What in Evans Name?

I was confused for a time by the names of Nan’s aunts, Wombourne family Evans, as they appeared in censuses. There seemed to be more sisters than there should be and a couple of the girls appeared to drift in and out of the censuses, see extracts.


For example, in the 1871 census were daughters Henrietta (10), Priscilla (9), Jane (4) and Annie (3 days).

1881 there was Harriet (20): at first I thought Henrietta was a simple mistake, you know, an occupational hazard for the genealogist, but now I am not so sure.

Also Mary (19), but no Priscilla. And where was Mary in 1871? There was no record of birth. There was no record of death or marriage for Priscilla and, anyway, Dad remembered an “aunt Zilla”. To confuse matters further, by 1891 there was another Mary. So what was going on?

The real Mary Ann Evans b.1883.

Priscilla was baptised at Wombourne on 3 Nov 1862, but her birth was registered in the first quarter of 1862, so would have been 9 and 19 in the 1871 and 1881 censuses. I can only presume that in her teens she decided that Priscilla, her grandmother’s name, was not to her taste and chose to be called Mary. At her wedding in 1885 and in the 1891 census she had reverted to Priscilla.

Similarly, I suspect, as the 1881 census record is clearly “Amey”, Annie was doing something similar. Later, she would appear as Annie in the census of 1901, and of 1891 when she was in service at Hammerwich Hall.

Hammerwich Hall, Hammerwich, Staffordshire, 2011.  Lichfield Cathedral in silhouette towards the left.

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