Q and A
WHY WAS SHE BORN IN GERMANY?My great-great-grandmother Mary BURGESS (nee SLATER) was apparently born in Frankfurt about 1830–1836. I have followed her in the census from 1851 through 1881 until her death in 1883. I am at a loss as to how to find her birth certificate, who her parents were and why she was born in Germany. Mary SLATER married Samuel BURGESS, a salt maker from Over, Winsford, Cheshire, at Manchester Cathedral Church on 2nd April 1850. Mary’s address was 3 Thompson Street, Manchester, and her father, John SLATER, was listed as a farmer. In both the 1841 and 1851 censuses there are no SLATERs listed at this address, and it’s possible that Mary was lodging there while the banns were read. In the 1851 census Mary lives in Over with her husband Samuel and one-month-old daughter, Sarah. In 1856 she gives birth to a son, Edward, in the Leftwich Workhouse. By 1861 she has moved a few miles away to live in Middlewich with her two children and has a lodger, James BURGESS. There is no sign of Samuel. Mary isn’t listed as a widow and as I haven’t found a death certificate for him; I assume they parted company. The 1871 census has James as head of the household with a whole new family – two girls, Elizabeth and Mary, and two boys, James and Thomas (my great-grandfather). James dies later the same year. The 1881 census now shows Mary as a British Subject. I had thought she was German! She is described as a widow. Mary died in Middlewich, Cheshire, in 1883 and is buried in my family grave. My thoughts turn to John SLATER. Was he a farmer or ‘just’ an agricultural labourer? Was he from Cheshire or Lancashire, or Ireland? On the census for Thompson Street, Manchester, there were lots of Irish in the vicinity, but perhaps this is a red herring. Mary’s mother was obviously in Frankfurt in the 1830s – what was she doing there? Was John SLATER with her? I have looked at the International Genealogical Index (IGI) in the births for the Armed Forces for Mary’s birth, but there are no matches. It has been suggested that if John SLATER was a farmer then he may have been quite wealthy and able to travel abroad, but my gut instinct is that he was serving his country, met a foreign lass and Mary was the result.
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Q: Who invented the printing press in the Holy Roman Empire in 1440?