Henry Richard Florey is my great great grandfather on my mother’s side.
I got the tip-off from his son’s marriage certificate.1 Henry’s son (Henry John Forrest) had married in Auckland, New Zealand in 1885, but he’d been born in Chatham, England around 1862.
So where did his father Henry Richard come from, and who were his parents?
I headed off to look for him in the 1871 England census. And there he was.
On census night in 1871, he was living in Rochester, Kent in Five Bells Navy & Army Beerhouse, with wife Elizabeth Ann and son Henry. Henry (Richard) was head of household with an occupation of “Tailor & Beerhouse Keeper”, and his birthplace listed as Yalding, Kent.2
Hurrah! Now to find his marriage record…
On 15 February 1863, Henry had married Elizabeth Ann Byford at the Union Street Chapel in the district of Medway “according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Bible Christians”.3 At the time of their marriage, they both resided in New Road, Chatham (Kent). Henry’s father is listed as “Richard Florey (deceased)” with an (obviously previous) occupation of labourer.
In 1861 and 1851, I can find no trace of Henry at all. (I have to confess, when first searching for Henry in the censuses, I misread, on both his marriage certificate and 1871 census, his occupation as “Sailor” rather than “Tailor” and imagined him sailing the high seas during this time. Now however, I don’t think there is much call for a tailor aboard ship. Though I could be wrong there. Again.)
And I couldn’t find a death record for his father Richard. Or a likely marriage for his parents. Ho hum.
In the 1841 census, I found a 1 year old Henry Florey in Wateringbury, Kent, which is just down the road from Yalding, my Henry’s birthplace. This Henry is living with his mother Elizabeth Florey 37, and her daughter and sons: Jane Florey 18, William Florey 17, and John Florey 5. Henry’s birthplace is ticked as ‘in county’.4
On FamilySearch, I found a baptism record for a Henry Richard Florey in Yalding in 1840.5 His mother is listed as Elizabeth Florey, but there is no father’s name given… and despite his birth being after compulsory registration, I can find no record of his birth in the GRO index on FreeBMD.
Finally I got round to ordering Henry’s death certificate. He died on 27 May 1916 in Lepperton, Taranaki, New Zealand, and was buried in Lepperton Cemetery on 30 May 1916.6 New Zealand death certificates can be a gold mine of information, if the informant of the death knew enough about the deceased. Henry’s father is listed as ” — Florey” (grrrrrrr!). His mother is given as Elizabeth Ann Knott – so I now have a maiden name!
On FamilySearch I found a marriage for a James Florey and Elizabeth Jane Knott in 1820 in Frindsbury, Kent. 7 Could this be the one? I then went searching for baptism records for Jane and William – and found Jane! Well, a likely candidate, at least: Jane Elizabeth Flora [sic], born 13 Dec 1824, baptised 02 Jan 1825 in St Margaret, Rochester, Kent.8 No sign of William. Or John.
If the family in the 1841 census is Henry’s, could the older two children be James’s children? Had Elizabeth then had William and Henry with another man (or men?). Or is it more likely that James could be Henry’s father, and Henry got his dad’s name wrong when he married…?