17 March 2011

The missing Weiss'

My great great grandfather, Frederick Adam Weiss was born in Manchester, England, on February 6th, 1839 to Charles Nicholas and Benigna Catharina Weiss (nee Von Holst). He was the youngest of (maybe) six children. It is believed that there were three girls, Adelaide, Benigna and Caroline, and three boys, Unknown, Egmont and Frederick - born supposedly in the order listed here. However, I have only managed to confirm the existence of Adelaide, Unknown (just not sure what his name was), Egmont and Frederick.

All the children seem to have been born in England. Their father, Charles, enlisted in the British Army and was sent to India with the 17th Foot Regiment, arriving in Bombay on November 30, 1840. It would appear that the family didn't join him in India straight away as his wife Benigna, aged 40, Adelaide, 11, Unknown (the name looks like "Derby" to me...), 6, Egmont, 4, and Frederick (listed as Fritz), 2, were in the 1841 English Census (which was taken on June 6th, 1841).

I don't know why Benigna and Caroline don't appear in the census with the rest of the family (apart from their father who is in India). I can't find them living anywhere else during the census either - not away at boarding school or working as servants etc anywhere. Perhaps they died young, but there seem to be no records of that either. There is a record of Adelaide being baptised, at St Pancras in 1829, and also Frederick, aged 2, at Aden, Yemen (while Charles was stationed there) in 1842. I have not located any baptism records for Unknown or Egmont, but it would be illogical to expect a family to only baptise their youngest and eldest children.

I actually have no tangible evidence of Benigna and Caroline's existence, apart from in some handwritten notes Dad gave me - and he can't remember who they came from. However, other people believe they existed too, as I can find their details amongst other people's research as well.

As well as that, the only record I have for Unknown is in the 1841 Census. It probably would help if I could decipher his name...

I rang my grandmother and asked her if she remembered her grandfather (Frederick) ever mentioning his siblings. She has no recollection of this but she freely admits that she didn't pay attention to things like that and wishes she had now. She has a vague idea that her older sister (who died two years ago) perhaps was said to look like one of Frederick's siblings, and perhaps she had a locket from them. She's going to ask my great uncle if he remembers anything. I don't expect much will come of it though - these things are most likely lost now. That's ok. I'll just have to wonder.

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