Little Ethelbert

Recently I’ve been delving into the Ethelberts in my tree – a master post about them will be coming in the next couple of weeks (so that’s something to look forward to) – and I found something rather unexpected, hence this post first rather than the main post!

One thing I do love about genealogy is the never-ending possibility for surprises. And sometimes those surprises are a lot closer than you think …

When I began researching I did the sensible thing: I asked my mum lots of questions, and I asked her eldest aunt everything I could think of. One of those things was about the family of my great-grandfather, Joseph Holborow. It was established with certainty that he had two brothers, Frederick and John. I very quickly wrapped up the family unit and moved on.

Their parents, Mary Teagle and Joseph Holborow, married on 27 September 1894 in Malmesbury Register Office (Mary the daughter of Giles Teagle who we first met here). I know that Mary was around 5 months pregnant at the time, but there might have also been another reason why they opted for a non-church wedding …

Baptism of Harry Ethelbert Teagle, son of Mary Teagle
Gloucestershire Anglican Parish Registers. Gloucestershire Archives via Ancestry

I am certain that this is my Mary based on likely age and the location, and therefore little Harry is – at best – a half-brother to my great-grandfather. Interestingly the only birth registration that fits is a Harry Ethelbert Stevens, to whom the GRO assigns a mother’s maiden name of Teagle. There are no Stevens/Teagle marriages.

And then there is the below burial:

Burial of Ethelbert Teagle
Wiltshire Burial Index via FindMyPast

There are no Ethelbert Teagle births c. 4 years prior to this burial, so I am happy to accept that this is little Harry. However, when searching for his death registration on FreeBMD another surprise:

This seems to tie Ethelbert to both the Teagle and Holborow families, thus adding to the evidence that his mother was the Mary Teagle who married into the Holborow family and was, in all likelihood, raised as a Holborow.

Why was his birth registered as a Stevens, but his baptism showed no father’s name? Once the GRO is back up and running then I’ll definitely be purchasing that birth certificate!

I have to say that it was a nice surprise coming across Harry so unexpectedly in the baptismal records, even if he did die young and has left something of a mystery outstanding! My great-grandfather was born 13 months after Harry’s death, with his eldest brother being barely two, so it might be that they never knew about Harry – it’s certainly not a story that came down the line.

Cover image: St Catherine’s Church, Westonbirt taken by Ian at Cornish Churches.


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