When I first began my family history research about 15 years ago one of the main sources available was the 1881 census. I bought a set of the CDs and went about finding as many of my ancestors as I could, and I was relatively successful.
One person that puzzled me, though, was my great grandfather, Edward Neville Sheepwash. He appears on the 1881 census living at Fitts Rents, Nuthall Street, Shoreditch with his widowed mother, Mary Ann Sheepwash, three of his siblings and his uncle, William Harding.
The odd thing was that Edward had married Alice Miles in 1879, yet here he was listed as “unmarried” and there was no sign of Alice anywhere. Over the years I have thought about this oddity from time to time, searching the various online resources as they became available, but I had no luck finding Alice.
Then a couple of weeks ago I decided to try to tidy up some of the loose ends in my research. I posted a question on Rootschat, asking whether anyone could help me find Alice. http://www.rootschat.com
Within an hour or two, three researchers were on the case and by the following day they had found Alice with Edward, enumerated in the census at 40 Great James Street Hoxton. This street was just across the main road from Nuthall Street. Both roads were very close to the Shoreditch workhouse which had been completed in 1866.
Edward Nevill 26 – walking stick maker
Alice Nevill 20 – wife
Louisa Baker 5 – visitor
I have no idea why they couple were listed under the surname Nevill – was it an error or a deliberate deception? At the moment I don’t know who Louise Baker was or her connection with the family. That’s research for another day. But for now the mystery is solved, thanks to Rootschat and especially the three members who helped me find Edward and Alice.