The Shirley Association has been a member of the Guild of One-Name Studies since 1988
 

Shirley family of
Brighton and Steyning, Sussex

DNA Haplotype: E-M35

   
 

Email from Ian: January 2018

Our FH recounts that Emily Fraser married Francis Shirley in about 1876. We can find no record of the marriage be the search focused on Francis (or Frederic) Shirley or Emily Fraser (vide infra). Their children were born in Brighton, Sussex between 1875 and 1883: Saxon Fraser Shirley (30th December 1875); Ronald Fraser Shirley (3rd January 1879); Winifred Fraser Shirley (20th January, 1880; died 28th October 1880); Victor Fraser Shirley (20th January 1882); Dorothea Fraser Shirley (20th April 1883).

Emily Fraser was born at Babcary, Somerset on 4th February 1855 to parents Joseph Boyes Fraser (1801-1986) and Hephzibah nee Brown (1831-1895). It seems that Emily lived in Babcary with her mother and grandparents until 1859 when they moved to Sussex. We have no knowledge of Emily’s whereabouts or activities between 1861 and 1871. Censuses show that she moved from Ferring (west of Brighton) to 1 York Grove in Brighton where she was an apprentice dressmaker in 1871.

We have little FH material on Francis Shirley other than his father was Arthur Shirley and he was allegedly (i) with the sugar merchants Tate and Lyle in Mincing Lane, London (not possible as the Company formed only in 1921), (ii) knocked down by a cab when he died of his injuries, and (iii) he had a baron as an ancestor. Beyond his details on the birth certificates of his five children and the death certificates of Emily and Ronald Fraser we have no knowledge of Francis (or Frederic) Shirley. He is recorded as Francis Shirley, a commercial traveller on the first, and a commission agent on the second to fifth, birth certificates.
Intriguingly the Kent Directory of 1791 records that one Francis Shirley then operated as a ‘merchant of commerce’ from 14 Mincing Lane in 1791! He is documented as Frederic Shirley, a company promoter, on Emily Shirley’s death certificate (1915) where Dorothea Fraser was the informant. He was recorded as Fredrick on Ronald Fraser Shirley’s death notice (1950) when his daughter was the informant. The nature of Francis’ declared occupation of ‘commercial traveller or commission agent’ may have taken him away from home for extended periods. We thus do not know how much time he and Emily actually spent together.

Emily declared herself ‘married’ in the 1881 census but a ‘widow’ in the 1891 census. We can find no record of Francis’ death between 1882 (conception of Winifred) and 1897 (grant of Hephzibah’s Will in which Emily is also described as a widow). After extensive searches we have come to the conclusion that they were not married.

Documented evidence
• We have no documentation of Francis ever living with the family.
• His name ‘Francis’ appears on 5 birth certificates and 1 death certificate in the early 1880’s. Emily was the informant in all cases.
• He was known as a “commercial traveller” or a “commission agent” on birth certificates and as a “Company Promoter” on Emily’s Death Certificate (1915) where Dorothea Fraser Shirley was the informant.
• Emily and her children moved from Brighton to Tunbridge Wells between 1883 and 1884.


FH Information
• His name was Francis or Frederic. The latter is tenuous being recalled some 30 and 65 years after his presumed last association with the family in the early-mid 1880’s.
• The name of his father was Arthur. Most personal details in our FH archive have been later found to be accurate and thus “Arthur” is an important criterion in the search strategy below.
• He was knocked down by a cab when he died of his injuries (sometime after the conception of Dorothea in 1882)
• Francis allegedly had an ancestral baron in the family
• Francis was allegedly with the sugar merchants Tate and Lyle in Mincing Lane, London. While this is inaccurate (the Company formed only in 1921) web information indicates that Mincing Lane was extensively linked with the sugar trade. The information intimates that he likely had knowledge of the sugar business and that he knew London.

https://www.geni.com/people/Emily-Shirley/6000000025155408103

WORKING FAMILY LINEAGE

Arthur Shirley (from family tradition and 'archive')

children:

1(i). Francis (Frederic) Shirley, commercial traveller. He is not found in any census, but named as father in other records.

Ancestor of DNA Participant Kit #IN23038

(supposedly) married Emily Fraser

children:

2(i). Saxon Fraser Shirley born 30th December 1875

Name Saxon Fraser Shirley
Event Type Birth Registration
Registration Quarter Jan-Feb-Mar
Registration Year 1876
Registration District Brighton
County Sussex
Event Place Brighton, Sussex, England

2(ii). Ronald Fraser Shirley born 3rd January 1879

Name Ronald Fraser Shirley
Event Type Birth Registration
Registration Quarter Jan-Feb-Mar
Registration Year 1879
Registration District Brighton
County Sussex
Event Place Brighton, Sussex, England

Name Ronald Fraser Shirley
Event Type Death
Event Date 22 Mar 1950
Event Place Salisbury, Zimbabwe
Gender Male
Age 71
Birth Year (Estimated) 1879

2(iii). Winifred Fraser Shirley born 20th January 1880. She died 28th October 1880

Name Winifred Fraser Shirley
Event Type Birth Registration
Registration Quarter Oct-Nov-Dec
Registration Year 1880
Registration District Steyning
County Sussex
Event Place Steyning, Sussex, England

2(iv). Victor Fraser Shirley born 20th January 1882

Name Victor Fraser Shirley
Event Type Birth Registration
Registration Quarter Jan-Feb-Mar
Registration Year 1882
Registration District Steyning
County Sussex
Event Place Steyning, Sussex, England

2(v). Dorothea Fraser Shirley born 20th April 1883

Name Dorothea Fraser Shirley
Event Type Birth Registration
Registration Quarter Apr-May-Jun
Registration Year 1883
Registration District Steyning
County Sussex
Event Place Steyning, Sussex, England

Name Alexander Cocker Cruickshank
Event Type Marriage
Event Date 31 Dec 1921
Event Place Durban, Natal, South Africa
Gender Male
Age 36
Birth Year (Estimated) 1885
Spouse's Name Dorothea Fraser Shirley
Spouse's Gender Female
Spouse's Age 38
Spouse's Birth Year (Estimated) 1883


UK Census

1881

Emily Shirley Wife Head F 26 Somerset, England
Saxon Shirley Son M 5 Brighton, Sussex, England
Ronald Shirley Son M 2 Brighton, Sussex, England
Rebecca Simmon Boarder F 25 Maidstone, Kent, England

Event Place: Preston, Sussex, England
Registration District: Steyning
Residence Note: Springfield Road
Gender: Female
Age: 26
Marital Status (Original): Married
Occupation: Dress Maker
Relationship to Head of Household: Wife Head

1891

Error, shown as Linley surname (only in Ancestry.com, not found elsewhere). Living in Kent with children: Ronald, Victor F etc.

1901

Emily S Shirley Head F 45 Castle Cary, Somersetshire
Victor F Shirley Son M 19 Brighton, Sussex
Dorothea F Shirley Daughter F 17 Brighton, Sussex
Quinton A Ross Visitor M 13 Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Event Place: Rotherfield, Sussex, England
County: Sussex
Civil Parish: Rotherfield
Ecclesiastical Parish: Crowborough
Sub-District: Rotherfield
Registration District: Uckfield
Residence Note: Blacknest Road
Occupation: LIVING ON OWN MEANS
Relationship to Head of Household: Head

1911

Emily Shirley Head F 56 Somerton, Somersetshire
Mabel Shirley Granddaughter F 6 Durban Crans Vnal S Africa

Event Place Crowborough, , Sussex, England
County Sussex
Parish Crowborough
Sub-District Rotherfield
Registration District Uckfield
Gender Female
Age 56
Marital Status (Original) WIDOW
Occupation PRIVATE MEANS

   


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