The husband of Abigail COURTNEY/COURTENAY nee PAICE first appears in the 1871 England census. The 1871 census record lists him as Arthur George COURTENAY, born in about 1841 in Marylebone, Middlesex, England, living at 14 Sun Street Woolwich, Kent, with Abigail COURTENAY and their three daughters, Edith aged 4 and twin girls of 3 months, Abigail Ann Maud and Alberta Beatrice Emma. Arthur George provides his occupation as a labourer in brass works, unemployed. Also at the residence is a nurse Ann Muggeridge also listed as being from Middlesex, Marylebone.
Whilst Arthur George and Abigail are listed as COURTENAY in the 1871 census, in all later census Abigail lists herself as COURTNEY. George does not appear in any later census with Abigail. Neither Abigail nor Arthur George can be found in the 1881 England census and by the time of the 1891 census Abigail is listed as a widow.
The baptism record in May 1871 for both Abigail and Alberta states their fathers name as Arthur George COURTNEY, brass founder. Abigail however clearly names George William COURTNEY as the father of the girls on their birth certificates and states her name as Mrs Courtney on birth certificate (although no valid marriage can be found), she also lists his occupation as silver and brass moulder.
When Abigail Ann Maud marries in 1892 she lists her father’s occupation as Engineer, civil, but states his name as Arthur George COURTNEY. Her death certificate in 1925 also shows occupation as Engineer. It is not clear whether Arthur George was also the father of Edith. Whilst Edith continues to go by the name COURTNEY her birth certificate does not state a father and is registered as Edith Mary PAICE.
The Courtenay name in England has existed as far back as the 12th century, descendant from Norman landowners. The Courtenay's of Devon arrived in about 1152 from France long after the Norman Conquest, when they accompanied Queen Eleanor of Acquitane, the new wife of Henry II. However, there is a group of Irish COURTENAY's who arrived in Ireland in about the 17th century. It is not clear whether this line is connected to the Powderham Devon line.
We are unsure of the origins of the COURTNEY side of this family, it is suspected they may be Irish based on some comments made by his grandson Edward Arthur Roberts in his memoirs. Another possibilty could be the Courtenay's of Ballytransey, Cork, Ireland.
When questions were asked about where in the south of Ireland our ancestors came from, the response was Waterford and Wexford. The Murphys came from Wexford, so perhaps it is the Courtenay's that came from Waterford?
I have two George’s that I am considering as the main possibilities, although several other possibilities are being explored. If you have any connections to these people please contact me. I am hopeful that through DNA analysis, in time, we may know the answer to this question.
It has been deduced the Arthur George/George William COURTENAY listed in the 1871 with Abigail Courtenay nee Paice and their 3 daughters at 14 Sun Street, Woolwich is highly likely to be George Courtney of Shoreham Sussex. The ages and occupations match, and in addition this George Courtney does not appear in the 1871 census anywhere else.
This deduced George was born 8 Nov 1842 to parents George and Sarah (WILKINSON) in New Shoreham Sussex, with the birth registered at Steyning. George was the youngest of 4 children, Frederick James, Eleanor and Mary Elizabeth.
By the time of the 1851 census Frederick James has probably gone to sea, George is still living in New Shoreham with his parents and 2 sisters. His father is listed as a 'Trinity pilot', it is understood this is a form of lighthouse keeper.
In 1861 George is at sea sailing on the 'Two Sisters', he is listed as an apprentice engineer, unmarried, and a visitor on the ship. The ship census was taken at Carmarthenshire in Wales. His brother Frederick James Courtney is the master of the ship.
In 1871 it is believed that he is listed in the census as ARTHUR GEORGE COURTENAY living at 14 Sun Street, Woolwich, Kent, living with Abigail Courtenay and their three daughters, Edith aged 4 and twin girls of 3 months, Abigail Ann Maud and Alberta Beatrice Emma. He is stated as being born in 1841 Middlesex Marylebone, Also at the residence is a nurse Ann Muggeridge also listed as being from Middlesex Marylebone. Arthur George provides his occupation as labourer in brass works, unemployed.
Whilst it is not conclusive that this is the same person, no other census record can be found for this George in 1871. There is evidence to suggest that George may have met Abigail via her sister Harriet PAICE. Sometime between 1861 and 1871 Harriet moved to Southwick, Sussex following her marriage to James TITHERIDGE and is living about 5 minutes walk away from George and his parents.
James's great aunt Sarah TITHERIDGE was married to Richard HINXMAN a gentleman, giving Harriet by marriage a connection to the HINXMAN family. Her sister Abigail may also have become acquainted with George COURTNEY through her. There is an Elizabeth COURTNEY living in Stacey Barton who is connected with Kate Paice (the illegitimate daughter of Abigail’s step sister Marsha) and the Hoare and Joyce families who appear to be working for her. Elizabeth’s father was Jacob Hinxman Courtney. Are all these Courtney’s also connected to George? If I can prove that I hope to be able to prove I have the right George.
By the time of the 1881 census, this George is back in Sussex, he is now listed as a Brass founder employer, employing 21 men and 10 boys. He is now listed as unmarried and is living with his parents and his aunt Rebecca Wilkinson. No record can be found of Abigail snr or Alberta in the 1881 census, but her other daughters Edith and Abigail are living in Holdenhurst, lodging with a William and Jane BROWN.
If this is our George then it would appear that George never married Abigail even though she may have expected it. In the September quarter of 1882, at 40 years of age, George marries Emily Lydia West, at Midhurst, Sussex, she was a woman 15 years his junior, the niece of the landlord of the pub next door where she was working as a barmaid. Abigail lists herself as a widow by the 1891 census presumably she knows about his marriage to Emily, so perhaps she gave up hope. Not surprising, given her sister Harriet TITHERIDGE nee Paice, lives just 5 minutes walk away from George.
It does seem strange that Abigail had noted on Edith’s birth certificate that she was still a PAICE, yet indicates on Abigail and Alberta's that she is married. Perhaps if they were living together by that time she had assumed permanency in the relationship.
By 1891 George and Emily are living at 139 Albion Street, Sussex Lodge, in Southwick Sussex. He is now listed as a Marine engine maker, yacht builder. His nephew George F COURTNEY age 22 (son of Frederick) is living with them. In 1901 George and Emily are now living at Spes Bona?, 6 Colebrook road, Southwick, Sussex. He is listed as an employer, managing director of a yacht company. By late December Emily has died. It is believed they had no children.
In June 1903, at age 61 George marries Alice Brazier, a widow, (nee Elliott), a woman 23 years his junior. By 1911, they are living in Lymington; at The Anchorage in Bath Road with Alice's son Wilfred age 11. George is working as the manager of the shipyards, building and repairing yachts, but is now listed as a worker.
George died on 15 April 1930, with probate granted on 20 May 1930. His estate was valued at 199 pounds, and was granted to his wife Alice.
The following article was provided by Vyvyan Jones:
"GEORGE Courtney, who took over the Shuttleworth shipyard from John Shuttleworth, was not a ship builder, he described himself as a foundry man and engineer, writes Ted Heasman. Mr Courtney already owned the Star Foundry in Brighton. I do not know when he came to Southwick, but John Shuttleworth built his last ship in Southwick in 1874, the Belle Isle, but, by 1878, George Courtney was mentioned in Kelly's Directory, so it is reasonable to assume that he came to Southwick in the middle, to late, 1870s.''
"By 1877, the yard was known as the Albion Foundry. By 1890, he had been joined by Percy Birkett, and the firm was then known as Courtney and Birkett. They described themselves as "yacht builders and engineers, steam and sail yachts built, steam launches built and repaired". Courtney and Birkett were responsible for the maintenance of the rolling stock and tracks of the horse-drawn trams that ran along the coast road. They also built a funicular railway that ran down the north side of the Dyke, to Poynings."
"This railway was opened on July 24, 1897. It was 840 feet long and rose 395 feet. The gradient of it was not the same all the way up, as was usual with funicular railways. There were two cars, each of them able to carry 12 passengers and a conductor. The cars ran on a three-foot gauge and were hauled up by an oil engine, which was housed in the station at the top of the track. The brakes on the cars were automatically applied if at any time the cable was relaxed. This funicular railway went out of use about 1907. Even today, it is possible to see the scar where it was."
An unmerged match has been created until such time as I can rule him out. I am hopeful DNA will provide the answer in time. After five years however, we have not yet had a match to anyone in this line.
This George COURTNEY was born in 1843 in Middlesex. He is found in the 1881 census, living with his wife Sarah and their five children in Staffordshire. His occupation is a brass dresser, similar to that described by our Arthur George in 1871. I cannot find him, or his family in any earlier census records, nor a marriage for the couple. Their first child Sophia was possibly born as early as 1862 or if she is a child from an earlier marriage the next child Fanny in 1867. (Note - Sophia is a name that appears in both Theory 3 and 4 as well as Irish Connections 1 and 4).
One of his children is also named Albert. I have always felt Albert would be a family name due to the fact that our Arthur George named his daughter Alberta. Her sister Edith also named her son Albert, which seems to suggest a passing on of the name.
I need to be able to find this George’s whereabouts at the time of the 1871 census to be able to rule him out.
An unmerged match has been created in the meantime. I am hopeful DNA will provide the answer in time.
Theory #3 - Possible Family
This theory has not identified a possibilty for George the individual, but I suspect these people may come from the same family.
The twins were named Abigail Ann Maud COURTNEY and Alberta Emma Beatrice COURTNEY. I came across a record for an Emma Beatrice COURTNEY who was born in 1869 to parents Thomas COURTNEY and Elizabeth LANGLEY. This Thomas was also born in Middlesex. I have tried to establish whether Emma is a relative. I have been unable to find any further trace of her. Perhaps she died and in 1871 Alberta was named after her?
In the course of trying to trace Thomas, I came across another Thomas COURTNEY who was born around the same time, in the same district Middlesex. Whilst he cannot be the same Thomas, he has a sister also named Emma and a brother George William. I suspect that Emma Beatrice’s father may be a cousin of some kind. This family goes back to Courtney's in Devon.
The brother George William is much older. He can be found in the 1871 census so he is not the George William that Abigail names as the father of the twins in their birth certificates. Perhaps there is another George William in this family I have yet to find. Can you help?
Theory #4 - Ireland
Irish Connection #1?
This is probably the most fanciful. Family stories have indicated that there are supposed to be ancestors by the name of de Lancey, presumably some connection to Etianne DeLancey of New York fame. I came across a birth of Maurice de Lacey Courtney and thought the name was a co-incidence being pretty close to de Lancey. His father comes from Ireland. There is supposed to be some Irish connection on the Courtney side so I pursued this line in the hope of some connection, but it has also turned out to be a dead end until recently. After contact with another Australian researcher it was discussed that 'Sheils ' was possibly a name associated with this family, having used it as a middle name.
Irish Connection #2?
If the Courtenay family of Ballytransey, Cork, Ireland is a possibilty, son John Courtenay was living in Berkshire, England prior to his death abt 1843. His fathers name is George. Could he have fathered an illegitimate son before he died? George in Theory #2 could also fit this theory as his birth record cannot be found.
There is a COURTNEY family living in the same village of Holdenhurst at the time of the 1881 census when Abigail and Edith are boarding with the BROWN family. I have traced this family to Ireland and they are the children of Henry COURTNEY and his wife Sydney GOSSELIN. In researching Henry I found a Joseph Sheil living with Henry Courtney! Could this be the connection to the De Lacy family that I have been looking for?
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with George by comparing test results with other
carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with George:
Sir Phillip Courtenay from Powderham castle went to Co Antrim, Ireland in 1603. Many Courtneys in Ireland are of this branch. Some then went to Newry, Co Armagh. However, the complication is that the Courtenay/Courtney name is often an Anglicization of the Irish surname Cournane or similar and not related to the Powderham branch. Sources; Phillip Crossle, professional genealogist ,publication The Courtney Family in Ireland and also information from "The Courtenay Society" based at Powderham castle in Devon, England. DNA testing could be very helpful. During the Great Irish Famine and earlier civil wars Irish people often Anglicized their names to get "charity" and for security reasons. British military also Anglicized surnames, place names during administrative surveys and mapping.