The fact that in the Census (when John had already married her mother, Laura Jury - in July 1889) John Balkwell said, in the relationship column that, rather than simply saying Florence was a daughter, she was "Wife's daughter" is I feel a very telling comment, and with the blank in her birth certificate for the name of the father, makes me think that she must have been illegitimate, and her father was someone else. When many years ago I was being taught by a genealogist how to do family history, I was told - and am sure I have also read it elsewhere - that if the father's name is blank on the birth record, it is an almost certain indicator that the child was illegitimate.
Certainly, the fact that her father is named as John Jury in the marriage register when she married my grandfather Sidney is a puzzle, as the only John Jury I know of in the family around this time, was her Uncle John, and the least said about that possibility the better !! The only reason I can think of for that is the as, presumably her uncle was "giving her away", the vicar made the assumption he was her father (or they said he was), and perhaps they felt the least said to correct that assumption the better.
All I was thinking (in making my original enquiry) was that there may have been action by Poor Law officials (and her aunt was on outdoor relief so they knew the family?), so wondered whether, even if she refused to say who he was, officials tried to get Laura to identify the father, in case she became a burden on the "parish". Interesting that I do not recall ever finding a baptism for Florence as no doubt the vicar would also have tried to get her to reveal the father.
There was certainly continued close contact between my grandparents and the Balkwell's as I have photographs of several visits to them (including my father and his brother) in Oxfordshire, where John and Laura were in 1911 and where they had 8 children of their own.
Great pity that I didn't start my family history research 20 years earlier as with relatives etc. then still living, they could have been able to help with this puzzle (and many others). However, I didn't so it has to continue to be speculation fuelled by experience and the very able assistance of others.
Thanks for your part in this.
« Back to index | View thread »