This family history newsletter is published about four times a year usually when some interesting family items have been added to the website. An email including a link to it is sent to all my family history contacts. Please feel free to forward the email, or a link to this page, to family members who may not have seen the website.
Robert George Ennever,
A Biographical Register 1788-1939
The possible origins of Ennever Street were first featured in the October 2010 newsletter since when I have been in contact with the Brisbane City Council, who were very helpful and told me:
“Ennever Street Bardon, formerly First Avenue, was named in March 1939 as part of a programme to replace duplicate street names in Brisbane. The only information we have is that Ennever was a Victorian (as in State of Victoria) pioneer.
I have found an entry relating to a Robert George Ennever in A Biographical Register 1788-1939: Notes from the Name Index of the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol I (A-K), 1987, compiled by HJ Gibney & Ann G Smith, p 211. An extract is attached. The abbreviation “WWA (IPS)* 1935 (port.)” at the foot of the entry means that the source of the article was Who’s Who in Australia, 1935 (International Press Service Association, Melbourne) and that the item in that publication contains a portrait. The other reference, “dr”, means “information from death registration”.
It is probable that the Ennever was in fact Robert as the biography indicates he first settled in Melbourne, Victoria where we know he started his business. He later moved to Sydney, New South Wales where the Ennever & Appleton business became established and Robert George became a respected member of the business community. As Robert George had no links to Queensland it is also possible that the Ennever referred to is William Joseph Ennever founder of The Pelman Institute which had offices throughout the world, although his Australian office was again in Victoria. It is somewhat surprising though that Brisbane celebrates a pioneer who had no connection with their state!
Dorset Street in London's notorious Whitechapel district, photographed in 1902 for The People of the Abyss
If you have family connections to the East End of London (as I do) you may have come across "The People of the Abyss" by Jack London, written in 1903. The "Abyss" was the name popularly given at the time to the lowest strata of society and Jack London, an American born himself in a world of bitter hardship, wrote the book after living in the East End of London for several months in 1902 sometimes staying in workhouses or sleeping on the streets. The conditions he experienced and wrote about were the same as those endured by an estimated 500,000 of the contemporary London poor.
"The workhouses have no space left in which to pack the starving crowds who are craving every day and night at their doors for food and shelter. All the charitable institutions have exhausted their means in trying to raise supplies of food for the famishing residents of the garrets and cellars of London lanes and alleys. The quarters of the Salvation Army in various parts of London are nightly besieged by hosts of the unemployed and the hungry for whom neither shelter nor the means of sustenance can be provided."
One contemporary review of the book said that it would be "difficult to find a more depressing volume" and yet London was describing the conditions that some of our own families were enduring. You can find a few examples here, including the Illingworth family sharing a house with eight other families in Turville Street, Bethnal Green, described in 1874 as being "in the heart of the slums". Life expectancy was as low as sixteen in Bethnal Green during the Victorian era. But at least these families had a roof over their head. Maybe I won't complain the next time the house needs decorating!
If you would like to read the book, paperback copies are readily available from second-hand booksites, the complete text is available free online and there is a free download for the Kindle book reader from the Project Gutenberg site.
The falling birth rate, large numbers of people emigrating, and the reportedly poor health of the nation gave the government cause for concern in 1911. A large healthy workforce was needed for Britain to continue to develop as an industrialised nation, and these concerns prompted the government to include questions on 'fertility in marriage' in the 1911 census. The family were asked to state the 'years the present marriage has lasted', the number of children born alive to the present marriage (not just those who were living in the house) and how many had died. This is of particular interest to the family historian, because it can alert us to the existence of children who had died, as well as children who were away from the family home at the time of the census.The census returns provide us with an insight into the thoughts of some about the census process and also a few lighter moments.
You can find a poem composed by two nurses in London who resented the fact that women could not vote (that was still 7 years away for women over 30 and it was not until 1928 that women had voting equality with men):
We are longing to write
Our names and our age,
And infirmities too,
On this quaint yellow page,
But since we don't count
(Though our taxes we pay)
We'll forgo this delight
Till some future day.
The duties of a 1911 housewife, according to George Day
And a George Day who described himself as a poulterer had this to say about his wife's occupation:
"Attend to her Household Duties, do her own washing, Bake Bread and keep her house clean."
So far so good, but then he rather spoilt it...
" ..and attend to her own Business and leave other People's alone"
Later this month, the UK will do its most thorough census yet. A century ago, as we have just seen, a new expanded form was evidence of a government's thirst for knowledge in their efforts to help a population stricken by poverty, bad nutrition and high infant mortality. So, are there many differences between the 1911 and 2011 census?
That of a hundred years ago was able to fit on a single sheet. Today's is likely to be about 30 pages long. That of 1911 might be regarded as sexist, implying that if there was a husband in the household he would be head of it. And its language on infirmity, asking householders if they were "lunatic, imbecile or feeble-minded", would be unacceptable today. Others clearly felt that even then the census was too intrusive, one respondent commenting:
Would you like to know what our income is, what each had for breakfast, how long we expect to live and anything else?”
In 1911, as far as work went, the government just wanted to know occupations, industry, and status (eg employer or worker). In 2011, the census has about 15 questions on work and employment.
And yet there is a great similarity between the 1911 and 2011 censuses - they both represent expansion in what the authorities want to know about the population. Censuses have been taken since ancient times, often to calculate taxes, or as an assessment of military strength. In Britain the census started in 1801 and was extended to Ireland 20 years later although it was not until 1841 in the UK that individuals' names were recorded.
The first censuses in the British Isles were not detailed. Every decade more questions were added, but 1911 represented a sea change. The government wanted to know more detail about people's work, immigration status, their health and most importantly, their fertility. And it seems for the most part, people duly obliged.
The strength of the 1911 census was that it was the first to be filled in by householders rather than by enumerators and this is partly what makes it such a goldmine for family historians. Being able to see your ancestor's own handwriting is often as pleasing as the information they recorded.
Your 2011 census will be the first in the UK to be posted to you and you should receive it by the 27th March. You will also be able to complete the census online any time from today (4th March) until 6th May using the access code on the form.
These two world-famous individuals are related, not to each other but, to Enevers!
Barbara Enever first married Lewis Holtzman and secondly Lionel Alistair David Leslie, the son of a 2nd Baronet. Lionel's mother was Leonie Blanche Jerome, sister of Jeanette Jerome who married Lord Randolph Chuchill and was Sir Winston's mother. Barbara's daughter by her first marriage was Delphi Holzman (the 't' had been dropped) who is better known as Delphi Lawrence. Delphi Lawrence trained as a concert pianist before becoming an actress. She made her first film in 1952 and over the next decade established a following in British films. She graduated to lead roles, but almost exclusively in "B" films.
In 1966 she moved to the United States where she began to appear in films and television, and settled there. She retired in 1973 but made a brief return in 1975, in the Broadway production of The Constant Nymph, playing the sister of Ingrid Bergman's character. You can see the link between the Enevers and the Churchills here.
Edward "Ned" Kelly
Edward "Ned" Kelly was an Irish-Australian bushranger, considered by some merely a cold-blooded killer, while by others a folk hero and symbol of Irish-Australian resistance against oppression by the British ruling class, for his defiance of the colonial authorities. Kelly was born in Victoria to an Irish convict father, and as a young man he clashed with the Victoria Police. Following an incident at his home in 1878, police parties searched for him in the bush. After he killed three policemen, the colony proclaimed Kelly and his gang wanted outlaws.
A final violent confrontation with police took place at Glenrowan on 28 June 1880. Kelly, dressed in home-made plate metal armour and helmet, was captured and sent to jail. He was hanged for murder at Old Melbourne Gaol in November 1880. His daring and notoriety made him an iconic figure in Australian history, folklore, literature, art and film.
Daisy Patricia Coleman, the daughter of Edwin Coleman and Mary (Polly) Enever, married Patrick James Tanner in Victoria, Australia in 1919, Patrick being the son of Mary Ann Lloyd, Ned's cousin. Mary Ann had married William Tanner, the Tanners and other relatives being amongst Ned's strongest suporters and sympathisers. The family connection can be seen here.
If you would like to see your own connections to other family members, whether famous or not, you can find instructions in the FAQs page, question 6.
This particular story started with the birth of Ann Enever Holmes in 1839, who I felt certain had to be related to the En(n)evers. Her mother was a Sarah Blackburn so the Enever name may have come from a previous generation or another family member. With other siblings found in censuses I could date Sarah's marriage to c1820 and found a Sarah Blackburn marrying William Holmes in Wanstead (very close to my old stamping ground) in 1822. That led me to back to the marriage of George Blackburn to Ann Enever that I was already aware of, although I didn't know who Ann's parents were. Ann was however still living in 1841 (the first census that recorded names, you'll remember!) and her granddaughter, Sarah Holmes, was living with her so this was proof that I had the right family. The 1841 census gave Ann's age as 75 (it rounded most ages down to the nearest 5 years) but I had 2 Anns born in the mid-1760s. Very fortunately, John Enever's will recorded his daughter as Ann Blackbourn (an extra 'o' but undoubtedly the right Ann) so that linked her in to the 'Essex' Ennevers as I call them.
Finding another researcher, Claire, who was descended from
Ann Enever Holmes's brother, George, then enabled us to discover a distant relationship. George incidentally was christened as George Hanover Holmes, presumably by a hard-of-hearing priest (it was common at the time to give at least one child of a marriage the mother's maiden name as a given name although in this case the Enever, or Hanover, was George's grandmother). Claire was working back in time through her great grandfather, Harry Holmes who was killed in action in WW1 aged just twenty-five, and is a talented writer who has written a book based on some of her research experiences entitled "A Man Like Alice". Her book can be found here.
Our common ancestor, William Ennever, was born in about 1530 before there was any form of birth or marriage documentation so we will almost certainly never know his origins. William is my 11th great grandfather and Claire is my 12th cousin, officially my most distant relative!
I hope there’s something of interest for everyone and as always if you have any family information or old family photos you would be willing to share please do let me know. If you prefer not to receive future notifications of newsletters please click here and ask to be removed.
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