She was one of the most remarkable women on my
tree’s and it would be good to find out her background as it might explain
where she got the strength to bring up a huge family while living in poverty in
the slums of London. I don't have any photo's of her when she was young,
unfortunately, but this is her on the left.
starting point in my search was her marriage to William Musgrove in Notting
Hill in 1885. The certificate shows her
as being 18 years of age living at 36 Tiverton Street. It also says that her father was JOHN WILD (deceased),
a brick maker. Fair enough, at this stage I thought "ok" father
is dead, that's not unusual given the poverty in that area of London at that
have a look for Hannah and her new husband on the 1891 census. Luckily
for us they are there now living at 27 Southam Street with her widowed
WILD, a launderess aged 68. She was still living with
them on the 1901 census, although now CATHERINE
rather than KATHERINE, and died in 1905, aged 73.
Fine, information for Hannah complete following her marriage, so then I needed
to find her birth and entries on earlier censuses.
1881 : Hannah aged 14 living at 37 Talbot
Grove, Kensington with her "widowed" mother KATHERINE WILD,
: Hannah aged 4 living at Alpha Terrace, Kensington with her
"widowed" mother CATHERINE
WYLDE, laundress. Also living with them is
Catherine’s sister, 30 year old, ELIZA WYLDE.
: CATHERINE WILD
is described as unmarried and is living with her parents and her sister, ELIZA WILD, at 12
Lonsdale Cottages, St Mary Abbotts, Kensington. The importance of this,
logically, is that the unmarried Catherine Wild in 1861 who had a
daughter in 1865, is the same "widowed" Catherine Wild on the
1871 census and seems to prove that Hannah was illegitimate.
Let's find Hannah's birth certificate. That can't be difficult. We
have a name, it's in England, it's after 1837. Do it !
Assuming the age of 4 is correct on the 1871 census which took place on 2nd
April 1871, it means HANNAH was
born sometime between 3rd April 1866 and 2nd April 1867. I then obtained the only birth certificate
of a HANNAH WILD born in London or Middlesex between 1866 and
1867. She was born in Kensington on 21st October 1866 and it says she was
named HANNAH ELIZABETH WILD and her parents were CATHERINE WILD
(nee SMITH) and DAVID WILD. Their address is shown as 13 Canterbury Road, Kensington.
Catherine was the informant.
So now we have a choice of fathers : If we believe Hannah it was a JOHN WILD
who died before 1885 and who was a brick maker, or according to
her mother, it was a DAVID WILD and she was previously a
CATHERINE SMITH. If they exist, they must have been
alive in 1865.
The most likely
scenario is that CATHERINE thought it would be better for HANNAH and more
socially acceptable if she invented a husband (David Wild) and
pretend she had previously been a Smith. Maybe she told Hannah her
father had died shortly after her birth and decided John was a better name ?
Maybe we will never know !