Here’s my perfect excuse to write about my Valentine family! The Valentine line is on my Mum’s biological maternal side.
My Valentines originate from the UK. Lambeth to be exact. My 5th great grandfather, Richard Valentine, was born in 1806 to parents Richard Valentine and Ann Hill. A poulterer by trade, he married my 5th great grandmother Phoebe Worman (Warman) on the 21st of March 1825 at Saint Leonards in Shoreditch, London. It still stands today:
Together, Richard and Phoebe had three children:
- Phoebe (b. 1833)
- Mary Anna/Ann/Hannah (b.1834)
- James (b.1835)
Now, there could be more children…according to Ancestry’s Hints section, under family trees there is an indication as such, however I have not come across evidence of that as yet. Unfortunately Richard’s wife Phoebe died in 1837. The next we see of Richard and the children is in the 1841 census:
This record raises questions for me. There’s a Valentine child missing, haven’t determined which one it is as the first name in the first zoomed image is not exactly clear. Secondly, this has to be the messiest census record I’ve ever seen. There are no clear “Heads” of family, or any roles really, it’s all mixed up. The girls in my particular family are at the top of the document, their father is towards the bottom. What is going on here? Their home is listed as “Lower Marsh” which, upon further investigation is a street in Waterloo, within the borough of Lambeth. Is this record indicative of the homeless in the area? Were my people homeless for a time? I’m not entirely sure of how to accurately interpret this particular census record.
There’s a gap of 27 years (!!) before my guy pops up again in the records (I will find him, just probably not in time for this post to be published…edits will no doubt follow as I make progress!) And well, the next record I find including him is another marriage record…in 1868, Richard married 36 year old Ellen Field, having had a baby by her in 1865. Good old Richard was at the time, 62 years old. Old mate still had it, apparently. Their child’s name was Alice Ellen Elizabeth Valentine. Only a couple of years later, on the 2nd of October 1871, Richard was admitted into the Princes Road Workhouse. Nothing much on the Workhouse Register was offered up, except that of his occupation, a poulterer. This was the beginning of the end for him, Richard died in January of 1873.
So what happened to the kids? Well…the girls from the first marriage, Phoebe and Mary Anna (my fourth great grandmother) left for Australia, arriving in Melbourne aboard the ship Blackwall in 1852. I looked for both of the girls separately in the 1851 UK census, I managed to find my fourth great grandmother Mary Anna listed as being a lodger in Lambeth. Her occupation, as you can see, was a servant.
More about Mary Anna in the following paragraphs, but what about James and Alice? James seems to disappear completely. I am still looking for him. Perhaps he didn’t survive infancy? Alice however, shows up in the 1881 census as being an inmate in a children’s home in Lambeth, aged 16 years old. She never married, dying in 1954. I wonder if Phoebe and Mary Hannah knew about her, considering they had well and truly settled in Australia by the time Alice had been born? As always, the more I research, the more questions I have.
Back to my fourth great grandmother, Mary Anna/Hannah/Ann(e). Not long after arriving in Melbourne, Mary Anna married Stephen Sylvester Stevens on the 1st of March 1853.
And yet again, we see Mary’s name is varied…being written as ‘May’ it appears! Together, in Fryerstown/Fryers Creek, Victoria they had the following children:
- Emmeline Stevens (b. 1855)
- William Valentine Stevens (b. 1856)
- Elizabeth Stevens (b.1858)
- Florence Stevens (b.1860)
- Millicent Stevens (b. 1862)
- Lydia Stevens (b.1864)
- Emily Stevens (b.1867)
Unfortunately, my poor 4th great grandparents had a tough run, losing three of their children in the same year, 1861. William Valentine, according to the coroner’s report died of convulsions. Thanks to Victoria’s State Archives, I was able to pull this file up online, where accounts on both Mary and Stephen’s part were recorded regarding their eldest son’s sudden death. Strangely, I couldn’t find coroner’s reports for the other two children. May have to try other search terms for their names perhaps!
Stephen died in 1869 and Mary remarried in 1870, to William Kean. In 1872, they had a son named William George Valentine Kean.
There’s a big question mark as to when Mary Anna/Hannah/Ann actually died…there’s a Mary Ann Keene who died in 1885 in Northcote Insane Asylum that other researchers have noted as being our Mary Anna Valentine…however I am unsure of that. I looked at Victoria’s State Archives website and luckily the coroner’s report on Mary Ann Keene who died that year is viewable online. It listed her age at , which doesn’t line up with our Mary Ann Valentine/Stevens/Kean. Back to the drawing board. I searched for days on Victoria’s Births, Deaths and Marriages website for a death record, varying my search terms over and over…I also tried NSW’s Births, Deaths and Marriages. Finally, I contacted an Ancestry user who had listed her death as 1885, just asking about how she found that info–I received a response only a couple of hours later. She responded saying she didn’t know what her exact death date was, and that she wasn’t sure 1885 was correct at this stage. There was a Mary Hannah Kean JNR listed in her tree as dying in 1916, with no birth record attached, so I threw in that name and death date into a general search on Ancestry–and up popped a cemetery record! It was our Mary Hannah Valentine! Listed as dying at 84 years of age, Mary H Kean died in Sydney on the 11th of February, 1916 and was buried in Waverley Cemetery. After purchasing the death certificate, I hurriedly replied to my new cousin’s message letting her know what I’d found. She hopped onto Trove and found the following death notice in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 14th of February, 1916:
Weirdly, I’d had this urge all week to go visit Waverley Cemetery, as Emmeline, Mary’s daughter and her husband are buried there also. It’s also weird to think that today, 101 years ago , Mary Hannah passed away…funny how these things pan out.