Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mary Ann Vousden - more on Sister Marian

Since my first posting on Mary Ann Vousden less than a fortnight ago I have pursued her from London to New Zealand and back to Hastings, Kent. Whilst I have not yet found a civil record of her birth, or a baptism record, nevertheless I have conclusively identified her.

I obtained a copy of the book 'Community of the Sacred Name, A Centennial History' by Ruth Fry, an account of life in the Anglican religious order in Christchurch in which Mary Ann spent her years in New Zealand. From this book I gleaned one or two more facts about her life, and a photograph that includes her.

I also obtained Mary Ann's death certificate from which I learnt that she died on 2 July 1920 at 19 Brook Street, Hastings, Kent of cancer and bronchitis. Her death certificate provides two vital clues as to her family origins. Firstly, she was described as "Spinster Deaconess. Formerly Hospital Nurse. Daughter of James Vousden a Timber-hewer (deceased)." It is very rare indeed to find a father's name on a UK death certificate, especially for a 75 year old woman, but this was not the decisive piece of evidence.

The second clue was that the registrar was informed of her death by "E.H. Woodyer, sister". At first I thought this person might be a nursing sister but I checked the UK national marriage index and found a Vousden-Woodyer marriage between an Elizabeth Hider Vousden and William Woodyer, in Lambeth, Surrey (now south London) in the April-June quarter of 1870. Elizabeth Hider is known to me, she had a sister Mary Ann, and their parents were James Hider Vousden and Elizabeth nee Waghorn.

I then found James and Elizabeth and their children in the 1851 census, in Goudhurst, including daughter Mary Ann, aged 6. This age is an exact match for the Mary Ann Vousden already identified in the 1871 and 1881 censuses. Clearly, the 1851/1871/1881 census ages and the age given on her death certificate all point to a birth year of 1844/5.

Mary Ann Vousden's grandparents were William and Mercy Vousden, the same couple who feature in an earlier blog: Walter Vousden and the Town Crier of Niagara Falls. Her great grandparents, Thomas and Sarah (nee Borman) Vousden were my 5 x great grandparents, making us second cousins 4 times removed, and so yet another "stray" Vousden is re-located into Goudhurst.

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