More about the Batchelors of Bethnal Green

For a long time, I was unable to identify the parents of my 3x great grandfather, David Joseph BATCHELOR.  But recently I realised that the answer had possibly been staring me in the face every time I looked at the 1841 census.  Listed at the same address, but in a separate household are an elderly couple, Joseph and Fanny BATCHELOR aged 65.   Could I find evidence to prove that these are my 4x great grandparents?

The 1851 census suggests that David Batchelor was born around 1812, so I needed to find a possible baptism showing the parents as Joseph and Fanny. Eventually I found this record showing the baptism in 1821 of a David Joseph Batchelor, son of Joseph and Fanny. A note states that the child was “reported born 25 March 1812”. The next entry on the page is for a Mary Ann Batchelor “reported born 1st September 1814”.   The baptism of this daughter might be the key to the identity of my 4x great grandparents.

Baptism of David Joseph Batchelor, son of Joseph and Fanny


The story then becomes more complicated.  Listed on the 1871 census as the first child of my great great grandparents, Fanny (nee BATCHELOR) and Ambrose FERRY is a 12 year old boy, Joseph FERRY.

I searched long and hard for a birth record for him, and eventually discovered a baptism in 1859 which shows that a Joseph BATCHELOR, the illegitimate son of Fanny Batchelor, was born in the workhouse.

Joseph Batchelor, illegitimate son of Fanny Bachelor

So where were Fanny and her son in 1861? They don’t appear with the rest of the family but I might have located them in South Conduit Street, living with John and Mary “Dowra”.  John and Mary’s niece is Fanny, aged 22 and there is also a nephew William aged 2.  The ages are spot-on – is this Fanny and her son Joseph? So far I’ve not found a birth or baptism for a William Batchelor of born in 1859.  Finding out whether Fanny was  related to John and Mary “Dowra” was the next step…

Working back in time using the address search facility on Find my Past I found that John and Mary “Dower” were living in the same street in 1851.  I think the surname is quite clearly DOWNS on this census. Interestingly, also in the household are Fanny Backland, a blind lodger aged 76, born in Hertfordshire,  as well as Joseph Backler (nephew aged 19) and Jane Backler (niece aged 16).  Their ages correspond broadly  with the dates of birth of Joseph (1833) and Jane BATCHELOR (1834) , older siblings of my 2x great grandmother Fanny.  Could Mary  Downs be Fanny’s aunt?

In 1841 I found John and Mary Downs with Joseph Batchelor (aged 9) in Seabright Street, Bethnal Green.

Map showing the location of Seabright Street and South Conduit Street Bethnal Green

The next crucial piece of evidence  is the marriage of John Downs to Mary Ann BATCHELOR in 1832 at St Dunstan’s in Stepney.

Linking all of these details together, it seems very likely that Joseph and Fanny Batchelor are indeed my 4x great grandparents although the proof is not 100% because of the number of variant spellings of the surnames.

What else can I discover about them to enable me to add them to my family tree?

About familyhistoryfootsteps

I have been researching my family history for several years. I'm particularly interested in social history and enjoy learning about, and trying to understand the context of our ancestors' lives. From the mid 1800s onwards most of my direct ancestors lived and worked in London.
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