Friday, December 14, 2012

Mary Jane Gizzard Docker Danaher

My maternal grandmother, Sarah Gizzard, was one of eight children born to Mary Elizabeth Docker.
It's quite a convoluted story, the Docker/Gizzard one.
You see, Mary Elizabeth had given birth to five children before she married Richard Henry Gizzard, a barman, the son of a fancy box maker.   
My research has revealed that the first child born to Mary Elizabeth (William, 1883-1928) was not fathered by Richard Henry Gizzard.  William shows up on Census returns living with Thomas Houghton, and he declared Thomas Houghton to be his father on his marriage certificate.  My grandmother knew him only as her big brother, Bill, and he used the Docker name all his life.  (She would have been horrified to learn that he was her half-brother, had she been alive when my research unearthed this information.)
Children number two and three (Amelia, 1886-1972, and James (1888-bef1891) might have been fathered by R H Gizzard but I have no proof of that one way or the other.  I suspect that they were not.
Numbers four through eight (Mary Jane Gizzard, 1890-1946; Ellen 1892-1984; my grandmother, Sarah 1895-1986; Richard Henry, 1896-1897; and George 1898-1914) were apparently all fathered by R H Gizzard but only those born after the marriage could legally use the Gizzard surname.  Hence, some of the children are Dockers, others are Gizzards.  (It should be noted that, from January 1892, RH Gizzard served three years in prison for committing a second larceny offence.)
My grandmother was born a mere two weeks after her parents' marriage, so she was their first child whose birth was registered as Gizzard.  Two boys followed.
After their father's 1899 death, I guess Mary Elizabeth fell on harder times than they were already experiencing.  She was still only 35 years old, a widow, and she had six young mouths to feed.
By 1900, Jane and her younger sister Ellen were admitted to Nazareth House in Isleworth, London, a Home for the Aged, Poor and Children run by Roman Catholic nuns.
The 1901 Census shows the girls still living at the Nazareth House.  Jane was 12 years old, her sister Ellen was nine.  (Mary Elizabeth was at home with her eldest daughter Amelia, who at 15 would have been able to help with the two youngest children.)
Their mother died in May of 1901, leaving two younger children still to be cared for.  It's not clear what happened to Amelia following Mary Elizabeth's death.  She had a child in 1904 and married in 1917.
My grandmother, who was six years old at the time of her mother's death, ended up at St. Mary's Orphanage in Walthamsow, which was the "shipping agency" from which she was sent to Canada as a Home Child in 1911.  She often spoke of how her older sisters would "break out of their orphanage" and go to hers to try to get her out.  They desperately wanted to be together.   My grandmother never saw her siblings again, with the exception of Ellen who was the only one still alive when my parents took her to England in 1974.  It was a wonderful reunion for the two sisters.
The youngest child, George, was sent to a Convalescent Home for Children, at Grosvenor Place, in Margate, Kent.  He died there in 1914, when he was 16 years old.  My grandmother never spoke of her brother George.  I found out about him through my research.
It's assumed that Jane and Ellen remained at Nazareth House until they reached adulthood.  The 1911 Census indicates that Jane is 20 years old, a tin box maker, living in Bethnal Green, London.  I haven't found Ellen on the 1911 Census.  Jane married in 1913; Ellen in 1916.
The fourth child born to Mary Elizabeth Docker was registered with the forenames Mary Jane Gizzard and the surname Docker.  I guess Mary Elizabeth wanted to ensure that Gizzard was included in her child's name.
A cousin in England (one of Ellen's descendants) recently sent me a few photos, one of which was Jane, taken in 1940.  It was the first time I was seeing her.    The resemblance to my grandmother is uncanny.
Jane married William Danaher in 1913.  They had ten children, six of whom seemingly lived to adulthood.  Unfortunately, I have no information about descendants of their children.  She died of a cerebral embolism due to thrombosis of the left auricle and mitral stenosis on 27 Oct 1946.
Until last week when my cousin sent me this photo, I didn't know that one of Jane's daughters had come to Canada, settled in the United States, and raised her family.  (She died in Silver Springs, Wyoming, NY in 2004).  She was seemingly in touch with my grandmother during her lifetime because the photos are inscribed to my grandparents from their niece.
At least one descendant of another daughter, in England, is researching his family tree but he resisted my attempt to share information about the Gizzard/Dockers.  He is clearly a Danaher descendant and should be interested in his Gizzard/Docker ancestry -- but that's just my opinion.
This recent knowledge of the US connection has provided me with the hope that I will be able to locate some new cousins and expand my tree with some of the twigs that were produced by Mary Jane Gizzard Docker Danaher.
Who knows, those US cousins quite possibly have no knowledge of their Canadian and/or UK cousins.  Contact with me might provide them with a lot of answers about their ancestry, if they're interested.

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