The problem with Seamen….

I fear I’m not going to be able to start this story at the beginning of old George’s life because the journey of discovery started at his death.

George Henry Hazell died in 1939 in Newport.  His death was registered as George H. Hazell in the 3rd quarter of 1939.  His age at the registration was given as 64 years, giving a birth year of 1875.

George married Elizabeth Ann Comley in 1903 in Newport, Monmouthshire.  By 1911, the couple had three children, Caroline Alma May, Alice Mary and Herman Lewis.  Elizabeth and the children are living on Blewitt Street, Newport but George is nowhere to be seen.
This, coupled with the regular age gaps between the children, suggested that he may have been a military man or seaman.  Newport had a thriving sea based industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries and many of the distant relatives of Elizabeth were seamen.

The registered death of George Henry points to a birth around 1875.  The only George Henry with Hazell spelt as I would expect was one whose birth was registered in Lexden, Essex during the March quarter of 1875.
Researching George’s family has brought up many interesting points as has the information discovered through members of the Family Tree Forum.

In 1881, George Henry is living with his Mother, Alma Elizabeth and 2 siblings, Mary Elizabeth and Alma Eliza.
The 26 year old Alma Elizabeth is recorded as the wife of a Mariner.  They are living on Mill Road, Wivenhoe, where the children were born.  (I’ve been told that Wivenhoe was notorious for smuggling in the 19th Century.)

I haven’t located George Henry on the 1891 census which suggests to me that the 16 year old had already followed in his father’s footsteps.

The connection of my George Henry Hazell to the Hazell’s of Wivenhoe has been confirmed through the Army pension records of a younger brother.
George Henry’s mother, Alma Elizabeth Stapleton, married George Joseph Hazell in Wandsworth, London in 1873.  They had 10 children including George Henry, 1 was born and died between census years, the other 8 were Mary Elizabeth (1878), Alma Eliza (1881), Rosa Grace (1883), Harman Samuel (1886), May Mildred (1888), Lewis James (1890), George (1893) and Gladys Florence (1895).

It was the youngest George, born in 1893, who provided the link.  George signed up to the Army in September 1914, he was discharged just 22 days later on the grounds that he was “not likely to become an efficient soldier”.
George was stated as a 23 year old with blue eyes and light brown hair standing at 5ft 8.5inches tall, with “1 thistle left forearm”.
On his papers his next of kin are given as his father, George Hazell and mother, Alma of Wivenhoe, Essex and brother, Harry Hazell of 13 Blewitt Street, Newport, Mon.

Given that the younger George’s older brother’s family was living on Blewitt Street in 1911, it would be more than a coincidence for this to be a different family.

The story of the Hazell family is coming to light piece by piece, I wonder what else there is to discover.


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