Our experts unravel your riddles
QSarah Elliott and John Covey Gatehouse married at St Edmond’s Church, Lombard Street, London, in 1817. A scrap of paper from Pallot’s Marriage Index 1780-1837 contains just their names, the date and the church name.
John Covey Gatehouse’s son, John Steel Gatehouse ( born in 1818), disappeared around 1849 in Havant. An article in the London Gazette on 10 May 1870, states that he was presumed dead, so creditors could claim on his estate. This was 21 years after his assumed death.
How can I find details about his disappearance and why they had to wait 20 years before releasing his estate? David Gatehouse, by email
AAn image of the record of John and Sarah’s marriage on 21 October 1817, at the church of St Edmund the King and Martyr is available at ancestry.co.uk. Unfortunately, Ancestry has indexed their surnames as ‘Gatchouse’ and ‘Elliett’, making the record difficult to find.
John’s will was proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC), and is also online at Ancestry (indexed as ‘Gatchouse’) and at thegenealogist.co.uk as ‘Galehouse’. The will, dated 17 July 1834, mentions John’s wife Sarah, indicating that she was alive at that time. I found a Sarah Gatehouse in the 1841 census in Wrotham, Kent, where a Richard Elliott had died the same year. A Richard Elliott was witness to the 1817 marriage. His PCC will mentions “my daughter Sarah Gatehouse widow”.
The 1851 census lists Sarah in Wrotham, aged 59, born in Lewisham. According to both findmypast.co.uk and familysearch.org, Sarah Gatehouse was buried in Wrotham churchyard on 29 October 1851. I found no baptism of Sarah in Lewisham around 1792, but I did find the baptism in 1801 of Mary, daughter of Richard and Sarah Elliott (Richard’s will also mentions “my daughter, Mary Williams widow”). There was, however, a Sarah Elliott, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth, baptised in Lewisham in 1783.
I’m afraid you’ve misinterpreted the item in the London Gazette ( www.thegazette.co.uk/ London/issue/23614/page/2509/data.pdf). The Hampshire Telegraph (at britishnews paperarchive.co.uk and findmypast.co.uk) reported the death on 8 December 1849, at Emsworth of Mr John Gatehouse, brewer and spirit merchant, aged 31.
John Steel Gatehouse’s will, which was proved at the PCC on 16 March 1850, set up a trust fund for his children and his wife (who remarried on 24 July 1855, according to the Hampshire Advertiser). The Salisbury and Winchester Journal reported that Fanny, the youngest child, married on 1 March 1870, at the age of about 21, so the notice was probably inserted in the Gazette with a view to winding up the trust. Alan Stewart
How can I find out more about this man’s disappearance and decipher the mystery surrounding the release of his estate?
The record showing the marriage of Sarah Elliott and John Gatehouse in 1817