In my previous blog I explained how the CDV of Maud Lewis as a small child in India aroused my curiosity and I had discovered an army service record that seemed to be that of her father and this indicated the family’s return to England in June 1881.
The next stage was to take a look at the UK census records. These are online at various subscription websites. I tend to use both findmypast and ancestry depending on the facts I hold as they are both searchable in different ways. Identifying entries for Maud Lewis was straightforward as she was born in Muttra, India but her parents did not enjoy such an exotic background. I suspected her father was born in Lincoln (as per the army service record I had found) and, having noted that the photograph above was taken in Leeds, I concentrated my early searches to that area. Luck was on my side – or so I thought!
The UK census is taken every 10 years– the earliest being in 1841. The 1881 census was taken in April and the family didn’t return until June so I began with the 1891 census.
Maud Lewis (aged 15) was a nursemaid for a family with three young children in Headingly area of Leeds. The head of the house was a woollen manufacturer and there were three other servants indicated – a domestic nurse, a cook and a housemaid. . (Piece no RG12/3710)
Her parents, William and Emma Lewis were also in Leeds area. William Lewis is indicated as aged 47 years and born in Lincoln. An army pensioner he was now occupied as a Barrack Labourer. These personal details tied with the army service record I had previously found so now I knew it linked to the right man – despite change of wife’s name! Emma Lewis, his wife and the mother of Maud, was, in 1891, a cook by day and they had another daughter, Winnifred J (or I?), aged 5 years, born in Horncastle. I found no mention on the 1891 census of the son, Richard Llewellyn Lewis who had been born in India in 1880 – had he died as an infant? (Piece no RG12/3696)
Maud now aged 34 years was a housemaid in Potter Newton, Leeds in the home of two draughtsmen. The photograph above gives an image of her in September 1900. No children here but there is a cook! She was living close to her mother Emma Lewis who was now a 56-year-old widow and a professional cook on her own account. (Both = RG13/4248)
Searching the UK death records on findmypast I found a death of William Lewis in Leeds in 1896 but can’t be totally sure if this relates to Maud’s father. There is no probate record for this man.
And where is little sister Winnifred? A death of Winifred Isabel Lewis is indicated in Leeds in 1903 – could this be Maud’s sister but then surely she should appear in the 1901 census aged c 15years!! Without sending for the full certificate , age is unknown.
Maud had now left Leeds and was working as a parlour maid in St Giles, Oxfordshire at the grand house of an elderly widow – who also had a ladies maid as well as other servants. (RG14/08137) I cannot trace her mother on this census – was her death the catalyst for Maud leaving Yorkshire?
There are no further census records I can search and so there I must leave Maud. Did she die unmarried with no immediate family? There was another accompanying cdv -a lady who looked so similar that she must be a blood relative, I think – Winnie Lewis. The photo was taken in 1897 – so not Maud’s sister, Winnifred, who was born c 1886. However, could Maud’s sister have been named after the older lady?
I wondered if she could be an aunt so I extended the search backwards and found a family living in Lancashire in 1841 census that might be the parents of William Lewis, soldier (father of Maud). At its head was Richard Lewis, a shoemaker, born in Caernarvon Wales – with wife Jane and children (ages 5-11yrs) Eliza Jane, Emma Ellen, Sarah Ann and William all born in Lincolnshire. Son, William, actually born in Lincoln is the right age to be Maud’s father, and the Welsh link sits well with his naming his own son, born in India in 1880, Richard Llewellyn in honour of his father. However, no Winnie!. (Piece HO107/2816)
To intensify the mystery, I have not picked up any of this family in later census records.
Mysteries still to solve for those who like sleuthing!
When and where did Maud die?
Who is the older Winnie Lewis in the photograph?
What happened to Mary Inglis (wife shown on the army service record), Maud’s brother Richard Llewellyn Lewis and sister Winnifred?
Is there anyone who links to this family?