Having taken a detour away from the focus of my ancestry research on Charlie Ross ... and I will get back to him ...I now find, with the help of fellow family researchers, more relatives than one could poke a stick at!
There is so much assumption in ancestry research that one needs to remain aware that assumption is only ever assumption and possibilities beyond imagining may exist.
Early on the assumption was that Edward Atkins lost his wife Hannah McLeod shortly after marriage and then did not remarry until 10 or 12 years later when Elizabeth Mashford Lewis came into his life. The death notice for Edward listing countless grand-children raised questions about this because, either he and Hannah had more children, which we now know they did, or he married again after her death, which does not seem likely.
A response from the Clare Historical Society following a query from Luke has come up with the following information:
We have studied your letter on the Atkins family with much interest. You have certainly put a lot of work into the research so far.
I have found 3 baptisms in the St Barnabas Church of England, Clare register namely:
Child - no name - baptised in 1850 - child of Edward and Anne Atkins (could be Sarah)
Joseph son of Edward & Hannah Atkins baptised in 1851
and Emily daughter of the above 2 people in 1854.
You do not mention Joseph so I thought he may have died as a baby/child but could not find a record. St Barnabas and St Mark's at Penwortham are in the same parish.
I will get on to your requets ASAP.
Regards, Val for CRHG
This suggests that the Atkins/Mashford household was a crowded one with as many of seven children from Edward's first marriage, two surviving children from Elizabeth's marriage to Peter Lewis and then three more from the new marriage.
And as Luke wrote in response:
This is really great news. At least we now know that Hannah Atkins nee McLeod was still alive by 1854 living in the Clare Valley. One mystery, sort of solved, but we have another mystery called Joseph Atkins. Well we know that Edward Atkins’ father was called Joseph Atkins. So Edward Atkins named a son after his father called Joseph Atkins and his mother was Hannah Atkins.
However, did he die as a child? Or was the Obit that mentioned the 1 son was Joseph Atkins and not James Atkins? Were all the children of Elizabeth Atkins, Lewis nee Mashford cut out of the obit? I have had a quick look at trove and there is a person call Joseph Atkins living at Charleston which is near Lobethal, but there is no way to connect that Joseph Atkins to the child of Edward and Hannah Atkins. However, the mystery depends “Child no name baptised in 1850 child of Edward and Anne Atkins (could be Sarah). How many wives did dear old Edward have? At least we now have Emily firmly in place. Her parents were Edward and Hannah Atkins. More research to do. I do love this.
I am with Luke on this. It is exciting to make such progress.
In response Kylie wrote:
That’s great, Hannah and Ann can be interchangeable (like Mary and Polly) so it certainly looks to be the same mother. I can find no Joseph dying, or getting married on ancestry.com. We may find a burial for him, or he may have survived to make up the grandchildren numbers for us. I have searched again for extra grandchildren but need at least two more. I will keep looking.
I was counting Elizabeth as the other daughter but there may be another daughter, but Hannah must have died in 1856, at the latest, Elizabeth and Edward married 12 Jan 1857, so we can assume Hannah was dead for a month or two at least.
· Henry Edward born 1843
· Jane McKinnon nee Atkins 1845
· Margaret Newberry nee Atkins 1847
· Ann Pole nee Atkins 1847 (perhaps 1849)
· Sarah Stacey nee Atkins 1850
· Joseph Atkins born 1851Emily Puddy nee Atkins 1854
This shows that there is room for another child after Emily and perhaps between Joseph and Emily which supports the general theory of roughly one child (or twins) every two years. There are twins in the Atkins and Ross families so this is also a possibility.
So, the information to date is as follows as compiled by Luke:
Edward Atkins married Hannah McLeod on the 3/1/1843. They had:-
· Henry Edward born 1843 no record of death. 17 Nov 1843 May have been born in Adelaide.
· Jane McKinnon nee Atkins 1845-1923 Born Clare. Born 1850 according to death cert but that would mean she married at 17 not 22. I think death cert may be wrong. Otherwise she must be Sarah’s twin or there is not enough time for an extra child. The Clare historical society would have picked up the two entries I am sure if they were twins.
· Margaret Newberry nee Atkins 1847-1911 Born Clare.
· Ann Pole nee Atkins 1847-1889. Death record suggests 1849 so may not be twins.
· Child no name 1850 born Clare. I think this is Sarah. I think the entries would have been together if they were twins.
· Sarah Stacey nee Atkins 1850-1896.
· Joseph Atkins born 1851 parents Edward Atkins & Hannah Atkins born Clare no record of his death.
· Emily Puddy nee Atkins 1854-1934 born at Clare parents Edward Atkins and Hannah Atkins.
Can we then assume if Henry Edward Atkins parents were Edward Atkins and Hannah Atkins, and if Emily Atkins mother was Hannah Atkins and she was the last to be born then all the in between children’s mother was Hannah Atkins nee McLeod and all the children were born in Clare? I definitely believe they were all Hannah’s children, Henry may have been born in Adelaide, the rest were probably born in Clare.
The Child with no name born 1850 at Clare and whose parents were Edward Atkins, mother Anne Atkins or Sarah Atkins or Hannah Atkins is the same person as Sarah Stacey because she was also born in 1850. Or were they twins and the child with no name was a still born? I took it that the mother was Anne and the child was probably Sarah. Babies were often christened quickly if they were weak (sometimes by the midwife) and named later. I am not sure if stillborn babies were christened.
Also do I have the dates of birth right for Margaret Newberry nee Atkins 1847-1911 born at Clare and Ann Pole nee Atkins 1847-1889. Both were born in 1847 could these be twins or do I have the dates wrong? May be 1849 for Ann per the death records so possibly not twins.
So, we now have more than enough children to provide the legions of grand-children mentioned at the death of Edward Atkins. Relatives aplenty to say the least although we have yet to solve the mystery of why his family with Elizabeth and Elizabeth herself were estranged from this first family.... but it certainly looks as if they were and that there are numbers enough from the first family to suggest they were not even listed in his death notice.