Fanny Broadhurst (1866 – 1923) and Susan Broadhurst (1883 – 1964)
This is the first blog featuring the Broadhurst family and features the names Fanny and Susan (if one searches google) which can be found in the Jane Austin novel Mansfield Park. However this is the story of my 2xgreat grandmother (Fanny) and my great grandmother (Susan). It covers topics that can be classed as a bit taboo for some, but nevertheless intriguing to research.
So the story begins with Fanny. She was born in Ashby de la Zouch on 7 July 1866 to John Broadhurst and Susan Withnall being their fourth daughter and sixth child respectively. Below you will see her birth certificate which indicates that she was born on Derby Road. Also note the registrar name of Joseph Hood – he will be the subject of a blog in the near future. It took me a while to locate a possible baptism for her, as from experience of researching the Broadhurst ancestors’, some had a habit of changing their names between various records, ie middle names interchangeably or completely different names. So I found a baptism for an Alice to parents John and Susan on 5 August 1866 at St Helen’s Church. Alice I found to be a common name used in Broadhurst family – so it is a possibility, as nothing with the name ‘Fanny’ could be found and no registered birth for Alice either – or maybe she wasn’t baptised, but all six of her siblings were – so my thinking this is the only record that fits.
Fanny spent her childhood with her parents in Ashby de la Zouch (a town in the North Western part of Leicestershire). Her father was a brickmaker / labourer like most of the male family members at the time. The 1871 census below shows that she was still living on Derby Road with her parents and some of her siblings – Caroline, George, Frank and Clara.
Like most females of the time, Fanny entered into service. According to the 1881 census aged 14 she was living as domestic servant with the Canner family on Wood Street still in Ashby.
A couple of years later however life took an unexpected course, as she found herself pregnant at the age of 16. Who the father was or what the circumstances were would have been difficult situation to be in and in those days. What did her parents think I wonder? How did Fanny feel? That will remain a mystery.
How the decision was made is unclear but Fanny moved to live with her eldest sister Mary Baxter. Mary was living at Stapenhill near Burton upon Trent at the time with her husband William with their first three children. Not long after that Susan (registered as Susannah) came into this world on 14 December 1883. Her certificate below shows the informant being Mary Baxter (aunt) and father unknown. It took me quite a while to find how Mary fitted in with the family, but some DNA matches helped in my quest. My investigations on her proved rather interesting (which will be subject of a blog in the future).
Susan being baptised at Holy Trinity church in Ashby on 8 June 1884 would suggest that both Fanny and Susan spent the next few years in Ashby. What was life like for Fanny and Susan in the early days is hard to imagine? Life had certainly changed for both by the time the 1891 census came round. Susan was living with grandparents John and Susan on Market Street in Ashby de la Zouch and Fanny had gotten married. See 1891 census below for Susan.
The second part of the taboo subject is sad and was a traumatic occurrence according to the story which was passed down. For a long time, Susan was raised by grandparents but she was under the impression that they were her parents until Fanny and Susan were playing in the garden one day. Fanny came clean that she was her mother not her sister, which would have pretty upsetting. At what age Susan was is unclear, but it deeply affected her for the rest of her life. Susan’s children were told and none of them would talk about it – my grandmother certainly never did. What happened afterwards again will never really be known and what the affects were.
Did this happen before Fanny met and married a coal miner Edward Nicklinson not sure? Fanny married Edward on 22 August 1887 aged 20 at the Registry Office (see marriage certificate). Edward was born 1862 in Loughborough, Leicestershire. By the 1891 census were taken, they had 2 children Samuel (1888) and Kate (1889) and were living in Albert Village (which is now part of Swadlincote) west of Ashby de la Zouch.
The family grew to another 3 more children, Clara (1891), Caroline (1894) and Florence (1897). Sadly Caroline passed away to Measles and Bronchitis at the age of 18 months in 1895. The family moved to the Barnsley area of Yorkshire shortly after with Florence being born in Royston. By this time, majority of the Broadhurst cousins had also moved from Ashby to Hemsworth / Royston area too for coal mining jobs. Sadly, in November 1897, Fanny lost her father John. The 1901 census sees the whole family in Royston on Alfred Street.
The 1911 census sees them living at 11 Old Hill, Conisbrough, Yorkshire. Fanny’s mother Susan passed away in the September 1914. A year later their son Samuel married and moved down to Dover, Kent. It didn’t take long for Fanny and Edward deciding to move down there along with daughter Kate too. The two younger children remained up in the Yorkshire area for the rest of their lives.
Sadly on 2 January 1923 Fanny passed away in Dover, Kent. Husband Edward was to live for a further 16 years. I do wonder if Fanny and Susan ever kept in touch.
So back to Susan, like her mother, she had entered service. The 1901 census indicates that she was Servant housemaid to the Joyce family at the Old Hall in Blackfordby between Swadlincote and Ashby de la Zouch. She then met and married Charles Godfrey – a coal miner born 1876 in Appleby Magna, Leicestershire. The pair was married on 14 Apr 1906 at the Holy Trinity church in Ashby de la Zouch. Interestingly Susan had put her grandfather’s name as Father of the Bride, although deceased on her certificate.
The rest of Susan’s life story will continue when Charles is blogged about in the future. I like to think that Fanny and Susan were happy during their lives, as both had long married lives with several children each. My DNA matches in both Ancestry and MyHeritage sites proved that I was on the right track with Fanny’s siblings and her Broadhurst auntie and uncles. All the images have been taken from FindMyPast site and from the certificates ordered from the GRO. Watch this space for more on the Broadhurst family.