Brick wall with missing GRO records. Where next?

+4 votes
My Henry Sherwin (Sherwin-289) appears single in the 1841 census in Kent, but by 1851 is a widower with 2 sons.

In the meantime, he also had a daughter, Minerva Ann, (Sherwin-499) christened to Henry and Isabella Ann in 1843. She does not show up in the GRO births, but does appear when she died in 1845. Presumably he married Isabella Ann between 1841 and 1843, but I can't find a marriage for them.

The two sons were born ca 1845 and 1848. Neither turn up in the GRO records, nor have I found christenings for them. The elder one likely dies, as he disappears from view after his one appearance in the 1851 census. But there's no death record. (The other is my gg grandfather.) There's also no death record for an Isabella Ann Sherwin between ca 1848 when Frederick was born and 1851 when Henry appears as a widower.

It occurred to me today to search for a suitable Isabella Ann in Kent born about the same time as her husband. That's when it got even more confusing. A very suitable candidate was christened in 1811 in Woolwich, where Henry's first two children were born. But she was christened twice, both times in the Scotch church in Woolwich, with identical birth and christening dates, but under two different surnames McWeir and McEwen (see Isabella Ann Unknown-417636). And can't be found under either in 1841! Nor can I find either of her putative parents, Ewen McEwen (or McWeir) or Margaret ditto.

Lots of puzzles to be unravelled. Was there a marriage between Henry and Isabella Ann? Is it just mistranscribed? Where are the GRO birth registrations for Henry, Frederick and Minerva Ann? Were Henry and Frederick christened? Did Henry Jr. die (he never appears after 1851) and if so, where is the death? And if Isabella Ann died between 1848 and 1851, where is the death record? And if she was Isabella Ann McWeir or McEwen, where was she in 1841?

Any help would be most appreciated!
WikiTree profile: Henry Sherwin
in Genealogy Help by Monica Edmunds G2G6 Mach 3 (30.5k points)

2 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer
I've had a good look, and I can only find the baptism and death registration of Minerva Ann. Unfortunately for us, birth registration wasn't enforced until 1874 so many births went un-registered.
by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (131k points)
selected by Monica Edmunds
Thanks, Michelle. I didn't realize that about the birth registration. Am still holding out hope that something will turn up in the parish records.

Anyway, I appreciate your having a shot at it :)
+2 votes
1851 Census Henry Sherwin age 40 abt 1811, born Alnoston,Derbyshire,

with sons Henry and Fredrick.He not listed as being widowed,but Isabella

not there.Living in Greenwich district, Woolwich Arsenal.Town of Woolwich.

Likely Isabella died between 1841 and 1851.
by Wayne Morgan G2G6 Pilot (917k points)
Thanks Wayne, but the records I'm having trouble finding are these:

marriage to Isabella Ann (what was her maiden name?)

birth records for Minerva, Henry and Frederick

death records for Isabella Ann (died between 1848 and 1851), Henry sr., Henry jr. (have not found either Henry after 1851)

1861 census for Frederick George (he's not the one born Camberwell who was at the Greenwich naval school in 1861)

btb, re Isabella Ann McEwen or McWeir, an Isabella McEwen with parents Ewen and Margaret turns up in the Scottish census in 1841, born England ca 1817 (date a bit off, but everything else fits, though no middle name showing). But if this is her, one has to assume she returned to England shortly thereafter, though why I can't guess.

In favour of the Scottish connection, her son Frederick George Sherwin married an Amelia McPherson whose grandfather Colin Campbell McPherson was a soldier born in Scotland who spent most of his life in England, ending up in London. Ewen McEwen was also a soldier. Both men were Chelsea pensioners. I can't help thinking there may be a link there. Maybe Ewen returned to England in order to become a Chelsea pensioner and took Isabel with him. Will look to see if he died in the London area, as that would help.

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