== Biography ==
George begins life as George Croft in South Cockerington, Lincolnshire in 1860. He lives with his family as a child but cannot be located in the 1881 census.
Explaining the name change from Clark to Croft is somewhat complicated. George Croft marries Frances Fogg in 1891. George's age and father's name match to George Clark.
The couple can be found in the 1891 census living in Kingston-upon-Hull. However, despite just getting married, they already have three children:
Stephen F (born c.1878, Leethorpe, Leicestershire, no trace after 1891)
Arthur (born c.1880, Regent's Park, London)
Frederick (born c. 1884, Sheffield; died 1899, Sheffield).
There is a fourth child, Lizzie May, born 1893 but dying in 1895.
Going back to 1881 we find Frances living with her parents and sister in Gainsborough but Stephen and Arthur are living with Stephen and Jane Farmery in Cranoe, Leicestershire and are listed as their grandchildren. Given Farmery is not a name in Frances' family, the link must come from George. This arrangement is perhaps explained by Frances' young age and the fact her father is a baptist minister. The children being born in three different locations suggests a nomadic existence for the parents and perhaps explains the change in name also.
Going back to 1871, Stephen and Jane are in Covenham, Lincolnshire with three children with the surname of Clark, all born in South Cockerington, Lincolnshire: George (born c. 1860) Willliam (born c. 1862) Mary Jane (born c.1864).
Stephen and Jane married in 1870. They have no children of their own, so the Clark children must be Jane's from a prior marriage. Going back further to 1861 and Jane (nee Robinson) is living with her first husband, William Clark, an agricultural labourer (married in 1854) and their children Susanna (5), Ann (3) and George (1).
Given that Stephen and Arthur Croft are the children of George Croft and Frances Fogg and the grandchildren of Jane Clark, the logical conclusion is that George Croft and George Clark are the same person.
George must leave his first family in the 1890s as he marries Rachel Annie Bryan in 1896. The marriage certificate states that George is 38, a widower, an engine fitter and that his father is the late James Croft [These details are fabricated - they do not match with any identifiable person in the records].
Rachel is a spinster of 20. They can be found in the 1911 census with their family, living in Denaby-on-Main (see below).
In the 1911 census George’s age is consistent with that in the wedding certificate and he states his hometown is Hull. In the 1901 census Rachel and her first three children are living with her parents and a lodger, Robert Hill. Rachel and Robert were actually married in 1901. This appears to confirm the suggestion from family oral history that there was an issue with Rachel’s first marriage – however, as George is back with Rachel by 1911 and they have further children, the relationship appears to have survived, for the time being at least. Rachel's sister also lives on the same street in Denaby in 1911.
Family oral history was that George was last heard of in Ireland and no trace of him has been identified after 1911.
George William Edward (1897-?) provides no trace after the 1911 census where he is living with his grandparents and is believed to have died in France in WW1
Oliver Coddington Croft (1899-1924) appears likely to have died as a result of a mining accident. It is his injury that forces George Nelson to seek compassionate grounds to leave the army. Oliver’s middle name comes from Rachel Annie’s mother’s maiden name
Clara Annie (1902-1912) died of viral meningitis
George Nelson (Croft-830)
Lewis (1907-1969) married Mary Elizabeth Wood (1914-1990) and had three children
Ernest (1916-1972) married Mabel and had two children
Rachel Mary (1909-1992) married Colin Greville Sykes (1906-1987) in 1934. Their daughter Norma Aurial (1935-1993) married Michael Garforth and had two daughters. She re-married James Revill (1929-1998) and ran a pub in Sheffield
Elizabeth E (1913-1998) married JE 'Eddie' Stocks (1914-1995) and had a son, Brian (1941-).
== Sources ==
Birth and baptism: England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
1861 England census: Class: RG 9; Piece: 2385; Folio: 24; Page: 19; GSU roll: 542963
1871 England census: Class: RG10; Piece: 3409; Folio: 17; Page: 7; GSU roll: 839403
1891 England census: Class: RG12; Piece: 3925; Folio: 16; Page: 25; GSU roll: 6099035
1911 England census: Class: RG14; Piece: 28166
First marriage: England, Select Marriages, 1538–1973
Second marriage: England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837-1915
Family history documented by AM Cottrell, transcribed by Jason Cottrell, October 2016
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