I was wondering what to do yesterday morning, middle of lockdown and pouring with rain. Then the postman arrived. Somebody had sent me a baptism card from 1896. Two question immediately sprang to mind; Who had sent it to me? and, Who was the named on the card?
A day later and I still don’t know who sent me the card or probably more accurately, I can’t recall who said they were going to send it to me. On the other hand I do know a lot more about the person who was baptised and as usual there are some interesting parts to the story and some parts that remain a mystery.
The card was for Georgana Pepperdine. Thank you Georgana for having such an unusual name! The baptism took place at St German’s church in Adamsdown on 11 Jan 1896.
The next stage wasn’t too difficult – make myself a cup of coffee and search for Ancestry, Find My Past and other family history resources for Georgana Pepperdine in Cardiff. Only one hit appeared – her baptism record.
A couple of unusual things jumped out from the record. Firstly the address was given as Bristol not Cardiff, and secondly written in the margin was the fact that rather than being an infant baptism she was baptised aged 12.
The baptism record also helpfully told me her parents’ names and father’s occupation; Robert and Elizabeth Mary Pepperdine and he was a stone mason. At this stage I was thinking their presence in Cardiff may have been linked to the father’s profession. Cardiff was booming, houses with stone bay houses were popular and stone masons were no doubt in high demand. But no. False assumption.
Next stage was to look for the birth of Georgana Pepperdine, again not too tricky given the unusual combination of first name and surname.
There she was, born in the second quarter of 1883 in Lincoln and her mother’s maiden name was Slater.
Now let’s see if that fits in with the marriage of a Robert Pepperdine to an Elizabeth Mary Slater. And bingo. There it is in October 1881 in Lincoln.
This is easy I was thinking, I’m only just finishing my first cup of coffee. All I need to do now if pick the family up on some census records and everything will be tied up. How wrong could I be.
Things started off easy enough. I found Robert Pepperdine in the 1881 census, living in Lincoln, born in Lincoln and a stonemason.
I then found Eliz M Slater, aged 18, living in Lincoln, with her parents James and Frances Slater. Elizabeth was born in London and interestingly has a profession listed as ‘formerly actress’.
Moving forward ten years to the 1891 census I expected to find Robert and Elizabeth Pepperdine and their daughter Georgana, but there was no sign of them. Instead I found a Lincoln newspaper cutting from Feb 1886 describing a court case and how Robert Pepperdine had assaulted his wife Elizabeth and mentioning he wished to be separated.
Elizabeth Pepperdine then goes on to remarry Charles Henry Bellamy in Bristol in 1889 and they go on to have a number of children. We find them in the 1891 and 1901 census together with Georgana from Elizabeth’s first marriage.
Hang on a minute I hear you say. If Elizabeth and her daughter Georgana now have the surname Bellamy, how come they turn up in Cardiff in Jan 1896 at the baptism still using the Pepperdine surname. Well I’m not sure. I guess if she was born a Pepperdine then in the eyes of the church maybe she needed to be baptised a Pepperdine.
I’m going to give you a family tree sketch now as things are starting to get a bit complicated:
And why did they come to Cardiff for a baptism. Eventually I solved that one too. Elizabeth’s parents had now moved to Cardiff. In the 1901 census I find them living in Pearl Street, her father Thomas a retired engine smith.
To tie it all together I found an somewhat terrifying letter in the paper from Thomas Slater. The address was Topaz Street, close to St German’s church. It tells about how his son-in-law Edward Morgan (who had married Elizabeth’s sister Jane) suffered a serious injury from falling glass at the Queen Street Lecture Hall. The glass severed and artery and drenched him in blood. Another report explains how the pane of glass that smashed was in the dome of the roof in the centre of the hall and a stampede for the exits followed.
That incident was a few months before the baptism in Jan 1896. I wonder if her visit to Cardiff was to see her sister and injured brother-in-law.
Georgana goes on to marry Harry Bradburn in Bristol in 1903 and have a child Clifford Frances Herbert Bradburn in 1904.
It is still raining heavily outside. It’s almost as if Georgana knows that. She sets me another mystery.
In the 1911 census she and her husband have moved to London, leaving Clifford their son with his grandparents in Bristol. There’s nothing too unusual about that if he was settled in a school etc. What is a mystery though is that I lose all trace of Georgana and Harry, though there is a Georgana Bradburn living in Paddington in 1931 that could well be her. I can’t find their deaths recorded anywhere.
Never mind, there is some brightness in the sky so let’s leave that for another day.
Let’s just hope that the next miserable day is brightened up by the postman bring me another mystery to solve.