Family History


A young lady with four names

The Sussex connection is somewhat tenuous but this tale may help someone starting to research their family history.

JAMES WILLIAM HANNINGTON was my grandfather’s cousin. His mother SARAH ANN BLACKMAN was born in Harting, Sussex but after her marriage to JAMES HARRINGTON she moved to Brighton, then Reading where James was born in 1873 and finally the family settled in Wokingham, Berkshire. On the 1901 census James was living East Hampstead, Wokingham with his wife Henrietta aged 31 born Hurst, Berkshire and daughter Florence aged 5. James’s younger brother FREDERICK HANNINGTON was living with them, and he and James were both bricklayer’s labourers. I wished to find out Henrietta’s maiden name and name of her parents and found one possible marriage on the BMD register (using FreeBMD). In Dec quarter 1894 Wokingham district James had married HENREITTA PHILLIPS. I then found a birth for Henrietta Phillips in 1867 (Sept quarter, Wokingham). However I then drew a blank with Henrietta Phillips on the census returns. Putting Henrietta 1869 and Hurst Berkshire into Ancestry 1871 census threw up one name, HENRIETTA MILEHAM, aged 3. She was living in Hurst with her mother EMMA MILEHAM a widow aged 22 and brother William aged 1. However no further trace of the Milehams on future census returns. Putting the same terms into the 1881 census on Ancestry threw up two names, Henrietta Ommanney and Henrietta Hussey. Henrietta Ommanney was by now living in Bedfont, Middlesex whereas Henrietta Hussey was like James Hannington in Wokingham. She was listed as living in Bennings Cottages, Wokingham with father HENRY HUSSEY, unemployed agricultural labourer, mother Emma and siblings, William 11, Henry 6, Mary 4 and Walter 2. In 1891 Henrietta Hussey was a general domestic servant to Frank Crew, auctioneer and his wife of 1 St Johns Villas, Kew Road, Richmond-upon-Thames. I was sure Henrietta Mileham and Henrietta Hussey were one and the same and in Dec q 1872 Henry Hussey had indeed married Emma Mileham. But was Henrietta Mileham/Hussey the same person as Henrietta Phillips and why the different name?

The 1891 census had James Hannington residing with the Hussey family at 4 South Place, Peach Street, Wokingham. There were now 6 Hussey children and William, now aged twenty listed as William Milham stepson. Like James he is given as a general labourer so maybe they worked together? Lodging with her family was probably how James met Henrietta. But why the name Phillips when they married? Was Henrietta a widow when she married James? However there were no marriages for Henrietta Hussey between 1891 and 1894. The answer was as I had suspected; EMMA PHILIPS had married WILLIAM MILEHAM in Dec q 1867 a few months after Henrietta’s birth. William’s death is recorded in March q 1872. Henrietta was registered at birth with her mother’s maiden name.

I guess this little riddle took me less than an hour to solve using the internet, but it illustrates how things are not what they always seem on census returns. Then as now step-parents names were taken up and discarded, and stepchildren not always recorded as such. In her first 27 years Henrietta had four names; Phillips, Mileham, Hussey and Hannington. I’m sure many other people can find similar examples in their own famili