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EVANS, Ida Ellen

b. 1876 – d. 1913


Born Ida Ellen Jacobs, Ida’s birth was registered in the 1st Quarter of 1876 in the Registration District of Oundle. Her actual birthplace was the village of Woodnewton, Northamptonshire.


1881. The census at Woodnewton shows Ida living at an unspecified address in the village with her parents and siblings. She was the daughter of Henry Jacobs, a gardener, at that time aged 36. Ida’s mother was Jemima Jacob nee Skinner, aged 33. The other children are John, aged 13, a labourer, Ralph, aged 9, a scholar, Eveline, aged 1 and Horace Alfred, aged 6 months.

census 1881

All of these people are shown as being born in Woodnewton. Henry and Jemima had married in Oundle District and presumably in Woodnewton village where they had both been born. This marriage was registered in the 4th quarter of 1866.

A significant event in the life of Ida, age 5, must have been the death in the 4th Quarter of 1881 when Ida’s mother, Jemima, died aged just 34.

In 1886, 4th Quarter, in Oundle, Henry Jacobs married again, this time to Eliza Stafford.


1891. By this date Ida has moved on. She is now 16 and is at work as a General Servant (domestic) to a farmer named John Gregory and his family living at 12 Back Street, North Kilworth, Leicestershire. This is some 37 miles distant from her birthplace at Woodnewton. The likelihood is that Ida’s family knew the Gregory family. John had been born at Apethorpe which is only two miles from Woodnewton and his wife Drusilla was actually born in Woodnewton.

1894 and 1895. Ida Ellen Jacobs has now moved south and is to be found in London. Unfortunately, things are not going well. Her full name is listed in the London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records 1764-1930. She is said to be 20 years of age and is given a number 7549.

Ida is first admitted to the Westminster Paddington Workhouse on the 12th January 1894 and on the same day is transferred to the Lock Hospital. (Known from 1893 as London Lock Hospital and Rescue Home). It is not clear how long she remained there but she was discharged from the Workhouse on the 17th March 1894. Unfortunately this was not to be her only admission. The following year, on the 9th May 1895, she is back. She is simply listed as Ida Jacobs and her age is now shown as 19 but the entry gives her same number as before, that is 7549.

The next entry on the page is for a Sidney Jacobs. This person is given the same register number 7549 as Ida. No age is listed for Sidney but the relevant column simply says “birth”. It is clear that Ida had given birth either before or after admission. Both are discharged on the 29th May that year.

The General Record Office birth records show at Paddington, the birth of a Sydney Jacobs occurred in the 2nd Quarter of 1895 but sadly in the next quarter there is a death entry in the name of Sidney Jacobs age 0. There would seem no real doubt but that this is the birth and death of the same child. The birth entry only gives Jacobs as the surname and there is no indication of a father’s name so it must be the case that the child was illegitimate.


1901. It has not proved possible to find a census entry for Ida Jacobs.

1905. Ida’s elder brother, Ralph Napoleon Jacobs, (as named in GRO birth records) now married and living in Lincoln, fathers a daughter which he appears to name after his two younger sisters. The child is named Ida Evelyn Jacobs.

1907. On the 2nd July at the Parish of St James in Kennington, London, Ida Ellen Jacobs married John Thomas Evans. Ida is shown as aged 30, a spinster without profession.

Her father named as Henry Jacobs, a Market Gardener. John is shown as age 50, a bachelor. A Lighterman by profession. Father is also John Thomas Evans, Writer or Waiter (difficult to read). The witnesses are shown as Elizabeth Passfield and Eliza Codd. It is unknown what connection, if any, these people had to Ida.


1911. It has not proved possible to find a census entry for Ida Ellen Evans, John Thomas Evans or Ida Ellen Jacob.

1913, January. Ida, described as a “housewife” was admitted to Newington Workhouse on 13th January 1913 and is discharged from Newington Workhouse to the Manor Hospital on 24th January.

The Workhouse discharge sheet states that she has been on an “Infirm Woman’s Diet” and her classification entry classes her as “Temporary Disabled”. If we can get access to her hospital admission records in the future we will be able to discover her mental and physical condition. Until then this is a mystery.

Ida Ellen Evans died age 37 in the Manor Hospital towards the very end of 1913, having only survived there for nearly a year. She was buried in grave 809A on the 5th January 1914.

Authors Comment

Whilst the information above has been researched it is surprising that no census details can be found in 1901 and 1911 census forms. Ida certainly had some ups and downs in her life. Losing her mother at the young age of 5 must have been very distressing for her. She clearly had health problems in 1894 and falling pregnant and then losing her child in 1895 must also have been traumatic.  Whether she was aware that her brother had named his daughter with Ida’s first name, we do not know. The marriage in 1907 to John Evans must have been joyful at least for a while until her admission to the Workhouse. But it is not easily possible to identify any children or where they lived together thereafter.

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