Written from the perspective of Jessie Gregor.
My great-great-grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth Gimber, was the second daughter of at least eight children. According to her birth certificate, she was born on the 1st March 1840 at 17 Brunswick Street, Shoreditch, Middlesex, England. Her parents were recorded as Loen Gimber, stationer, and Sarah Elizabeth Gimber, formerly Stockhill. (The couple had lost their oldest daughter, Jane, who died in her birth year of 1838.)
I haven't been able to find any baptism for Sarah but in the 1841 Census, she is still living at Brunswick Street along with her mother but the two other inhabitants raise more questions than answers! First of all, the first occupant is listed as James Gimber, 25, warehouseman, born in Middlesex. Was this her father Lowen/Loen or another relative? Also living with the family was Ann Stockhill, aged 9, female servant, born out of the county. Presumably, Ann was a relative of Sarah (the mother) but she definitely wasn't a younger sister so I need to investigate her more fully later in case she was an illegitimate daughter of Sarah's.
In the 1851 Census, the family are still living in Shoreditch but now they have moved to 42 Cumberland Street. They are listed as Loen Gimber (38), warehouseman stationer, Sarah Elizth Gimber (36), and their three children: Sarah (11), Jane (5) and young William (2). The family must have still been grieving after the death of their seven year old daughter, Eliza, just months earlier.
A lot had changed by the 1861 Census. Sarah now had three younger brothers (Henry, Walter and Sidney) and she was working at the age of 21 as a book sewer. Her mother is listed as the head of the family but still married.
Two years later, Sarah married Frederick Nathaniel Fothergill at St Mary, Lambeth, Surrey on the 10th March 1863. According to the marriage certificate, both were of full age, living at York Street in Lambeth, and not previously married. Sarah's father was recorded as Lowen Gimber, a stationer. The witnesses are difficult to decipher but I think they are Charles Pawsley and Elizabeth Whitehead.
In her husband Frederick's last census in 1871, he is recorded as a bookbinder, aged 31, living with his wife Sarah, and three of their children, Frederick (7), Theodore (5), and Ada (3). They are living at 4 Blackstock Road, St Mary Islington and Sarah is heavily pregnant with their fourth child, William. He was born on the 13th April 1871 just six weeks before Frederick himself died at the London Hospital, Whitechapel, on the 31st May 1871. According to his death certificate, the certified cause was 'diseased glands of neck phthisis tubercular'. He was only 31 and poor Sarah and her four children were then forced to enter the St Mary Islington Workhouse in 1872. (See my attached transcription below of their settlement order based on the original document seen on Ancestry.)
By the 1881 Census, things were looking a lot brighter for Sarah and the family. She was now living at 6 Rydon Street, Islington and it looks as if she was being supported by her two brothers, Henry (30) and Sidney Gimber (28), both single but bringing in a wage to help the family's finances. It was from about this time that Sarah started shaving a couple of years off her age, describing herself as a 39-year-old widow when she was actually 41! Three of her four children are living with her: Frederick (17), Ada (13) and William (9). Her other son, Theodore, had been in trouble and was now living on a Training Ship in Shaftesbury.
Ten years later in the 1891 Census, Sarah had moved again to 127 Hertford Road, Hackney. Money must have been easier by this point because all three of her children (Frederick, Ada and William) were working and Sarah's brothers were still living with the family, along with an unknown boarder, John Hill. Six incomes must have felt like a life of luxury after those dark days in the workhouse.
By the next census in 1901, her oldest son Frederick had married but Sarah was still living with daughter Ada and son William, plus her two brothers, Henry and Sidney. They were now living at 144 Winston Road, Stoke Newington. Ten years later in 1911, her brothers and son William had left but she was still living with her daughter, Ada (a milliner), at 79 Park Lane, Stoke Newington. This record confirms that Sarah had had four children and that they were all still living.
Sadly, this was Sarah's last census because she died on the 7th January 1913 at 16 Albion Road, Stoke Newington. According to her death certificate, the cause of death was Arterio Capillary Fibrosis and Cerebral Thrombosis Syncope. Her son William registered the death and states that he was in attendance. I haven't found her burial place yet but will keep searching because I'd certainly like to pay my respects.
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