Q&A

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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

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