Tammie Lee asked for in­for­ma­tion about her an­ces­tor, John Henry Lee. She’s had some re­sponse, but she could do with more assistance – can you help?

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QI am look­ing for in­for­ma­tion on my great-grand­fa­ther, John Henry Lee, who was born in Bow in 1881 to Job Lee and Eliza Gar­rett. He mar­ried Sarah Sophia Oates and had two chil­dren – Harold Les­lie Lee and Job Lee (my grand­fa­ther). He is in no of­fi­cial doc­u­men­ta­tion, and I can find lit­tle about him. As it is my fam­ily name, I would very much like to break down the wall. Any help would be much ap­pre­ci­ated. TAMMIE LEE, VIA FACE­BOOK

ARose­mary Fong sent us this: Tammie said her great-grand­fa­ther, John Henry Lee, mother Eliza Gar­rett, doesn’t ap­pear on any of­fi­cial doc­u­men­ta­tion. Does that in­clude a birth cer­tifi­cate? There’s a birth en­try for John Henry Lee, mother’s name Gar­rett, 1880, Mile End Old Town (vol 1c page 624). Has Tammie ruled this one out?

AAlex Clev­er­ley had also re­sponded, in more de­tail: Did you have the birth cer­tifi­cate of John Henry Lee, as you said

he was the son of Job Lee and Eliza Gar­rett? I couldn’t find a mar­riage for that cou­ple, and al­though there is a birth reg­is­tra­tion in Mile End Old Town in 1880 for a John Henry Lee, with a mother’s maiden name of Gar­rett, I wasn’t see­ing much that seemed to tie in with Job. I see John Henry in 1901 down as a boarder in the house­hold of Job and his wife El­iz­a­beth (née Swift) and wondered if per­haps Job and El­iz­a­beth adopted him, but some­time af­ter 1891, as he doesn’t’ ap­pear with the fam­ily in 1881 or 1891.

I noted he had the same oc­cu­pa­tion as Job, but when he mar­ried Sarah Sophia in 1901, he gave his fa­ther’s oc­cu­pa­tion as gen­tle­man rather than ma­son or stone­ma­son. Job mar­ried El­iz­a­beth in 1875 in the Dews­bury district – but El­iz­a­beth had a son, Arthur (b1873) be­fore they mar­ried – I think he kept Swift as a mid­dle name. They had Tom in 1877, Sarah Ann in 1878, Ernest in 1881 (al­though named Hi­ram in the 1881 cen­sus – I guess they changed their minds about his name!), An­nie Louisa in 1883, Ted­bert in 1885, Gil­bert in 1888 (he drowned in 1894), Mary El­iz­a­beth in 1891 and Eleanor (b and d1894). The 1911 cen­sus states that Job and El­iz­a­beth had 10 chil­dren, or whom two had died – so ei­ther they counted a still­born child (al­though we al­ready know of the two deaths), or if they had adopted John Henry, it would ex­plain the 10. I’m not see­ing any likely deaths for John Henry be­tween the birth of Harold in 1905 and the 1911 cen­sus. Given she moved from York­shire to South­port to be with her fam­ily, I won­der if she wasn’t wid­owed but sep­a­rated?

If Lee wasn’t his birth name, per­haps he went back to us­ing his birth name. I can cer­tainly un­der­stand why you have been stuck on this! And Tammie com­mented: All the in­for­ma­tion you kindly de­tail I have, and for a while I was tempted to add the Job Lee and El­iz­a­beth Swift fam­ily to ‘my’ tree. But some­thing doesn’t sit right. My heart says they are not mind. I know he boarded with them, so there may be a side­ways con­nec­tion.

There is some­thing dodgy about John Henry lee – my un­cle says he was never around – just Sarah Sophia. I reckon he got up to no good some­how, but where did he dis­ap­pear to? I have been work­ing on him since 1994, and got no clearer a pic­ture of him. Don’t you just love ge­neal­ogy?! If you can shed more light on John Henry Lee, do get in touch!

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