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Gotts Surname Family History


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Finally, burials for the family have been found as follows:

Margaret E died 2 May 1947 age 62; buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester.

Thomas Junior died 16 January 1960 age 74; Elizabeth (presumably his second wife) died 27 March 1995 age 88; both buried at Riverside Cemetery, Rochester.

No burial has been found for Thomas Senior, though the 1925 Directory notes that Thomas J died on the 23rd July 1924 and Sarah is listed as his widow.

Returning now to the suggestion made earlier that the recorded date of arrival in America is inaccurate, it is perfectly feasible that Thomas Junior could not remember the precise date or, of course, that it is simply a clerical error on the part of the Census enumerator. No ship’s manifest or US entry document has been found to support the 1885 date. Similarly, Thomas may not have had exact knowledge of his mother’s maiden name or, again, we have another clerical mistake.

It does seem very likely that this family is the one mentioned above in the Taverham registers. The only challenge to this comes in the form of records for St Andrews Hospital, a mental institution in Thorpe. Three references to an Ellen GOTTS can be seen, admitted to the hospital on the 23rd May 1889 and discharged on the 27th June 1889, having been “found not insane”. She was re-admitted on the 31st March 1890 and died of stomach cancer on the 10th June 1894 aged 32. This age does not square entirely with the baptism of Ellen RIBBONS in 1858 but is reasonably close. Furthermore, one of the hospital records states that Ellen was “of Costessey”, a village neighbouring Drayton where Thomas Senior worked as a miller at the time of the Censuses of 1871 and 1881.

Where, then, does all this leave our emigrants? If they left for America to start a fresh life after Ellen’s unfortunate death, this would make the recorded date of 1885 nearly ten years out – an unlikely scenario. Or was Thomas finding life with Ellen, clearly a very troubled woman, so difficult that he decides to make a break, take his young child with him and leave poor Ellen behind? Not beyond possibility, though looking after this child would not have been easy. And what was Thomas doing in England in 1913?

A Rochester riddle indeed.

040 - 15 John Thomas & Ellen Ribbons, USA - 4

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