The First Family of James Casbon in England

I have written about James Casbon (~1813–1884) many times, but most of my focus has been on his later years in England, his emigration to the United States, and his children who grew up there. However, he lived most of his life in England and had a large family there by his first wife, Elizabeth Waller. I have never told the stories of James’s and Elizabeth’s children. They would have been adults by the time James departed from England with his second family (wife, Mary, and their children) in 1870.

Technically, James’s living descendants in the United States—some of whom I know and correspond with—are closer in kinship to their English cousins than they are to me, since I am descended from James’s brother Thomas.

James Casbon, undated photo; courtesy of Ron Casbon

I’ll begin with a brief review of James’s and Elizabeth’s lives in England. James’s birthdate is not recorded, but from census records, it seems that he was probably born at Meldreth, Cambridgeshire in 1813 or 1814. Elizabeth Waller was born at Meldreth 11 September 1815 and baptized 15 October of that year, the daughter of William and Sarah (Johnson)
Waller.[1] James and Elizabeth were married at Meldreth 25 July 1835.[2] Elizabeth died of consumption (tuberculosis) 16 August 1852 at the age of 36.[3] James’s whereabouts after her death are unknown until he appears in the vicinity of Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, sometime in the 1860s. He married his second wife, Mary Jackson, at Stretham, Cambridgeshire, in 1866.[4]

The immediate aftermath of Elizabeth’s death is unknown, but there is reason to believe that it had a catastrophic effect on the family. At least two of the children, and probably more, ended up at the local workhouse, a destination reserved for destitute families and paupers. By 1861, the first census after Elizabeth’s death, there is no trace of the family as a unit. Only one of the children can be found in that census with certainty. By then, many of them would have been old enough to enter the workforce, so it is not surprising that they cannot be found together. However, it is odd not to find them at all.

Here is a chart showing James, Elizabeth, and two generations of their descendants, followed by biographical sketches of their children.

Chart showing descendants of James and Elizabeth (Waller) Casbon, numbered by generation and arranged in birth order (Click on image to enlarge)

William Casbon (~1836–unknown)

I held off on writing this post until I knew the answer to the two-William problem. Now that I have the answer, I can be more confident in what I say about James’s eldest son, William.

The only certain records we have of William are the 1841 and 1851 censuses of Meldreth and Melbourn, respectively. His age is given as 5 in 1841 and 15 in 1851, giving an estimated birth year of 1836. The 1851 census also tells us that William had already entered the workforce as an agricultural labourer.

Detail from 1851 England census, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, showing James Casbon and his family; William, age 15, is highlighted (Ancestry.com) (Click on image to enlarge)

After the 1851 census, the trail for William goes cold, or at least cool. I have found a few records that might pertain to him. The first is in a collection known as the “1861 Worldwide [British] Army Index” (Findmypast.com). The collection includes a record for William Casbon, a private assigned to the 1st Battalion 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment of Foot in Gorakhpur, India.[5] I think this was probably James’s son, especially since he does not turn up elsewhere in the 1861 England census. Given the likely disruption of the family following his mother’s death, it’s plausible that William could have enlisted in the Army, perhaps after a stint in the workhouse.

There are two more interesting records. The first is the baptismal record of William Casbon, son of William Casbon and Lydia Lovely, at Whaddon (a village 1 ½ miles from Meldreth) in 1867 (no date given).[6] The child appears to have born out of wedlock in about 1860, based on his name being listed as William Lovely, age 11, in the 1871 census.[7] It’s plausible but not possible to prove that James’s son William was the father.

The second record is an 1869 criminal court record describing the conviction of Eliza Bacon, age 29, for “feloniously marrying Robert Bacon, her husband William Casbon being alive.”[8] This record might also refer to our William, but there is insufficient information to connect it to him with certainty. I have been unable to find any record of marriage or death for William.

Sarah Casbon (~1837–unknown)

The oldest daughter of James and Elizabeth, Sarah was baptized at Meldreth 8 October 1837.[9] She appears in the 1841 and 1851 censuses and then disappears from view. She would have been 14 years old when her mother died. I haven’t been able to find any further marriage, death, or census records for Sarah.

Lydia (Ann) Casbon (~1840–1885)

Lydia was baptized at Meldreth 20 December 1840.[10] She married, at Chester, Cheshire, 28 August 1859, Daniel Cross.[11] What was Lydia doing at Chester, more than 140 miles from Meldreth? One can surmise that she had found a position of some kind there, either as a servant or dressmaker (her occupation in the 1861 census). The parish marriage record gives Lydia’s father’s occupation as “farmer.” This was an exaggeration, since James was an agricultural labourer, a far cry from one who farmed his own land.

Lydia and Daniel had one son, William, born in 1867. Although I have not traced the family any further, it is evident from other Ancestry family trees that William had a large family. Thus, it is likely that Lydia and Daniel have living descendants today. Lydia’s burial is recorded at Chester on 8 May 1885.[12]

Mary Casbon (~1841–unknown)

Mary was baptized at Meldreth 19 December 1841.[13] Like several of her siblings, she disappears after the 1851 census. Given her age at the time of her mother’s death—about 11 years old—she might have spent some time in the Royston Union workhouse. While researching for this post, I came upon an 1861 census listing for Matilda Casbin, age 19, housemaid at a private home in Westminster St. Martin in the Fields, London.[14] Matilda’s birthplace is listed as Meldreth, Cambridgeshire. Given the last name, the birthplace, the fact that there are no other records for Matilda Casbon, and no other Casbons of that approximate age from Meldreth who are unaccounted for, I think this could be Mary.

Thomas Casbon (1844–1924)

Thomas was born at Meldreth 20 September 1844 and baptized there 15 June 1845.[15] He would have been 8 years old when his mother died. I haven’t found him for certain on the 1861 census, but I have previously written about my theory that Thomas and his father might have been listed in the 1861 census of Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, under the surname Randle. Thomas appears in a few newspaper articles of the late 1860s and early 1870s for minor criminal offenses such as public drunkenness and trespassing. He is recorded in the 1871 census living at Barrington, Cambridgeshire (2 ½ miles from Meldreth) and working as a “coprolite labourer.”[16]

In 1878 Thomas married Sarah Ann Wyers, a former domestic servant from Mepal, Cambridgeshire.[17] The couple had eight children—all but one of them boys—ensuring continuation of the family name. Thomas worked as an agricultural labourer and lived the remainder of his life at Brangehill (possibly a farm), near Sutton, Cambridgeshire. His death was registered in October 1924.[18] He was 80 years old.

George Casbon (1846–1897)

George was born at Meldreth 28 November 1847 and baptized 16 March the following
year.[19] George was sent to the Royston Union workhouse, probably shortly after his mother’s death. I wrote about him recently, describing his arrest and brief imprisonment for running away and stealing clothes from the workhouse. I have found entries in the 1861 census listing for the Royston workhouse that I believe are for George and his younger brother, John. They are represented by the initials “C.G.” and “C.J.” (last initial/first initial) on the census form.[20]

Detail from 1861 England Census, Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, Royston Union Workhouse, showing entries for “C.G.,” age 14 and “C.J.,” age 13; in this listing, the first initial represents the surname (Ancestry.com) (Click on image to enlarge)

I believe he can be also found in the 1871 census as “George Carswell,” age 24, birthplace Meldreth, Cambridgeshire, residing in the Army barracks at Stoke Damerel,
Devonshire.[21] This suspicion is supported by the description of George’s occupation in the 1881 census as “formerly a soldier.”

George married Sarah Pearse in 1881[22] and the couple settled in Fowlmere, a small village about 3 miles from Meldreth. He was listed there as a farm labourer in 1891.[23] George and Sarah had a son and four daughters. Notably, all four of the daughters became domestic servants, one of the few options available to girls from the lower classes. One of these daughters, Hilda Mary Casbon (1887–1921), being unmarried, gave up her son, George, for adoption. George was later shipped to Canada as one of thousands of “British Home Children.”

George, the subject of this sketch, died at Fowlmere 18 October 1897 at the age of 51.[24]

John Casbon (1849–1935)

John was born at Meldreth 10 February 1849, three years before his mother’s death.[25] I believe he was also sent to the Royston Union workhouse, where he is listed as “C. J.” in the 1861 census. In the 1871 census, he is listed as an agricultural labourer at Meldreth.[26] In 1890 he married Sarah Pepper, a local woman who previously worked as a servant and cook in London.[27] John and Sarah lived on Drury Lane in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, for their entire married lives and had no children. By 1911, his occupation was listed as “shepherd.”[28] John died in 1935[29] and Sarah in 1938.[30]

Emma Casbon (1851–1853)

Emma’s birthdate is not recorded, but her age was recorded as 2 years old when she died of “fever” at the Royston Union workhouse on 4 November 1853.[31]

Death registration of Emma Casbon, Union Workhouse Bassingbourn (Royston), 2 years old; cause of death “Fever” (Click on image to enlarge)

Her baptismal record of 13 August 1852—three days before her mother’s death—is marked “Private,” meaning the ceremony was performed somewhere besides the parish church—most likely at home.[32] Given the timing, this was probably done so that her terminally ill mother could be present at the ceremony, perhaps as a dying wish. The location of Emma’s death—the workhouse—is the most visible and poignant indication of the consequences of Elizabeth’s death. Without his wife, James, a poor labourer, no longer had the resources to care for his family. We don’t know when or how many of James’s children were admitted to the workhouse, but in Emma’s case, it was probably quite soon after Elizabeth’s death.


[1] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), register of baptisms (1813–1867), p. 8, no. 57; accessed as “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” browsable images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 28 April 2017), image 201 of 699; citing FHL microfilm 1,040,542, item 5.
[2] Parish of Meldreth, register of marriages (1813–1837), p. 34, no. 100; accessed as “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 29 Aug 2017), image 363; citing FHL microfilm 1,040,542, item 8.
[3] England, General Register Office (GRO), death registration (unofficial copy), Royston & Buntingford/Melbourn, 1852, no. 117; PDF copy, author’s collection.
[4] “Stretham Marriages 1558 – 1952,” PDF extract, database,  Cambridgeshire Family History Society (https://www.cfhs.org.uk/tokens/tokpub.cfm : downloaded 2 September 2017), >Casben >Stretham >Stretham Marriages 1558 – 1952, James Casben & Mary Jackson, 3 Nov 1866; citing Stretham (Cambridgeshire) parish records.
[5] “British Army, Worldwide Index 1861,” database, Findmypast (https://www.findmypast.com/transcript?id=GBM%2FSOLIDX%2F00170082 : accessed 11 Nov 2016).
[6] “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NBFC-TLQ : 6 December 2014).
[7] 1871 England census, Cambridgeshire, Bassingbourn, ED 4, p. 13 (65 stamped), schedule 60, William Lovely in the household of John Willshire; imaged at Ancestry ((https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7619 : accessed 29 Sep 20) >Cambridgeshire >Bassingbourne >ALL >4 >images 13-4 of 26; citing The National Archives, RG 10/1361.
[8] Central Criminal Court Calendar of Prisoners in Her Majesty’s Gaol of Newgate, Third Session, Commencing Monday, 20th of September, 1869, p. 10, no. 20; imaged in “England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935,” Findmypast (https://www.findmypast.com/transcript?id=TNA/CCC/CRIM9/015/28981/3), image 171 of 236.
[9] Parish of Meldreth, register of baptisms (1813–1867), p. 49, no. 390.
[10] Parish of Meldreth, register of baptisms (1813–1867), p. 54, no. 430.
[11] Holy Trinity parish, Chester, Cheshire, England, p. 173, item 2; imaged as “Cheshire Diocese of Chester parish marriages 1538-1910,” Findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-records/cheshire-diocese-of-chester-parish-marriages-1538-1910).
[12] Parish of Christleton, Burials 1885, Refe. item 2,, p 15 Record group Part 1 – 1; imaged as “Cheshire Diocese Of Chester Parish Burials 1538-1911,” Findmypast (https://www.findmypast.com/transcript?id=GBPRS%2FD%2F767404785%2F1 :accessed 8 Nov 2016).
[13] Parish of Meldreth, register of baptisms (1813–1867), p. 55, no. 437.
[14] 1861 England census, Middlesex, Westminster St. Martin in the Fields, Charing Cross, ED 10, p. 12, Matilda Casbin in the household of Lydia A. Knight; Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/8767 : accessed 1 Oct 20) >Middlesex >Westminster St Martin in the Fields >Charing Cross >District 10 >image 13 of 29.
[15] England, General Register Office, birth registration (unofficial copy), certificate no. BCA205377, Royston & Buntingford district, Melbourne sub-district, no. 230, 20 Sep 1844; author’s collection. Parish of Meldreth, register of baptisms (1813–1867), p. 61, no. 487.
[16] 1871 England census, Cambridgeshire, Barrington, ED 2, p. 14, schedule 52; imaged as “1871 England Census,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7619 : accessed 23 Aug 20) >Cambridgeshire >Barrington >ALL >2 >image 15 of 31.
[17] “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837–2005”, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2D5X-CWM: 13 December 2014).
[18] “England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837–2007,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVH4-9L5F : accessed 25 September 2015); Ely, 3d qtr 1924, vol. 3B/144.
[19] Parish of Meldreth, register of baptisms (1813–1867), p. 63, no. 501.
[20] 1861 England census, Cambridgeshire, Bassingbourn, enumeration district 5, p 77(stamped), verso (6th page of Royston Union Workhouse); Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8767 : accessed 24 April 2020) >Cambridgeshire >Bassingbourn >District 5 >image 23 of 25.
[21] 1871 England census, Devon, Stoke Damerel, St. Aubyn, Raglan barracks, p. 81 (verso), line 10; imaged as “1871 England Census,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7619 : accessed 23 Aug 2020) >Devon >Stoke Damerel >St Aubyn >Raglan Barracks >image 37 of 57.
[22] “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2DRB-92T : accessed 26 September 2015), George Casbon, 1881; from “England & Wales Marriages, 1837-2005,” database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing Marriage, Colchester, Essex, England, General Register Office.
[23] 1891 England census, Cambridgeshire, Fowlmere, ED 6, p. 14, schedule 86; imaged as “1891 England Census,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/6598 : accessed 23 Aug 2020) >Cambridgeshire >Fowlmere >ALL >District 6 >image 15 of 20.
[24] “Deaths,” Saffron Walden (Essex) Weekly News, 22 Oct 1897, p. 8, col. 8; accessed through “British Newspaper Collection,”  findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/ : accessed 14 September 2017).
[25] Parish of Meldreth, register of baptisms (1813–1867), p. 68, no. 540.
[26] 1871 England census, Cambridgeshire, Meldreth, ED 15, p. 6, schedule32; ; imaged as “1871 England Census,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7619 : accessed 24 Aug 20) >Cambridgeshire >Meldreth >ALL >15 >image 7 of 32.
[27] “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837–2005”, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2DCN-4ZD : accessed 28 Apr 20); Royston, 1st qtr, vol. 3A/352.
[28] 1911 England census, Cambridgeshire, Melbourn, ED 9, schedule 82; imaged as “1911 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2352 : accessed 24 Aug 2020) >Hertfordshire >Melbourn >ALL >09 >image 168 of 299.
[29] England and Wales, “Search the GRO [General Register Office] Online Index,” HM Passport Office (https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/indexes_search.asp : accessed 30 Sep 20); entry for John James Casbon, age 85, 1st qtr 1935, Cambridge, vol. 3B/564.
[30] “Search the GRO [General Register Office] Online Index,” (https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/indexes_search.asp : accessed 30 Sep 20); entry for Sarah Casbon, age 88, 1st qtr 1938, Cambridgeshire, vol. 3B/553>
[31] England, death registration (unofficial copy), Dec qtr 1853, Royston & Buntingford District, vol. 3A/107, Melbourn Sub-district, no. 319; General Register Office (GRO), Southport.
[32] Parish of Meldreth, register of baptisms (1813–1867), p. 75, no. 599.

More Servants!

My last two posts profiled two individuals who entered into domestic service as a ladies-maid and footman, respectively. Before I leave the topic altogether, I want to pay tribute to many other Casbon family members who worked as domestic servants. I’ve combed through my files to find those Casbon relatives who were listed as servants on census or other records. It turns out there were quite a few! I know precious few details about most of them, but collectively, I think their stories are worth the telling.

All of the servants featured in today’s post are women. This should come as no great surprise. Employment opportunities for women during this time frame (mid 1800s to early 1900s) were limited, and domestic service was one of the most common occupations for working-class women. In 1911, although the numbers were already declining, twenty-eight percent of working women in England were employed in domestic service.[1]

Men constituted a much lower percentage of the domestic service workforce. Men had access to a much greater variety of trades and occupations.“Most of those employed in domestic service in Victorian times were women, outnumbering men at over 20 to one by 1880.”[2] There was a tax on male servants, so they tended to be employed in larger, wealthier households.[3] The majority of female servants worked in middle-class households; where having at least one servant was considered essential.[4]

Here are the Casbon women I’ve discovered who were domestic servants at one time or another. They are presented in roughly chronological birth order and grouped by families.

John Finnie (1829-1907), “Maids of All Work” (1864-5), ©The Geffrye Museum of the Home.[5]

Mary Ann, Edith, Jane and Martha Casbon

I’ve listed these four together because they were the daughters of William (1805–1807) and Ann (Clark, ~1812–1869) Casbon, of Meldreth, Cambridgeshire. William was an agricultural labourer with a large family.

Mary Ann was born about 1831 in Meldreth.[6] in the 1851 census, we find her listed as the only servant in the household of John Campkin, a “Grocer & Draper” living in Melbourn.[7] By 1861 Mary Ann was working as a cook in a London public house.[8] I haven’t located her in the 1871 census. In 1875, at the age of forty-four, she married a widower named Joseph Sparrow.[9] She had no children. Her date of death is unknown, but occurred after 1891.[10]

Edith was baptized at Meldreth in 1835.[11] In 1851, sixteen-year-old Edith was working as a “house servant” in the home of Elizabeth Bell, a widow in Whaddon, Cambridgeshire, with a farm of 166 acres (quite large for that time).[12] There were also two male servants in the household, a horse keeper and a shepherd. She married William Catley in 1860,[13] and together they had seven children. She died in 1916 and was buried in Melbourn.[14]

Jane was baptized in 1840 at Meldreth.[15] In 1861 she was living at home but listed as “Servant,” so she was presumably working elsewhere.[16] In 1871, she was listed as “House Keeper,” again in her father’s household, so it is unclear whether she was keeping his or someone else’s house.[17] She married John Camp in 1881[18] and had two children. She died in 1904, age sixty-four.[19]

Martha, who was twenty-four years younger than her sister Mary Ann, spent most of her life as a domestic servant in London. In 1871, Martha was listed as “Housemaid” along with one other female servant (the cook) in the household of a civil engineer.[20] In 1881 she was the sole servant in a small household consisting of a Scottish woolen merchant and his sister.[21] She was again the sole servant in 1891, this time to a chemist and his wife.[22] In 1901 she was the lone servant for a Presbyterian minister and his wife.[23] The last record we have of Martha as a servant is in 1911 (the last year census records are available). At that time fifty-six-year-old Martha was serving as the cook in a household with three other servants.[24] Their master and mistress were a retired draper and his wife. Quite a few servants for two people! Martha never married. Sometime before 1839, she retired to Melbourn, Cambridgeshire (the sister village to Meldreth).[25] She died in Cambridge in 1947 and was buried in Melbourn.[26]

Sarah Casbon

Sarah was the daughter of Thomas (~1807–1863) and Jane (Cooper, ~1803–1874) Casbon. Thomas was the patriarch of the “Peterborough Casbons.”  Sarah was born about 1834 in Somersham, Huntingdonshire.[27] In 1851, she was the only servant for a widow and her daughter in Chatteris.[28] She married Richard Baker in 1857[29] and had at least eight children. She died in 1904, age sixty-nine.[30]

Priscilla Casbon

Priscilla was the daughter of William (~1835–1896) and Sarah (West, ~1823–1905) Casbon of Meldreth. William was an agricultural labourer and Priscilla his only daughter. She was born in 1862.[31] In the 1881 census, she was employed as the only servant for a banker’s clerk and his wife in Cambridge.[32] In 1891 she was living with her parents at home, with no occupation listed.[33]

Priscilla’s story has an interesting twist. When she was thirty-four, in 1896, she married a seventy-seven-year-old widowed gentleman named Charles Banks.[34] He was definitely a “sugar daddy.” He never had children. When he died in 1904, his estate was valued at
£12, 232, divided between Priscilla and two other beneficiaries.[35] There is evidence that she remarried a man named John Wilson in 1908 and was still alive in 1939, but I’m not certain this is her. I would love to know more about her story!

Julia Frances Casbon

Julia was born in 1866, the daughter of George S (~1836–1914) and Sarah (Pryor, ~1831–1903) Casbon. George was a wheelwright in Barley, Hertfordshire, and originally from Meldreth. In the 1891 census, we find Julia working as one of three female servants in the household of a retired Army officer in Kensington, London.[36] She married Henry Brassington, a bootmaker, in 1899.[37] They had two sons. Julia was ninety-nine years old when she died in 1965.[38]

Kate Casban

Kate was the daughter of John (1843–1927) and Mary Anne (Hall, ~1840–1880) Casban. She was born in 1874.[39] In 1891, at the age of seventeen, she was one of two female servants employed by a single unmarried woman.[40] She married Frederick Gunn in 1898[41] and had two children. I haven’t been able to pin down the date of her death.

Margaret Alice Casban

Born at Melbourn in 1875,[42] the daughter of Samuel Clark (1851–1922) and Lydia (Harrup, ~1853–1924) Casban, “Alice,” like her cousin Kate, was already working as a servant in 1891.[43] She was one of two servants, the other a footman, working for the proprietor of a pub.[44] She married Thomas William Francis in 1898[45] and had seven children. Date of her death is uncertain.

Olive Louise, Maud Emily, Hilda Mary, and Elsie Lydia Casbon

These four sisters were the daughters of George (1846–1897) and Sarah (Pearse, ~1847–1912) Casbon. George was originally from Meldreth but settled in nearby Fowlmere where he was a farm labourer. The family was probably quite poor. Sarah, the mother, went to work as a charwoman after George’s death. The daughters would have had few other options than going into domestic service as soon as they reached a suitable age. A striking feature of this family is that all four daughters died at an early age. I don’t know the cause of death for any of them.

Olive Louise, the oldest, was born in 1884.[46] by 1901, she was the sole servant for a tea buyer and his family, living in Croydon.[47] In 1911, she was one of two servants, the other the cook, for a much larger family, also in Croydon.[48] She married Thomas De Rinzy[49] in 1911 and bore him a son that same year. [50] Olive died in 1916, thirty-two years old.[51]

Maud Emily was born in 1885.[52] In 1901 at age fifteen, she was working as a kitchen maid in Melbourn,[53] and in 1911 she was the cook for a London single woman.[54] She died later that year at the age of twenty-six.[55]

Hilda Mary was born in 1887.[56] In 1911 she was living with her mother in Fowlmere, but occupation was listed as “General (Domestic),” which suggests that she was doing service work outside of the home.[57] By 1914, she was working as a domestic servant in Surrey. We know this because of the fact that she gave birth to a son in June 1914.[58] The birth certificate states that she was “a Domestic Servant of 140 Beckenham Road Penge.”

Birth certificate of George Casbon, 11 June 1914. (Click on image to enlarge)

An unwanted pregnancy was possibly the worst-case scenario for an unmarried female servant. If she became pregnant, she could be “immediately turned out of the house without a character to join the ranks of the unemployed.”[59]

I have handwritten notes from a relative stating that Hilda abandoned her son at the Croydon Infirmary, and that he was later taken in by the Mission of Good Hope, a well-known organization that placed children for adoption. This fills in some blanks in another story, that of how young George came to be placed with Dr. Barnardo’s Homes and then sent to Canada as a sort-of indentured servant.

I don’t know what became of Hilda after the birth, except for her death, at age thirty-three, in 1921.[60]

The youngest sister, Elsie Lydia, was born in 1890.[61] She was the sole domestic servant at the White Ribbon Temperance Hotel located in Cambridge, 1911.[62] I presume that Elsie later found a position in Kensington, London, because that is where here death was registered in 1919.[63] She was thirty years old.

The stories of these thirteen women are in many ways typical for female domestic servants of their era. With the exception of Martha, they did not work as servants for the greater part of their lives. Most of them started work in their teens and continued until they found husbands and had families of their own. They generally worked in smaller middle-class homes with one or two servants. Other than the four daughters of George and Sarah (Pearse) Casbon, they generally lived “normal” lifespans.

This is far from an adequate description of their lives, since it is based largely on “snapshots” taken every ten years with the census. Nevertheless, their stories provide insights into our shared heritage and deserve to be told.

[1] “Women and Work in the 19th Century,” Striking Women (http://www.striking-women.org/module/women-and-work/19th-and-early-20th-century : accessed 27 January 2019).
[2] “Who Were the Servants?” My Learning (https://www.mylearning.org/stories/the-victorian-servant/280 : accessed 27 January 2019).
[3] Kate Clark, “Women and Domestic Service in Victorian Society,” The History Press (https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/women-and-domestic-service-in-victorian-society/ : accessed 27 January 2019).
[4] “The Rise of the Middle Classes,” Victorian England: Life of the Working and Middle Classes (https://valmcbeath.com/victorian-era-middle-classes/#.XE3gilxKiUk : accessed 27 January 2019).
[5] “File: John Finnie. Maids of All Work, 1864-65 (higher colour).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Finnie._Maids_of_All_Work,_1864-65_(higher_colour).jpg : accessed 27 January 2019).
[6] 1841 England census, Cambridgeshire, Meldreth, ED 19, p. 9, High St., Mary Ann (age 10) in household of William Casbon; imaged as “1841 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8978 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Meldreth >District 19 >image 6 of 9; The National Archives (TNA), HO 107/63/19.
[7] 1851 England census, Cambridgeshire, Melbourn, ED 11b, p. 3, schedule 8, Church Lane, Mary Casbon in household of John Campkin; imaged as “1851 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8860 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Melbourn >11b >image 4 of 25; TNA, HO 107/1708/177.
[8] 1861 England census, Middlesex, Islington, ED 36, p. 27, schedule 153, Mary Ann Cusbin in household of Richd Munford; imaged as “1861 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8767 : accessed 19 November 2018), Middlesex >Islington >Islington East >District 36 >image 28 of 84; TNA, RG 9/16/55.
[9] Church of England, Parish of St. Lukes Finsbury (Middlesex), Marriage Records, 1871-6, p. 245, no. 489, Joseph Sparrow & Mary Ann Casbon, 26 Dec 1875; imaged as “London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1623 : accessed 10 Aug 2016), Islington >St Luke, Finsbury >1867-1881 >image 494 of 747; London Metropolitan Archives, record no. p76/luk/058.
[10] 1891 England census, London, Hackney, ED 23b, p. 31, schedule 47, 33 Benyon Rd, Mary A Sparrow (indexed as “Spawn”); imaged as “1891 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6598 : accessed 29 October 2018), London >Hackney >West Hackney >District 23b >image 32 of 34; TNA RG12/190/98.
[11] Church of England, Meldreth (Cambridgeshire), Register of Baptisms, 1813-77,. 44, no. 345, Edith Casburn, 29 Mar 1835; imaged as “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,”FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 28 April 2017), image 219 of 699; FHL film 1,040,542, item 5.
[12] 1851 England census, Cambridgeshire, Whaddon, ED 4, p. 15, schedule 43, Edith Casbon in household of Elizabeth Bell; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8860 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Whaddon >4 >image 16 of 23; TNA, HO 107/1708/34.
[13] Meldreth, Register of Marriages, 1837-75, p. 50, no. 99, William Catley & Edith Casbon, 13 Oct 1860; imaged as “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 29 August 2017), image 397 of 699; FHL film 1,040,542, item 9.
[14] “Index of Cambridgeshire Parish Records,” database/transcriptions, Cambridge Family History Society, Edith Catley, bu. 22 May 1916 at Melbourn; print copy in author’s personal collection.
[15] Meldreth, Register of Baptisms, 1813-77, p. 54, no. 429, Jane Casbon, 29 Nov 1840; FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 28 April 2017), image 224 of 699.
[16] 1861 England census, Cambridgeshire, Meldreth, ED 15, schedule 133; J Carston in household of William Caston; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8767 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Meldreth >District 15 >image 25 of 32; TNA, RG 9/815/64.
[17] 1871 England census, Meldreth, enumeration district (ED) 15, p. 21, schedule 125, High St., Jane Casbon in household of William Casbon; “1871 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7619 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Meldreth >District 15 >image 22 of 32; TNA, RG 10/1363/25.
[18] “England & Wales Marriages 1837-2008”, database, findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/england-and-wales-marriages-1837-2005 : accessed 30 March 2017), John Camp, 1st qtr, 1881, Royston, vol. 3A/323; General Register Office (GRO), Southport.
[19] “Search the GRO Online Index,” HM Passport Office (https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/indexes_search.asp : accessed 27 January 2019), deaths, Jane Camp, J[un] qtr, 1904, Royston, vol. 3A/299.
[20] 1871 England census, Kent, Lewisham, ED 4, p. 61, schedule 214, Martha Casbon (indexed “Carbor” in household of John H Greener (indexed “Greeno”); Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7619 : accessed 19 March 2018), Kent >Lewisham >Lee >District 4 >image 62 of 80; TNA, RG 10/763/89.
[21] 1881 England census, London, Hammersmith, ED 28, pp. 41-2, schedule 186, 100 Godolphin Rd., Martha Casbon in household of John Weir; “1881 England Census,” Ancestry ((https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7619 : accessed 19 March 2018), London >Hammersmith >St Paul Hammersmith >District 28 >image 42 of 68; TNA, RG 11/60/143.
[22] 1891 England census, London, Lambeth, ED 20, p. 4, schedule 20, 156 Clapham Rd., Martha Casbon in the household of Frederick Glew; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6598 : accessed 27 January 2019), London >Lambeth >Kennington First >District 20 >image 5 of 45; TNA, RG 12/400/96.
[23] 1901 England census, London, Hammersmith, ED 3, p. 90, schedule620, 214 Goldhawk Rd., Martha Casbon in household of Henry Miller; “1901 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7814 : accessed 20 March 2018; TNA, RG 13/: accessed 20 March 2018; TNA, RG 13/9/124.
[24] 1911 England census, London, Lambeth, ED 10, schedule 109, 76 Tulse Hill SW, Martha Casbon in household of Thomas Drake; “1911 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2352 : accessed 27 January 2019), London >Lambeth >Norwood >10 >image 220 of 421; TNA, RG 14/2109.
[25] 1939 Register, Cambridgeshire, South Cambridgeshire, ED TBKV, schedule 34, High St., Martha Casbon, “1939 England and Wales Register,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=61596 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >South Cambridgeshire RD >TBKV >image 5 of 9; TNA, RG 191.63261,
[26] “Melbourn Burials 1739–1950,” p. 73, Martha Casbon, 19 Jan 1947; transcriptions, Cambridge Family History Society, Melbourn burials, Martha Casbon, bu. 22 May 1916 at Melbourn; print copy in author’s personal collection.
[27] 1851 England census, Cambridgeshire, Chatteris, ED 3e, p. 1, schedule 1, Park Rd., Sarah Casborn in household of Ann Curtis; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8860 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgshire >Chatteris >3e >image 2 of 48; TNA, HO 107/1765/371.
[28] Ibid.
[29] Church of England, Peterborough (Northamptonshire), St. John Parish, Marriages, 1855–1866, p. 76, no. 152, Richard Baker & Sarah Casbon, 22 Jun 1857; imaged as “Northamptonshire, England, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1912,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=9199 : accessed 19 January 2018), Peterborough, St John >Parish Registers >1855-1859 >image 41 of 66; Northamptonshire Record Office, Northampton.
[30] “Search the GRO Online Index,” deaths, Sarah Baker, M[ar] qtr, 1904, Peterborough, vol. 3B/146.
[31] “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Priscilla Banks, D[ec] qtr, 1862, Royston, vol. 3A/227.
[32] 1881 England Census, Cambridgeshire, Cambridge, ED 2, p. 14, schedule 59, 8 Parker St., Priscilla Casbon in household of Edmund Wilson; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7572 : accessed 26 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Cambridge >St. Andrew the Great >District 2 >image 15 of 48; TNA, RG 11/1669/43.
[33] 1891 England census, Cambridgeshire, Meldreth, ED 13, p. 18, schedule 134, Witcroft Rd., Priscilla Casbon in household of William Casbon; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6598 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Meldreth >District 13 >image 19 of 27; TNA, RG 12/1104/68.
[34] “England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8913 : accessed 24 April 2018), Priscilla Casbon, 3d qtr, 1896, Bedford, vol. 3B/732; GRO, London.
[35] “Find A Will,” Gov.UK (https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/Calendar#calendar : accessed 27 January 2019), Wills and Probate 1858–1996, search terms: “banks” “1904.”
[36] 1891 England census, London, Kensington, ED 17, p. 30, schedule 157, 40 Evelyn Gardens, Julia F Casbon in the household of Thomas Fraser; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6598 : accessed 27 January 2019), London >Kensington >Brompton >District 17 >image 31 of 51; TNA, RG 12/32/73.
[37] Church of England, Barley (Hertfordshire), Marriage registers, p. 136, no. 271, Henry Brassington & Julia Frances Casbon, 19 Sep 1899; “Hertfordshire Banns & Marriages,” findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/hertfordshire-banns-and-marriages : accessed 14 October 2017).
[38] “England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007”, FamilySearch, (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVCK-W896 : accessed 4 September 2014), Julia F Brassington, 1965, 4th qtr, Harrow, vol. 5B/961/153; citing GRO, Southport.
[39] “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Kate Casban, M[ar] atr, 1874, Edmonton, vol. 3A: 203.
[40] 1891 England Census, Middlesex, Edmonton, ED 1, p. 49, schedule 284, Langhedge House, Kate Casban in household of Maria Rowley; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6598 : accessed 28 January 2019), Middlesex >Edmonton >District 01 >image 50 of 54; TNA, RG 14/1081/27.
[41] Church of England, London, Edmonton, St James, Marriages 1851-1917, p. 159, no. 318, Frederick Gunn & Kate Casban, 9 Apr 1898; “London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1623 : accessed 22 March 2017), Enfield >St James, Upper Edmonton >1851-1917 >image 206 of 506; London Metropolitan Archives.
[42] “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Margaret Casbon, D[ec] qtr, 1875, Royston, vol. 3A/320.
[43] 1891 England Census, Surrey, Croydon, ED 34, p. 9, schedule 48, 25 Wellesley Rd., Alice Casbar in household of George E Wheeler; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6598 : accessed 28 January 2019), Surrey >Croydon >District 34 >image 10 of 89; TNA RG 14/591/44.
[44] Ibid.
[45] “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:269S-X5P : accessed 13 December 2014), Margaret Alice Casban, 2d qtr, 1898, Croydon, vol. 2A/529/38; GRO, Southport.
[46] “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Olive Louise Casbon, J[un] qtr, 1884, Royston, vol. 3A/444.
[47] 1901 England census, Surrey, Croydon, ED 81, p. 8, schedule 45, Olive L Casson in household of John Percy Lewis; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7814 : accessed 26 January 2019), Surrey >Croydon >District 81 >image 9 of 55; TNA, RG 13/648/8.
[48] 1911 England Census, Surrey, Croydon, ED 18, schedule 63, 18 Avenue Rd, Norwood S.E., Olive Louise Casbon in household of Reuben Glasgow Kestin; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2352 : accessed 20 March 2018), Surrey >Croydon >North Croydon >18 >image 126 of 699; TNA, RG 14/3385.
[49] “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:267B-M1S : accessed 14 November 2015), Olive L Casbon, 2d qtr, 1911, Croydon, vol, 2A/631/105.
[50] “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Thomas Jessop Cavendish De Rinzy, D[ec] qtr, 1911, Croydon, vol. 2A/644.
[51] “Search the GRO Online Index,” deaths, Olive Louise De Rinzy, D[ec] qtr, 1916, Croydon, vol. 2A/473.
[52] “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Maud Emily Casbon, D[ec] qtr, 1885, Royston, vol. 3A/471.
[53] 1901 England census, Cambridgeshire, Melbourn, enumeration district 9, p. 9, schedule 44, Maud Carton in household of Albert Spencer; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7814 : accessed 28 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Melbourn >District 09 >image 10 of 27; TNA, RG 13/1296/9.
[54] 1911 England Census, Surrey, Penge, ED 2, schedule 138, Maude Emily Casbon in household of Adele Maude Everest; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2352 : accessed 20 March 201), Surrey >Penge >02 >image 276 of 809; TNA, RG 14/3406.
[55] “Search the GRO Online Index,” deaths, Maud Emily Casbon, D[ec] qtr, 1911, Croydon, vol. 2A/408.
[56] “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Hilda Mary Casbon, D[ec] qtr, 1887, Royston, vol. 3A/466.
[57] 1911 England Census, Cambridgeshire, Fowlmere, ED 5, schedule 26, Hilda Casbon in household of Sarah Casbon; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2352 : accessed 28 January 2019), Hertfordshire >Fowlmere >05 >image 52 of 265; TNA, RG 14/7557.
[58] England, birth certificate (PDF copy) for George Casbon, born 11 Jun 1914; registered June quarter, Croydon district 2A/618, West Croydon Sub-district, Surrey; General Register Office, Southport.
[59] Tessa Arlen, “The Redoubtable Edwardian Housemaid and a Life of Service,” Tessa Arlen Mysteries from the early 1900s (http://www.tessaarlen.com/redoubtable-housmaid-life-belowstairs/ : accessed 28 January 2019).
[60] “Search the GRO Online Index,” deaths, Hilda Casbon, J[un] qtr, 1921, Croydon, vol. 2A/312.
[61] “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Elsie Lydia Casbon, S[ep] qtr, 1890, Royston, vol. 3A/490.
[62] 1911 England Census, Cambridgeshire,Cambridge, ED 7, schedule 135, 160-1 East Rd, Elsie Lydia Caslon in household of George W Sheet; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2352 : accessed 20 March 2018), Cambridgeshire >Cambridge >St Andrew the Less >07 >image 274 of 313; TNA, RG 14/9107.
[63] “Search the GRO Online Index,” deaths, Elsie Casbon, J[un] qtr, 1919, Kensington, vol. 1A/217.

Emeline Harriet (Perry) Casbon (~1840–74)

When Mary Adaline (Aylesworth) Casbon died in March 1868, she left behind her husband, Sylvester V. Casbon, 30 years old, and two children: Cora Ann, seven, and Lawrence Leslie, almost three. He would have needed help caring for the children and maintaining the household. I’m sure family and friends would have stepped in to help, but what he really needed was a wife.

It was another year and a half before he found one. Her name was Emeline “Harriet” Perry. They were wedded on October 11, 1869 in Porter County, Indiana.[1]

Detail from Porter County marriage records, 1869 (Click on image to enlarge)

As was the case with Adaline, there are very few records of Harriet’s life, so her story must be told from those few records and whatever else can be inferred from the lives of those around her.

The exact year of Harriet’s birth cannot be determined because of conflicting information in the available records. The earliest record I know of is the 1850 U.S. Census of Center Township, Porter County, Indiana.[2]

Detail of 1850 U.S. Census, Porter County, Indiana (Click on image to enlarge)

This census shows Harriet, age 10, with the rest of her family. If the age is correct, Harriet’s birth date would be between late October 1839 and early October 1840. However, the 1860 and 1870 censuses give her age as 19 and 27, respectively. Her grave marker lists her year of birth as 1842. Since the 1850 census was recorded closer to her actual birth date than the other records, I’ll go with “about 1840” for her birth year. All the censuses agree that she was born in Canada.

This census is also the best record we have showing Harriet’s immediate family, so it’s worth spending a little more time with it. We can see that her father’s name was Ezekial Perry, 51 years old and born in New York. Her mother’s name was Olive (probably Briggs), 49 years old. Harriet’s siblings, in birth order, were Alfred B (27), Allen (24), Electa (14), (Mary) Adaline (11), James (7), and Dwight (2). There is evidence on an Ancestry family tree that Ezekial had been previously married, and that Alfred and Allen were products of that marriage.[3]

Ezekial Perry, Harriet’s father, was probably born in Cayuga County, New York, in 1799.[4] This is supported by a handwritten family tree.[5] We can see from the 1850 census, that Ezekial moved his family to Canada sometime between about 1836 and 1839 (Electa’s and Adaline’s birth years, respectively). Then he moved back to New York sometime between 1840 and 1843 (James’ birth year). Then he moved to Indiana sometime before 1848 (Dwight’s birth year).

Given the obvious fact that Ezekial and his family moved around a lot, it would be nice to know how and why he ended up in Porter County. I don’t know the answer, other than saying that moves like this usually came down to finances, friends, or family. The 1850 census gives us a clue. In it is an entry for Ambrose Perry, age 29, born in New York and living in Center Township with his wife and daughter.[6] Ambrose was apparently Ezekial’s son from his earlier marriage.[7] Ambrose’s three-year-old daughter was born in Missouri, so he must not have arrived in Porter County any earlier than 1847. It’s possible that Ambrose arrived first and Ezekial followed; or vice-versa. It’s also possible that they arrived together. There were a number of families with origins in New York living in Porter County at that time, so it’s also possible that the Perrys were acquainted with one or more of these families.

The next record we have of Harriet is in 1856, when she was married to Henry Chester, son of a Lake County, Indiana farmer.[8] Depending on which birth year is correct, Harriet would have been somewhere between fourteen and sixteen years old at the time. It turns out that Harriet’s older half-brother, Allen, married a woman named Roxanna Chester about a month and a half after Harriet’s marriage to Henry.[9] Roxanna was almost certainly Henry’s younger sister, who appears in the 1850 census as “Joxanna”[10] Apparently the two families were acquainted!

Henry and Harriet Chester appear in the 1860 census with two daughters, Mary and Olive, living in Ross Township, Lake County, just across the county line from Porter County.[11] We don’t know exactly what happened, but Harriet and Henry were divorced, sometime before 1866, when Henry remarried.[12] I first learned of the divorce in an interesting blog post a couple of years ago.

The next recorded event in Harriet’s life is her marriage to Sylvester Casbon in 1869. With the marriage she became the stepmother to Sylvester’s two children: Cora Ann, now approaching eight years old; and Lawrence Leslie, age four. Harriet also brought a daughter, Henrietta, to the marriage, as seen in the 1870 census.[13]

Detail from 1870 U.S. Census, Ross Township, Lake County, Indiana (Click on image to enlarge)

We can see in this census that Sylvester and Harriet were now living in Lake County, having moved there from Porter County sometime in the late 1860s. We can also see a small detail in column 17: Harriet “cannot write.”

In fairly short order, Harriet bore Sylvester three sons: Thomas Sylvester, born 1870; Charles Parkfield, 1872, and George Washington Casbon, 1874.[14] With the latter birth, what should have been a happy occasion soon turned to tragedy. Harried died on November 14, 1874, not quite two months after George’s birth.[15] Records do not tell us the cause of her death. Sylvester was once again a widower with five children of his own, ranging in age from thirteen to two months old, and possibly Harriet’s daughter Henrietta as well. The children had no mother. This must have been one of the hardest aspects of life in those times.

Harriet’s grave marker, Mosier Cemetery, Porter County, Indiana (photo taken by Jon Casbon, 2017); this appears to be a more recent stone, apparently erected by one or more of her sons (Click on image to enlarge)

As was true of Adaline (Aylesworth) Casbon, Harriet’s legacy continues through her descendants. I don’t have an accurate accounting of her descendants, but I know there are many. Notably, Harriet is the matriarch of the Iowa Casbons through her son George, who was raised by Sylvester’s sister, Emma, and her husband, Robert Newell Rigg.[16]

Harriet’s memory is tied to Iowa in more ways than her Casbon descendants. Thanks to Claudia Vokoun for pointing out to me that several members of the Perry family moved to Black Hawk County, Iowa, right next to Tama County, where George was raised and eventually settled. Harriet’s half-brother, Alfred B Perry, moved to that area in about 1857.[17] He was followed by his brothers Ambrose and Allen sometime before 1870.[18] This seems like more than just a coincidence to me. Whether or not George Casbon’s adoptive parents knew the Perry’s is unknown, but there was probably some common factor that drew these Porter County families to the same part of Iowa.

[1] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KDH3-PGM  : accessed 21 January 2016) > Porter > 1863-1871 Volume 3 > image 295 of 352, Syvester Casborn and Emiline H Perry, 21 Oct 1869; citing Porter County Clerk; FHL microfilm 1,686,156.
[2] 1850 U.S. Census, Porter County, Indiana, Center Township, p. 107 (stamped), dwelling 139, family 139, Ezekial Perry; imaged as “United States Census, 1850,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-D1K9-NMX?i=20&cc=1401638 : accessed 10 April 2018) > Indiana > Porter > Centre > image 21 of 26; citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 165.
[3] “Public Member Trees,” database, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/56271556/person/42015269794/facts : accessed 10 Apr 2018), “Curtis Vorthmann” family tree by “Cheri_Vorthmann,” profile for Ezekial Perry (1799–1880).
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] 1850 U.S. Census, Porter County, Indiana, population schedule, Center Township, p. 108 (stamped), dwelling 162, family 162, Ambrose Perry; imaged as “United States Census, 1850,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-D1K9-XPG?i=22&cc=1401638 : accessed 10 April 2018) > Indiana > Porter > Centre > image 23 of 26; citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 165.
[7] Public Member Trees, Ancestry; “Curtis Vorthmann” family tree, profile for Ezekial Perry (1799–1880).
[8] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KDH3-P6Y accessed 10 April 2018), Porter County, p. 240, record 2, Henry Chester and Harriet Perry, 3 Jul 1856; citing Porter County Clerk.
[9] County Clerk, Lake, Indiana, “Marriage Record 1849 B (1849–1866),” p. 188 (penned), 2d entry, Allen Perry and Roxanna Chester, 5 Mar 1866; imaged as “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PX5-D82?i=121&cc=1410397 : accessed 10 April 2018) >Lake > 1849-1866 Volume B1849 > image 122 of 311.
[10] 1850 U.S. Census, Lake County, Indiana, population schedule, Ross Township, p. 141 (stamped), dwelling 27, family 27; Charles Chester; imaged as “United States Census, 1850,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-XCMQ-BY?i=3&cc=1401638 : accessed 10 April 2018) >Indiana > Lake > Ross > image 4 of 18; citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 157.
[11] 1860 U.S. Census, Lake County, Indiana, population schedule, Ross Township, p. 20 (penned), dwelling 138, family 138, Henry Chester; imaged as “United States Census, 1860,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYBY-9MY5?i=19&cc=1473181 : accessed 10 April 2018) >Indiana > Lake > Ross Township > image 20 of 38; citing NARA microfilm publication M653, Roll 274.
[12] County Clerk, Lake, Indiana, “Marriage Record 1849 B (1849–1866),” p. 563 (penned), 2d entry, Henry Chester and Harriet L. Hanks, 5 Mar 1866; browsable images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PX5-D3N?cc=1410397 : accessed 10 April 2018), image 437 of 827; citing Family History Library microfilm  2,413,488, item 2.
[13] 1870 U.S. Census, Lake County, Indiana, population schedule, Ross Township, p. 431 (stamped), dwelling 70, family 71, Casbon Sylvester; imaged as “United States Census, 1870,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-64PS-5W7?i=10&cc=1438024 : accessed 10 April 2018) >Indiana > LaGrange > Ross > image 11 of 44; citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 333.
[14] Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/116217116 : accessed 10 April 2018), memorial page for Thomas S Casbon (1870–1955), memorial ID 116217116, created by “Kathy”; citing Graceland Memorial Park, Valparaiso, Porter, Indiana. “United States, World War One (WWI) Draft Registration Cards,1917-1918,” images and transcriptions, findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=usm%2fww1dr%2f005250509%2f02362&parentid=usm%2fwwidr%2f1669325093 : accessed 9 November 2017), card for Charles Parkfield Casbon, serial no. 537, local draft board, Valparaiso, Porter, Indiana; citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), series M1509. Registration card for George Washington Casbon, Tama County, Iowa, 1918; imaged as “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-81HC-9MQ?i=656&cc=1968530 : accessed 10 April 2018) > Iowa > Tama County; A-Z > image 657 of 5002; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509.
[15] Weston A Goodspeed, Charles Blanchard, Counties of Porter and Lake, Indiana: Historical and Biographical, Illustrated (Chicago: F.A. Battey & Co., 1882), p. 707; online image, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/stream/countiesofporter00good#page/706/ : accessed 10 April 2018).
[16] Jon Casbon, “Introducing the Iowa Casbons! Part 1. 5 Oct 2-17, Our Casbon Journey (https://casbonjourney.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/introducing-the-iowa-casbons-part-1/ : accessed 10 April 2018).
[17] 1860 U.S. Census, Black Hawk County, Iowa, population schedule, Lester Township. p. 136 (penned), dwelling 82, family 79, Alfred B. Perry; imaged as “United States Census, 1860,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GB9N-91KT?i=10&cc=1473181 : accessed 10 April 2018) < Iowa > Black Hawk > Lester Township > image 11 of 14; citing NARA microfilm publication M653, Roll 312.
[18] 1870 U.S. Census, Black Hawk County, Iowa, population schedule, Lester Township, p. 451 (stamped), dwelling 108, family 107, Perry Ambrose; imaged as “United States Census, 1870,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-624W-G16?i=14&cc=1438024 : accessed 10 April 2018) >Iowa > Black Hawk > lester > image 15 of 22; citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 377. 1870 U.S. Census, Black Hawk County, Iowa; FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-624W-PV7?i=18&cc=1438024 : accessed 10 April 2018) >Iowa > Black Hawk > lester > image 19 of 22.

Four Generations Together, 1955

After some fairly heavy-duty research and blogging about the Chatteris Casbons, I’m ready for something a bit lighter.

Thanks to cousin (fourth, once removed) Mark Casbon, for contributing these photos and allowing me to share them with you.

Left to right: James C Casbon, Mark Casbon, Amos J Casbon, Vernon L Casbon; courtesy of Mark Casbon (Click on image to enlarge)

This photo is a treasure! It shows four generations, beginning with Amos James Casbon (1869–1956), Vernon Lloyd Casbon (1904–1980), James Carroll Casbon (1930–1994), and baby Mark Casbon (b. 1955). Vernon was Amos and Carrie (Aylesworth, 1873–1958) Casbon’s third child and second son. James was Vernon’s third child and second son from his first marriage, to Lucille Frame (1902–1935). James was married to Shirley (Rust), and Mark was their second child.

We can tell that the photo was taken only a few months after Mark’s birth. I think I’ve been able to date it precisely, thanks to this social news column in the Valparaiso Vidette-Messenger that kept track of all the comings and goings in Boone Grove, Indiana.[1]

(Click on image to enlarge)

The article is dated Friday, November 25, 1955 (about 2 months after Mark was born). It tells us that Amos, Vernon, James and his son (presumably Mark), along with a number of other family members, were all present at Amos’ home the preceding Sunday, which would have been November 20th. The “Boone Grove and Vicinity” column was a regular feature in the Vidette-Messenger. There are many issues of the column that show either Vernon or James visiting at Amos’ home, but this is the only one I found that shows them all together. I wonder if everyone was there to see the new baby? What do you think – does Mark look like he could be about two months old? How about that hair!

Amos looks very relaxed, like he might have just come in from doing chores. Vernon looks relaxed as well – a proud grandfather! He’s dressed like the businessman he was. His 1980 obituary reports that “he was vice-president and general manager of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. here [Plymouth, Indiana] and was associated with the company for 53 years.”[2] James looks pretty serious, or maybe just tired and dazed with a newborn in the house.

The photo looks like it might have been professionally processed, with the periphery faded out. I really like the wallpaper. Do any family members recognize it?

Here is another photo from Mark, showing Vernon on horseback, firing a pistol. Vernon is on the right. The other man is unidentified.

Photo courtesy of Mark Casbon (Click on image to enlarge)

The date and location of the photograph are unknown, but Mark thinks it was taken in North Dakota. Vernon looks like he might be in his late teens or early twenties, so it was probably taken in the early 1920s. The horses look like they’re not too happy about the shooting!

Thanks again to Mark. I welcome the gift of old photos. They help to bring Our Casbon Journey to life.


UPDATE: I’ve written about George Casbon of Canada in two posts: “George Casbon – A Canadian Mystery,” and “New Document Breaks through a Brick Wall.” George was one of some 130,000 children sent to British Commonwealth countries for resettlement, beginning in the 1850s and lasting into the 1970s.[3],[4] An effort to recognize the contributions of these children to Canada’s heritage culminated last week (Wednesday, February 7, 2018) in a unanimous vote by the Canadian Parliament to declare September 28th of every year as British Home Child Day.[5] It’s nice to know that George’s life will be commemorated in this way.

[1] Mrs. Arthur Rampke, “Boone Grove and Vicinity,” Valparaiso (Indiana) Vidette-Messenger, 25 Nov 1955, p. 10, col. 3; online image, Newspaper Archive (accessed through participating libraries : 10 February 2018).
[2] “Obituaries – Vernon L Casbon,” Kokomo (Indiana) Tribune, 12 Dec 1980, p. 7, col. 3; online image, Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/2673086/ : accessed 10 February 2018).
[3] “Child Migration History,” Child Migrants Trust (http://www.childmigrantstrust.com/our-work/child-migration-history/ : accessed 17 April 2017).
[4] “Barnardo’s Children,” p. 8, PDF download, Barnardo’s (http://www.barnardos.org.uk/barnardo_s_children_v2.pdf : accessed 17 April 2017).
[5] “British Home Child Day, Sept. 28, enshrined nationally,” Nation Valley News (Chesterville, Ontario, Canada), 9 Feb 2018 (https://nationvalleynews.com/2018/02/09/british-home-child-day-sept-28-enshrined-nationally/ : accessed 10 February 2018).

New Document Breaks through a Brick Wall

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post about George Casbon, an orphan who was sent from England to Canada to live and work when he was 15 years old, under the auspices of Doctor Barnardo’s Homes.[1] I knew that George was born June 11, 1914, that his birth was registered in Croydon, Surrey, and that his mother’s maiden name was given as Casbon. This told me that George was probably born out of wedlock.

However, I was unable to connect George to the rest of the family tree, because I didn’t know his mother’s given name. I needed the actual birth registration to get that. Fortunately, the General Register Office (GRO), which is the central registry for all births, marriages and deaths in England, recently began a trial program in which portable document format (PDF) copies of original records can be purchased for a reasonable price. As an aside, anyone with British ancestors born between 1837 and 1916 or who died between 1837 and 1957, can look up the records on the GRO website at https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/indexes_search.asp, and can order copies of the records.

I ordered George’s birth record, and 5 days later, I received an email telling me that the PDF file was ready to download. Here’s what I received.

(Click on image to enlarge)

This document provides a wealth of information. Besides giving the date and location of George’s birth, it tells us that his mother’s name was Hilda Mary Casbon, that she was “a Domestic Servant of 140 Beckenham Road, Penge, U.D.[Urban District],” and that she lived at Y6 Eridge Road in Thornton Heath. The birth was registered June 24, 1914, at the West Croydon sub-district of the Croydon registration district. Since no father’s name is given, and George was given his mother’s surname, it is almost certain that George was born out of wedlock.

Hilda Mary Casbon is in my database, and this new information allows me to fill in some gaps in her life. Hilda Mary was baptized in Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire on October 9, 1887, the daughter of George (1846–1897) and Sarah (Pearse, abt. 1847–1912) Casbon.[2] George was the third son of my fourth great-uncle James Casbon, about whom I have written many posts.

Hilda’s early life was spent in Fowlmere, a small village and parish in southwestern Cambridgeshire, about 3 miles east of Meldreth. In the 1891 census, we see Hilda, along with her father, mother, brother Henry, sisters Olive, Maud, and Elsie, and a cousin, Lucy Pearce.[3]

Detail from 1891 Census, Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire (Click on image to enlarge)

In 1901 Hilda was living in  Fowlmere with her widowed mother, brother Henry, and two sisters.[4] Her mother’s occupation was listed as “charwoman,” suggesting that the family was living in reduced circumstances following their father George’s death.[5] Brother Henry was supplementing the family income as stockman on a farm.[6]

In the 1911 census, only Sarah and Hilda were living together, at the same address in Fowlmere, with Sarah still listed as a charwoman and Hilda’s occupation listed as “General (domestic).”[7] I believe this means Sarah was doing domestic work outside the home.

Based on George’s birth record, we now know that Hilda left Fowlmere sometime between 1911 and 1914 to work as a domestic servant in Penge, a suburb of south-east London. Perhaps she needed to leave Fowlmere to find a better source of income following her mother’s death in 1912. George’s birth is the last record I have of Hilda until her death in 1921 at the age of 33.[8] George would have been about seven years old when his mother died.

As is often the case, new answers lead to new questions. Did Hilda give George up for adoption soon after his birth, or were they only separated after her death? Was Hilda able to continue her work as a servant after George’s birth? Why did Hilda die? I could probably find records to answer some of these questions, but for now they will remain unanswered. At least we now know how George became an orphan, leading to his entry into Dr. Barnardo’s home and eventual emigration to Canada.

I’m happy that I was able to find George’s family, and to find that he is distantly related to me (third cousin, twice removed), as well as many of today’s living Casbons—especially the descendants of Hilda’s brothers and sisters. One brick wall down, many more to go!

[1] Jon Casbon, “George Casbon – A Canadian Mystery,” 18 Apr 2017, blog post, Our Casbon Journey (https://casbonjourney.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/george-casbon-a-canadian-mystery/ : accessed 26 October 2017).
[2] “Fowlmere Baptisms 1561 – 1994,” PDF extract, accessed through “Ancestor Finder,” Cambridge Family History Society (https://www.cfhs.org.uk/tokens/tokpub.cfm : accessed 26 October 2017) >Surname Casbon/Parish Fowlmere > Forename Hilda/Year 1887, baptism of Hilda Mary Casbon, 9 Oct 1887; citing Fowlmere parish registers.
[3] 1891 England Census, Hertfordshire, population schedule, Foulmere, p. 14, schedule 86, George Casbon; imaged as “1891 England, Wales & Scotland Census,” database with images, findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1891%2f1103%2f0153&parentid=gbc%2f1891%2f0008356302 : accessed 26 October 2017); citing [The National Archives], RG 12, piece 1103, folio 72.
[4] “1901 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” database, findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1901%2f0009841671 : accessed 26 October 2017), entry for Sarah Casbon (age 53), HIgh St., Fowlmere, Hertfordshire; citing [The National Archives], RG 13, piece 1295, folio 53, p. 3; Royston registration district.
[5] “1901 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,”findmypast, database entry for Sarah Casbon, HIgh St., Fowlmere, Hertfordshire.
[6] “1901 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,”findmypast, database entry for George Casbon in household of Sarah Casbon, HIgh St., Fowlmere, Hertfordshire.
[7] 1911 England Census, Hertfordshire, population schedule, Fowlmere, High Street, schedule 26, Sarah Casbon; imaged as “1911 England, Wales & Scotland Census,” database with images, findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1911%2frg14%2f07557%2f0051&parentid=gbc%2f1911%2frg14%2f07557%2f0051%2f2 : accessed 6 October 2017); citing [The National Archives], census reference, RG14PN7557 RG78PN370 RD135 SD3 ED5 SN26.
[8] “Search the GRO [General Register Office] Online Index,” database, HM Passport Office (https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/indexes_search.asp : accessed 26 October 2017) >Casbon >Hilda >female >1921, Hilda Casbon (age 33), June quarter, 1921; Croydon registration district 2A/312.

George Casbon – A Canadian Mystery

One day, while doing research, I came upon this passenger’s manifest of a ship bound for Quebec, Canada, from Liverpool, England.[1]

Detail from passenger list of the Duchess of Atholl, departing Liverpool, England 20 September 1929 (Click on image to enlarge)

I’ve underlined information pertaining to George Casbon, age 15. His last address in the United Kingdom is listed as “c/o Dr. Barnardo’s Homes, Myrtle St,L’pool.” Note also that many of the names above his come from “c/o Catholic Emigration, Coleshill,B’ham.” Under column 6, George’s occupation is listed as “farming.”

My curiosity aroused, I consulted my old friend Google, to see what I could find out about Dr Barnardo’s Homes. This search revealed a very interesting and troubling chapter in England’s social history.

Barnardo’s is a charitable organization founded by Thomas John Barnardo in 1866.[2] Barnardo initially started a home for destitute boys in London.[3] Over time, he opened residential homes throughout the United Kingdom.[4] Children were taken in for variety of reasons; they might be orphans, victims of abuse, illegitimate, or just the children of families who could not afford to care for them.[5] The charity is still in operation, and reputed to be the UK’s largest children’s charity.[6]

The controversial and troubling part of Barnardo’s history is its role in the emigration of children to other British Commonwealth countries. A law was passed in 1850 allowing children in workhouses to be sent to Canada.[7] Eventually, 130,000 children were sent to Commonwealth countries, the majority going to Canada.[8] These children are now known as British Home Children. One website claims that more than 10 percent of Canada’s population today is descended from British Home Children.[9]

Barnardo’s was only one of many organizations – including the Salvation Army and the Church of England (and “Catholic Emigration,” as noted in the passenger list above)—that participated in the child migration program.[10] Although based largely on good intentions, i.e., to give the children “a better life,” the program was also a convenient solution to the strain on resources caused by vast numbers of children receiving support from these charitable organizations.[11] From a social policy standpoint, it was similar to the practice of transporting convicted criminals to Commonwealth lands.

Children were sent to households and farms throughout Canada.[12] While many of the children developed lasting relationships with their new families, others were treated as cheap labor, or were subject to abuse.[13] They were often stigmatized by the local communities.[14] Sometimes children were sent from the UK without their parents’ knowledge or consent, and upon arrival siblings were often separated.[15]

After being told fanciful tales of travel to the ‘Land of Milk and Honey’, where children ride to school on horseback, child migrants were sent abroad without passports, social histories or even basic documents such as a full birth certificate. Brothers and sisters were frequently separated for most of their childhood; some were loaded onto trucks for long journeys to remote institutions, only to be put to work as labourers the next day. Many felt an extreme sense of rejection by their family and country of origin. Others felt like characters from Kafka’s novels; their punishment was obvious—exile from their family and homeland—but the nature of their crime was a complete mystery.[16]

The emigration program began to taper off in Canada after the Second World War, but continued in Australia into the 1970s.[17] Many of the participating agencies and countries now recognize the suffering and negative consequences endured by large numbers of children, and have expressed regret or offered official apologies to the victims.[18]

What was George Casbon’s experience? There really isn’t enough information to know. I have very few records to go by. Perhaps it’s appropriate that he is “unconnected” in my family tree, meaning I don’t know who his parents are or how he is related to the other Casbon branches.

Detail from list of passengers arriving in Quebec on the Duchess of Atholl 28 September 1929[19] (Click on image to enlarge)

This is the Canadian immigration record of George’s arrival. Under the title for column 7, Country and Place of Birth, is typed “Dr. Barnardos Party.” In George’s entry for the same column, “London” has been lined through and replaced with “Penge.” Penge is a suburb of south-east London.[20] Using George’s age, I was able to find an entry for George Casbon’s birth during the second quarter (April-June) of 1914, registered in Croydon, Surrey.[21] Penge was included in the Croydon Registration District at that time, so this is almost certainly the same George Casbon.[22]

The birth index lists his mother’s last name as “Casbon,” suggesting that she was unwed at the time of his birth.[23] This might explain the reason George came to be one of “Dr. Barnardo’s children.” I don’t know the mother’s first name, although I have located at least one candidate in my records who was unmarried, of childbearing age, and who lived in Croydon her entire life. I would need to obtain the actual birth record (not the index) to (possibly) confirm her name.

Column 19 of the immigration record tells us that George intended to follow the occupation of “Farming” in Canada. In Column 21 the words “Mother, (address unknown)” are lined through and replaced with what looks like “Myrtle Liverpool.” At first I thought this meant George’s mother’s name was Myrtle and that she lived in Liverpool. However, I remembered that this is simply his last address in the UK, noted in the ship’s manifest at the top of this post. There was a Barnardo’s Home on Myrtle Street in Liverpool.[24] Here is an image of the building as it looks today, from Google Street View™.

The Canadian offices of Dr. Barnardo’s Homes used to publish a quarterly magazine titled Ups and Downs.[25] The magazine sometimes highlighted children who had recently arrived from the UK. George was mentioned in the January, 1930 edition.

“George Casbon records his first impression of his farm life:—

I was met at the station when I arrived by the farmer, and another Barnardo boy. He took me to a fowl supper, then he took me to his house. The following Sunday he took me to a duck roast. He is giving me good education on farming. I like this place very much and I should like to stay here. [26]

After his arrival, George’s workplaces were visited periodically by Immigration officials, who kept a “report card” of his status.[27] Here is George’s card.

(Click on image to enlarge)

This card gives a lot of useful information. His birth date is given as “11/6/14.” In British English, this means June 11th, 1914 (not November 6th, as we would read it in the U.S.). This date gives further confirmation that he is the same George Casbon whose birth was registered at Croydon in 1914. The report card gives the dates of inspections; grades for “Character of Home”, “Health”, “Satisfaction Given” and “Child’s Character”; “Terms” (what George was being paid); and the name and address of his employer. The record goes from February, 1930 to September, 1933. On the latter date, he was listed as “not here … address unknown … completed … presumed to have left for Toronto.” It is evident that he had a number of different employers who were generally satisfied with his character and performance.

This is the last record that I can link to George with certainty. I’ve been able to find later entries for George Casbon listed at one point as a farmer and at another as a lorry driver. I’ve also found a cemetery record for George William Casbon, born in England, date unknown, and died September 24, 1966 in Toronto.[28] I think it’s very likely these are all the same person, but don’t have the records to confirm it. It would be great if I could link him up to the family tree at some point. If any of his descendants should happen to read this, please contact me.

[1] “Passenger Lists leaving UK 1890-1960,” database with images, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=tna%2fbt27%2f1239000082%2f00534 : accessed 6 October 2016), George Casbon, age 15, departed Liverpool 22 Sep 1929 aboard the Duchess of Atholl; citing The National Archives, BT 27.
[2] “Barnardo’s,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnardo%27s : accessed 17 April 2017), rev. 10 Apr 17, 11:41.
[3] “Barnardo’s Children,” p. 3, PDF download, Barnardo’s (http://www.barnardos.org.uk/barnardo_s_children_v2.pdf : accessed 17 April 2017).
[4] “Barnardo’s Children,” p. 6.
[5] “Barnardo’s Children,” pp. 6-7.
[6] “Barnardo’s,” Wikipedia.
[7] “Barnardo’s Children,” p. 8.
[8] “Child Migration History,” Child Migrants Trust (http://www.childmigrantstrust.com/our-work/child-migration-history/ : accessed 17 April 2017).
[9] “Who Are the British Home Children,” 2017, para. 16, British Home Child Group International (http://britishhomechild.com/history/ : accessed 17 April 2017).
[10] “Who Are the British Home Children,” para. 5.
[11] “Who Are the British Home Children,” para. 6.
[12] “Who Are the British Home Children,” para. 8.
[13] “Who Are the British Home Children,” para. 9.
[14] “Who Are the British Home Children,” para. 11.
[15] “Who Are the British Home Children,” paras. 7, 9.
[16] “Child Migration History,” Child Migrants Trust.
[17] “Who Are the British Home Children,” para. 15.
[18] “Martin Narey’s response to Gordon Brown’s apology to child migrants,” Barnardo’s (http://www.barnardos.org.uk/what_we_do/our_history/working_with_former_barnardos_children/child_migration/childmigration_response.htm : accessed 17 April 2017).
[19] “Passenger Lists: Quebec City (1925-1935),” page 566 of 628, digital images, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/microform-digitization/006003-119.01-e.php?PHPSESSID=pgu74hjaupu9qmj7ao9j21gtb3&sqn=566&q2=12&q3=911&tt=628 : accessed 7 October 2016), entry for George Casbon, age 15, aboard the Duchess of Atholl, arriving at Quebec 28 Sep 1929; citing LAC microfilm T-14760.
[20] “Penge,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penge : accessed 18 April 2017), rev. 9 Apr 17, 18:12.
[21] “England & Wales Births 1837-2006”, Croydon, Surrey, vol. 2A: 618, entry for George Casbon, 2d quarter, 1914; database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fb%2f1914%2f2%2faz%2f000255%2f096 : accessed 18 April 2017); citing General Register Office.
[22] “Croydon Registration District,” UK BMD Births, Marriages, Deaths and Censuses on the Internet (https://www.ukbmd.org.uk/reg/districts/croydon.html : accessed 17 April 2017).
[23] “England & Wales Births 1837-2006”, Croydon, Surrey, entry for George Casbon.
[24] “Sheltering Home for Destitute Children, Liverpool, Lancashire,” Children’s Homes (http://www.childrenshomes.org.uk/LiverpoolSheltering/ : accessed 18 April 2017).
[25] “The Dr. Barnardo Magazine Ups and Downs,” British Home Children in Canada (http://canadianbritishhomechildren.weebly.com/ups-and-downs-magazine.html : accessed 18 April 2017).
[26] Ups & Downs, vol. 32: 1, 5 Jan 1930, pp. 14-5; scanned image files received 11 Dec 2016 in email from John Sayers [email address for private use] (volunteer researcher for British Isles Family History Society of Ottawa, Canada) to Jon Casbon.
[27] “Department of Immigration: Juvenile Inspection Report Cards (ca. 1913–1932),” “About” tab, Héritage (http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_mikan_161388 : accessed 18 April 2017).
[28] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=82809107 : accessed 7 October 2016), memorial page for George William Casbon (unknown–1966), memorial no. 82809107, created by Mary Ireland; citing Sanctuary Park Cemetery, Etobicoke, Toronto Municipality, Ontario.

The French Connection

Quiz:

  1. In which U.S. State did the Casbons first settle and where did they come from?
  2. What year is the earliest U.S. Census with the surname Casbon?
  3. What is the first U.S. military conflict for which there are service records of a Casbon family member?

Answers:

1. The U.S. State with the earliest records of the Casbon name is Louisiana. Today Louisiana has the second highest number of individuals with the Casbon surname after Indiana.[1] A few of Jesse Casbon’s (1843—1934; son of Thomas Casbon, 1803—1888) descendants now live in Louisiana. Otherwise, the remainder of the Louisiana Casbons are not related to the “Indiana Casbons,” and their ancestors almost certainly did not originate in England.

Many of the given names for this family, especially in early records, are French in origin. It is possible that the family migrated to Louisiana from Acadia, which was the name given to portions of the Canadian maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) by French settlers in the 1600s.[2] In 1755, the British began to expel the Acadians from their homeland in Canada, and they were dispersed to a variety of locations, including France, Great Britain, the Caribbean, and the American east coast.[3] Gradually, many of them resettled in Louisiana, which had originally been a French Colony, and in 1763 became a possession of Spain following the Seven Years’ War.[4] This became part of the United States in 1803 with the signing of the Louisiana Purchase.[5] In Louisiana, the term Acadian was shortened to Cajun, referring to the descendants of the original Acadians.[6]

It’s also possible that the Louisiana Casbons have Creole origins, which refers to those who were native-born in Louisiana. This originally referred to descendants of French settlers but also “came to be applied to African-descended slaves and Native Americans who were born in Louisiana.”[7]

The 1900 U.S. Census has a record for Francois Casbon, born 1825 in Louisiana.[8] His father’s birthplace is recorded as France, so it’s also possible that some or all of the first Louisiana Casbons migrated directly from France in the late 18th or early 19th century.

I don’t know which of these origins best describes the Casbons of Louisiana. Hopefully this knowledge has been passed down through the generations for the benefit of present-day family members.

Like those of us with English roots, it’s possible that the name has changed over time. There are records for similar French surnames, such as Cassabon, Casabonne and Casbonne.

2. The 1820 U.S. Census has an entry for “Bte [Baptiste] Casbon,” whose age was between 16 and 25 years.[9] This is the earlies census record I have found with the Casbon surname.

Detail from 1820 U.S. Census, St. Jacques Parish, Louisiana; the “1” in the first numbered column denotes a free white male under age 10; the “1” in the 4th numbered column denotes a free white male age 16-25; the “1 in the 9th numbered column denotes a free white female age 16-25; the 16th through 19th numbered columns show numbers of males slaves of different ages; columns 20 through 23 show numbers of female slaves; these are followed by numbers for free male and female “colored persons”[10] (Click on image to enlarge)

There may be earlier census records with variant spellings of the name, but without more information, such as birth and marriage records, I can’t tell if they are related.

3. Corporal Bte [Baptiste] Casbon is recorded as a member of Colonel Landry’s 6th Louisiana Militia regiment in the War of 1812.[11]

Index card of Corporal Bte Casbon, War of 1812 (Click on image to enlarge)

Corporal Casbon is listed in the rosters of those who fought in the New Orleans Campaign, and he very likely participated in the Battle of New Orleans, January 1815, led by Major General Andrew Jackson.[12]

Is this the same Bte Casbon as the 1820 census? He might be, depending on his age. Since the census only gives his age as 16-25, he could have been anywhere from 8 to 17 years old in 1812, and 11 to 20 when the war ended in 1815. If he was at the older end of this range, it might be possible, though unlikely, that he achieved the rank of Corporal by the age of 20.

************************

This is only a brief introduction to the Louisiana Casbons. They have not been the focus of my research, but I wanted to mention them in the blog because they also have a story worth preserving. Hopefully a member of that family is doing research or will be motivated to do so.

************************

Update, posted March 5, 2018

For more information on the Lousiana Casbons, see my post, “Creole Casbons.”

[1] “Casbon Surname Meaning & Statistics,” United States, Forebears (http://forebears.io/surnames/casbon : accessed 8 February 2017).
[2] “History of the Acadians,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org : accessed 8 February 2017), rev. 31 Jan 17, 23:42.
[3] “From Acadian to Cajun,” Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve Louisiana (n.d.), National Park Service (https://www.nps.gov/jela/learn/historyculture/from-acadian-to-cajun.htm : accessed 8 February 2017).
[4] “History of Louisiana,” Wikipedia (accessed 8 February 2017), rev. 8 Feb 2017, 12:28.
[5] “Louisiana Purchase, 1803,” Office of The Historian (https://history.state.gov/milestones/1801-1829/louisiana-purchase : accessed 9 February 2017).
[6] “Tracing Your Family’s Roots,” Ensemble Encore: The Acadian Memorial Archive (http://www.acadianmemorial.org/ensemble_encore2/cajunroots.htm : accessed 8 February 2017).
[7] “Louisiana Creole people,” Wikipedia (accessed 8 February 2017), rev. 9 Feb 2017, 00:22.
[8] 1900 United States Census, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, Ward 3; p. 265 (stamped), side B, dwelling 328, family 321, Francois Casbon;database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 6 February 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T623.
[9] “United States Census, 1820,” St Jacques Parish, Louisiana, p. 381 (stamped), line 6, Bte Casbon; database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHLP-VMX : accessed 9 February 2017); citing p. 384, NARA microfilm publication M33, roll 30; FHL microfilm 181,356.
[10] “1820 United States Census,” Wikipedia (accessed 9 February 2017), rev. 15 Jan 2017, 21:05.
[11] United States War of 1812 Index to Service Records, 1812-1815, Bte Casban; database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 7 February 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M602, roll 36; FHL microfilm 882,554.
[12], Battle of New Orleans, War of 1812 American Muster and Troop Roster List (N.p.: n.p., n.d.), unpaginated, 41st page, PDF brochure, National Park Service, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (https://www.nps.gov/jela/learn/historyculture/upload/Battle-of-New-Orleans-Muster-Lists-final-copy-01062015.pdf : accessed 9 February 2017).