Parents of Mary Agnes Archer, born in 1875, England

+5 votes
We are looking for the parents of Mary Agnes Archer and her sister whom we think was named Rose.  Mary Agnes was born about 1875 in England and Rose 3 years later.  They were shown in the orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in the 1881 census of London.  In 1882 they were shown in the ship, Peruvian bound for Canada.  We know Mary Agnes was adopted by an older couple in Ottawa and we are not sure where her sister was sent here in Canada.  The orphanage in London has no record of them being there and can't explain why they were shown on the 1881 census along with a number of other children from the orphanage.

We would love to find information on the parents on Mary Agnes Archer. She was our grandmother.

Thank you.
in Genealogy Help by
Who was watching these children on the ship? Was there no one who traveled with them?

James A. Varlen is listed just above the children's names? Was he watching them?
Eran Edwards and Ann Dwyer are listed as parents on marriage license. Must be her adoptive parents.

From what we can figure out they were with a group of children, listed on the page just before their names, that were with the Cardinal Manning group of children.
We were able to find the adoptive parents of Mary here in Canada and the fact that they had older children that were married and living away from home.  As we don't live in Ottawa where Mary Agnes and our grandfather lived we really did not have a chance to get to know them.  According to a cousin, now deceased, Mary Agnes had a very hard life living with the Edwards and was in general a very sad person.

She and my grandfather had four children, a daughter that died at a young age, and three sons.  On two of the birth certificates her last name is listed as Archer and on the other two it is listed as Edwards.

Thanks again.

An update - We have found Rose Archer, sister of our grandmother, Mary Agnes.  Rose was adopted by a couple near Thunder Bay and married Alexander Gavin McGregor in Carlton in 1901.  On her marriage certificate she lists George Archer as her father and Margaret Maloney as her mother.  The printed form on Ancestry lists her birth place as Quebec.  On the written version, the original, it really is rather hard to tell if it is Quebec or not.  We have found nothing for the man listed as her father, George Archer.  The woman listed as her mother is a different story.  A family tree lists Margaret as being born in County Clare, Ireland in about 1836 although there is an "alternative 1820). Margaret married John Sammon/Salmon in 1860.  She died in Eganville in 1902.  Margaret was not connected to the people that adopted Rose although they did live right next door.  We have found nothing at all on George Archer listed as the father of Rose.  Rose kept the name of 'Archer' in her marriage and the births of her four children.

Any idea where I might go from here?  Any input would be greatly appreciated. .
Some more information on the birth family of Mary, our grandmother and her sister, Rose.  I did find where Rose was buried and through them contacted the director of the funeral home that made the arrangements for Rose.  Rose was born June 6, 1879 in London, England and died October 23, 1959. in Thunder Bay.  Our grandmother, Mary Agnes, was born October 31, 1875 and died June 5, 1960 in Ottawa, '

Now the confusing part !! According to the funeral director the names of the birth parents for Rose which are shown on her death certificate are Aaron Archer and his wife Fanny Halsey, London, England.  The 1881 census shows that Aaron and Fanny had five children at that time including Merry (Mary) and Rose the same ages as our grandmother and her sister would have been at that time.  The orphanage also shows the same children, same age in the 1881 census.  The problem we have found is that the two children whose birth parents are Aaron and Fanny also show up on the 1891 census and I believe the 1901 census in England.  Both girls were in Canada by the time the 1891 census was published therefore they could not have been in both places at the same time.  I questioned the funeral director as to whom had supplied the information on the death certificate of Rose.  It was her eldest son according to the director.  Now we know in 1959 the year Rose died we did not have access to the computer so the information provided had to have come from Rose or documents Rose had in her possession when she died.

Any comments regarding this mystery would be very greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
Regarding the eldest son giving info in 1959 -- it sounds to me as if

1) some ancestor hunting had already been taking place pre-digital era.  As a survivor of ancestor hunting in the 60s and 70s, i can say that the Somerset House info could have been available to some member of the family if they were willing to travel or to find someone who would do a lookup for them, and upon finding two little girls of the right names and ages, the researcher back then thought the task was done.


2) Mary Agnes or Rose eventually needed a birth certificate for legal reasons, and applied to Somerset House.  Based on the info available, the personnel at Somerset House provided birth certificates for the other Mary and Rose, the daughters of Aaron and Fanny.  If you ever come across paper copies of birth certificates for your Mary or Rose, check the date of issue.  It might coincide with a time frame where they were getting married or getting a pension or something for which they had to produce a birth certificate.

It is clear that your Mary and Rose aren't the daughters of Aaron and Fanny because Aaron and Fanny's daughters went on to have different life stories.

The truth is out there! Are you making use of DNA in your search?
Another angle you might try, just to rule it out, is to look for birth registration using just the family name of Margaret Maloney.  (Maybe Margaret is the birth mother, and they reconnected and that's why they lived next door, or maybe Margaret is an honourary mother based on her kindness. Does Margaret have descendants who would DNA-test?)  I'm suggesting this because maybe the parents of Mary Agnes and Rose were not able to get legally married, and thus the birth registration might only show the mother's name even though socially they were known by the family name of their father.

2 Answers

+1 vote
The London orphanage in Carlisle Place for 1881, lists Rose (2) & Mary (4) both born, London, Middlesex.

Between 1876-1880, in Middlesex, only Rose Archer (St. George in the East 1c/413 q September 1879)

There is no birth registration for Mary Agnes Archer , Middlesex between 1874-1878, although a Mary in 1876. ( St. George in the East 1c/454 q March 1876).

No christening records are apparent, so I would suggest purchase of both birth certificates through the UK GRO to confirm parentage.
by R W G2G6 Pilot (260k points)
Thank you for your comments.  We did try and purchase the birth certificates for both girls but were advised that none existed.  Also, I have contacted a number of churches near the orphanage to see if there is are christening certificates and again have been told that none exist.  It seemed our only hope was to obtain the information on the birth parents from the orphanage  but after being told that even though the census showed them there the orphanage did not have a record.
Have you tried to purchase direct from the UK  GRO these specific referenced documents?

Here is the record


Mary Archer

 in the England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915

Record Image View

    Order a Birth Certificate for Mary Archer

    Search for Mary Archer in the UK Census Collection

    Search for Mary Archer in the London Times

    Name: Mary Archer
    Registration Year: 1876
    Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar
    Registration district: St George in the East
    Parishes for this Registration District: View Ecclesiastical Parishes associated with this Registration District
    Inferred County: London
    Volume: 1c
    Page: 454
    It's a lot cheaper to buy certificates direct from GRO as Ron says.
    It's a waste of time purchasing these birth records. The Mary and Rose Archer registered in St George-in-the-East (which covers Wapping) were definitely the children of Fanny (nee Halsey) and A(a)ron Archer and are present in the 1881 and 1891 censuses.
    0 votes

    You mentioned that Mary Agnes and Rose were with a group organized by Cardinal Manning.  Would this be, who was very social-justice oriented?  

    If so, that might lead toward thinking that the girls were Catholic and probably Irish.  Could they be the Mary Archer and Rosetta Archer listed as part of the "Emigration of poor Catholic children from the Westminster Diocese to Canada" in 1882-1883?



    by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (158k points)
    If they were part of the Catholic emigration, maybe this organization holds some info:

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