 1838 in Basingstoke, with a daughter named Arabella.

Lo and behold, there emerged Sarah COOPER, unmarried, born about 1838 in Basingstoke with a daughter, Arabella COOPER, born about 1856 in St. Luke's Chelsea. Bingo! This doesn't prove Sarah to be Arabella's biological mother, but it does provide more clues. I would like to work more on the adoption hypothesis some time.

There is also the possibility that Sarah COOPER died and Thomas MARCH remarried between 1867 and 1871. I have not found evidence of such a death or such a remarriage, but my search has not been exhaustive. However, when Sarah COOPER, then Sarah MARCH died in 1888, the name under which probate was granted to her spinster daughter Arabella MARCH, was simply Sarah MARCH, no mention of Arabella.

And now, dear reader, cast your mind to the immortal words of Jane Austen as spoken by the insufferable Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

It is probably a truth also universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a husband.

Sarah COOPER in 1861 lived with her daughter and one servant (Louisa HIGGS, b. 1843 in Cornwall), at 78 Sloane Street, Chelsea. Her occupation was "House and Funded Proprietor". Ka-ching! I think I hear the sound of the accountant's mind jumping into gear as Thomas MARCH meets the younger, apparently wealthy woman with a daughter, Sarah COOPER.

Or am I too cynical?

Regardless of the reasons, Thomas and Sarah I think we can safely conclude, are the people I've identified as Thomas and Arabella in later years. How Sarah became a Sloane Ranger and the mother of Arabella, and whether Thomas was taking a social risk by marrying her, are questions upon which someone else can base a good Victorian romance, but that won't be me. Believe it or not, I have focus, and it's Thomas I came here to talk about today.

Thomas March is the first of many interesting people we will meet on Charles Street in 1871. His story starts with Thomas March of 1 Charles Street: One degree from Queen Victoria.

This article is one in an ongoing series, starting with Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

Next: The end of Thomas Charles March, his wife and children, apart from one important detail

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thomas Charles March, and his rise through the ranks at Queen Victoria's household

In 1871, Thomas Charles MARCH lived at 1 Charles Street, Berkeley Square, in London. (I usually use "London" to describe the modern metropolis. Many places were more properly described as being in Westminster rather than London, in the 19th century.) His career was spent in the service of Queen Victoria, and by the time he died in 1898, he was at the top of her household staff.

Thomas MARCH: One degree from Queen Victoria

I have traced Thomas and his family, mainly through the census returns using, as well as a few other online sources. At every turn I find something rather unexpected and interesting. Hope you find it so, too.

Where and what Thomas MARCH was in the census

1841: Don't know yet. I have looked, and looked, and looked. More to come about what I know of his family from about 1800 up to 1851.

1851: St. James's Palace, Stable Yard, No. 4, Thomas C. MARCH: unmarried, age 31, (occupation) Lord Chamberlain's Office, living with his two unmarried brothers, William (36, also of the Lord Chamberlain's Office) and George (22, No Occupation), and an unmarried woman servant, Elizabeth BARTLEY, age 70 (or possibly 40).

Census Reference (from   Class:  HO107; Piece:  1481; Folio:  10; Page:  12; GSU roll:  87806.

Modern Google Map for Stable Yard Road

The official website of the British Monarchy, "St James's Palace"

1861: St. James's Palace, Thomas C. MARCH, Head, unmarried, 41, [Clerk?] Lord Chamberlain's Office, living in a dwelling (not sure of what sort) with his brother William G. MARCH, unmarred, 43, "Ditto" (i.e., also a clerk in the Lord Chamberlain's office) and a 54-year-old widow, Sarah LOW, as their general servant.

Census Reference (from Class:  RG9; Piece:  56; Folio:  17; Page:  29; GSU roll:  542565

With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that Thomas rose through the ranks of the Royal Household to become what appears to be the top financial manager. The Lord Chamberlain, his boss for most of Thomas's years in service, was a political appointment. There were about 13 of them, some with multiple terms of office, during Thomas's career. I envision Thomas as the Victoria equivalent of Sir Humphrey Appleby.

(Link to video in case the embedded video is not showing.)

Sometime in the 1860s it appears Thomas got married. In the census returns before 1871, he was shown as unmarried. (This is not the same as widowed, which is usually specified.) I hard quite a hard time figuring out the identity of Thomas's wife. That's coming next.

Thomas March is the first of many interesting people we will meet on Charles Street in 1871. His story starts with Thomas March of 1 Charles Street: One degree from Queen Victoria.

This article is one in an ongoing series, starting with Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

Next: Applying some Jane Austen logic to the marriage of Thomas Charles March, Queen Victoria's Pay-master

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thomas MARCH of 1 Charles Street: One degree from Queen Victoria

How did we get to Charles Street? Well, it started with a look at the 1881 census for the Bram Stoker family over in Chelsea, including the servants. One servant, Mary JARRALD, was a widow. In trying to find information about her husband, I followed a possible trail for Charles JARRALD. Since he died before 1881, I looked at 1871, and found him working as a servant on Charles Street.

Then I discovered just what kind of people lived on Charles Street and thought it was worth a little digging.

Eventually, we will get back to Bram.

In the meantime, I made up two games:

Six Degrees of Dracula
Six Degrees of Queen Victoria.

OK, on with the show.

Charles Street Berkeley Square in 1871 Census (In St. George Hanover Square, Mayfair, ED11. Starts at Ancestry p. 31.)
Cited as: Class:  RG10; Piece:  102; Folio:  75; Page: 31; GSU roll:  838762.

Link to page 31

Some of the links I use may require you to sign in to to see the item. That is for the convenience of Ancestry users. If you don't use it, don't despair. I will give as much information as needed to tell the story.

No. 1: Thomas C. MARCH, marr, 50, Clerk Lord Chamberlain's Office, born London, Marylebone
4 Family
  1. Thomas C. MARCH
  2. Arabella S. MARCH, wife, marr, 32, born Basingstoke
  3. Arabella MARCH, daughter, 14, born St. Lukes Chelsea
  4. Thomas C. MARCH, son, 3, born London, St. Georges [Hanover Square?]

3 Servants
  1. Agusta GERY, Servant, unmarr, 22, Domestic Servant, Lady's Maid, born Hanover (not a B.S.) [not a British Subject?] The spelling of both names looks suspicious. On this romp through the census I am not going to research the servants, even though it was a servant who led us here. Perhaps later.
  2. Anne COOK, Servant, unmarr, 52, Cook, born Chicester.
  3. Anne COOK, Servant, unmarr, 14, Housemaid, born London, Poplar.

On the first pass, I almost disregarded this household entirely. Clerk? That doesn't sound very high-falutin'. Mistake! I'm glad I went back for a closer look.

Thomas Charles MARCH was 50 in 1871. He was born on July 4, 1819 in Marylebone and christened there on August 14, 1819. Link to image of christening register. His father, Thomas MARCH, was an "Esquire", a gentleman, though I don't know his occupation. Thomas had at least two brothers, George Edward MARCH and William Gonne MARCH. His mother's name was Mary Ann GONNE. The parents, Thomas and Mary Ann, were British Subjects born in Portugal.

The 1871 census is the first time Thomas appears in his own home, at least the first time since 1851, when he was 30.

Thomas C. MARCH turns out to be, by the end of his life, one of the top people on the staff of the Royal Household of Queen Victoria. At various points, he was in the Lord Chamberlain's office, and also the Lord Steward's office. These two offices were for a time combined. The way some people describe it, the Lord Chamberlain's office deals with formal matters while the Lord Steward is concerned with "below stairs": the servants who make the day-to-day matters of living go smoothly.

The Lord Chamberlain's office dealt with the awarding of the Royal Warrant to approved suppliers of goods and services, and with organizing state funerals, to give two examples.

As Chief Clerk of the Department of the Lord Chamberlain of Her Majesty's Household, Thomas was alone in the second carriage of mourners who brought the remains of the Duke of Wellington from Walmer Castle in Kent, by horse-drawn carriage and then by special train from Deal, to London for the state funeral in 1852. The Duke's son was in the first carriage.

Here is an extract from the Order of Service for the funeral and the attendant arrangements.

I have lots more to say about Thomas and his family coming up in the next post.

This article is one in an ongoing series, starting with Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

With this article we move a little away from Dracula for a while and focus on the residents of Charles Street in 1871. An amazing collection, really.

Next: Thomas Charles March, and his rise through the ranks at Queen Victoria's household

Six degrees of separation for Dracula and Queen Victoria

What began as a look at Bram Stoker's family in the English census returns has grown into a look at his servants, and their families. That's the beauty and the fun of looking at the census. You just never know where it will lead.

A few years back, I did a little research about a prominent family in Calgary, where I live, in the days before the First World War. Well, by the time I was done researching the history of a church they had helped to build, I was convinced that everyone in Calgary then was either related to each other, or about to be.

Of course, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but on the other hand, there's a lot of truth to it. The idea of "six degrees of separation" has been around for a while now. The theory is that you can connect anyone to anyone else via a chain of six intermediates or fewer.

For example, I have a friend (degree no. 1) whose husband (degree no. 2) is an executive producer on a great TV show, 30 Rock. I assume he's in one way or another acquainted with the stars of the show, so that makes me three degrees away from Tina Fey. Who knew?

If you use LinkedIn, you'll already know how easy it is to connect two people at the 3rd degree level, particularly if one of your 1st degree people has thousands of connections.

Rather than "six degrees of separation", I prefer "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon", a Web game where people trace anyone who's had anything to do with any movie at all, back to actor Kevin Bacon. I wonder if Kevin Bacon ever feels a bit odd about that. Must be strange to be the centre of the universe.

Anyway, after a little nosing around in the census returns, I've decided to make my own Six Degrees. In the next heartbeat, I decided to do two, because I came across a person who fits both.

Get ready to find out:

Six Degrees of Dracula
Six Degrees of Queen Victoria.

I'll try to include rankings for everyone I write about in this series if I can. I don't know how many 1-1s (only 1 degree from each) there will be, but we shall see.

This article is one in an ongoing series, starting with Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

Next: Thomas MARCH of 1 Charles Street, One degree from Queen Victoria

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Charles Jarrald, a well-placed servant indeed

Charles Jarrald, born in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, around 1849, is only loosely connected to Bram Stoker. His wife (or, the woman I assume to be his wife, but haven't proven) Elizabeth Jarrald, was a widow and the Nurse of Bram Stoker's only child in the 1881 census. Trying to learn more about Elizabeth, I found myself drawn into Charles's story. Where it took me was away from the Stokers and into territory I hadn't expected.

Servant in St. George Hanover Square in 1871

Because Elizabeth was a widow in 1881, I went looking for her husband in the census before that. I already had a hunch that the Charles Jarrald who died in 1877 was the man I wanted, so it was reasonable to look for him to be alive in 1871.

My result: A 22-year-old Servant born in Bury St. Edmunds, married, but not living with his family on census night, Charles Jarrald can be found in the census at 27 Charles Street, St. George's Hanover Square, in London.

When I first reported that the Stokers lived on Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, I said it was a good address, fashionable now as then.

St. George Hanover Square takes us beyond fashionable. On the census pages in and around where Charles Jarrald was, there are many servants and here and there a Landowner, or Annuitant, or other wealthy person. The servants include Grooms, Butlers, and Lady's Maids, not just the more common Cook and Housemaid as the Stokers had. But the surprise for me, a mere commoner, was how many Viscounts, Earl's daughters, Lords and Ladies, etc., turned up when I did just a little digging. I don't want to give it all away now, but it is quite amazing.

Charles Street is called, in directories of the day, "Charles Street, Berkeley Square". It runs out of the south-west corner of Berkeley Square, in a westerly direction. In the census, St. George Hanover Square is split among several areas. Charles Street is found in St. George Hanover Square, Mayfair.

In my next few posts I will have a peek in the windows of each house on Charles Street in 1871. We'll soon see the real Upstairs, Downstairs.

This article is one in an ongoing series, starting with Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

Next: Six degrees of separation for Dracula and Queen Victoria

Monday, February 7, 2011

Figuring out which man married which woman: Elizabeth Jarrald, cared for Bram Stoker's baby, 1881

The clues are scarce. In 1881, a widow named Elizabeth Jarrald was listed as Nurse in the Bram Stoker household. No place of birth was given, just an age, 30.

I posted last time about going through the index of deaths, and the index of marriages from 1881 backwards, one year at a time, looking for a man named Jarrald (or similar), who married a lady named Elizabeth and then died before the 1881 census.

My best guess: Charles Jarrald.

The problem is that in the marriage index, there are two possible wives for Charles Jarrald (married in Q3, Strand, London):
Emma Bloom
Elizabeth Trott.

The other husband on the same page of the register is William Charles Randall.

I had no luck finding Charles Jarrald and a wife named Elizabeth in the 1871 census. Why?

Charles Jarrald, spelled Jarrold in this case, age 22, married, was a Servant and was enumerated at his employer's house, with the other servants, not with his family. He was born in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.

The age matches; he would have been about two years older than Elizabeth the widow Nurse.

One family tree differs: what is their proof?

Here is an example of something a professional researcher working for a client would definitely look carefully at.

There is a family tree online indicating that Charles married Emma Bloom, not Elizabeth Trott. The only source shown online is the same marriage index entry I am working from. I will in due course send a note to the owner of that tree, as you never know what other information or reasons they may have had for linking Charles to Emma.

However, in the absence of more compelling proof, I am going to look for more evidence that Charles married Elizabeth.

If my hypothesis that Charles Jarrold married Elizabeth Trott in 1869 is true, and if this is the same Charles Jarrold as died in 1877, then it's reasonable to look for Charles and Elizabeth in the 1871 census. Since I didn't find them together, I went looking for them separately.

What I found out about Charles led to a whole other, unexpected, set of discoveries.

This article is one in an ongoing series, starting with Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

 Next: Charles Jarrald, a well-placed servant indeed

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A brick wall: Elizabeth Jarrald, widow, Nurse to Bram Stoker's baby son in 1881

Starting with the 1881 census return for Bram Stoker and his family, I have been tracing all the members of the household, including the servants, through the public records that are easy to use, mainly relying on The point is to see what can be gleaned from these primary sources, not to prepare comprehensive biographies. We'll leave that for others!

I've come to the eldest of the three servants listed with the family in 1881.

The transcription given by Ancestry indicates the the lady's name is Elizabeth Jarrald. She is a Servant in the household, a widow, age 30. Her occupation is Nurse (presumably meaning the baby's nurse, not a hospital nurse), and, rather infuriatingly, her birthplace is blank. Not helpful at all.

There is no easy way to find this lady.

A further problem is that her name may actually be Jerrald, or Jerrold, or Jarrold, or even a variant starting with a "G". When I look at the handwriting, it appears to be Jerrald, but it's a close call.

The assumptions and the dangers of making them

This is not the right way to do research! It worked for me and suits my purposes because I like the research for its own sake, I like to see what turns up even if it's "wrong", and I am only answerable to myself. Of course, as a matter of public responsibility, I try to point out to readers and other researchers where there are traps, such as here.

I was stuck with a name, an age, a location on one day in 1881, an occupation, and a marital status. Bearing in mind that any of these could be wrong (a danger with any census record), I went ahead and tried to find information.

A simple search for Elizabeth Jarrald

From the Bram Stoker family entry (linked to above), we have the spelling Jarrald, date of birth about 1851, place unknown.

Ancestry's search function, for Elizabeth Jarrald, b. abt 1851 gives two results with the same spelling. One is the 1881 return we already have, the other is also for 1881, in Haverhill, Suffolk, wife of John Jarrald. Noting the same name, we can exclude this second Elizabeth from consideration if she turns up again.

Now I will tell the truth about the way I did this research, but remember, I am not saying this is the "right" way to do it. This is a fast way to get results that may be for the person I want, but equally, may not be.

I wanted to find Elizabeth in 1871, but I didn't know if she was married then.

I could deduce that Elizabeth's husband, Mr. Jarrald, would appear in the GRO index of marriages with her, and in the GRO index of deaths, some time before the 1881 census.

I searched for marriages between a man with the surname Jarrald and a woman named Elizabeth, starting in 1881 and working backwards, one year at a time. This method takes some care and attention, and of course, some patience. I also searched for Jarrald men (and variations of the spelling) in the death index, working backwards.

In 1869, which is about as far back as I would go, if Elizabeth's age is correct (born 1851), I found a GRO marriage index with two men and two women:

Charles Jarrald and William James Randall
Emma Bloom and Elizabeth Trott.

Charles Jarrald is a likely candidate because he married in London and died in London in 1877.

The marriage index doesn't tell us which men married which women, but for Charles Jarrald, the choice of wives is narrowed to only two, Emma or Elizabeth. Of course, I would like it to be Elizabeth, but we need proof.

Next step: how I figured out the marriage puzzle.

This article is one in an ongoing series, starting with Bram Stoker, author of Dracula in public records: BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death).

Next: Figuring out which man married which woman: Elizabeth Jarrald, cared for Bram Stoker's baby, 1881