Relationship to Charles Dickens

+6 votes
URG !!!! So... in two books my husband received from his mother (in 1986) are the following inscriptions: 1) "...Did you know that Charles Dickens is a relative?  Grandma Benn's mother, Great Grandma Russell [] was a Dickens, and a niece of Charles Dickens..."  and   2) "Your Great, Great, Great, Uncle on your Mother's, Mother side of the family."

I cannot figure out how ??????  I found a 1901 Census with all the right names (as given by mom) except on the marriage Elizabeth is the "daughter of Robert Dickens". (so would this be the right marriage source? And there are a lot of Robert Dickens/Dickins?)  I tried to follow that line and there is no connection to Charles that I can find.  So who else could be father to Elizabeth Dickens if Robert is not correct?

Thank you to anyone who can help solve this mystery or point me in the right direction
in Genealogy Help by Nicole Boorse G2G6 Pilot (846k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Here is a listing of Charles' parents and siblings, you could follow those, may not be a niece but a grand niece?

Same listed here -

Good luck.
There is a book DICKENS AND DAUGHTER by Gladys Storey, which may have some info.
Hi James

Thank you for those links, I had found the Wikipedia link but I could not open the second link.  I figure that probably the only way Elizabeth Dickens could be related to Charles would be if his brother had children, or he had other siblings, from what I understand genealogist and historian have not had any luck in uncovering further family for "Uncle Charles".  Also, thank you for the book reference, i will give it a read.
Must be some issue with the site, can't connect now either, check later.

2 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
I would suggest thoroughly researching your Elizabeth Dickens using all availably sources - and follow all her aunts/uncles etc.

Family stories often became exaggerated and passed on as if mum's cousin told me an ancestor's sister (English) married Christiaan Barnard, the world famous pioneering heart surgeon (who was from New Zealand)- when in fact she had married someone with the same surname who was not related at all to the surgeon...
by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (121k points)
selected by SJ Baty
My father-in-law insisted he was descended from Lord Nelson. I was unsure and research has shown this not to be true, but there are scraps of paper and family notes about who passed the information on which makes an interesting study in itself. I will add the saga to the tree some time when I dig the documents out. There is a more distant relationship and a trail of people called Horatio Nelson Fisher and the like. Lovely!
Same thing in my family. My dad was told by his great-aunt and grandparents that their family was descended from John Neely Bryan (founder of Dallas) and Sidney Lanier (a poet well-known in the late 19th and early 20th century). On investigation, both claims turned out to be inaccurate -- we are related to them, but we're not descended from them (Bryan married an ancestor's sister; Lanier is a fourth cousin several times removed.)
Same thing in my family -- but I haven't disproven it, yet!

An ancestor, on her deathbed, said we're related to Henry Ford, who built Model T Fords, etc.  I have sourced some Fords in her line, going back to early New England.  But I haven't researched his family tree.

When I get more time, I may track this further.  But right now, it doesn't look too likely.

Even more impressive, we were also supposedly descended from King Rufus (who had no recorded legitimate children). It wasn't long after I started researching that I discovered my 2x great gran's name was  Jane RUFUS Rufus-15.but her father (and other family) changed the name from RUFF to RUFUS in the early 1800s...and my maiden name CURNICK was supposedly German and meant "King", but nope...Wiltshire and Cornwall at least to the 1600s!

Hi Michelle

Thank you for your response.  I think I was hoping the magic bullet would appear and poof Charlie is your uncle.  Short of using a wall and stringing all the Dickens and Dickins together, I think I have come to the conclusion that the our relationship to Uncle Charles was on the myth or wishful thinking side.  Having said that until i can convince the family otherwise I will continue with my due diligence until all those strings prove what they need to prove.

Thank you so much to you and other comments about historical family myths, just goes to show it's not just the skeletons in the closets that are being exposed but also fire side stories coming to light (or should I say coming to right!).
+3 votes
I think it unlikely Elizabeth was related to Charles Dickens, because her  surname may well have been DICKINS.

The marriage certificate does suggest the spelling to be Dickens with father Robert (a butcher). The 1901 Census, lists her birthplace as Stewkley, Buckinghamshire

There is no birth registration of a Elizabeth Dickens born in Buckinghamshire around 1858, nor Elizabeth Dickins.

This is the 1861 Census, of Elizabeth Dickins, living with parents Robert (a butcher) & Sarah in Stewkley.

In 1871, Elizabeth was a servant in Stewkley, under the surname of Dickin.

As far as father Robert is concerned there appears to be two Robert Dickins, born in Stewkley about the same time 1829/31. Robert appears to have married Sarah Crook on 6 October 1853, Marsh Gibbon, Buckinghamshire.
by R W G2G6 Pilot (259k points)
Hi Ron

Thanks for your response.  I had found that information about Robert married to Sarah Crook. But there was also a Robert married to Sarah Brazier and I think this may be my line.  I found a link listing the Dickins, - not Dickens - family name and my research seems to indicate this may be it.  Robert who married Sarah Crook is actually a first cousin to Robert who married Sarah Brazier.  And hence the frustration of not being able to bring the Dickens and Dickins in line with each other.   Oh Well, i guess we will need to stop telling the story that Charlie is an uncle.

I really appreciate being able to post this conundrum and have it bounced around.  And I especially appreciate the responses.

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