#11 William George Sillifant of Ashwater, Devon

16 March 2014

Toronto WGSWilliam George was the first child of Richard and Mary Anne (nee Jordan) Sillifant. Following their marriage in 1870, William George was born in early 1871 in Ashwater, a parish 6 miles from Holsworthy. At the family home in Hurdon Down Farm in Launceston in 1881, William was a 10-year-old scholar. At some point in the 1880s, William travelled to Toronto, Canada though at present, he has not been located on any of the databases relating to shipping or border crossings.

As a tailor on his marriage to a Cornish girl, Elizabeth Tremilling, on 21 June 1890 at St James Cathedral, Toronto (Source: Archives of Ontario; Series: MS932_73; Reel: 73), William’s surname is written as SELIFONT. His occupation perhaps indicates the reason for his travels to Canada – to either earn a living or learn his trade – though it is unusual in this era for people to travel so far afield.

The family remain in Canada for a few years and the births of their first two children are registered in Toronto: Daisy Ethelwyne in 1891 and Wilfred George Gordon in 1893. Sadly, Wilfred died young and his death was registered in August 1893.

Returning to the UK, William and Elizabeth had three further children, all registered as SELIFANT in the GRO birth indexes – Lilian Ernestine in 1896, Myrtle Ellaline in 1898 and Ivy Gwendoline Alberta in 1902. If only all Sillifant children were given such recognisable first names! Makes things much simpler ….

The 1901 and 1911 censuses in the UK record the family in Southampton but in the 1911 census, William was not living at the family home of ‘Newquay’, 121 Earl’s Road, Southampton. He was written onto the schedule and then crossed through as he was boarding in Canonbury with John Joseph Ray, a tailor’s cutter, John’s wife, five other boarders and a visitor.

Elizabeth J. Selifant died in March qtr 1933 in Southampton aged 73 and William Selifant married Emily J. Hunt in Chelsea in the same quarter of 1933. Maybe the couple had separated many years before Elizabeth’s death? Such a quick marriage after he was widowed …. more to be discovered I feel.

Looking at the London Electoral Registers on Ancestry, Daisy Ethelwyn Tremmelling Selifant appears at 6 Cedar House, Marloes Road, Kensington in 1936 and the other references relate to Phyllis Selifant in 1938 (unrelated to this family) and to Emily J. Selifant between 1946 and 1958. William George died in Chelsea in June qtr 1941 with Emily outliving him by 17 years, dying in June qtr 1958.

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