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When I started researching my partner’s family tree, things were complicated from the start. My partner’s grandparents Caroline Alma May Hazell and Wallace Henry Davidson were a difficult couple to research. They had several children but I suspect they never married.
The birth certificate of their youngest child, Roy, certificate named his mother as May Caroline Alma HAZELL, not Caroline Alma May DAVIDSON formerly HAZEL. They were not married at the time of Roy’s birth and as I’ve suggested, I suspect they didn’t marry at all (despite Caroline being registered at death as DAVIDSON).
I decided to send my partner to ask a few questions and it turned out that Wallace had a wife. He left her and a number of children to start a new life with Caroline. This fact was something I needed. I assumed I was looking for an older man because Caroline was 18 when her first child was born in 1922.
Looking through the 1911 Census records from Newport, I discovered Wallace. He lived with his wife and child just a couple of doors away from Caroline and her parents.
More details gradually came to light about his life before 1911.
Wallace Henry DAVIDSON was born in Argyle Street, Leicester on 22nd February 1886. He was the first child of James DAVIDSON and Kate Elizabeth DAVIDSON formerly BOWN.
His family moved to Longton, Staffordshire before June 1888 where his brother, Stuart James was born. In 1891 the family were living in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire where his sisters, Dorothy and Maggie were born.
Wallace’s mother Kate disappeared sometime between 1891 and 1893 (family stories suggest she went ‘doolally’) and his father, James, remarried in 1893.
The family continued to move around, living in Birmingham, Wellingborough (Northants) and finally settling in Newport, Monmouthshire between 1901 and 1904. His father’s second marriage produced at least 9 more siblings between 1895 and 1910; Tom, Donald Cory, Olga Madge, Laura Mildred, Nelly, Enid, Alan, Vernon and May.
Wallace married Emily WATERMAN around December 1907 in Pontypool and their first child, Doris, was born around Sep 1908.
Wallace left his wife, Emily, at some point after and began a life with Caroline.
It’s a story I have thought about almost constantly but the truth still escapes me. Oh, how I wish the dead could talk.
In 1924, Wallace and Caroline were in Wiltshire and in 1926, they were in Cardiff. By 1928, the couple had settled in Chepstow.
Family stories suggest Wallace and Caroline owned a Tailor Shop in Chepstow but this hasn’t been confirmed.
Wallace also stretched the truth of his age. By the time of his death on 5th February 1954 in Chepstow, Wallace was 5 years younger. He died from a heart attack caused by blocked arteries in laymans terms.
The period in his life I find most intriguing I guess I’ll never know about but I look forward to 2022 when the 1921 census is released which will help to pinpoint when everything changed.