Sunday, 11 September 2011

Sifting through the sands of time!

It is a slow process sifting through the sands of time, grain by grain, trying to establish just how much we really know about our ancestor, Edward Atkins. It is a circuitous process because at this stage we are still trying to 'put together' links which will make it possible or impossible that the Edward who married Hannah Mcleod is also our Edward. 

There is not much more to report at this stage but fellow researcher Luke has been doing some more work and it is worth posting. 

He writes:
 I have tried to look for the record I had of an Elizabeth Cox, but cannot seem to find it again. I do remember having a record unless I realised it was the daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Mashford who married Henry Cox in 1878 and then just left her out of the picture as a missing daughter of Edward Atkins and Hannah McLeod.

However, their first child Henry Charles Cox was born in 1880. This made me to re look at my information and my sources concerning Elizabeth Cox again this morning and I am glad that I did.

When I asked my mother about the Cox side of the family she just said she did not know a lot about them. She said for some reason when she was young, her side of the family did not have much to do with the Cox side of the family and as a result, she knew very little about them.

I have a record of an Elizabeth Cox (the daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Mashford) marriage date as 1878, but had no information as to where she got married. My source on her was from Spike Jones' website on the Atkins family. I think he may be related to you Ros and my mother. (N.B. Spike, alias Leonard Jones, is a third cousin on my paternal grandmother's side. His grandfather was my grandmother's brother - Hilda Rose Jones married Charles Vangelios Ross, second son of Mary Atkins and Charles Ross.)

I did a search on this morning and cannot find a marriage for a Henry Charles Cox and an Elizabeth Atkins. There is an Elizabeth Atkins on the site, but no spouse. I do not know where Spike Jones got his information from on the marriage date of Elizabeth Cox nee Atkins and Henry Charles Cox as 1878. When I do a search on TROVE nothing comes up for a Henry Coches or an Elizabeth Coches. However, there is a listing for COX

“Cox. On May 17th, at the residence of her daughter. Terowie. Elizabeth, relict of Henry Cox. Late of Gladstone. Aged 85 years.”[1]

“Cox on the 18th June at Wirrabara Henry Charles dearly-beloved husband of Elizabeth Cox aged 81 years late of Gladstone, leaving a wife, two sons, and 2 daughters to mourn their loss. English papers please copy”[2]

“Medlin- COX.-On the 11th April, at St. Alban's Church, Gladstone, by Rev. De Chs, Leonard R, second son of Charles Medlin, Esq, of Perth, Western Australia, to Edith S, second daughter of Mrs. E. Cox of Gladstone. Western Australian papers please copy”[3].

Photo: Elizabeth Mashford Atkins and her son James Haynes Atkins.

Spike Jones date of 1878 as a marriage date of Elizabeth Cox nee Atkins is only 2 years out of the marriage date of Elizabeth Coches nee Atkins of 9/2/1880. Both Elizabeth Cox and Elizabeth Coches father was called Edward Atkins. 

N.B. Writing can be difficult to read on records and  numerals can be difficult to distinguish accurately. It is easy to make mistakes on dates and names.

After looking at my sources again I now think that Elizabeth Coches nee Atkins is the same person as Elizabeth Cox nee Atkins. So as a result, I take back that I think Elizabeth Coches may be a possible missing daughter of Edward Atkins.

I have recently noticed when I was doing some research on my father's side of the family that the computer system that digitised the original English census does not always get the spelling correct. Most of my father’s family came from Highworth in Wiltshire, but the records on shows the spelling of Highworth as Highwood.  I have been trying to find a death record of my GGGfather Cornelius Clavin, but on the spelling of “Clavin” is shown as “Clarin” Maybe Henry Cox’s middle name Charles and his last name “Cox” has got mixed up by the computer is shown as “Coches.”

N.B. I have found the name Mashford spelled as Matherford and Chrysantheous, the name of Charlie and Mary Ross's son, spelled as Clesanthows. Cox to Coches is no more of a stretch than either of these mistakes.

As result, Elizabeth Coches could not be one of the missing daughters of Edward Atkins because she is really Edward Atkins’ and Elizabeth Mashfords’ daughter and not the daughter of Hannah McLeod. 

Elizabeth Coches and Elizabeth Cox birthdates are the same.  Elizabeth Cox nee Atkins was born c1858 if you look at the first obituary. Elizabeth Coches was also born in c1858.

Elizabeth Atkins:-  Henry Coches was 31 years of age at the time of his marriage. His father was called Charles Coches. Henry Coches married on the 9/2/1880 to Elizabeth Atkins. She was aged 22 years and her father was called Edward Atkins. The couple married at St John Church at Laura. If Elizabeth Atkins was married at the age of 22 in the year 1880 then she was born in the year 1858.

I cannot find a death record for an Elizabeth Coches on, but there is one for Elizabeth Cox

Death Date:
17 May 1943
Death Place:
South Australia
Registration Year:
Registration Place:
South Australia
Page Number:
Volume Number:

As a result, I do not think there was ever a person called Elizabeth Coches.

Photo: Edward Atkins with Mary (left) and Elizabeth (right) circa 1870.

I think I agree with Kylie that there are no more daughters of Edward Atkins, who died at Whyte Park, Wirrabarra, to be found.

Ros” maybe you and Beryl at SAGHS are both right about the obituary of Edward Atkins. In your email Ros you said “to mourn their loss is just so specific” but Beryl at the SAGHS said “She thought that the “mourn their loss” would often include the living and the dead regardless of the phrases” Maybe people living in the 1800s did not consider a dead member of the family “as dead” in the sense you and I would understand “dead” today. 

(N.B. I still find it a stretch to believe that the line 'leaving to mourn their loss' could include the dead as well as the living. My instinct, if indeed the two Edwards are one, is that Henry did survive to adulthood and was the one son mentioned. )

People in the 1800s believed that people did not die, but were alive with Jesus in heaven so the obituary was “specific” and Ann Pole who had died before Edward Atkins is listed as one of the people to “mourn their Loss” even though she was no longer alive. May be it was a sign of the respect of the dead that they were still alive in the memory of the living and hence were included in an obituary.

N.B.  Except it just does not make sense. And that is because of the word 'leaving.' He is dead and those who are mourning have been 'left.' If they wanted  to acknowledge living and dead there are other ways of phrasing it but from my understanding of history, amateur that I am, but well read, the Victorians were as pragmatic as anyone and I simply don't believe this death notice refers to dead and living children.

Henry Edward Atkins and Joseph Atkins were long dead and hence no longer  alive in the memory of the living. As a result, the one remaining son just may be James Atkins and Elizabeth Cox, Mary Ross and Elizabeth Mashford were cut out of the obituary due to a split in the family.

N.B. Possible but not likely. Again, social courtesies being what they were I don't believe a son from a second marriage would be mentioned while two daughters from the same marriage are excluded. It does not make sense. 

Ros: Just as a thought about church records and when a church was built. When I was a young boy growing up in Tea Tree Gully the Catholics priest moved into a house across the road from us there was no church built. For many years we use to have mass in the priest’s garage, but records were still kept showing that somebody was baptized etc at St David’s even thought there was no church  built. So I think you are right Ros that even though there was no church built, Priests were around to undertake their functions.

 N.B. Yes, I think tracing church records is a good way to go because priests were on the spot pretty much from the beginning and keeping records long before churches were built. 

I also think you are right Ros if we can find a death record of Hannah Atkins nee McLeod then it would really throw a lot of light upon if there was one or two Edward Atkins.

If a Hannah Atkins died before Edward Atkins marriage to Elizabeth Mashford then it would indicate only one Edward Atkins. However, if there is a listing for a death of a Hannah Atkins nee McLeod after the marriage of Edward Atkins to Elizabeth Mashford then it indicated two Edward Atkins.

At this stage, I am still leaning on the side that there is only one Edward Atkins and not two, but to get that finial bit of evidence would just be fantastic.

And yes it would. Finding some conclusive fact which would establish once and for all whether or not our Edward is the Edward who died at Whyte Park would either make much which has been posted on this blog valuable family history or useless digression.

No comments:

Post a Comment