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Sunday, 2 February 2014

Gidleys in British India

FindMyPast has recently published the Ecclesiastical Returns from the British India Office. I could have accessed these earlier by going to FamilySearch, a free site, but it took the recent national publicity to raise my awareness that these records were online. And there were some surprises. Gaps for marriages and deaths on the family trees I always assumed were due to emigration, but I always assumed to the dominions, like Canada, Australia and New Zealand. I hadn't given India much thought.
The first record chronologically is for Nathaniel Gidley, a private in the H? U? (can't decipher these initials with any certainty) 59th Regiment, who was buried at Bangalore July 9th 1834 aged 30. This makes him the son of Nathaniel Gidley and his wife Mary Westcott, of Whitestone, near Exeter, Devon.
The next burial record is for Jane Gidley, aged 23, in Bhusawul Cemetery, Bombay, on Aug 12th 1870. FamilySearch has another place of burial - Asserghur, Bombay - and her name is given there as Jane Morton Gidley. There is no indication as to whether she was single or married, and I don't know who she was. The cause of death was paralysis. Could this have been due to polio, I wonder?
In 1919 Alice Edith Frederica Gidley, wife of Lt. Col. Courtenay de Blois Gidley, Royal Field Artillery, of the Winkleigh branch, died at Simla aged 49. She left a son of only 9, Courtenay Terence Robert Gidley, who married in 1953 in Southern Rhodesia. Alice's widower, Courtenay de Blois Gidley, returned home to England much later and served in the Second World War as Col-Commandant of the Devon Army Cadet Force.
In 1925 Augustus George Gidley, 46, a driver on the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, was buried in Jhansi (new) Cemetery. He died of angina pectoris and was the father of 3 young children, all born in India. Augustus was the son of Charles Edwin Gidley, of Poplar in East London. Charles Edwin had 10 children by his first wife, Jessie Matilda, before abandoning her for his second wife, Eliza Anderson, who was his brother's stepdaughter, and had a second family of another 6 children. Most of the children of the first family didn't stay around for long after that. The G.I.P. railway apparently used British drivers with Indian firemen used as stokers. Augustus married Carmeline Cecilia Dennis in Byculla, Bombay, in 1914 and their family of three - Jessie Matilda (called after Augustus' mother), Sydney Herbert (called after Augustus' brother, a Royal Naval Petty Officer, drowned off the island of Coll whilst serving on HMS Jason in 1917) and George Augustus were all born in India. There remains a mystery as to was the Augustus Gidley, cited as a co-respdondent in the divorce case of Eustace Charles Palmer versus Carmeline Mary Palmer in India in 1916. The coincidence of the names - Carmeline and Augustus - is amazing but the surnames are different, as Augustus George Gidley the engine driver had married Carmeline Cecilia Dennis, a spinster, in 1914 in Byculla, Bombay. After Augustus' death his family presumably stayed on in India for some time, as daughter Jessie Matilda Gidley married in Bengal in 1932 aged only 14.
In 1932 Herman Gidley, R Battery, Royal Artillery, was buried in Bolarun, Hyderabad (Deccan), Trimulgherry. Aged only 24, he was the son of John Benjamin Gidley and his wife Mary Ann Jackson of Grimsby, Lincolnshire. He died of malaria.
Miriam Gidley married a Drum Major, Joseph Cashaldine, in 1875 in Ranikhet, Calcutta, Bengal. She had left her home town of Exeter in her early 20s and was the daughter of William Gidley and his second wife, Miriam Sanford. William belonged to the Winkleigh branch and was variously an ag lab, a butcher and a cattle dealer and had various convictions for petty theft.
Minnie Gladys Gidley, daughter of Henry Gidley, who married Edward Horace Turner at Colaba, Bombay in 1913 is a mystery. She was a spinster aged 21 at the time of her marriage.