Daisy Eliza Gotham (JOHNSON / MARTIN)

The probate calendar of 1954 includes an entry for one Daisy Eliza Gotham MARTIN. Was her third Christian name definitely Gotham and, if so, where did it come from? So far I can't answer either of these questions. The calendar entry shows that she did not leave a will, rather it was for a grant of administration to Daisy Naomi MILLARD, wife of Charles Herbert George MILLARD. It seemed likely Daisy Naomi was the daughter of the testator, and so it has proved. The family were together at the time of the 1911 census, the older Daisy married to George MARTIN, and with three children, living in Sedlescombe in Sussex. From this we learn that Daisy was aged 35 and born Paddington (London). The marriage registration index shows that they Daisy and George had married in Tenterden Registration District early in 1900 (GRO ref: Quarter 1, vol. 2a, p.1085). Daisy is listed as JOHNSON, Daisy Eliza G. At least the G means it is unlikely the Gotham in the probate calendar was a misreading of Cotham - but that was not very likely anyway, it is a surname mostly found in Yorkshire. More likely in the South East is confusion with the surname GORHAM (a much more common name than GOTHAM). But to begin with, I investigated without making an assumption either way about the correctness of Gotham as a Christian name of Daisy. The obvious thing now was to search for a birth of a Daisy Eliza Gotham JOHNSON in the Paddington area in about 1875. Looking at Daisy JOHNSONs born a few years either side of 1875 there are none born in Paddington or with the middle initial E G. Census for Daisy JOHNSON?? Since the index shows womens surnames at the time of marriage, not necessarily their maiden name I next looked for any Daisy E Gs. There was a Daisy Eliza G ADAMS born West Ham Registration District in 1874. Not Paddington, but the right part of the country and about the right age. This looked promising, especially as West Ham is close to where GOTHAMs from the Midlands moved a few years after this. It looked there might be an earlier link to the area. Might our Daisy have married before a marriage to George MARTIN? Apparently not. There was a marriage of a Daisy Elizabeth ADAMS in Pancras RD in 1896, but that was almost certainly a Daisy Elizabeth ADAMS born in Pancras in 1876. Perhaps Daisy Eliza G ADAMS also went by a different surname - e.g. that of a stepfather (or her biological father, if her mother was not married to him when she was born). The next thing was to look for this Daisy in the censuses. She was legitimate, with her parents in 1881, with her widowed mother in 1891. Had her mother then married a Johnson? No, in 1901 she was still a widow, and worse, Daisy was with her and single. Our Daisy was married by then. (Also, this family were consistently in West Ham, so no reason for Daisy or her husband to describe her as born Paddington). I now took a different approach, instead of looking for Daisy Es, looking for any Daisy JOHNSON with middle names similar to Eliza Gotham. The only one, looking at a very wide range of years, seems to be a Daisy Alice G JOHNSON, born in Lambeth RD, so London at least, but not until 1884. It is easy to imagine a 16 year old might exaggerate her age at marriage to marry without parental consent, but would she keep up the pretence her whole life? When our Daisy died in 1953 the death registration index records her age as 78, i.e. agreeing with the 1911 census that she was born in about 1875. Looking for the Daisy born in Lambeth RD in 1884 in the 1901 census we can find a 16 year old Daisy A, born Brixton, still living there, which appears to confirm that she was not our Daisy, who was with her husband in Whatlington, Sussex at that time. One obvious thing I haven't mentioned is looking for a Daisy JOHNSON in the 1881 and 1891 censuses. The difficulty here is that JOHNSON is quiet a common surname. There is no obvious match on birth place and date. Possibly the closest in the 1881 census is a Daisy JOHNSON, born and living in Chelsea, about 2 and a half miles from Paddington, the daughter of Gustaf JOHNSON, a master tailor born in Sweden. I need to look into this family a little more. Otherwise, where can we go from here? Probably the best bet is to look for the marriage details. This should indicate whether Daisy was single or a widow when she married George MARTIN, and give the name of her father (although if her origins are elusive due to her being illegitimate we may simply find a blank or, potentially more misleading, an invented father). Hopefully also the marriage certificate, or better the register entry, will show what 'G' stood for. (The original register entry, or an image of it, will probably have Daisy's signature as well as her name written by the priest or other registrar, giving us two chances of reading it). Her death was registered (GRO index): Martin, Daisy E G, aged 78, Hendon 5e 405, q3 1953 The death certificate may also show her last Christian name, but less reliable and less other useful information than on her marriage certificate.


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