The person missing is the father of my great grandmother on my birth mother's side. The father of Hannah Wild. She was one of the most remarkable women on my tree and finding out about her background might explain where she got the strength from to bring up a huge family while living in poverty in the slums of London. I don't have any photos of her when she was young, unfortunately, but this is her on the left.
I have her marriage certificate to William Musgrove in 1885 which shows her father was a JOHN WILD (deceased), a brick maker.
I then found Hannah and her new husband on the 1891 census. Luckily they were living with her widowed mother, KATHERINE WILD, a laundress, aged 58 at 27 Southam Street, Kensington. She was still living with them on the 1901 census, although now spelt 'CATHERINE' rather than KATHERINE. I found that Katherine died in 1905, aged 73.
I then looked on censuses prior to Hannah's marriage to see if I could find anything more about her parents.
1881 : Hannah aged 14 living at 37 Talbot Grove, Kensington with her "widowed" mother KATHERINE WILD (48), laundress.
1871 : Hannah aged 4 living at Alpha Terrace, Kensington with her "widowed" mother CATHERINE WYLDE (38), laundress. Also living with them was Catherine’s sister, 30 year old, ELIZA WYLDE.
1861 : CATHERINE WILD (29) is described as unmarried and is living with her parents, John (70) and Hannah Wild (70), and her sister, ELIZA WILD (21), at 12 Lonsdale Cottages, St Mary Abbotts, Kensington.
The importance of all this, logically, is that the unmarried Catherine Wild in 1861, who had a daughter in 1865, is the same "widowed" Catherine Wild who was on the 1871 census. I therefore concluded that Hannah was illegitimate and that maybe John Wild (deceased) on the marriage certificate was made up or she just decided to use her father's name as a convenient substitute.
I then decided that I must find Hannah's birth certificate to corroborate this. That can't be difficult. We have a name, it's in England, it's after 1837. Do it !
Assuming the age of 4 is correct on the 1871 census which took place on 2nd April 1871, it means HANNAH was born sometime between 3rd April 1866 and 2nd April 1867. I obtained the only birth certificate of a HANNAH WILD born in London or Middlesex between 1866 and 1867. She was born in Kensington on 21st October 1866 and the certificate says she was named HANNAH ELIZABETH WILD and that her parents were CATHERINE WILD (nee SMITH) and a DAVID WILD. Their address is shown as 13 Canterbury Road, Kensington, the same address as was on Hannah's cousin's marriage certificate the previous year. Catherine was the informant.
So now we have a choice of fathers : If we believe Hannah, it was a JOHN WILD or, according to her mother, it was a DAVID WILD and she claims her maiden name was SMITH.
The most likely scenario is that CATHERINE, when she gave birth to HANNAH, thought it would be better and more socially acceptable if she invented a husband, David Wild, and pretend her maiden name was Smith. Maybe this invented name had been forgotten by the time of Hannah's marriage and her father then became a John Wild ? Either way, we will probably never know as I am convinced that she was born illegitimately. Quite a stigma in those days.
I will be telling how Hannah coped with having this background in a future week.