Francis was born in the March quarter of 1866, in St. George in the East registration district, London. His parents were Jacob Lewis (Lowies/Lowres?) born about 1830 and Anita née Van Win, born about 1832. Both parents were from Belgium. Jacob was a cigar maker.
There is a tree on Ancestry (not verified) which gives Anita’s name as Nathalie.
For some reason the family moved to Leicester in time for the 1871 Census, where daughter Pauline had been born that year. We find Jacob and Anita living at 19 Clipstone Street. Jacob is shown as a British Subject from Belgium. Their son Peter, born in 1859, is an apprentice. Francis and Joseph, born in 1868, are also there. There is no sign of Hannah, born in 1869, who we do not see in the census documents until 1891.
For the 1881 Census the family were back in Mile End, London in New Street. Jacob continues to work as a cigar maker. Other children listed since 1871 were:
Annie 1871, who was probably Pauline and later called Polly
Leonora 1873, known as Laura, also born in Leicester
Elizabeth 1880 known as Mary.
Francis worked for a short time as a shoe finisher (1881 census). He then worked as a postman (1891). It was through his occupation on his death certificate that I was able to identify him accurately.
On 15th April 1888, Francis married Ann (Annie) Tofft aged 22. She was the daughter of Charles Tofft, a cigar maker. They married at St. Philip’s Church, Bethnal Green. At that time, Francis was listed as a bookmaker. They do not appear to have had any children.
In 1891, the couple were living in 83, Varden Street, Mile End.
Francis’s parents and the wider family were living at number 68 where we find still them in 1901. Listed for the first time in 1891 is Hannah, born in Leicester in 1969. Henry Shuttler is also living with them as a lodger. He goes on to marry Annie. Curiously, and perhaps a transcription error names Jacob’s wife as Caroline.
New Street and Varden Street appear next to each other in the census.
This census gives us more information about the family. We learn that Francis and Annie are living with his parents. Jacob, now aged 71 years, continues to work as a cigar maker.
Also living in the house at 68 Varden Street, are daughters, Laura, now a drug worker and Elizabeth, a cigarette maker.
Daughter Annie has married Henry Shuttler, a bootmaker, and they are living in the household with their 3 year old son, Henry.
Francis’s father, Jacob died in 1904.
Admitted to Long Grove
On 8th August 1907, Francis was admitted to Long Grove and he died on 3rd January 1908, from a gastric hemorrhage, from cancer of the oesophagus.
There is a researcher on Ancestry with this family partly shown in their tree. This story may be of interest to them.