Faulder Family Genealogy Faulder Family Genealogy

16 April, 2024

Clarissa Violet May Willett

I received a comment from Andy Hodge asking:

Does anyone have a Clarissa Violet May Willett in their family line. She passed away around 1975ish?

Comment on Willett Antecedents post

A distinctive name like that should be capable of being tracing back!

Initial Review

A quick review seems to say that Clarissa Violet May Willett:

  • was born 29 May 1893 in Marylebone Registration District, London/Middlesex.1
  • died Q2 1982 in Colchester Registration District, Essex.2

1 Sources: death record (below) and GRO birth indices [Marylebone: Q2 1893; Volume: 01A; Page: 626;]
2 Source: GRO death indices [Colchester: Q2 1882; Volume: 9; Page: 2291;]

This is not the 1975ish death originally suggested but, the date of birth in the death record matches to the reported quarter of the birth. Looking at FreeBMD, there are no viable alternatives, unless we are dealing with a birth or death outside England and Wales.

First name(s) Age@Death
Q3 1865
① Willett
Clarissa Mary Ann Shoreditch 1c143
Q2 1881
① WillettClarissa Mary Ann16Whitechapel 1c212
Q2 1893
Clarissa Violet May Marylebone 1a626
Q2 1911
Clarissa Violet Paddington 1a61
Q3 1930
② Willett
née Blowers
Clarissa80Lambeth 1d296
Q2 1982
WillettClarissa Violet M 29 May 1893Colchester92291
Entries in FreeBMD for Clarissa Willett (none under Willet)
Augmented (in Italics) with data from GRO indices

Census and Probate Records

She appears in censuses for 1901 and 1911 at 8 Hatton Street, Marylebone, with her parents George and Clarissa Willett. In 1911 her occupation was a pupil teacher. By 1920 she was a registered teacher.3

3 Sources: Censuses: 1901 [RG13; PN:0112; Page:291;] and 1911 [RG14; PN:561; RD:7; SD:3; ED:4; SN:162; Page:323;] and (Teachers’ Registration Council Registers 1914-1948 on Find My Past)

Further records for Clarissa Violet May include:

  • 1939 Register for 76 Anchor Road, Clacton, Essex, which gives her date of birth of 29th May 1893. She was single and doing “unpaid domestic duties”; as the first named on the household, she might be presumed to be the head of household. Other members of the household were likely (based on ages/dates of birth and names) included her widowed father 90-year-old George Willett and her 56-year-old widowed cousin, Lucy E Church. There were two others, a 54-year-old Frederick Rogers (recorded as blind) and a currently (April 2024) closed record.4
  • Probate record. “Clarissa Violet May of 76 Anchor Rd Clacton-on-Sea Essex died 16 June 1982 Probate London 14 September Not exceeding £25000”.5 In July 1939 Clacton and some other parishes were transferred to the Colchester Registration District, when Tendring Registration District was abolished and merged with Colchester or Harwich. The address on the probate calendar is therefore consistent with the Registration District on the Death Index.

4 Source: 1939 Register: Enumeration district: Essex; Piece: 1500; Ledger Code: DBRV; Page: 19;
5 Probate Calendar 1982 Ref: 820015573C

Parents and Siblings

Clarissa’s birth Index shows that her mother’s maiden surname was Blowers and she was the youngest of 9 children, all born between 1872 and 1893 in Marylebone. Her parents George Willett and Clarissa were married in 1872 in Lambeth Registration District, Surrey/London.6

6 Source: FreeBMD, Marriages [Lambeth: Q2 1872; Volume: 1d; Page: 635;].

The previously mentioned census records (and the 1881 and 1891 censuses, also for Hatton St, Marylebone) indicate that George Willett was born in Colchester in about 1849. In all the censuses, his occupation was given as a Stone Mason.

Clarissa Violet May has a brother, William Robert Willett (b. Q1 1881 Marylebone). The 1911 census shows him with his parents and his wife Ada (b. ~1870 in Colchester) and their son, George William (b.~1906 in Paddington) and that William and Ada had been married 6 years with one child.

Ada Willett, sister-in-law and cousin to Clarissa

The marriage record for George and Ada7 and George’s birth index entry8 indicates that Ada’s maiden surname was also Willett.

7 Source: FreeBMD, [Marylebone: Q3 1904; Volume: 1a; Page: 1322;]
8 Source: GRO: [Paddington: Q4 1905; Volume: 1a; Page: 0014;]

Tracing Ada’s family, we find that Ada was born in 1869 in Greenstead – part of Colchester.9 She was the first of 10 children born to Joseph Willett and his wife Emma (née Cockrell or Cockerill).

Florence May Willett, probable niece of Ada Willett

The 1901 census shows an 11th child, Florence May. Emma would have been around 50 in 1895 when Florence was born.10 The GRO birth index does not record a mother’s maiden surname for Florence, which casts further doubt about Florence’s relationship to Joseph and Emma Willett.

9 Sources: GRO [Colchester: Q1 1869; Volume: 04A; Page: 316;] and 1881/91/ & 1901/11 Censuses
10 Source: GRO [Colchester: Q1 1895; Volume: 04A; Page: 647;]

The 1911 census partly resolves this by recording Florence as a granddaughter of Joseph;11 she is likely therefore to be the daughter of one of Joseph and Emma’s daughters – probably one born before 1880.

11 Source: 1911 Census: RG14; PN:10298; RD:198; SD:1; ED:14; SN:110; Page:221;

This would narrow the possibilities to:

  • Ada b. Q1 1869, left home between 1891 and 1901, married 1904
  • May Emma b. Q4 1873, still at home in 1891, 1901 and 1911
  • Alice b. Q1 1875, not at home after 1881
  • Annie E b. Q3 1978, still at home in 1891, 1901 and 1911
  • (Lucy Elizabeth b Q2 1883 – would have been about 11 when Florence was conceived).

Florence’s second name, May, might be a clue as to who the mother was. There was a Florence May E Willett, born 31st May 1895, in the 1939 register, but the date of birth is a little too late for the Q1 1895 in the birth index.

There is no clear marriage for Florence Willett identifiable from the index on FreeBMD. However, by testing candidate married surnames on FreeBMD against the 1939 register, we find a Florence M Rollason, born 9th February 1895 in Wolverhampton12 together with husband William A Rollason and three probable children (of which one has a closed record). The GRO identifies these three children (matching birthdate where available on the 1939 register) as having mother’s maiden surname “Willett”. The only possible Willett/Rollason marriage in the South East is in Colchester in 191913 with possible parties William A Rollason to Florence M Willett. The three other possible marriages of Rollason (male) to Willett (female) do not have forenames that match to the 1939 register detailed above.

12 Source: [Piece: 5356; Ledger code: OQNF; Page: 19;]
13 Source: [Colchester: Q4 1919; Volume: 4a; Page: 2009;]

Ada’s parents, Joseph Willett & Ann Gilders

Ada’s father, Joseph, a jobbing gardener, was born in 1845 in Colchester to Joseph Willett and his wife Ann Gilders, the second of 10 children.

Eight of Joseph and Ann’s children appear with them in the 1861 census (the other two were born later). The address was Greenstead Road, Colchester.

Of the ten children, nine are found in the GRO birth index – confirming their birth in Colchester registration district and their mother’s maiden surname as Gilders. The one not found is George, born in Colchester according to the 1861 census – with an implied year of birth of about 1849. This would appear to be the George Willett who married Clarissa Blowers – the parents of Clarissa Violet May Willett. (We have a marriage of cousins between George and Ada.)

Joseph, the husband of Ann, was born in Colchester in about 1815 – per the 1861 Census, but about 1821 per the 1851 census.

In the 1851 Census14 (which took a bit of finding on The Genealogist, where “Willett” was transcribed as “Wellen”);

Joseph, Willett, Head of Household, Age 30 (implied YoB 1821), Born Colchester, Gardner

1851 Census Extract for Joseph Willett, Greenstead Road, Greenstead, Colchester, Essex
14 [HO107; PN:1781; Page:647;]

Match to my family Tree, via Joseph Willett, b~1821

This very closely matches the details for a Joseph Willett in the 1841 Census15 in my ancestral family tree project:

Joseph Willett, Son of Joseph and Susannah Willett, Age 20 (implied YoB 1821, subject to rounding to nearest 5yrs in the 1841 census), Born Essex, Gardner

1841 Census Extract for Joseph Willett, Greenstead Road East Side, Greenstead, Colchester, Essex
15 [HO107; PN:0344; BN:6; Page:229;]

These two individuals are virtually identical, save for some uncertainty over Joseph’s age and hence year of birth.

SourceFact and Year of BirthNotes
Ancestral fileBaptism: 22 Jul 1821Birth assumed close to baptism
Ancestral file1841 Census: 20yo > 1821But ages rounded in 1841 census
Working file1851 Census: 30yo > 1821In The Genealogist as “Wellen”
Working file1861 Census: 46yo > 1815Checked against image
Merged file1871 Census: 50yo > 1821In The Genealogist as Surname: “Willett Junior”
Merged fileDeath: Q2 1880
Age 61 > 1819
Records relating to Joseph Willett, which give or imply a year of birth

The 1861 Census seems to be the outlier, giving the 1815 year of birth. This has been checked against the image. It does appear to be the right person because the street address, wife, occupation match the 1851 and 1871 census and the children are consistent across the 3 censuses.

Thus, we can trace Clarissa Violet May Willett back to Joseph and Susannah Willett, my 1st cousin 4 times removed. Clarissa is then my 3rd cousin twice removed. Joseph Willett, husband of Susannah, was the son of Thomas Willett and his wife Sarah (maiden surname unknown) who were my Great (4x) Grandparents.

Summary: Willett Ancestry of Clarissa Violet May Willett

Willett Ancestry of Clarissa Violet May Willett
Extract from the author’s family tree program summarising Clarissa’s ancestry
“!Willett” indicates I do not know the maiden surname of this Willett Spouse.

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