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ALAIS, Sarah Elizabeth

b. 1874 – d.1914

Early Years

Sarah Elizabeth Norris was born in the 4th Quarter of 1874 in the District of Eastry in Kent. Eastry is a town slightly inland at the far east of Kent and the District includes the seaside towns of Deal and Sandwich. Sarah was baptised on the 1st day of 1875 at St Andrew’s Church, Deal. Her parents are listed as Henry Thomas Norris and Rosa Norris.
Henry Thomas and Rosa had married on the 12th January 1871, also at St Andrew’s Church.

Henry, who had been born in the 2nd quarter of 1843 in Eastry District, was at the date of marriage aged 27. He was living at 15 Dolphin Street, Deal and was a “boatman” by occupation. His father was a George Edward Norris, also a “boatman”. This was not Henry’s first marriage as he is listed in 1871 as a widower. Records show that in 1856 he had previously been married to a Harriet Wellard. Harriet had died in Eastry District in the 2nd Quarter of 1870, aged just 28.

Rosa had been born in 1838 and was 32 at the time of the marriage and living at 89 Middle Street, Deal. No occupation is listed. Rosa’s father is shown as John Ralph, a “blacksmith”. Rosa had also been married before as she is shown as a widow at the 1871 marriage. Her name at the marriage to Henry was Rosa Dean. Tracing back through records it appears that Rosa Ralph had 2 previous marriages. In 1856 at Lewisham, Kent, Rosa Ralph married a David Cairncross and in 1862, Rosa Cairncross married a William Dean at Greenwich.

Following the marriage of Henry Thomas Norris and Rosa Dean they had 4 children all born in Eastry District.

  • Rosa Emma Norris born in 1873
  • Sarah Elizabeth Norris born in 1874
  • George Edward James Norris born in 1878
  • Emma Elizabeth Norris born in 1880

Family 1880s

In 1881, at 9 Dolphin Street, Deal, Sarah aged 6 is living with her 3 siblings, Rosa, George and Emma, and with their parents Henry (listed as a “mariner”) and Rosa, her mother. Also present in the house are 4 other children who had been born during the previous marriages of Henry and Rosa. Finally, Harriet Ralph, the 75 year old mother of Rosa (senior).

1881 census


By 1891 the family had moved to 15 Silver Street, Deal but with a much smaller household. George Edward had died in 1884. Henry and Rosa now have just daughters, Rosa, Sarah and Emma living with them. Henry is now listed as a “fisherman”. Rosa, the daughter, is shown as a “dressmaker” and Sarah as a “general servant (domestic)”.


In the 1901 census Frederick Albert Alais (listed as “Alias”) is lodging at 9 Oxford Terrace, Guildford described as a “Clock Jobber”. He would marry Sarah two years later. He may have been following work around the south of England, is that how he met Sarah?

Sarah marries Frederick Albert Alais a clockmaker in Deal 1903.

Sarah and Frederick start their family in Croydon.

1904 sees the birth of their first child, Constance Rosa Alais, listed in the 3rd Qtr at Croydon.

1905, then sees the arrival of Albert Norris Alais, listed in the 3rd Qtr at Wandsworth.

Sarah and Frederick living back in Deal with their children – 1911.

1911 census shows Frederick, Sarah and their 2 children living at 6 Osborne Cottage, Church Lane, Sholden, Deal. Frederick, aged 49, is shown as a “clockmaker” and Sarah, aged 35, as a “dressmaker”.

The Manor Hospital

At some time after the census date of 1911, Sarah was admitted to the Manor Asylum at Epsom and she died there, being buried in the Horton Estate Cemetery on the 23rd February 1914. Did she suddenly become ill or had she been ill for some time? What did she die from at so young an age and why did her husband Frederick not claim her body to be buried elsewhere? Had he fallen on hard times and could not afford the cost of removal and burial.?

Family after her death

He is to be found in a Family Tree in Ancestry, listed with his parents, who seem quite well to do, and siblings. This Family Tree has an entry for a Frederick Alais born 1861 being discharged from Northumberland Street Workhouse, Marylebone at his own request on 21st September 1920. Is this Sarah’s husband and had he fallen on hard times or become ill?

Frederick Albert Alais died and his death was registered in the 1st Quarter of 1922 at Lambeth, aged 60. Their son Albert Norris Alais lived until 1969.

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