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Friday, 18 November 2016

And yet another family of 13. Why are familes so large at this time?

This time it is the family of Thomas Gidley and Elizabeth Branch of Plymouth, married in 1866. The list of their children is as follows:
1. Jane Ann Gidley 1866-1870
2. William Thomas Gidley 1868-1900
3. Mary Jane Gidley 1870 (married Albert Edward Spencer)
4. John Henry Gidley 1872-1889
5. Kate Elizabeth Gidley 1875 (married Sydney Edwin Roberts)
6. Bessie Branch Gidley 1877 (married Sydney Charles Oliver)
7. James Ernest Gidley 1879-1895
8. Thomas Alfred Gidley 1882-1917
9. Frederick Gidley 1884-1917
10. Lilian Emma Gidley 1886 (married Sydney Pink)
11. Harold Gidley 1888-1961
12. Percy John Gidley 1890-1918
13. Edwin Gidley 1893-1949

It is noticeable that all at least survived to the age of four. And they are approximately the same ages as the parents and children of the other Gidley families of 13. Can increased fertility have been the result of better nutrition at this period? From the following article :
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2009 Mar; 6(3): 1235–1253
Clayton Paul, and Rowbotham, Judith
How the Mid-Victorians Worked, Ate and Died
[a small extract]
"In 1845 the notorious Corn Laws were finally repealed ushering in the era of cheap food for the urban masses...
Thanks to the [railways], producers were now supplying the urban markets with more, fresher and cheaper food than was previously possible. A survey of food availability in the 1860s through sources such as Henry Mayhew’s survey of the London poor shows very substantial quantities of affordable vegetables and fruits now pouring into the urban markets."
Spitalfields Market, London

I have blogged about this family before - see posts of June 2014 for the two brothers who fell in the First World War, Thomas Alfred and Frederick Gidley.
Father Thomas Gidley was born in Dean Prior, Devon in about 1845, but had moved to Plymouth with the rest of his family by 1849. His occupations were respectable lower middle class: clerk or foreman. He died in 1915 and his wife Elizabeth in 1923, leaving many descendants.

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