A while ago, I told you all the story of, one of my favourite ancestors, Eleanor Mary Kirby aka Nellie Montague.
Since childhood I’ve had a magical picture of how wonderful Eleanor and her husband’s life would have been, how much in love they were, you know one of those unbreakable loves, that no matter the storms they face, they stayed glued together, falling deeper in love with every hurdle crossed.
In fact, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I still hope that they started out their married life, head over heels, devoted to one another, and that it was the roaming eye of the Music Hall, that lead them to drift apart, but deep down they still loved each other in their own little way. I have a gut wrenching feeling, that our Eleanor loved him until her dying day, how true that is, I will never know but the secret romantic in me really does hope so.
So what happened, what divided their family, leaving heartbroken children in its wake?
I’m sure I will never know their full story, but I can tell what I already know, about Eleanor’s husbands, story of life.
Firstly though let me tell you a little about the Willats name.
The surname Willats is derived from the diminutive form of the Old English personal name “Will” or “William.” Thus, the name refers to a “son of Willet.”
The surname Willats was first found in Essex, where the Willats family held a family seat from very ancient times. Records of the name in Essex and the surrounding shires date back to the Middle Ages, during the years immediately following the Norman Conquest.
Spelling variations of this family name include: Willet, Willett, Willhite, Willot, Willitt, Willets and many more.
Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him.
The Willats family name was found in the USA, and the UK between 1880 and 1920. The most Willats families were found in the UK in 1891. In 1891 there were 55 Willats families living in London. This was about 45% of all the recorded Willats’s in the UK. London had the highest population of Willats families in 1891.
In 1881, Shipwright, Baker and Blind Manufacturer (Employing 1 Man) (H S F) were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Willats. A less common occupation for the Willats family was Commercial Clerk. The most common Willats occupation in the UK was Shipwright. 12% of Willats’s were Shipwrights.
Notables of this surname at this time include:
Andrew Willet (1562- 1621), an English clergyman and controversialist; Deborah “Deb” Willet (1650-1678), a young maid employed by Samuel Pepys (1633-1703)
William Willett (1856-1915) the English builder born in Farnham. He is chiefly remembered for his campaign of ‘daylight saving’.
Stephen Willats (b. 1943), British artist in London
Now let’s get down to business and travel back in time to 1877, Clerkenwell and visit the life of Harry Herbert Money/Willats.
As you may have read, my Great, Great-Grandad’s, name was Harry Herbert Money.
He was born on the, 22nd March 1877, in Clerkenwell Workhouse, Farringdon Road, Middlesex, England.
His birth certificate names his Mother as, Alice Maria Money, Daughter of, John Money and Mary Ann Money Nee Skelton.
Harry Herbert’s birth certificate, does not have a father named.
His Mother, Alice’s occupation is listed as a Dress Maker.
Her residence was given as Number 45, Banbury Street, Islington, Middlesex, England.
Alice registered Harry’s birth on the, 28th March 1877.
Harry Herbert Money , was baptised on the 1st April 1877 at St. James, Clerkenwell, Middlesex, England.
Harry’s and Alice abode was given as “Workhouse.”
Alice had a second son, a baby Brother for Harry Herbert.
George Edwin Money, was born on the, 12th August 1879, at Number 29, Nicholas Street, Hoxton Old Town, Shoreditch, Middlesex, England.
Once again no Father is named.
Alice was working as a Domestic Servant and residing at, Number 29, Nicholas Street, Hoxton Old Town, Shoreditch, Middlesex, England .
She registered George Edwin’s birth on the 23rd September 1879.
it’s now, 1881 the year of the census, and the next document I have for Harry. The census was taken on the 3rd April and shows, Harry Herbert, his brother George and his mother Alice, who was using her middle name Maria, were residing at Number 29, Nicholas Street, Hoxton Old Town, Shoreditch. They had a visitor staying with them, our one and only William George Willats, my 3rd Great-Grandfather.
William George Willats, was the Father of Harry Herbert and George Edwin. This has been proven through my Mum’s and my DNA.
William George was working as a, Commercial Traveler, aka Salesman. Alice Maria was a Dressmaker.
Both Alice and William were using their middle names.
Harry Herbert and George’s, Mum Alice Maria, had a 3rd Son, out-of-wedlock.
Arthur Richard Money, was born at number 24, Chatterton Road, Islington, Middlesex, England.
His mother Alice was working as a Dressmaker. She registered his birth on the 12th June 1882.
Harry Herbert, George and Arthur’s parents, Alice Maria Money and William George Willats, finally marry on the, 23rd December 1882, at the Register Office, Islington.
William was working as a Commercial Traveller.
Rumour has it, that Alice’s Father, John Money, did not approve of Alice’s and Williams relationship and that’s the reason they did not marry until after her father had died earlier that year.
Over the next few year Alice and William had 3 more children, giving Harry Herbert, 2 sisters and a brother. You can read all about them here and here.
On the 5th April 1891, the census was taken, which shows Harry Herbert, his parents and siblings residing at number 35, Fonthill Road, Islington.
William George, Harry’s Father was working as an Agent.
The family of 8 shared 2 rooms in the dwelling.
Harry’s sister Lily Millie Hilda, was born in the January of 1893, in the Islington district.
She was baptised on February 16th (my birthday) 1893 at St. Thomas, Finsbury Park, England.
Heartbreak followed a few short years later, on St. Valentines Day, February 14th 1897, when Harry’s Father, William George Willats, died at his home, Number 44, Gillespie Road, Islington, Middlesex, England.
He was only 43 years young.
William died from, Central Haemorrhage Coma Syncope.
William’s Sister Charlotte E Crosby’s nee Willats, was present at his death and registered it on the 16th February 1897.
Williams occupation was given as, Estate Bailiff.
Would St.Valentine’s Day ever hold them same meaning or would it be forever a day of sorrow?
The Willats family buried, William George Willats, at Abney Cemetery, in grave, 092431, on the 18th February 1897.
Their adobe was Number 44, Gillespie Road, Islington, Middlesex, England.
William was buried with Eliza Willats who died at the age of 59 and was buried on the 29th November 1894.
Harry found love and married Eleanor Mary Kirby, Daughter of Alfred Kirby and Susan Mary Lagden.
They got married on the, 19th February 1899, at St. Anne’s, Park, Islington, London, England.
Eleanor was residing at number 24, Queenland Road, Islington.
Harry Herbert Willats (aka Money), was a Filler, residing at Drayton Park, Islington.
Both their Fathers were deceased.
Their witnesses were, George Enington and Alice Blackwell.
That’s it for now but place pop back, next Friday, 28th December 2018, to find out more about Harry’s life as a married man.
Too-da-loo for now.