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Q I am hoping you may be able to take a fresh look at ways of resolving the brick wall I seem to have come to while researching my mother’s ancestors in the 20th century. The facts are: my mother’s birth certificate shows she was born Violet Doris WARLOW on 23rd October 1918 at 51 Albert Street, Islington. Her mother was Hetty WARLOW (formerly RANDLE) and her father Joseph WARLOW, a boot and shoe repairer (journeyman). The informant of the birth was Amelia GRAVESTOCK. My late mother always told me that her mother died when she was 12 (so in 1930/31) and her father when she was 17 (1935/36) and that she had a brother and sister, one of whom was ten years older. Unfortunately she never mentioned their names or which one was the older. Research sources to date have included the electoral registers; the 1918 register for 51 Albert Street shows only Alfred James and Amelia GRAVESTOCK (residence and occupation) and Laura Harriet WARLOW (occupation). In 1919 the entry is the same, but in 1920 Joseph WARLOW is shown along with Laura Harriet and the GRAVESTOCKs. Registers in 1921 and 1922 have the same entries as 1920, but in 1923 a Clara RANDALL and a Rebecca WARLOW are also listed. These entries continue for 1924 and 1925 but in 1926 there are no entries for WARLOW. As I understand at this time, women had to be over 30 to have the right to vote; this means Laura Harriet (I assume she is the ‘Hetty’ on my mother’s birth certificate) was born before 1888. If Clara is a relation, it looks as though ‘RANDLE’ should be spelled ‘RANDALL’. I have been unable to find a death certificate for a Laura Harriet WARLOW in the years around 1930/31 or for Joseph WARLOW in 1935/36. There is a death certificate for a Harriett Laura WARLOW who died aged 47 at 48 Vanbrugh Hill, Greenwich, on 27th February 1931. Harriett is described as the widow of Charles Edward WARLOW, a shoemaker (journeyman). Harriett is shown as having been living with her married daughter I B REID at 10 Cranfield Road, Brockley, SE4. I assume this to be the Ivy Blanche WARLOW born on 5th August 1908 at 46 Tournay Road, Fulham. Her mother is shown as Laura Harriet WARLOW and no father is shown on the certificate, so presumably Laura was not married. Laura is shown as a housekeeper (domestic). Ivy married in 1928. Also, there is a birth record for a Laura Harriet WARLOW in 1884 (Chelsea). In searching for my mother’s brother I have a birth certificate for Charles Thomas William WARLOW, born on 13th May 1910 at 885 Fulham Road, Fulham. The mother is Laura Hetty WARLOW, formerly RANDALL, and the father is Thomas William WARLOW (tobacconist’s assistant). I have been unable to find a marriage certificate for WARLOW/RANDLE or RANDALL, so am now wondering if the relationship was a common law one. The 1891 and 1901 censuses also do not help very much as I have insufficient information to pinpoint entries. I wonder if it would be worth consulting the electoral registers for Tournay Road in 1908, Fulham Road in 1910, Cranfield Road and Vanbrugh Hill in 1930 to see who was registered at these addresses? As neither of my mother’s parents registered her birth, I have wondered if, when asked for the father’s name, Amelia GRAVESTOCK thought the registrar meant Hetty’s father, not the baby’s father, so Joseph could refer to a RANDALL, not a WARLOW. However, now Joseph appears on the electoral register I feel I have to discount this option. I would like to think that Ivy’s mother and Charles’ mother is the same person, but I feel there are too many uncertainties to be sure of this. Was the Harriett Laura who died in Greenwich also the same person? The year of death certainly ties in with what my mother told me. Are there two Laura Harriet WARLOWs, one by birth and one by marriage? I would really appreciate your suggestions as to which way I should now take my research as I seem to be getting bogged down in WARLOWs and RANDALLs, and have been unable to take this research back further without knowing for certain who I should be researching.

Mrs S A Wicker

A Confusion rules! Ivy Blanche WARLOW was born in Fulham, the illegitimate daughter of Laura Harriet WARLOW (whether WARLOW was a maiden name or married name is uncertain). Charles Thomas William WARLOW was born in 1910 in Fulham, the son of Thomas William WARLOW and Laura Hetty (nee RANDALL). And Violet Doris WARLOW was born in Islington in 1918, the daughter of Joseph WARLOW and Hetty (nee RANDLE). So were these three brother and sisters or half-siblings or what? That is if Laura Harriet, Laura Hetty and Hetty are the same person. Using the FamilyRelatives website ( I note that there are no other WARLOW births registered with WARLOW or RANDALL/RANDLE as the mother’s maiden name, 1911 to 1920. And the FreeBMD website doesn’t include any marriages registered between any WARLOW and RANDALL/RANDLE – although, this website cannot be guaranteed to include all entries and the original index does need to be searched to be certain. You say that the 1891 and 1901 census returns do not help. However, the Laura WARLOW you found being born in Chelsea in 1884 appears with her family in the 1891 census living at 11 Milman Street, Fulham. The head of the family is Peter WARLOW who was married to Beatrice. The household includes his ‘mother’ Mary RANDALL, aged 72. In limited research, I have not been able to locate the marriage of any Peter WARLOW, so was he perhaps born RANDALL? In other census returns, Peter’s wife is shown as Rebecca, not Beatrice. In 1901 ‘Hetty L WARLOW’ is living with her married sister, Annie Hitchcock, in Fulham. Rebecca was widowed by 1901 and is probably the Rebecca found in the 1923 electoral register. Peter died, aged 59, in 1899 in St George Hanover Square Registration District. It must be fairly certain therefore, that Harriet Laura WARLOW was not married when she had any of her children. The information on the birth certificates was for expediency. Possibly the forenames of the fathers mentioned are correct but possibly not. There is still a great deal to be unravelled. I think you need to obtain Iris Blanche WARLOW’s marriage certificate, to see how/if her father is described. Were the GRAVESTOCKs related in some way to the family?

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