Hello , I am on the track of a very mysterious lady who was my Great Great Grandmother.
She was born in Yarm in 1843 as SUSANNA CORFIELD and appears on the 1851 census living in Cherry Lane Stockton.
In 1861 , she moved to Darlington , working as a House Servant to a local farmer & his family at Lark House, Low Consicliffe.
Now the mystery begins, she marries a John McKenna on 8th November 1869 at St Mary's Church , Stockton. John is listed as being 28 years old and is literate enough to sign the registry. Susanna is listed as being 25 and illiterate. The registrar has misspelt her name as Scofield but I know it is her as her father is listed as John and a comb maker (exactly as appears on the 1851 census for her father, John Corfield) and on later census she is listed as Susanna McKenna born in Yarm in 1843.
Her husband is listed as born in 1841, a riveter in a shipyard , his father is also called John McKenna , profession Joiner but deceased. There is no census record of a John McKenna having a ten year old son called John in 1851 in the UK making me think he is Irish.
Now comes the mystery - married in 1869 , daughter Sarah McKenna is born on 19th September 1872 in the Stockton Union Workhouse in Portrack Lane ! John (father) is now listed as a boiler maker, presumably in a shipyard somewhere so I am thinking he is not dead yet but where is he and why is the mother in the workhouse ? Did people go to workhouses just to give birth or does this mean she was an inmate ?
I can find no record of either parent (John or Susanna) on the 1871 census nor of the Stockton Workhouse to check.
The mystery deepens as Susanna turns up ten years later on the 1881 census living as a widow in South Shields with Sarah, her daughter (listed as Sarah M Kenna) and a son (John Kerfreed) he has her misspelt maiden name (Corfield) as a surname (obvious a result of some indiscretion when she was a servant girl) - I can find no record of when and where John McKenna died although I think it may have been in Sunderland in 1873.
Ten years later,on the 1891 census she has married the nephew of Grace Darling (the famous lighthouse keeper's daughter) - James Darling and is living in Westoe, South Shields. From there on in the trail is easy to follow to my own family.
I guess I am asking you people who are better at this than I am if there is anything else I can do to track down this mysterious missing chunk (1871 census) and the workhouse episode of Susanna and death of John McKenna - thanks ?
1) Why both parents are totally missing from the 1871 census !
2) What happened to the husband, John McKenna, where was he born and where did he die ?
3) Why has she moved from Stockton to South Shields on the 1881 census even though she is not yet remarried ?
4) Who is the son , listed as John Kerfreed (Corfield) born in 1868, the year before she married, there is no birth certificate, no death certificate and he appears on no other census return ?
5) What is she doing married to Grace Darling's nephew !!!!
I think I need a tardis to get the answers unfortunately !