The Children of Robert & Susannah Goodchild

My husband’s 4x great grandparents were Robert Goodchild and Susannah Flowers who married in Gisleham on the Norfolk / Suffolk border on 18th September 1820. They were both described as being of the parish, the witnesses to their nuptials were Sarah Bunn and John Flowers. Susannah had been baptised in Gisleham in 1799 – the daughter of John Flower(s) and his wife Elizabeth Nobbs and it is likely that the John Flowers who was a witness to her marriage was her father, having had to give permission for her to marry with her being under 21. I have not found a baptism for Robert in Gisleham – I then found a baptism on 20th July 1800 in Framlingham, Suffolk for a Robert son of Thomas Goodchild and Sarah Pollard and which is about 25 miles from Gisleham. He was born on 6th July in nearby Badingham. He was baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist Church there. I had previously considered a baptism in Redgrave in 1779 but I noticed that in 1819 in Gisleham there was a marriage between a Lucy Goodchild and a John Smith. I found Lucy’s baptism in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk being the daughter of the same couple Thomas Goodchild and Sarah Pollard and that she had been born in Badingham.

Robert appears to have been a Labourer, he and Susannah had seven children together. The first six were all baptised in Gisleham with their final child baptised in nearby Beccles.

George baptised 4th February 1821

Rachel baptised 21st April 1822

Happy baptised 16th November 1823

Phoebe baptised 14th April 1825 and buried just four days later

Mira baptised 6th September 1826

Paul baptised 14th March 1829

Comfort baptised 7th April 1831

I found it very interesting that Robert and Susannah gave several of their children quite different names to the kind I regularly see, often names I would connect more with non-conformist families were names were more biblical in nature, or names depicting concepts like Hope, Faith and Charity – with names like Happy and Comfort. This seems to fit more with Robert’s family having baptised their children in methodist chapels. Robert’s youngest sister was called Mira so he named one of his daughters after her.

OS Map of Suffolk from 1897 from

Susannah was without Robert on the 1841 census at Blyburgh Gate in Beccles. Her occupation is hard to make out but could be Pauper. It is assumed she was a widow as no marital information is given on the 1841 census. She is with her two youngest children Paul and Comfort. I have not yet found any further trace of Robert, no burial for him in Gisleham or Beccles. Where are their other children and what happened to them?

I have not been able to find Susannah’s son George in 1841 so far, however he sadly died aged 22 and was buried in Beccles on 8th July 1843.

Rachel is working as a female servant at Albany Road in St Giles Camberwell in 1841 for a Thomas Wharton. She went on to marry James Thompson in Muswell Hill in 1848. James was a Coachman – son of another James Thompson a Gardener. Rachel gives her father as Robert Goodchild a Hardwareman. In 1851 they are at 21 Devonshire Place Mews in Marylebone with their one year old son Arthur, James’s widowed mother Martha down as a visitor and another visitor – 21 year old Sarah Thompson, likely his sister. After the census they had another son Alfred in 1851 – who died in 1855 under the name Alfred Joseph, Vincent b. 1853 d. 1855, Mary Theresa b. 1854 d. 1856, Vincent Joseph b. 1856 d. 1858, Charles Augustine Maria b. 1858, Edward Joseph Maria b. 1860. In 1861 they are living at the same address and James is still a Coachman. They do not have their son Arthur with them who would have been 11 years old. After the census they had Mary Anne Teresa b. 1863 and next appear on the 1871 census at 84 Grafton Road, Kentish Town, St Pancras and Arthur seems to be down as John now. James was no longer a Coachman but was now a Grocer. James then seems to have died in Islington in 1879 aged 57, Rachel is a widow on the 1881 census at 27 Williamson Street, Islington running a General Shop with two of her children with her – Charles and Mary Anne. Rachel died in Islington in 1884 aged 62.

Tree showing the family of Rachel Goodchild and James Thompson

I also have not been able to find Susannah’s daughter Happy on the 1841 census, it could be her name has been mistranscribed, however she then appeared in Camberwell, Surrey where she married Adolphus Henry Augustin Wing on 1st March 1842. Adolphus’s occupation at the time of their marriage was Artist and he was the son of a Caleb William Wing – also an Artist. Happy gave her father’s name as Robert Goodchild and that he was a Hardwareman. Adolphus was a miniature portrait artist and I found a good website here which showed some examples of his work and some detail about his and Happy’s family. His father Caleb was also a talented artist who specialised in recreating medieval manuscript work – and there is a fabulous example of his work that has been digitised by Yale University that you can view for free here.

Adolphus and Happy spent several years in the London area, their first three children’s births were registered in St Pancras – Amelia b. 1847 d. 1848, Emma b. 1848 and Frank William b. 1850. The 1851 census lists the family at Priory Street in Lambeth with Adolphus’s occupation given as Artist in Oil and Water. They also had a 19 year old servant Eliza Cole.

After the census they went on to have Charles Frederick b. 1852 in Lambeth district, Mary Kate b. 1853 in Islington district and Eleanor Mary b. 1855 in Wandsworth district. They then had a daughter Theresa Francesca b. 1857 in Glanford Brigg district in Lincolnshire but sadly she died later that year in Wandsworth and the following year they had another daughter Theresa Elizabeth also in Wandsworth. Soon after her birth the family moved down to Brighton in Sussex – presumably to follow the seaside trade for portraits and photography as Adolphus did what many artists did around this time – moving from painting to the quicker more affordable photograph medium. While living there they had four children, Henry Adolphus b. 1859, William Edward b. 1861, Frances Louisa b. 1862 and Alice Amelia born and died in 1863. The 1861 census has Adolphus and his children living at 10 Richmond Terrace, Brighton, with his occupation listed as Artist Portrait & Miniature Painter. Happy is not at home with him, but he has a 27 year old servant Eliza Newberry and a 43 year old widow lodger – Madame Josephine – a Professor of Music from Paris. It isn’t clear where Happy was in 1861, perhaps she was visiting someone else on census night and they didn’t include her in their household?

Portrait of an unknown woman by A H A Wing – from – from Ruby Antiques

They then moved back up to London where they had their final two children, Thomas Edward b. 1864 in St Pancras district and Walter James b. 1867 in Westminster district. Very sadly the same year their son Walter was born, Happy died in Westminster district aged 43 of Typhoid Fever and Peritonitis. Adolphus never remarried, he went bankrupt for a short period between 1868 and 1869 after having opened up a new photographic studio towards the end of 1867 but seems to have got back on his feet and continued to ply his trade. On the 1871 census he is at 91 Churchill Road, Kentish Town, St Pancras and his occupation is Photographer and Artist. By 1881 he was at 11 Quadrant Grove, St Pancras and listed as just Artist. In 1891 he was living at 13 Lismore Road, St Pancras and was an Artist & Portrait Painter. In 1901 he had moved down to Bournemouth, Hampshire and was living on his own at 203 Old Christchurch Road, listed as an Artist (Miniature Painter). He died there in 1906 aged 84.

Tree showing the family of Happy Goodchild and Adolphus Henry Augustin Wing

Happy Goodchild’s sister Mira b. 1826 was my husband’s 3x great grandmother. In 1841 she was a servant for a William Kent, a Draper in New Market, Beccles. In 1851 she had moved to Sanderstead, Surrey where she was a house maid for a John Henry Smith – a Banker living at Purley House. Two years later Mira went on to marry William Robert Lock in Croydon, Surrey on 3rd December 1853. Mira’s residence is not stated unless it is assumed she was at the same residence as William which was 6 Hand Cross Alley. Mira was two years older than William who was working as a Sawyer, son of William Lock – also a Sawyer. Mira’s father is given as Robert Goodchild – Hardwarehouseman. The witnesses to their marriage were William’s sister Elizabeth Lock and Mira’s sister Rachel and her husband James Thompson.

Mira and William had four children before the 1861 census, Mira Clara b. 1854, Caroline Sarah b. 1857 d. 1858, James Robert b. 1858 and William b. 1860. In 1861 they were living at 6 Hand Cross Alley – William’s residence at the time of their marriage. William’s occupation was Wood Sawyer. They went on to have a further four children, George b. 1863, Henry Ernest b. 1865, Alfred John b. 1868 and Walter b. 1871. The 1871 census has the family now living at 1 Hand Cross Alley, it isn’t clear whether the houses had been renumbered or whether they had just moved a few doors down.

Just a couple of years later the family suffered a blow with the unexpected death of Mira aged just 47. Her death was reported in the local paper as there was an inquest.

Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter 30 August 1873

SUDDEN DEATH – INQUEST – On Tuesday morning an inquest was held at the Gun Tavern, Church Street, before W Carter, coroner, and a jury, on the body of Myra Lock, age 47, a married woman, who had resided in Handcross Alley, Croydon, and who was found dead in her bed on Saturday morning last.
Mr William Robert Lock, husband of the deceased, said he rose just after six o’clock on Saturday morning, leaving his wife in bed. At half-past six o’clock he was called home by his daughter, and found her dead.
Clara Lock, a young woman, about seventeen years of age, said she slept in the same room as her mother. About a quarter past six o’clock on Saturday morning her brother, a little boy, came in, to ask his mother whether she wanted any milk. Receiving no answer, he called out to witness “Clara, I think mother is dead.” Witness got up, and on touching her mother’s face found that she was dead. She desired her brother to go for a neighbour, which he did. Mrs Burgess came, and went for a doctor. Witness saw her mother go upstairs about a quarter past ten o’clock on Friday night. She had complained of her head very much during the day.
The husband, re-called, said his wife had often complained of her head, and he had advised her to have a medical man.
Mr Luke Peacan, surgeon, of Croydon, said he was called to the deceased on Saturday morning and found her dead. There were no marks of external injury, and from the appearance of the body, he had no doubt that the death had resulted from apoplexy.
The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony. On Mr Inspector Jackson entering the room, the coroner handed him a bank-book which he had picked up opposite the Railway Bell, and which contained several cheques and papers of value. The only indication of ownership was the name of Featherstone. The book was sealed up, and the Inspector was desired to take it to Mr Robinson, at the Union Bank. On reaching there, it was ascertained that the account was not a Croydon one, but was in connection with the West End branch of the Union Bank in London. The Inspector took charge of the book, in order that further enquiries might be made with a view to ascertain the address of its owner.

It seems so sad to think of her children discovering her dead like that, it isn’t clear which of her sons was the one who had gone in to ask if she wanted milk but it would have been such a dreadful experience for them all. Apoplexy is another term for something similar to a Stroke, given that Mira had been complaining of headaches, her cause of death may have been attributable to other conditions like a brain tumour, but it looks like a post mortem was not conducted.

William then had to look after his children alone – he never remarried. He may well have had some help from other family members and likely his eldest daughter Mira Clara had to become a surrogate mother to her younger brothers. In 1881 William and his sons Henry and Walter were living at 1a Handcross Alley and he was still a Sawyer. His daughter by then had married John Cummings and they were living with William with their own two children John and William. By 1891 William was living with his married son Henry at 162 Selsdon Road, Croydon, both he and Henry were Carpenters.

William died in 1897 in Croydon, his age is given as 67 but it was more like 69. Of his children – we know Mira Clara married John Cummings – they married in 1880, she had a son John Frederick in 1879 before they married, he is always listed as son rather than stepson so it is probable that John Cummings was his father. They had a son William James in 1881 who sadly died in 1886 and then a final son George Henry in 1883. John Cummings was a Labourer at the time of their marriage but he had previously been in the army – in the Royal Artillery. He is listed as a deserter in 1871 but he seems to have returned to his regiment as there is a pension application for him dated 1877 where he had issues involving varicose veins in his left leg and stricture of the urethra following a bout of gonorrhoea and that he had spent some time in India. It looks like he and Mira Clara separated some time after 1891 as John is listed as living at the same lodging house in Croydon in 1901 and 1911 away from Mira Clara. He died in Croydon in 1922 and she died there in 1937.

The next child of William – James Robert Lock went on to marry Emily Sarah Scofield in 1880. He was a Tripe Dresser when they got married and on the 1881 census but went on to be a House Painter. He and Emily had nine children together, Hester Emily b. 1881, Alfred James b. 1882, Lizzie Rose b. 1884, Alice Myra b. 1887 d. 1888, William George b. 1889 d. 1890, Albert Edward b. 1891, Thomas Henry b. 1893, Amelia Annie b. 1895 d. 1896 and Charles Edmund b. 1897. His wife Emily sadly died in 1899 and James went on to marry Sarah Scrimshaw in 1904 and they had a daughter Myra Scrimshaw b. 1905. James died in 1930 and Sarah passed away in 1949.

William’s son William b. 1860 does not seem to have married. He was working as a Butcher in 1881 and 1891. He may have died in November 1898 – death registered in Croydon but buried in St Peters, Broadstairs Kent.

William’s son George was my husband’s 2x great grandfather. In 1881 he was living at 4 Benhill Street, Sutton, Surrey and his occupation was Barber. He went on to marry the following year to Mary Ann Goad in Croydon. His occupation was then described as Hair Dresser. By 1891 they were living at 2 Benhill Street and he was still a Hair Dresser. In the years between the 1881 and 1891 censuses he and Mary Ann had five children; Elizabeth Mary Fanny Casulear b. 1883, Frederick George b. 1885, Mary Maria b. 1886, Joseph William b. 1888 d. 1890 and Ernest b. 1890. Also George had found himself mentioned in the local papers being the victim of a young thief in his employment.

Surrey Advertiser 15 May 1886

A HALF-CROWN AFFAIR – At the Petty Sessions on Monday, before Mr W R G Farmer (chairman) and other magistrates, George Healey (13) was charged with stealing 2s 6d, the property of George Lock, hair-dresser, of Benhill Street, Sutton, on Saturday last.
Prosecutor stated that he employed the boy on Saturdays, and on the day in question he gave him 10d wages. His mother brought him back shortly after, when he had half-crown in his possession, which he said witness gave him. Witness detained the half-crown, and said if no one claimed it he would keep one half himself and give the lad the other half (laughter).
Subsequently he found the half-crown had been taken from his child’s money box. He did not wish to press the case, but the mother asked him to prosecute.
The mother said her wish was only to correct the lad.
He was discharged with a caution.

West Surrey Times 15 May 1886

George Healey, 13, was charged with stealing 2s 6d the money of his employer, George Lock, of Benhill Street, Sutton.
It appeared from the statement of the prosecutor, who is a ‘knight of the leather’, that the boy had taken home more money to his mother than was due to him. The mother took her son back to prosecutor, showing him 2s 6d, and eight-pennyworth of coppers. A half-crown was subsequently found to be missing from the prosecutor’s child’s money box.
Mr Lock added that he did not wish to ‘press the charge heavily’. He should not have prosecuted had not the boy’s mother asked him to do so.
The Chairman said the case was one of strong suspicion, but as the prosecutor did not wish to press the charge the boy was discharged with a caution.

I find it interesting this comment of him being a “knight of the leather” – perhaps a reference to a barbers strop?

By 1901 the family were still at 2 Benhill Street and George’s occupation was described as Hairdresser and Working Cutler. So by that he seems to have made cutlery – knives and forks and spoons etc. He and Mary Ann had had a further six children; Amy b. 1892, Walter James b. 1893, George b. 1895, Ethel Nellie b. 1896 d. 1897, twins Henry John and Ethel b. 1899 – sadly Henry John died later that same year. After the 1901 census George and Mary Ann had their final child Phyllis Clara in 1902.

Benhill Street Sutton from the 1935 OS Map on – now Benhill Street is part of Benhill Avenue

At the time of the 1911 census they were still living at the same address but George was no longer a hairdresser – having taken up the job of being a House Painter. George is then later listed in trade directories from 1913 and 1918 at the same address as being a Gramophone Dealer but it seems he also continued work as a House Painter as that is what his occupation was described as when he died in 1932. He died at 5 Benhill Street of Senile Myocarditis on 1st November 1932. His widow Mary Ann died on 16th December 1936 at 50 Arandale Road, Cheam aged 80. She was noted as being the widow of George Lock – a Builder’s Labourer. Her cause of death was Bronchitis and Broncho Pneumonia, Cardiac Disease and Senility. Their daughter Elizabeth was my husband’s great grandmother – she married Harry Albert Emery in 1903.

Tree showing the Goodchild and Lock family down to the author’s husband

William and Mira Lock’s next child Henry Ernest b. 1865 married Harriet Gower in 1885. He was a Carpenter and was listed as that in 1891 and 1901. Harriet had a daughter Beatrice in 1880 – her birth was registered under the surname Stradwick, and appears on the 1881 census with her mother as Beatrice Stradwick Gower. It is not totally clear who her father was, but Harriet’s sister Laura Gower went on to marry a James Stradwick in 1882. They had several children in the Croydon area before emigrating to Canada in the late 1880s. Beatrice was baptised on 24th February 1884 on the same day as a son of James and Laura at the same church. Is it possible that James was Beatrice’s father? On the 1891 census she is listed as being Henry’s step daughter but in later censuses with the surname Lock and seemingly considered as his own child. He and Harriet had nine children together; William George b. 1885, Ernest Henry b. 1887, Myra Elizabeth b. 1890 d. 1891, Alfred Thomas b. 1892, James Robert b. 1893, Arthur Gerald b. 1894, Rosina Ellen b. 1896, Amy Louisa b. 1899 and Horace Edward b. 1901. By 1911 Henry’s occupation is a Gramophone Dealer – he died later that same year so it seems likely that his brother George took on the Gramophone Dealing work from him following his death. There are some trees on Ancestry which have been confused by hints relating to two different men who were killed in WWI in 1918 as relating to Henry Ernest – the first was born in a different location and the other was named Ernest Henry Lock, both are also incorrect as Henry died in 1911 so missed WWI entirely. His widow Harriet died in 1934.

The second to last child of William and Mira Lock – Alfred John Lock b. 1868 became a Butcher’s Assistant in 1891 – along with his younger brother Walter. In 1892 he married Susannah Winter and they had three children together – Florence b. 1892, Alfred John b. 1894 and some years later James Frederick in 1910. Alfred was then a Butcher in 1901 but by 1911 was a Carman. He died in 1931 in Carshalton where he and Susannah had settled and Susannah died 11 years later in 1942.

William and Mira’s last son Walter – as mentioned above was an assistant butcher in 1891. He married Frances Simmonds in 1894 and they had five children; Albert Frederick b. 1895, Sidney Walter b. 1896, Winifred Ellen Maud b. 1898, Lily Edith Frances b. 1900 and William Henry John b. 1903. By the 1911 census Walter had stopped being a Butcher and was now a House Painter. I do wonder if perhaps he and his older brother George may have been in business together with the house painting, Walter in Croydon and George in Sutton. Walter died in 1934, as yet I am not sure when Frances died.

So back to the Goodchild family – there were two remaining children of Robert and Susannah and of course what became of Robert’s widow Susannah.

Their son Paul b. 1829 is a bit of a mystery, we know he was with his mother in 1841 but he then drops off the radar slightly. I have not been able to find him so far in the 1851 census, but he married Anna Pratt in Aldgate in 1852. His occupation is given as Labourer, father Robert Goodchild – Dead and Anna’s father is given as James Pratt a Government Officer. Their witnesses were someone with the surname Biggs, and Paul’s sisters Mira and Rachel. He and Anna do not appear to have had any children and there is a possible death entry for her in 1855 in St Pancras district aged 37. I cannot find Paul on the 1861 census either but he next appears getting married again in 1869 in Bethnal Green to Mary Ann Elizabeth Summers. By then Paul’s occupation is given as Stoker. I found birth registrations for three children; Louisa Jane b. 1869, George Robert b. 1872 d. 1873 and Ellen Maria b. & d. 1875. Weirdly I found Paul and his wife and daughter on the 1871 and 1881 censuses under the surname Smith rather than Goodchild. In 1871 they are at 43 Wellington Street, Whitechapel and Paul’s occupation is Stoker at a Loco Factory with Mary Ann working as a School Mistress. By 1881 they were at 21 Brunswick Road, Bromley St Leonard and he was a Stoker at a Gas Works. By 1891 they were back to using the surname Goodchild again, living at 27 Earlden? Street, Battersea and he was now working as a Labourer. Neither Paul or Mary Ann got to live long enough to be on the next census with Mary Ann dying in 1893 and Paul died in 1895. I do wonder where he might have been in 1851 and 1861, if he was a Stoker he might have worked on ships too but not seen any entries for him under any of the Merchant Navy records. It is odd they went by the surname Smith in 1871 and 1881 yet their children’s births and deaths were registered under Goodchild. What did they have to hide?

Tree showing the family of Paul Goodchild

The last child of Robert Goodchild and Susannah was Comfort. We know she was with her mother in 1841 and in 1851 she was working as a servant at Swines Green, Beccles, Suffolk for a William Leavold – a Merchant Miller and Shipping Agent. Sadly Comfort never married or got to be on the 1861 census as she died in 1854 and was buried in Beccles on 17th November 1854 aged just 23. Her mother Susannah was a visitor in the house of a 29 year old Maria Barrett in 1851 at Hungate Lane, Beccles working as a Sempstress. She outlived her daughter Comfort by two years – she was buried in Beccles on 1st December 1856 aged 57.

It is interesting to see how many of Robert and Susannah’s children ended up in the London / Surrey area and what varied lives they lived having come from perhaps a fairly low income home, being fatherless it seems from quite a young age. With their daughter Happy marrying an artist and the other trials and tribulations with the ups and downs of losing children in their twenties, children going on to marry and have families of their own with their own losses of children, a son choosing to use another surname for a period of time and of course Mira’s marriage leading to the line that went on to produce my husband’s family.

9 thoughts on “The Children of Robert & Susannah Goodchild

  1. And to think that whole pedigree started with a marriage between a man and woman who were 22 years apart in age! The occupations are fascinating—Hardwarehouseman—what does that mean? Tripe dresser?? And it’s hard to imagine how people made a living as artists, but I guess they did. And I guess I can see how a barber can transition to making knives! What a great piece of social history interwoven in the family history.

    • I have to say I’m not entirely convinced that I definitely have the right details for a baptism and burial for Robert Goodchild as Suffolk parish register coverage is a bit patchy online but not seeing anything else at the moment that seems remotely close as another option but something I will keep looking into as more sources become available to me. I would imagine that a hardwarehouseman was someone who worked in a warehouse that stocked tools and equipment etc. A tripe dresser is someone who deals with tripe, the lining of cows stomachs. A cheap cut of offal. My maternal grandfather apparently enjoyed thick seam tripe with vinegar. Yuck!
      I do always find it fascinating to wonder how people met, thinking of Happy meeting Adolphus and of course the mystery of Paul Goodchild using the name Smith!

      • Yes, I have never had tripe myself but I know my Mum doesn’t like it, I think my Dad kind of likes it, he was very much brought up eating everything as the offal was the cheap cuts. Yes Dresser is like a butcher, preparing it etc. I have seen people trying to come up with inventive ways to cook it these days to dispel the sort of gross stigma attached to it, but still a bit nope from me!

    • Last night I did a bit more digging and believe that the 1779 Robert is not right and have now found the right details for him! So I have updated the post accordingly. Just need to update the tree images to correct the birth year and remove the death year as I still as yet haven’t found anything concrete for a death for him. It is interesting how writing these posts is a good prompt to re check information and how often I tend to make new discoveries!

      • I will go back and look. And I agree—blogging has helped me find the holes and mistakes I’ve made. I just hope that most of the time I catch them and even better if it’s before I publish!

      • I was writing it and it was niggling at me and when I have that feeling I know something isn’t quite right. It is frustrating though as much of the Suffolk parish registers online are patchy and typically it affects the parishes I am interested in. Robert’s parents baptised about 3 of their children in the non-conformist chapel but the rest were in the local church. I have found some other research online with those details taken from the register but the actual register transcription isn’t yet available online for me to cross check. At least for now I know I have the correct baptism and am back on track! 🙂

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