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Like many of our stories, there was little to go on for George Dean when searching in the available online records. So little in fact, that a copy of his death certificate was sent for, hoping it would help. It did, but it also threw up more questions.

George’s death certificate records that he was 52 years old when he died from heart disease and that he had had no occupation. His last known address was given as 10 Cromwell Road, Islington.

The 1900 and 1901 London Electoral Lists show that living on the 2nd floor at this address was a THOMAS Dean, but there was no sign of Thomas or George living there when the 1901 census was taken. Only a J. Dean and his wife Isabella are listed. Were these relatives of George’s?

With no other workhouse records found, all we know is that  George was admitted to St John’s Road Islington Workhouse on July 10th 1902. On the 19th July 1902, George was discharged from Islington and admitted to Horton Asylum in Epsom. George died here on the 1st October 1902 and was buried on 7th October in grave 59 in the Horton Estate Cemetery. 

It is believed that the following life story might be for our George Dean. Read on for a little background information about George’s parents before the main story of George can be told.

George’s mother

Her full name was Elizabeth Keith and she had been born in Petershead, Scotland around 1809 to William and Jane Keith. Aged around 20, Elizabeth married Zachriah Thomas Spurrier on the 19th April 1829, in Christ Church Greyfriars. This was on Newgate Street, opposite St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London. Elizabeth gave birth to at least six children before the death of her husband in 1844.

The 1841 Census shows us that Elizabeth was living in Bermondsey Street with her 33-year-old husband Zachariah, who was working as a slater, and their children Charles aged 9, Jane aged 7, Mary aged 5, and William aged 6 months. There was no record of their daughter Elizabeth who would have been aged 3. Elizabeth’s mother Jane and brother Charles Keith were also living there.

On the 14th January 1843, Elizabeth gave birth to their last child Henry. Her husband was only aged 36 when he died of heart disease, just a year later in January 1844. Six months after that, her four-year-old son William died.

George’s father

He was Jonathan Robert Dean, who had been born on 7th December 1822 in Kings Row, St Johns Horsleydown. Jonathan was one of seven children born to Elizabeth and Charles Dean. When Jonathan was baptised, his father was working as a lighterman, a highly skilled trade of operating flat-bottomed barges in London docks to transfer goods from larger boats to the quayside. 

Jonathan was living with his widowed father and his siblings in East Street, St John’s Horsleydown and was working as a lighterman apprentice when the 1841 Census was taken.

It is not known where or when Elizabeth met Jonathan Robert Dean (who was 13 years her junior) but the birth of their son George Dean was registered with the General Registration Office in the March quarter of 1850, in the registration district of St Olave in Southwark. George’s mother’s maiden name was recorded as Keith.

1851 Census

Recorded as lodgers in the Dubley household, George was living with his mother Elizabeth and his half siblings Jane, Mary, Elizabeth, and Henry Spurrier. Their mother was working as a tailoress, and although she was calling herself Elizabeth Dean, she was not yet married to Jonathan, whose whereabouts when the 1851 Census was taken is unknown.

Wedding banns for Elizabeth Spurrier and Jonathan Robert Dean were read consecutively on the 20th, 27th September and 4th October 1857. No evidence of a marriage certificate has been found to prove that they did actually get married. Four days later, on the 8th October 1857, 34-year-old Jonathan died at home in 22 Queen Elizabeth Street, Southwark, from the consumption he had battled with for 2 years. He was buried in Tower Hamlets Cemetery on the 11th October.

On the 24th January 1859 Elizabeth married Henry Hipkins, who was also a lighterman and possibly a friend of the late Jonathan. Elizabeth’s father was recorded as William Keith, a cabinet maker, and Henry’s father as William Hipkins, also a lighterman. 

Two years later, when the 1861 Census was taken, George Dean was aged 11 and was living with his 49-year-old mother, his stepfather Henry. Henry’s widowed mother, Ann Hipkins, was also with them at 32 Horsleydown Lane, Southwark. By June 1863, George’s mother was once again a widow, after her third husband died.

1870s- George Marries

George was 21 years old when the 1871 Census was taken and was living with his mother at 9 Manor Street, Bermondsey. He was by then working as a tin-plater.

George was living at 9 Lorrimore Street in Southwark when he married his neighbour Annie Louise Brown who lived at number 5. Her parents were Henry and Mary Brown, and her siblings were John, Josephine, Alice Sarah and Grace Brown. 

George and Annie, and her sister Alice and her fiancé Joseph Thomas Frander (a cellarman who gave the same address as George, 9 Lorrimore Street), had a joint wedding and were married on Christmas Day 1875 in St Paul’s Church, Walworth. 

Newlyweds George and Annie moved to West Ham where on 22 October 1876, they had their son George baptised in All Saints Church. Two years later their daughter Elizabeth was born but no baptism has been found. 


The 1881 Census records that George’s mother was living with them at 18 Gladstone Road, West Ham, Essex, and that George was still working as a tin plate worker. The following year their son John was born and died.

On the 22nd October 1883 Annie gave birth to her fourth child, Alfred; his birth was recorded as being in the Chelsea Registration District but again no baptism has been found. His birth was followed by the birth of Jessie Josephine on the 11th January 1887. Jessie’s baptism entry in the St Mary’s Church baptism book shows the family address as being 25 Trott Street, Battersea. George was still working as a tin plate worker.

At this point George seems to disappear, and eighteen months after the baptism of Jessie, Annie sailed alone with their children from Liverpool on the City of Chicago. They docked on the 28th July 1888 in New York, USA, apparently on route to Salem, Massachusetts, but ended up in Ohio, USA. 

No evidence has been found to indicate that George travelled to the USA before or after this, but he has not been found in either of the UK 1891 and 1901 censuses.


George junior married Carrie A. Hocking on the 29th November 1899 in Stark, Ohio. The couple had four known children: Raymond, Bernice, Ruth and Lester.

George junior died on the 11th October 1958 in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York, USA.

The 1900 United State Federal Census recorded Annie as still married (but no sign of George) and that she and her remaining children, Elizabeth, Alfred, and Jessie, were living in Layfette Street, Canton Ward 4, Stark, Ohio. It is on this census that Annie records that she had had four children who were all still living. Annie does not appear to have found any work but Elizabeth was working as a helper in a candy factory and Alfred as a helper in a printing office, while Jessie was at school.

The 1910 United State Federal Census was taken two days after Elizabeth married William Shannon McCoy on the 23rd April 1910. Elizabeth was still recorded as living with her mother (now recorded as a widow) and her sister Jessie.  It is on this census that Annie records that she had had seven children but only four were still living. Two of her seven children are unknown.

Elizabeth and William had four children: Anna, Alfred, Samuel, and David. 

Elizabeth died on the 22nd February 1944 in Canton, Stark, Ohio, USA.

Alfred married Mary Alice Schellhose on the 13th September 1910 and they had three known children: Marjorie, John, and Eleanor.

Alfred died on the 3rd March 1952 in Mill Creek, Erie, Pennsylvania, USA.

Jessie married Marion T. Worley on the 10th August 1912 in Cuyahoga, Ohio, but by the time the 1920 United State Federal Census was taken, she was widowed and back living with her mother Annie in Stark, Ohio. It would seem that they were running a lodging house with five gentlemen lodgers.

On the 8th August 1921, Jessie married one of the lodgers, George Edward Kane who was a chemist, in St Joseph’s Church, Sturgis, Michigan, USA. It is unclear what happened to Jessie but her second husband George appears to have remarried in 1933.

Annie Louise Dean, nee Brown, was living in Canton, Stark, Ohio, with her married daughter Elizabeth and her family when the 1930 United State Federal Census was taken. Annie was aged 83 when she died there in 1935.

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