More Facts Finding Fanny – a change of approach

The other half of the picture!

Great Aunt Connie's Wedding

So…..having been on a lovely ‘romantic novel’ of a journey to find Fanny Yates, it was now time to get back to the facts about my great great grandmother. What did I actually know for sure? Not very much!

The only factual information I had about Fanny was the information recorded on her son’s  birth certificate:

  • Registration District Marylebone.
  • Sub-district Christ Church. County of Middlesex.
  • When and where born: Twelfth of February 1845 at 6 Sherborne Street.
  • Name if any: Edward Cavendish.
  • Sex: Boy.
  • Name and surname of father: Blank
  • Name, surname and maiden name of mother: Fanny Yates.
  • Occupation of father: Blank
  • Signature, description and residence of informant: Fanny Yates, Mother, 6 Sherborne Street.
  • When registered: Twenty fifth of March 1845

I had no name or occupation given for the father of Edward Cavendish Yates and the husband, lover (or whatever he was) of Fanny, but I still had three options for research.

One: The birth address – 6 Sherborne Street, Marylebone, Middlesex.

This address took me on a fruitless search and I would still love to know how Fanny came to be giving birth there. Sadly the house  is now buried under Marylebone Station and any explanation may well have been buried with it.

For some time I researched someone called Abraham Bundey – what a wonderful name! He was a licensed victualler who lived with his family in Sherborne Street in 1841,  but in the end I could make no connections between his family and Fanny Yates as I had hoped. I did create a Bundey Family Tree to help with my research over at if the name should be of interest to anyone.

Two: Searching for a mother and child living together – Fanny and Edward C. Yates (born about 1845) in the census records.

Looking through the census records I could find no evidence of a Fanny or Frances Yates of the right sort of age, living with a child of the right name and age. This suggested that the unmarried mother and her child were sadly separated.

On a very practical note, it also meant that identifying the right Fanny Yates and the right Edward C. Yates in records (particularly if his middle name was not listed) would be made much more difficult.

Three: Checking Marriages and Deaths for Fanny Yates.

I can’t even remember what happened with this search, but I know I found nothing that helped provide me with definite facts for ‘our’ Fanny Yates.

A whole forest of trees but still no facts about Fanny!

With masses of people in my various family trees that I was creating at Ancestry, I still had hardly any facts about the identity of the one person I was most interested in – my great great grandmother, Fanny Yates. I decided to try a new approach.

I would start afresh by looking for clues via the relatives of her own daughter-in-law, Edward Cavendish Yates’ wife, Priscilla Jane Mecham.

Priscilla Jane Yates née Mecham

Priscilla Jane Yates née Mecham, wife of Edward Cavendish Yates Snr.

You may have been wondering who the people in the picture were at the head and around the sides of this blog. Priscilla (pictured left), my great grandmother, is one of them.

The large photograph was taken in Ealing on the occasion of my great aunt Connie’s wedding. Priscilla is the mother of the bride. Her husband died before this picture was taken and my own grandmother May Ethel, great aunt Connie’s sister, had already left for Cape Town, South Africa.

But that’s another story…….

Did Priscilla Jane help me? 

Yes she did! Looking for clues to Fanny’s identity via her daughter-in-law led me to discover that there was definitely a Fanny Yates living with distant cousins of Priscilla’s, at the right time and in a location that would make some sense. Whether or not she is the Fanny Yates who is my ancestor I cannot yet prove, but it does seem quite likely.

If, when you’ve read what I’ve discovered, you’d like to comment, please do.

Next:  Is Fanny Yates, Frances Harriet Yates of Manor Street, Chelsea?

N.B. I have several public family trees at Links to them on this blog will only work if you sign up to membership of the Ancestry website. Membership is free for 14days. If you would like free access to visit one or more of my family trees please use the Contact page to send me an email.
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