Many decades ago, my family – me and my parents – would visit an elderly great aunt of mine in Cheltenham. She was very interested in our heritage and had many a story to tell, coupled with a collection of photograph albums and family records. Thankfully, we documented our discussions reasonably well and most of what she said, we have found to be true …. well, if you leave out the fact she was utterly convinced we were descended from Edmund Kean, a ‘strolling actor’ of the early nineteenth century!
Her father, Albert Henry Day, was one of just four children according to the family tree my grandfather, David Day, had created. Aunt Win gave us a list of a further ten siblings in the early 1990s and we wondered whether she was ‘losing her marbles’. Win passed away in 1993 and never came to hear of all the discoveries I have made about our family in the ‘digital age’. I am sure she would have thoroughly enjoyed me regaling the stories of my early adventures in the Family Records Centre, trawling through the 1861 and 1871 census schedules for Enfield – manually, on a microfiche, page-by-page – to find the Day family!
There were 14 children in total of William Day. He married twice as his first wife, Elizabeth, died in the early 1850s. Having had six children by her, he married Sarah Tayl(o/e)r in 1853 and had a further eight children. I found all of the ones Win had named except one – ‘Silvey’. Being around ten or twelve when we wrote the list, I wondered if I had misspelt the first name but there was no Sylvia or Silvey Day (or any variation on the theme) in any of the censuses and I could not find a suitable birth registration either.
For years, I left this line – Day… you can understand why! – but when I returned to the tree in the mid-2000s, my main aim was to marry them all off and try to continue the lines downwards, maybe even find some living ‘cousins’. Harriet married Thomas Burcombe, Mary Ann married Nathan Burgess, Caroline Hannah married Edward Greed, Louisa Susan married William Cobbing, Bertha married Joseph Silvey…. GOT IT!!!! Silvey was not her first name but her surname after she married! Problem solved – thank you, Aunt Win.
Bertha was the 10th born child of William – the fourth born of his second marriage to Sarah – and was baptised in Enfield St Andrews on 9 July 1865:
Her father was a coachsmith and she lived in the family home – aged 7 – in 1871 at Raleigh Road, Enfield. She worked her way up the ladder from housemaid to the Dolling family in 1881 to domestic cook in 1891 for the Ridge family, always in the Enfield area. Marrying in September quarter 1891 to Joseph Silvey, fancy goods warehouseman, they had six known children: Reginald Joseph, Henry Edwin, Winifred Rose, Nellie Bertha and Alice May, with one child (name unknown) dying in infancy.
Aunt Win went through the large Fielder/Day family album and pointed her out as the person in this photograph which would have been taken sometime around the 1880s to 1900s:
Little is known of Bertha’s life after the 1911 census but the Silvey family lived, for the most part of their lives in the twentieth century, at 9 River View, Enfield (according to the available London Electoral Registers on Ancestry) and Bertha died there on 28 October 1938:
Joseph outlived her by over fifteen years but still lived at 9 River View until his death on 1 March 1954.
[Couldn’t resist the Bertha reference today!]