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HANCOCK, John Charles



Initially I searched for John (Charles) Hancock born circa 1869. There were several John’s – far too many to research and only a couple of John Charles who were born in the north of England and seemed to me to be unlikely candidates.

I decided to send for John’s death certificate to see if it gave any clues. I was in luck as his occupation was given as a Paper Bag Maker of St George’s Workhouse, Mint Street, S.E. Using the Census, I was able to trace him.

John’s family

John’s parents were Robert Hancock (b1824) and Elizabeth Collis, who had married on 24th February 1860 at St. James Church, Shoreditch. Robert is shown as a Widower but his first wife Selina Lindsey whom he married in 1849 appears to be still alive.

The 1871 census shows Robert and Elizabeth living at 11 Little Wild Street, London with children Robert, Thomas, Rachel and Elizabeth. John’s father Robert is a shoemaker like his father before him.

The 1881 census (split across two pages) shows head of house Robert, who is now a paper bag maker and Elizabeth with their children, Rachel, Elizabeth, John C., George, Sarah, Matilda and Hannah. They are living at 88 Orange Street.

1881 census

From the census of 1871 and 1881 we can see that John had eight known siblings, but there appears to be a further brother who died aged 1:

  • Robert Collis 1860 – 1942
  • Thomas John 1861 – 1890
  • Rachel 1863 – 1933
  • John Q2-1865 – Q3-1866
  • Elizabeth 1867
  • John Charles 1869 – 1908
  • George 1873 – 1914
  • Sarah 1874 – 1954
  • Matilda 1877 – 1935
  • Hannah 16 June 1879 – 1910

John’s Story

Searching the 1891 Census for John, I found John C., age 22 years, a paper bag manufacturer, and Catherine his wife, a print machine ruler, along with son John C. age 2 months. Their son appears to have been born out of wedlock, as there is no trace of a marriage until 1904. This may explain the lack of birth registration, by searching the GRO Indexes and FreeBMD, we find no record of their child John C. born in 1891.

1891 census

We know that John spent Christmas 1898 within the workhouse and was discharged at his own request.

So far, I cannot trace John or Catherine on the 1901 census.

John Charles married aged 35 on 16th October 1904 at St John the Evangelist, Walworth to Catherine Conroy, a spinster aged 28 who was a Machine ruler. Catherine’s father Joseph was a printer. John gives his father Robert’s occupation as a Paper Bag Manufacturer and his own as a Salesman. The marriage was witnessed by Rachel Ayes, John’s elder sister and her husband William Ayles.

1904 marriage of John Charles HANCOCK to Catherine CONROY

Admission to Long Grove

The first indication that all was not well with John is his admission to the Southwark Union on 19th June 1908.

On the 27th of June he was discharged to Long Grove Hospital where he died on 3rd November 1908 and was buried on the 7th.

Discharge 27 June 1908 to Long Grove Asylum
Patient 76427, asylum admittance and death

His occupation on his death certificate was given as a Paper Bag Maker. His death was due to dysentery of ten days duration and General Paralysis of the Insane for 5 months.

I was unable to find a trace of Catherine on the 1911 Census.

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