Explanations for 16-24 year gap where my 3x grandfather changed his name?

+1 vote
My 3x grandfather was born c. 1841 in Stockport, Cheshire under the name of Cornelius Stott. In 1860, he married Nancy Lowe and they presumably had children together.

The last record of him that I can find is from 1860-1868. I cannot find him under this name ever again from where I've looked so far (newspapers, censuses, etc.). It's like he just disappeared.

The next time he appears, it is under the new name of Charles Saunders in 1884, when he marries Sarah Jane Raithby, a 21-year-old woman who had herself come down to Croydon from Lincolnshire, and from what I can tell, without her family. They settled down together and had several children - including my 2x grandmother. He died in Croydon in 1917.

I wonder what happened to him in the 16-24 years that he was gone from all records I have found so far? I guess he could have used another name during this time, or something completely different to what I'm suspecting. Might there another way to discover what he was doing during his absent years?
WikiTree profile: Charles Saunders
in Genealogy Help by Lydia Trundell G2G Rookie (160 points)

Nancy remarried in 1877

Nancy Stott

 in the England, Select Marriages, 1538–1973

England, Select Marriages, 1538–1973 No Image
Text-only collection
Name: Nancy Stott
[Nancy Lowe] 
Gender: Female
Age: 35
Birth Date: 1842
Marriage Date: 11 Feb 1877
Marriage Place: Heaton-Norris, Lancashire, England
Father: John Lowe
Spouse: Joseph Buxton
FHL Film Number: 2113095
Reference ID: Pg. 224 No. 447

I'm not quite sure what a petition would be.

Cornelius Stott

 in the Lancashire, England, Quarter Session Records and Petitions, 1648-1908

Name: Cornelius Stott
Event Date: 6 Jan 1868
Event Place: Salford, Lancashire, England
Session: Midsummer
Quarter Session Place: Salford
Record Type: Petitions
Year Range: 1868
Reference Information: QSP 3801/1-100

Cornelius Stott

 in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995

Name: Cornelius Stott
Death Date: 25 Mar 1887
Death Place: Somerset, England
Probate Date: 28 Jan 1890
Probate Registry: Wells
Thank you for this reply, I have looked for a bit and it has been useful for me.
Usually when someone changes their name, they have done something bad. I always look in the court papers.
It is a good idea, that's why I looked through newspapers; to see if anything extremely bad he might have done came up. Thank you for the help.

3 Answers

+1 vote
What is your evidence connecting these two people as the same?
by Lois Tilton G2G6 Pilot (156k points)
Originally I only knew this ancestor under the name of Charles Saunders. I was lucky enough to find something showing that his name was previously Cornelius Stott, and I confirmed that it was by my mother today, as she had heard the story from her uncle several times when she was younger. Her uncle got this information from his genealogy searches.

I am unfortunately unable to contact my great uncle (my mother's uncle), so I cannot ask him for help with this.

I would say your best chance would be to trace Charles Sanders and see if he turns into Cornelius Stott

This is his marriage to Sarah.  It gives his father's name as Thomas

Record Transcription:
England Marriages 1538-1973

What can I do with this record?

First name(s) Charles
Last name Saunders
Name note -
Age 39
Marriage year 1884
Marriage date 19 Jun 1884
Marriage place Selhurst
Father's first name(s) Thomas
Father's last name Saunders
Spouse's first name(s) Sarah Jane
Spouse's last name Raithley
Spouse's age 22
Spouse's birth year 1862
Spouse's birth date 1862
Spouse's father's first name(s) Robert
Spouse's father's last name Raithley
Residence Surrey, England
County Surrey
Country England
Record set England Marriages 1538-1973
Category Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records
Subcategory Parish Marriages
Collections from England, Great Britain
Yes, I will do that. It seems his father's name was Thomas, and his mother's name was Martha, from the 1841 census I found of him under the name of Cornelius. Thank you for the advice.
The father of Charles Saunders was Thomas Saunders, not Thomas Stott.  Did the entire family change its name?
I’m not sure, I’d have to look at that tomorrow morning. I was just mentioning what information I saw in the 1841 census for the household Cornelius was a part of, as it matched.
On further expection, I have found that Cornelius' father's name was shortened to Thos in another source. I cannot find anything showing that the whole family changed their name, however. Would one have needed information proving their father's legal name while marrying in the 1880s, or would it have been easier to get away with having no information/lying about it?
Hi..Thos is an abbreviated form of Thomas in the same manner that Wm is an abbreviation of William..it doesn't mean his name was shortened. That's how they used to write things down in those days.
Yes, I am aware. I typed it into Google this morning and was able to find that it was an abbreviation of Thomas. I was only wondering why it was shortened to Thos in one source, but was still Thomas in another one.
0 votes
Cornelius Stott father. Child John Stott son's school is Stockport, St Mary's National  School. Residence place at 4 John St Middle Hillgate, Cheshire, England. Event date: Sep 1868.

Record Collection: England, Cheshire, School Records, 1796-1950   familysearch.org
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.3m points)
Yes, I have this record of him already. It was the last I could find.
+1 vote

1841 census, this John Stott is brother to Cornelius


You have Nancy as SLOTT not Stott

by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
In 1868
I did see a John Stott, brother to Cornelius, in the 1841 census. An older brother.
If this Cornelius died in 1868, he can not have married anyone in 1884

It's clear that the ancestor in this family was Saunders, and the Cornelius hypothesis is a blind alley.
This could be a possibility, but my mother has spoken of this person and what happened for years. Her uncle used to tell everyone about this when we were still in contact (he is very into genealogy, and has been since before I was born). I would contact him, but I am unable to contact him for personal reasons.

I cannot find a birth record under the name of Charles Saunders, born in Manchester in 1841 (which is what it says for him under the sources I have found under the name Charles Saunders). There is no record of Charles Saunders that I have found before his marriage to Sarah, my 3x grandmother, in 1884.
The Inquest dated June 6 1868 for Cornelius Stott corresponds with a death registered Q2 1868 Ashton under Lyne district for a Cornelius Stott age 52 - born c 1816 and therefore not the Cornelius who is the subject of this thread.

The birth of the Cornelius Stott, son of Thomas and Martha, was Q1 1841 Stockport district mmn Gillett and I note there is a Gillett family in the same household as Thomas and Martha Stott on the 1841 census.  

Whether this is relevant or not - Cornelius Stott's occupation on 1861 census is mill sawyer; plus his father is named Thomas, occupation boiler maker and from the 1884 marriage certificate Charles Saunders gives his occupation as carpenter and his father as Thomas, occupation Boiler maker.

I haven't investigated him any further but there is a birth registered Q4 1845 Manchester district for a Charles Saunders with mmn Morris.
That is relevant for me, quite helpful. I told my mother earlier of this information, and she just messaged me back saying that she remembers my great uncle saying that Cornelius' family made boilers. Thank you for your research.

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