This is a good example of how, in genealogy, it is very easy to assume too much, and why theories should be constantly tested and revisited.
Anyway, back to the story…
When the 1891 census became available online, I found a new candidate Arthur Stockbridge. This one was born in Islington in 1876 and was one of three boarders at a house in Islington, the others being William and Joseph Cole. When the 1901 census was released, I found this new Arthur in Finsbury, employed as a “Carriers’ Porter” and still living with William and Joseph who were now described as his step-
It wasn’t until the 1911 census came out in 2009 that I was able to establish that our Arthur, by now living with Alice, was indeed born in Islington, finally breaking the link to Arthur from Medway. So now we know he was born in Islington in 1876/7, father James Stockbridge, and that he had two step-
I knew that the two step-
I looked for women named Cole who died between 1876 and 1881 and tried to match to any women marrying Stockbridges in the same period. It was actually quite easy to find the marriage of James to Harriet Cole in 1877, but she sadly died the following year, aged 42. So Arthur’s mother re-
From their marriage certificate, James’ father was Andrew a gardener, and Harriet’s was William Pretty, a builder. James was a widower –
I then discovered that Harriet had married Charles Cole in 1858, but that he had died in 1868, leaving her with 4 children: Charles, Robert, Joseph and William. She then had another son, Arthur, sometime between 1876 and 1877 and married James Stockbridge in September 1877.
It is a fairly safe bet, then, that James Stockbridge was Arthur’s natural father, but if Arthur had been born after his James and Harriet married, he would have been given the name Stockbridge, so he had to have been born out of wedlock but I still cannot find his birth certificate.
So I still don’t really know who Arthur was, and probably never will. Was he the natural son of James Stockbridge. Either way, he always seemed to refer to James as his father, so that’s what really matters, isn’t it?