The Darby Family Tree – Part Two

In my last post I went into the details and history of my husband’s paternal grandfather Cornelius Pierce Darby, his great grandfather Cornelius George Darby and a little into his 2x great grandfather Frederick James Darby. This post will look more into Frederick and his ancestry.

Frederick James Darby was born on 13th November 1867 in Hackney, London. He was the eldest child of Frederick Darby and his wife Emma Squires who had married just one day before he was born in Bethnal Green. (Talk about cutting it fine!!)

Frederick senior was a Carpenter and Emma had no occupation but she was the daughter of Joseph Squires, a Labourer. Frederick was the son of George Darby, a Boot Maker. Their witnesses were William Edwards and Mary Holmes.

Fred and Emma were not Londoners however, as they both originated from Huntingdonshire, with Emma having been born in Bluntisham and Frederick being born in Ramsey. Just a year before their marriage a 17 year old Frederick Darby, son of George, was noted on an apprenticeship indenture dated 27th January 1866 as being apprenticed to a Carpenter and Joiner named Youngs Dyson at Earith near Bluntisham. It is unclear how long they were in the Bethnal Green area for but they returned to Huntingdonshire not long after their marriage as on the 1871 census they were living in Colne village where Fred was still working as a Carpenter. It must have been quite a difference for Fred and Emma coming to the hustle and bustle of the East End of London from their rural backgrounds. Did they run away there to get married? Had Emma discovered she was pregnant having met him while he was learning his carpentry trade and had to leave to prevent anyone from finding out? Given their son was born just a day after they married, so far from where they both called home – it seems like there is more to the story.

East End

East End of London taken in 1902 for Jack London’s book The People of the Abyss – from Wikipedia

By the time of the 1871 census they also had a daughter Elizabeth Ann who was 8 months old along with three year old Frederick junior. They had sadly lost a daughter Mary who was born and died in the Jul/Aug/Sep quarter of 1869 in the North Witchford district in nearby Cambridgeshire. I have not yet found a baptism or burial for her. Chatteris is covered by that district which is very close to Ramsey where Frederick was from and Bluntisham cum Earith where Emma was from, and it may be that it was Chatteris that Fred and Emma were living at that time.

The family then upped sticks again and moved into the neighbouring county of Lincolnshire where by the time of the 1881 census they were living at 7 Priory Buildings, Stamford. There was an old priory called St. Leonard’s in Stamford and it is possible that this address related to Priory Road.

St Leonards priory stamford

St. Leonard’s Priory – Stamford – from Google StreetView

Between the 1871 and 1881 censuses Fred and Emma had another five children; Emma born 1872 in Spalding, George born 1874 also in Spalding – he sadly died in 1879 aged 4 in Stamford, Ruth born 1877 in Grimsby, Joseph born 1879 in Stamford and Fanny born 1881 in Stamford – she was just 4 months old when the 1881 census was taken. Fred senior was down as a Carpenter and Joiner and the children apart from Fanny were all at school.

I found baptisms for Frederick James, Elizabeth Ann, Emma, Ruth, Joseph and Fanny at St. George’s Church, Stamford on 25th September 1881 with them being aged 14, 12, 10, 6, 2 and 9 months old respectively. Also Fanny had been privately baptised at the same church on 3rd February that year too. I also located the burial of George at the same church on 28th Jan 1879.

The family were not in Stamford for long however, following the 1881 census they had one more child in Stamford, Sarah Ann born in 1883 before then having a daughter Ada born in 1884 in Newmarket in Cambridgeshire, a daughter Mabel born in Newmarket in 1886 and then finally settling in Leicester where they had their last known child Florence in 1888. Mabel seems to have died before the 1891 census but as yet I have not found a death registration for her.


Map of England and Wales from 1855 from – I have marked with a black star the locations where Fred and Emma lived.

In 1891 the family were at 17 Argyle Street, Leicester with Frederick listed as a Joiner – by then Frederick junior had married Edith Challoner on 6th August 1888 at St Peter’s Church, Belgrave. Frederick gave his residence as the same as Edith’s on their marriage certificate which was 18 Vann Street. Their witnesses were Edith’s sister Ada Challoner and her father Cornelius Thomas Challoner – who was a Painter but could not read or write it seems as he signed with a x.

Also Fred and Emma’s eldest daughter Elizabeth Ann had married prior to the 1891 census having married John Richard Aspland in 1890. Their other elder daughter Emma was visiting her soon to be husband Arthur Chadburn in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire who she later married in 1892. At the time of Elizabeth’s marriage her residence was given as 86 Argyle Street so it is possible the family initially moved into that house before then settling at number 17 as her husband’s residence was given as 92 Argyle Street so it looks like she had married the boy next door (or at least next door but two…)

Frederick senior and Emma were living with their other children Ruth, Joseph (down as Joe), Fanny, Sarah Ann, Ada and Florence. Ruth was a Hosiery Hand – working in a factory that made socks and tights. Sadly Ruth passed away on 7th Oct 1891 in the Leicester Infirmary aged 14. Joseph later left home to get married in 1900 to Frances Alice Broughton and they had one daughter.

In 1901 Fred and Emma were still living at 17 Argyle Street and Fred was back to being described as a Carpenter by trade. With them were their younger daughters Frances/Fanny, Sarah, Ada and Florence. Frances was now 20 years old and was a Shoe Machinist, with Sarah and Ada both working as Fancy Box Makers. Florence was just 12 and had no occupation so was likely still at school. As Fancy Box Makers Sarah and Ada may well have been making posh looking boxes for anything from chocolates to gift boxes.

After the 1901 census gradually the other daughters started to leave home and have their own families. In 1903 Fanny married William Hartshorn and they went on to have a remarkable 13 children, Ada married Walter Scott in 1905 and they had four children.  Florence married Walter Henry Francks in 1909 shortly after having their only child Walter. Fred and Emma’s daughter Emma who had married Arthur Chadburn back in 1892 however sadly died in 1910 leaving him to bring up their three children.

By 1911 Fred and Emma, now in their 60s, were living with their 27 year old daughter Sarah at 41 Old Milton Street, Leicester. Fred was still a Carpenter and Sarah was still a Fancy Box Maker with Emma’s occupation listed as House Duties. The 1911 census information also states that Fred and Emma had been married for 45 years and in that time had 16 children, of which nine had died. So far I have only found birth registrations for 12 children. It may be that they counted some stillborn children in that figure – while they were not technically supposed to have been counted in that statistic I’m sure still very much counted in Fred and Emma’s hearts.

Sadly Argyle Street no longer exists and the properties that were once on Old Milton Street have gone and been replaced with industrial units.

Argyle St Leicester 1969

Argyle Street from 1969 – now demolished – photo by Copyright Dennis Calow. From Leicester Special Collections. Used in accordance with licence

Old Milton St

Old Milton Street from 1964 – now demolished – photo by Copyright Dennis Calow. From Leicester Special Collections. Used in accordance with licence

From the Leicester electoral rolls it looks like Fred and Emma were living at 7 Caroline Street from 1912 but that by 1919 they were back in the area around Old Milton Street as an article detailing an assault Emma was subjected to, from the Leicester Daily Post on 4th July 1919, seems to denote they were in the Dryden Street area – which is just off Old Milton Road. Of course I don’t have the full details of what occurred between Emma and this Walter Johnson, but to grab a woman by the throat and punch her is pretty nasty, let alone a woman who would have been around 69 years old.

Leicester Daily Post 04 July 1919 Emma Darby

Newspaper article from Findmypast

Fred and Emma’s last unmarried daughter Sarah Ann went on to marry a John Howe in 1922 then sadly just a year later on 15th July 1923 Emma died aged 75 of a Cerebral Haemorrhage. In that same year Emma’s daughter Elizabeth’s husband John Aspland died and she later remarried in 1927 to a George Moore, she and John had six children together during their 33 years of marriage.

I don’t know much about Fred and Emma in their later years and we do not seem to have any family photographs of them. Fred then passed away ten years after Emma on 30th August 1933 aged 84 of Hypostatic Pneumonia and Enlarged Prostate Cystitis. Neither of them appear to have left wills. This couple had a fairly eventful life with a brief stint in the East End of London in the late 1860s to potentially hurriedly marry before the impending birth of their first child – a world away from their rural roots in Huntingdonshire, then moving around the eastern areas of the country with periods in Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire and Lincolnshire before settling in Leicester, with a large family in tow – several of which they sadly lost with the loss of at least 3 children before they reached the age of 5, a daughter in her teens and one daughter in her late 30s, and potentially having lost another four children of which I have found no trace of.


Frederick and Emma Darby’s family tree

The next instalment will delve into Frederick Darby’s father George and his family.

5 thoughts on “The Darby Family Tree – Part Two

  1. “Upped sticks”—that’s a new one for me, despite years of watching British television! They did up sticks a lot, didn’t they? And I agree—there’s more to the story behind their marriage. Was Frederick really the father or did he rescue a desperate young woman who was nine months pregnant? Had she run away from home, hoping to escape or to give up the baby for adoption and then was persuaded by Frederick to keep it? Sounds like a good novel to me!

  2. We have a lot of colloquialisms! I do believe Frederick was the father as Paul has DNA matches with people who are related to Frederick’s ancestors so I think we are good on that one but I do reckon there was an element of secrecy for them to marry so far from home a day before he was born. Also I wonder if he was actually born before they married but the dates fudged slightly. Admittedly I haven’t ordered his birth certificate to check that but the date comes from his information on the 1939 register!

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