Emily Shinkfield – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 15

Another week is over and I must admit, I am far from being ready or prepared to write this post.
I’ve found it extremely hard to pick an ancestor to write about this week, I’ve also have had the bug from hell for over a week now and was very close to not writing a post this week. Self determination finally kicked in as I really don’t want to let my self down by failing this challenge , and also determined to not let these autoimmune diseases win, so here goes nothing.

Emily Shinkfield, my Greet, Great, Great-Grandmother was born on the 7th February 1857, at 3 Prince Street, Southampton, Hampshire, England, to Matthias Shinkfield and Amelia Penny.
Her father Matthias is working as a Seaman, Merchant service. Her mother Amilia registered her birth on the 18th march 1857.

Emily Shinkfield Birth Certificate

Emily was christened at St Mary’s, Southampton, Hampshire, on the  1st march 1857.

Emily Shinkfield Christening

On the 7th April 1861 the English and Wales census was taken, which finds Emily living with her mother Amelia, her two sisters Caroline and Eliza and her brother John Robert Shinkfield at Princes Street, Southampton. Their neighbours are William Phillips, his wife Elizabeth Phillips and their children, William Henry Phillips, Elizabeth Harriet Phillips and Sarah Phillips.

Name Age
Amelia Shinkfield 33
Caroline Shinkfield 8
Eliza Shinkfield 6
Emily Shinkfield 4
John Robert Shinkfield 4


Emily’s father Matthias, dies on the 1st July 1866 in Southampton, Hampshire. I have ordered his death certificate, but unfortunately it hasn’t arrived in time. I will update the correct information as soon as I have received it.

Matthias Shinkfield death

On the 2nd April the 1871 census is taken. Emily is residing at, The Hampshire Female Orphan Asylum, Southampton, Hampshire. Emily is listed as a pupil. Sarah Jane Hill is the Matron of the orphanage.


emily shinkfield 1871

I have no idea why she is there as her mother Amelia is still living at Princes Street, with her children Caroline, John, Amelia and Charles.

Name Age
Amelia Shinkfield 43
Caroline Shinkfield 18
John Shinkfield 10
Amelia Shinkfield 7
Charles Shinkfield 5

Amelia Penny 1871

I wonder where Emily’s journey takes her over the next nine years? Would she have been in the orphanage the whole time? What would her life have been like? Why was she there? Was it just for education or couldn’t her mother afford to clothe, feed and keep a roof over her head? I have to admit, I’m pretty horrified by the fact my 3rd great-grandmother was put in such a place, its heartbreaking.

1880 brings Emily joy, as she marries my 3rd great-grandfather Alfred William Wheeler, on the 21st october 1880 at St Mary’s, Southampton, Hampshire. Finally she can find some peace, feel love and make a happier life for herself.
Emily and Alfred are both residing at Melbourne Street, Southampton.
Alfred is working as a labourer.
Alfred William Wheeler is the son of Alfred Wheeler, a humble, Labourer and Mary Allen.
Their witness are George Robinson and Ellen Louisa ? (I can not make out her surname.)

Alfred Wheeler and Emily Shinkfield Marriage Certificate

On the 3rd April 1881 the census is taken, which shows Emily and her husband Alfred living at Sutton Street, Wonston, Southampton. They have their niece Edith E Robinson living with them. Alfred is working as a Agricultural labourer.

Name Age
Alfred W. Wheeler 25
Emimly Wheeler 26
Edith E. Robinson 3

Emily Shinkfield 1881

Emily and Alfred have their first born, a son, Ernest Alfred Wheeler, between the months of January and March 1882, in the Southampton district.


Emily gives birth to their first daughter, Florence Kate Wheeler, between the months of October and December 1884 in the Winchester District.


On the 25th May 1886, Emily gives birth to my great, great-grandmother, Ethel May Wheeler at Cowdown, Micheldever, Hampshire, England. Alfred is working as a Carter.

Ethel M Wheeler Birth Cert

Ethel may Wheeler Birth Index

Emily and Alfred baptise Ethel May on the 7th July 1886 at St Mary’s The Virgin, Mitcheldever, Hampshire.

Ethel May Wheeler Christening

Between the Months of July and September 1890 Emily and Alfred welcome their second son, Albert Edwin Wheeler, into the world. Albert Edwin was born in the South Stoneham, district.


On the eve of the 5th April 1991 the census return was taken, which shows Emily, Alfred and their children Ethel, Ernest, Albert and Florence, also Alfred’s brother, Edwin Wheeler, residing at Moorgreen, Westend, South Stoneham, Hampshire, England. Alfred and Edwin are both working as Agricultural Labourers.
Their neighbours are Robert L Webb, Julie Webb and their Children, Julie, Robert, William and James. Also Ernest Chalk, his wife Kate E Clalk and son Duncan E Chalk.

Name Age
Alfred W Wheeler 34
Emily Wheeler 34
Ernest Wheeler 9
Florence Wheeler 6
Ethel Wheeler 4
Albert Wheeler 7/12
Edwin Wheeler 27


Emily’s paper trail runs dry up until the eve of 1901, when once again the census is taken. It shows the Wheeler family residing at Endle Street, Southampton, Hampshire. They have three boarders lodging with them called, Robert Airey, a Coal Porter from Eye, Suffolk, England, Charles Sail, a General Labourer from Hedge End, Hampshire, England and Henry Sail also a General Labourer from Southampton, Hampshire.

Their neighbours are William Stote, a Carter, his wife Emily and their two children Ernest and Nellie.

Name Age
Alfred Wheeler 44
Emily Wheeler 43
Florence Wheeler 16
Ethel Wheeler 14
Albert Wheeler 10
Edwin Wheeler 37
Robert Airey 43
Charles Sail 49
Henry Sail 19


Around 1907 Ethel parents take in a new lodger called, John Cornelius O’Connor, who ends up marrying my great, great-grandmother Ethel May Wheeler.

Between the months of January and March 1906, Emily’s mother Amelia dies in Southampton, Hampshire, England. Unfortunately her death certificate didn’t arrive in time but I will of course update her information when I have it, sorry about that.

Amelia Penny Death

Amelia Penny:Wheeler death

I wonder how Emily felt? Did she feel abandoned by her mother? Was there any love lost between them?
I have so many questions, but no one that can answer them. Someone please hurry up and invent a time machine, I have people to meet and time to travel.

The 1911 census is upon them, it was the evening of the 2nd April,  Alfred has filled out the census, in his ever so scribbly handwriting.
The family are residing at, Number 16 Millbank Street, Northam, Southampton.
They have Alfred’s brother Edwin Wheeler still living with them and also a lodger called Ann Brown.
Emily and Alfred have been married 30 years and they have had 4 children, they are extremely lucky as all 4 have survived infancy and are still living.
Alfred, Albert , Edwin are all working as Dock Labourers and Ernest is working as a Labourer in Shipping.

Name Age
Alfred William Wheeler 53
Emily Wheeler 52
Earnest Alfred Wheeler 29
Albert Edwin Wheeler 21
Edwin Wheeler 47
Ann Brown 78

Emily Shinkfield 1911

Emily’s paper trail once again goes dry until August 1931. As on the 18th August 1931 Emily dies. I am sorry to say I am still waiting on her death certificate so unfortunately I can not give you all her information, but don’t worry I will write an update post when all the certificates arrive in my inbox.

Emily Shinkfiels death Index

Emily Wheeler Death

Her story does not end there, I believe I have found where and when she was buried, which has thrown a huge mystery into the mix. Let me try and explain.
I emailed the lovely, kind hearted gentleman I told you about last week, Bruce, and cheekly asked if he could have a quick look to see if he could find a burial for Emily. I know she died on the 18th August 1931 in the Southampton district and I had already found a burial for an Emily Wheeler, born about 1857, death date about 1931, which all fits but the burial location was for Felbridge, St Johns, Surrey, England, a 1 hour 57 minute drive away. It just didn’t seem right. Why would she be buried there, when she has spent all her life in Hampshire.


Bruce got on the case, and kindly found a burial for Emily in the Southampton Old Cemetery. The strange thing is she is buried with a Hatcher family. All the burial information seemed right, but I was rather puzzled as to why she would be buried with a different family.

Emily Shinkfield Buriel

As you may already know, the Hatcher surname is part of my dads family my parential line, so I had a quick look at my tree to see if the people buried with Emily Wheeler are in my dads family tree. Lo and behold there they are in black and white. John Henry Hatcher is my 3rd great uncle, son of  my 3rd great-grandparents Charles Hatcher and Susan Luke, you may remember reading about them.


After some debating if we definitely had the right burial for Emily, I emailed Bruce, with Emily’s husbands death details, within minutes he had found the information which confirms, Emily is the right Emily, as Emily’s and Alfred address at time of  their deaths/burials are the same and considering Alfred died only a short while after Emily, it had to be her.

So I am 99% confirm that Emily was buried at Southampton Old Cemetery, Southampton Hampshire, on the 22nd August 1931 at the age of 74.

She is buried in Row C, Block 173, Number 68.

Emily Shinkfield:Wheeler Buriel Plot


Bruce ever so kindly visited her grave to check for a headstone, which sadly she doesn’t have, neither does her husband Alfred’s grave. I definitely need a lotto win so I can give all my ancestors the head stones they deserve.

I emailed my Nan and asked if she had any memories or knew anything about Emily, she told me that, if she remembers correctly Emily went blind later in life and that when my great Gran Eileen O’Connor took my Nan Doreen Willats to visit her Gran Emily, just after my Nan was born, that Emily put her hands out to feel her face so she could feel what my Nan looked like. How lovely is that.  I haven’t explained that very well, have I?

Emily leaves behind many unanswerable questions, an ache in my heart as to what she must have lived through while being at the Orphan Asylum. I just can’t get my head around that fact, why was she there?

Sleep peacefully Great, Great, Great-Granny
Emily Wheeler Nee Shinkfield
1857 – 1931


15 thoughts on “Emily Shinkfield – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 15

  1. You never cease to amaze me Georgina ,how you put everything together and write it all down ,when you have felt so ill. My Great Grandmothers life had a lot of sadness in it,but let’s hope she found happiness with her husband and children, my Mum must have been sad that her Gran died on her birthday, Mr Bruce has been so good helping you,He must be a very nice Gentleman, And fancy finding our family and your Dads are connected,Well done Darling Nan X X X


    • I’ve got to admit, the last few weeks I’ve found it hard and exhausting but I know you and Joy enjoy them, so I solider on. Bruce has been absolutely fantastic, he went and tidied Emily’s and Alfred’s graves for me, he is extremely kind and I’m so grateful. Just need some warm weather so we can go up and pay our respects.


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  7. Hi Georgina, we’re very, very distant cousins. In fact, you’re my kids’ sixth cousin! Our most recent common ancestors are Emily’s grandparents, who were born in the 1790s.
    I’ve been following up on Emily in the past year. She was admitted to the orphanage after her dad died of the cholera. In those days you didn’t get into an orphanage automatically because they were charitable institutions and the charity couldn’t support all orphans. Check out the Southampton Herald of 30 May 1968 and The Hampshire Advertiser of the same date (the story in the Advertiser is much more detailed). Emily was one of eight girls applying to the orphanage at that time – only six got sufficient votes to be admitted. There’s more information about the orphanage here: http://www.childrenshomes.org.uk/SouthamptonOrphan/?LMCL=HwRZYJ


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