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Ennever & Enever family history & ancestry. Click here to return to the home page WJ Ennever (1869-1947). From the portrait by J Seymour R.A., exhibited in the Royal Academy.

Ennever to Hannaway name change


In searching for John Ennever (born c1800) and his family in the censuses of the late 19th century it was known that John, with his second wife Jane Farmer, had been the publican of the Cross Keys Inn at Chadwell St. Mary, Essex.   John was previously married to Mary Ann Harding who had died in 1837.  There were 4 children of this first marriage, the eldest being a John William Ennever who was christened in Chadwell, Essex in 1832.   He married Elizabeth Harris in Chatham, Kent in 1862 and they can be found at 63 Bath Street, Gravesend in the 1871 census with 2 children, Jane Elizabeth (b 1866/7) & John William (b 1869). With John William and his son John William (b1869) having been found aboard the boat "William" in the 1881 census it was Elizabeth and the other children that had not been located.   Jane was known to have survived, having married John Ince in 1887, and from birth certificates that there should also have been children Eliza born in 1871 and Ellen born in 1873.

It was also known that Elizabeth (nee Harris) was almost certainly born in the Faversham area of Kent (probably Bobbing) and from birth certificates that all the children had been born in Gravesend.  This information drew attention to a family in Church Row, Limehouse in the 1881 census.  This family consisted of: John 'Hanaway' (aged 50), Elizabeth, his wife (aged 36), Eleanor (14), John (13), Eliza (10) and Ellen (8).

Because Elizabeth Hanaway's details, plus those of the children, matched closely with the Ennever family it was at first thought that maybe a hard-of-hearing enumerator had simply misheard "Ennever" (I’ve had people refer to me as Hanover and similar).  Alternatively, it was thought that Elizabeth and the children could have been lodging with a John Hanaway who, as a Lighterman, was in the same line of work as John William Ennever and that the enumerator had omitted to change the surname when recording Elizabeth and the children.  

Elizabeth can be found in censuses at Bobbing, Kent in 1841, then Newington, Kent in 1851. John can be found in 1841 aged 8 in Chadwell, Essex but census returns variously give his birthplace as Grays, Essex and Gravesend, Kent. Unfortunately, neither of them has yet been found in the 1861 census. 

Attention then turned to John William Ennever junior (b1869) who married Ellen Grady in October 1890.  Their eldest child was registered as Elizabeth Blanche Ennever who was born out of wedlock in September 1890.  Further research had indicated that John William Ennever was the father of a Matilda May Ennever, who had married Dennis Coughlin in 1923.  Her birth was then found registered in 1902 as Matilda May Hannaway! Bizarrely, on Elizabeth Blanche's marriage certificate she was recorded as Elizabeth Blanche Hannaway.  Later research also identified a second child born out of wedlock to John and Ellen, a James Enever (sic) who was born in Parnham Street, Limehouse in October 1888.  A total of 11 children can be found registered as Hannaway and only James & Elizabeth Blanche as Ennever or Enever, all with John William Ennever/Hannaway and Ellen Grady as the parents.  

It was the birth and marriage name-switches of Elizabeth Blanche & Matilda May that was the proof that this Ennever family had, for whatever reason, changed their family name to Hannaway and that the 17 Church Row family were indeed the John William Ennever and Elizabeth Harris who had married in Chatham.   Although it's pure speculation at this stage Ellen Grady's mother was a Honora or Hannah and may just have been the inspiration for the new family name.  Therein lies another, as yet unsolved, mystery in that two surnames have been found for Ellen's mother!

The motivation for the name change will probably never be known (see update below) but as both James & Elizabeth Blanche were born out of wedlock and they are the only children to be registered as Ennever this is the probable reason.  It was far more common, however, for children born out of wedlock to be registered in the mother's name and subsequently change their name to that of their natural father.   This fails to explain however why John's parents, John William Ennever & Elizabeth (nee) Harris, apparently originated the change in the 1881 census.  Fleeing authority is another possible explanation but nothing has been found to suggest John William or Ellen were doing this and as they remained living and working in the Docklands area of London this possibility has effectively been discounted.

All attempts to locate the family in the 1891 census have so far failed although it is certain that they would have been in the Limehouse, London area.  Elizabeth Blanche was born in Blount Street in September 1890, John & Ellen gave Blount Street as their address when they married in the October and Adelaide, the first 'Hannaway' child, was born in Kirk's Place, Limehouse in April 1892.  The family are not recorded at either address, unfortunately, in the 1891 census.

More recently it has been established that John William Ennever was still known by that name as late as 1894 when he appeared as a witness in the trial of his friend, George William White, at the Old Bailey on the 10th September 1894.  Information about the trial can be found by following the John William Ennever link.

Dicker v Dicker and Ennever, The Times 12/5/1875
Dicker v Dicker and Ennever, The Times 12/5/1875

Update (Feb 2013): although Elizabeth was recorded as a spinster when she and John had married in 1866, she had in fact married Robert Dicker in 1858 and was not divorced until 1875 rendering her marriage to John as bigamous because Robert only filed for divorce in 1874. The earliest record of the assumed name was in the 1881 census when both John and Elizabeth and two of the children were all recorded as Hannaway, suggesting that the revelation of her occupation as a prostitute in the divorce papers and more probably the embarrassment caused by The Times article of May 1875 citing her marriage to John as bigamous were the reason.

Summary table of name-change information found:

Birth name Birth date Marriage date Death date Census addresses (see below for key)
1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901
John William Ennever 1832 E 1866 1883 E 1 (E)   2 (E) 3 (E) & 4(H) na na
Elizabeth Harris 1841 1866   5   2 (E) 4 (H)    
Jane Elizabeth Ennever c1866 E 1887 E 1936 na na 2 (E) 4 (H) (E2) na na
John William Ennever 1869 E 1890 E 1947 na na 2 (E) 4 (H)   6 (H)
Ellen Grady 1870 1890 1943 na na 7 8   6 (H)
James Enever 1888     na na na na    
Elizabeth Blanche Ennever 1890 E 1913 H   na na na na   6 (H)
Matilda May Hannaway 1902 H 1923 E 1923 (not proved) na na na na na na
Notes ( )
  • Blank cells indicate information not yet known.
  • E indicates recorded as Ennever
  • H indicates recorded as Hanaway or Hannaway
  • E2 indicates recorded as Eleanor
  • na indicates not applicable (eg not yet born or deceased before that date)
    Census addresses
    1. Upper East Smithfield, Aldgate
    2. 63 Bath Street, Gravesend
    3. “William”, Essex vessels
    4. 17 Church Row, Limehouse
    5. Newington, Kent
    6. 23 Park Street, Poplar
    7. 20 Dean St, Shadwell
    8. 2 Tucker’s Court, Poplar


    If anyone has any further information that might help to further clarify this story, particularly concerning Hannah (Ann) Driscoll aka Hannah Anderson b1842/3 in Ireland , I would be delighted to hear from you.

    Author:  Barry Ennever

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