The Puzzle of Lois Micklethwait

In an English One Name Study, one of the first things to do is extract all the births, marriages and deaths from FreeBMD. Inevitably you end up with a bunch of infants for whom you have a birth, followed very shortly by a death. If that short time span doesn’t include a census then it’s difficult to figure out who the parents are. Occasionally there’s a baptism or a burial record to help. Things improved when the GRO put their indices online and you could find out the mother’s maiden name. But many infants in my study remain unattached.

One such was Lois Micklethwait who was born and died in Kettering, Northamptonshire, in the March quarter of 1879. The GRO index gave her mother’s name as Coleman. The matter rested there until a friend (thanks, Sue) sent me an image of her burial record – it names her as Lois Clark Micklethwait, father Bartholomew Clark, carpenter, of 14 Albion Road, aged 1 month. If her father was a Clark and her mother a Coleman, why is she named Micklethwait? It’s not a simple clerical error as there are 2 registrations and a burial record where the name appears.

The 1881 census has Batholomew Clark aged 47, of 3 Meeting Lane, Kettering, a wheelwright born Bury, Suffolk, with Emma 34, wife, born St Neots, and Minnie 5, born Kettering. The GRO index shows a Minnie Clark born Sep 1875 Kettering, mother’s maiden name Coleman, and there’s a baptism for Minnie Kate Clark in 1875 to Bartholomew and Emma.

In fact, Bartholomew and Emma seem to have had a few children – there are these births in Kettering to Clark(e)/Coleman:
– Minnie Kate Sep 1875
– Emily Frances Sep 1876 (d. Mar 1877)
– Lois Frances Dec 1877 (d. Mar 1878)
– Albert Jun 1880 (d. Jun 1880)
– Emma Ellen Dec 1881 (d. Sep 1882)
There is suitable gap in 1879 for Lois Clark Micklethwait (poor Emma!)

There are also some other possible “sightings”:
– 1891 census entry for Bartholomew Clark in Leighton Buzzard born 1826 (lodger, no Emma or Minnie)
– a death in 1897 for Bartholomew Clark in Leighton Buzzard
– a baptism for Bartholomew Clark 24 June 1827 Walsham le Willows Suffolk, father Grimwade Clark
– an entry for Minnie Clark on the 1901 census, born 1875 Kettering, a female servant in Wellingborough with Henry Munns
– a marriage in 1903 in Kettering for Kate Minnie Clark
I haven’t found Minnie or Emma on the 1891 census, and there are too many Emma Clarks and Emma Colemans to be sure when Emma died.

On the other hand, there are no Micklethwait(e)s in Kettering at this time. Nor are there any Emma Micklethwait(e)s at this time. Nor are there any Micklethwait(e) marriages to Colemans or Clark(e)s at this time. So why is Lois called Micklethwait?

Edit: Emma Coleman appears on the 1871 census in Islington (aged 23) with sister Fanny Stamford (aged 43) and Fanny’s husband George and son Alfred (all 3 born Eaton Socon). Emma also appears on the 1851 census (aged 3) with parents John and Ann (born Kettering) and numerous siblings (not including Fanny!)

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  1. Gail Hardy

     /  September 4, 2017

    Hi,  Andy, Thanks for sending me the article you wrote on Lois Micklethwait. You’ve really done a lot of research on her and it seems almost anti-climactic for her to have died so young. Here’s an idea. There are a lot of Micklethwaits in Yorkshire. What if Lois Micklethwait’s last name was actually Clark and she was named after a friend of her parents from Yorkshire? I know. That’d be crazy. Thanks again. Gail Hardy

  2. Thanks for the idea Gail – I have no idea why she was called Micklethwait! There aren’t any in that area at that time, nor where Emma or Bart. came from. It’s a puzzle!


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