Can you help?


Over the course of the last few years whilst working on my family history I have managed to trace and make contact with all the families of the siblings of my Grandfather Joseph Read, all that is but two but two of them. They are the families of Annie Read, born 13th August 1896, who on her birth certificate is named as Annie Sheckles, her mother being a match factory hand, but no father is given, and Alfred Read born 1909, mother Jane, father Harry.

As the family lived in Canning Town I have tried to trace forward, and on the 1901 census Annie is present, named as Annie Read,  with her mother, who is named now as Jane Read, my great grandfather Harry Read, and two other children, William John Read ( born 1898), and Harry Read Jnr (born 1900). From later census and birth certificates I have identified other siblings as Frederick 1902, Thomas 1905, John James (Jim) 1907, and my grandfather Joseph 1912.

On the 24th January Annie married a William Henry Hillman, and as far as I can research had four children, Winifred Hillman 1923, Lilian Hillman 1926, William Dennis Hillman 1921 and Henry J Hillman 1929. I haven’t yet found any more detail on Winifred. Lilian married in 1946 to a Charles E Brown, and I have details of one daughter born in 1947, named Carole Brown. William appears to have married twice, 1941 to a Cynthia Clark, and 1959 to a Lilian E Huzzey, I have no information on any children they may have had.  I have no further detail on Henry J Hillman..

What I do know for sure is that Annie was alive in the mid to late 1970’s, as I have a photograph of my Grandad Joe Read and Nan Mary with Annie ( on right), at what I believe is the wedding of Annie’s granddaughter at St Cedd’s church on Beckton Road.

Alfred’s story is a little sad, as he married to Annie Frances Haylock on the 25th December 1934 at West Ham Registry office. Annie was killed in WW2, when a bomb hit their home on the 20th March 1941. Alf’ according to family lore, never fully recovered from the loss, and soon moved to the Potteries at Stoke on Trent. It would seem most of the family never had contact again, but I believe Jim did, as papers relating to Alf were among Jim’s belongings found after his death.

A final family mystery concerns the death of Harry Read Snr, who seems to have disappeared without trace around 1915. He appears on electoral registers in 1913-14 at Vincent Street, Canning Town. All members of the family I have traced and spoken to tell the same story, that is, he went to work in the Docks and died of a heart attack. The problem is, that after exhaustive searches of records in both Newham and Tower Hamlets I have been unable to establish a death, and wonder if in fact he may have run away and perhaps married elsewhere, as his wife Jane Read did on the 11th September 1915, to William Marrison. I understand divorce wasn’t so easy in those days, and with several small children to look after Jane perhaps did the same as many others and just regarded herself as a widow after her husband’s disappearance.

If anyone can help with information on any of the above it would be greatly appreciated, as I would really like to know the true stories, and make contact with the families of Annie and Alfred..

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