Friday, 28 September 2007

Saddington sex change shock - Richard becomes Laura!

On the whole, Saddington men are generally called John, Thomas, Joseph, William or Samuel (a sweeping statement, I know), so when I thought that I was on the hunt for a Richard Saddington, I was delighted as he should have been easy to find. I was wrong - you can't find someone who doesn't exist!

Why was I looking for Richard Saddington? Well, taking advantage of the free access to Ancestry now available at Nottinghamshire County Libraries, I came across the 1907 marriage of Emma Jane Saddington to William Brown in Huntsville, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. Emma claimed to be 31 years old, born in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England, and the daughter of Richard Saddington and Laura Colbert. One of the witnesses was a Kate Saddington, also of Huntsville.

So I went looking for Emma born circa 1876 in Wolverhampton in the various censuses on-line. The first to pop up was a 1891 census reference, but when I checked it out, my hopes of finding Richard Saddington died a death, as you will see:

RG12/1237 Folio 70 Page 19
Sch No 124 - London Street (3 rooms), Godmanchester, Huntingdon

Laura Saddington Head S 36 Laundress Employed Hunts, Stukeley
Emma Saddington Daur - 15 - - Staffs, Wolverhampton
Kate Saddington Daur - 10 - - Huntingdon

No Richard, but Laura instead! Well, Laura is an uncommon name for a Saddington, so she shouldn't be too hard to find either. I was wrong again! No Laura Saddington in 1871, 1881 or 1901! However I did locate a birth reference and a reference for the 1861 census.

Laura Saddington was born in the September quarter of 1852 in Little Stukeley, which is just outside Huntingdon, and is within the Huntingdon Registration District (3b 229). In 1861, she was living with her family in Little Stukeley, as below:

RG9/975 Folio 130 Page 11
Sch No 57

Charles Saddington Head M 39 Labourer ag Hunts Woodwalton
Elizabeth Saddington Wife F 34 - Hunts Lt Stukeley
Charles Saddington Son M 9 - Hunts Lt Stukeley
Laura Saddington Daughter F 8 - Hunts Lt Stukeley
Dennis Saddington Son M 6 - Hunts Lt Stukeley
Elma Jane Saddington Daughter F 5 - Hunts Lt Stukeley
Emily Mary Saddington Daughter F 2 - Hunts Lt Stukeley

Using this information, I tried the 1871 census, but without success - Laura was not at home with her family, and her whereabouts remain a mystery. However, a bit of experimenting with search terms located Laura in 1881. Mistranscribed as Haddington, Laura and her little family were in the Huntingdon Union Workhouse, as below:

RG11/1604 Folio 53 Pages 37 and 38

Laura Saddington Inmate Unm 28 Cook Domestic Serv Hunts Little Stukeley
Elizabeth J Saddington Inmate - 5 Scholar Staffordshire Wolverhampton
Alfred G Saddington Inmate - 3 Scholar Hunts Huntingdon
Kate Saddington Inmate - 1 - Hunts Huntingdon

I believe that Elizabeth J and Emma Jane are the same person. As yet, however, I have been unable to find birth references for any of Laura's 3 children, even though all of them were born after the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1874 came into force in 1875. But I did find a marriage reference for Laura Saddington in the September quarter of 1896 (Huntingdon, 3b 574), which explained why I couldn't find her in the 1901 census.

By 1901, Laura had started a new family with her husband, one Richard Binge, in the St Mary's district of Huntingdon.

RG13/1475 Folio 90 Page 29
Sch No 191 - 25 East Street, Newtown

Richard Binge Head M 35 Bricklayers Labourer Worker Huntingdon
Laura Binge Wife M 47 - - Hunts, Little Stukeley
Richard Saddington Binge Son - 1 - - Huntingdon
Emma Measures Boarder S 73 Living on Own Means - Leicester
James Allen Horner Boarder S 66 Grocers Labourer Worker Hunts, Alconbury

But there was no sign of Emma, Alfred or Kate anywhere in 1901. I did, however, finally have a Richard Saddington, but he was only a baby and his surname was Binge!

So I went back to the Ontario marriages, and spotted a marriage for one Kathleen Laura Saddington in 1908, also in Muskoka, Ontario. Was this Kate, and was she perpetuating her sister's cover-up?

With the kind assistance of fellow Guild members, I was able to discover that the answer to both of my questions was Yes! Kathleen Laura Saddington, age 27, claimed to be the daughter of Richard Saddington and Laura Colbourn! The cover-up continued, but it had to, because Kathleen Laura, or Kate, married her brother in law's brother, Charles Brown!

Further information supplied from the 1911 census of Canada tells me that Emma Jane was born in March 1876, emigrated to Canada in 1906, and that she and William had, by 1911, one son, Clarence S (born May 1908), and one daughter, Jessie B (born March 1911). Kate was born in June 1881, emigrated to Canada in 1907, and she and Charles had one daughter, Hazel, born February 1910.

Are you descended from Emma Jane or Kate Saddington? I would be delighted to know what happened to them after 1911, so please get in touch.

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