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Sunday, 8 February 2009

Multiple Gidley births

Raising twins was quite an achievement before about the beginning of the last century, and Gidley twins are rare before then. Martin Robert Gidley and Thomas May Gidley are, I think, the earliest pair I have spotted - they were born in 1909 in Dartford registration district. Daisy S Gidley and Eric A Gidley are a later pair, born 1919 in Birmingham. Since then there have been a few other pairs, but twins don't seem to run in Gidley families.
But.... were there triplet births in the June quarter of 1864 in Southampton registration district? The births of John, Mary Ann and Thomas Gidley were all registered in the same volume and on the same page. Sadly, they all died in that same quarter, and, again, their deaths were registered on the same page.
2012 stop press: yes, they were triplets, the oldest children of Albert Gidley (of my own Gidley family), then a Gunner in the Royal Navy (and later a coastguard), and his wife Agnes. The babies were born prematurely on 23rd April 1864 in Southampton and all died later that same day. Albert and Agnes went on to have four more children, of whom three survived to adulthood, and another daughter who died as a baby.
Much more happily, there is a set of Gidley triplets thriving in Texas. All girls, they were born in December 2007, and their mother is recording their progress on a blog, The Gidley Girls.

2018 update: I have been updating Gidley baptisms from the Devon Baptisms index on FindMyPast and have found what appear to be two earlier sets of twins.
In October 1681 twin boys, Henry and Robert, were baptised in Buckfastleigh, sons of Hercules Gidley.
In August 1736 two sons, John and William, were baptised on the same day in Spreyton to Bartholomew and Mary Gidley. They appear to be twins. John was the only one to survive to adulthood. William was buried 10 days after his baptism.

Friday, 6 February 2009

William Henry Clarke Gidley

Mystery surrounds this particular Gidley, a mariner of some sort, and his various marital arrangements.
In 1849 William Henry Clarke Gidley, a bachelor, of full age, a sailor, married Elizabeth Hannaford, a minor. William gave his father's name as Christopher Gidley, although I believe this was more likely to have been his grandfather. Christopher's son William born in 1795, a fisherman, was married to Agnes Gilley, and this couple was more likely to have been William Henry Clarke's parents. They did have a son William baptised in 1826, and Christopher's mother's surname was Clark.
In 1851 there was no sign of William, presumably at sea, and his wife Elizabeth was visiting her parents.
In 1861 Elizabeth is in Liverpool, a widow with a daughter, Eveline (I believe this is a misreading by the enumerator for Caroline). Again there is no sign of William.
In 1871 William C Gidley is in Liverpool, married, mate of a ship, with a wife Jane aged 34 born in Hull. There is no sign of Elizabeth and there is no obvious death reference for her. Their two daughters, Caroline and Mary Elizabeth, are lodging in St Marychurch in Devon.
In 1874 there is a marriage for William Hy C [sic] Gidley to Mary Jane Harvey or Earl. William describes himself as a widower. This time he gives his father's name as William Gidley, a mariner.
This situation only lacks a death reference for the first wife, Elizabeth, if you set aside the description of Elizabeth as "widow" in 1861 (and the enumerator had probably already made a mistake with the name of the daughter, and possibly missed off the second daughter from the entry).
However, I was surprised to find in the Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958 from Ireland (available on yet another marriage reference for William Henry Clark [sic] Gidley, this time in 1864 in Belfast. He certainly wasn't trying to hide his identity when he used all his Christian names. Perhaps this wife died before his third marriage, although possibly he was one of those legendary sailors with a girl in every port. There is a tantalising death reference to a William Gidley who died in Newry RD in 1884 aged 20. Was this a son of the marriage?

And then there is the puzzle of who is the William Gidley who married Harriet Caroline Burgoin in 1846 in the Newton Abbot RD? They move to London, where this other William from Torquay was a carpenter. I had thought this was William, son of William and Agnes, but it seems as though this was William Henry Clark Gidley, who has enough wives to keep him occupied. A marriage certificate will have to be purchased.

STOP PRESS November 2009- a baptismal entry for William Henry Clarke Gidley in Tormoham (Torquay) in April 1828 gives us the information that he was in fact the base son of Harriet Gidley of Torquay. Christopher Gidley was therefore his grandfather, and William Gidley his uncle. One mystery solved, but not his tangled matrimonial arrangements.

The burial records of Toxteth Park Cemetery reveal that William Henry Clarke's matrimonial arrangements weren't quite as tangled as I once thought. The records show the following burial in 1868:
GIDLEY Mary Ann 31 years Wife 201 Beaufort Street 16 December 1868.
I believe this is the wife he married in Ireland in 1864. Their son William Robert was born in 1865, and lived until 1871. William Henry Clarke then married Mary Jane (or Jane) Harvey or Earl in 1874.
I still don't have a death reference for his first wife, nor do I know why she was described as a widow in the 1861 census.

And yet another wife for William Henry Clarke Gidley at the age of 50. I think this makes him the most-married British-born Gidley. This final? marriage took place in Durban, Natal, South Africa in October 1878. To match the last three wives, William married another Mary - to be precise Marie Estella Guient. And presumably the much-travelled William died in South Africa.