"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Perkins again

Further pieces of the jigsaw that is the mystery of Charles Ernest (Frederick) Perkins have been unveiled. After finding evidence of his baptism, under the name of Charles Frederick, I searched again, and again in vain, for the registration of his birth but, although I have searched under every combination of the three names, I have found nothing, which is all the more mysterious as his brothers and sisters were all registered.
During my searching, however, I discovered that his father John, had apparently emigrated to Kansas, USA, followed later by his wife and youngest daughter, Ellen, aka Nellie. I already knew that, in the 1871 census, Frances Perkins and Ellen were living with Frances's son, Frank in Kent, so some time between then and 1880, the two of them decamped to Kansas to join John. By then John and Frances were in their fifties, so it seems a big step for them to take at that stage of their lives.
Some of this information has been further supported by Charles' army papers, which Dad recently found again. 
So, some of the mystery is solved but many questions still remain and probably will never be answered.
Why did Charles appear to change his middle name, which is Frederick on his baptism certificate, Ernest on his death certificate and doesn't appear at all on his marriage certificate or in his army papers?
Why does there appear to be no record of his birth?
Why did John and Frances decide to emigrate to America in their fifties?
Why did Charles fall out with most of his family, including, it seems, his parents? I have first hand information from Dad that he did and this seems to be backed up by the entry for 'parents' address' in his army book, where, having crossed out the earlier address at some time, he has replaced it with a box number in USA.
Maybe we need the services of a medium!


Shooting Parrots said...

A splendid history mystery! Of course, America was the 'land of opportunity' and I have a few examples of families that went there when the parents older than you would imagine.

It might be worth checking some of the passenger lists to see if you can pin down exactly when they migrated.

Jennyta said...

Yes, good idea, SP.


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