It is not unusual to have family lore that you are not able to prove. You wonder is there an element of truth in the story. Why would the story be passed down?
Early in my family research, I was told by my cousin Norman in England that Josiah was born in Spain ca 1842 with the surname Zuniga. When the family came to England when he was a toddler, the family changed their name by deed poll taking the name of Dudley for Dudley, Warwickshire where they were living. I was intrigued by this story. So I was on the hunt to see what I could find. Well, I have never found anything to support this. Here is what I have found.
All the census records that I have found for Josiah and his family have given his place of birth as Alcester, Warwickshire except the 1871 census when it is listed as Arrow. Arrow is a parish within the Alcester District. Alcester is seven miles west of Stratford-on-Avon. When Josiah married Sarah Mucklow 28 July 1867 in the Parish church at Haselor, he was living in Alcester. No father is listed for him in the registration.
The Arden Way approaches St Mary and All Saints Church, Haselor.
Josiah and wife and children left Alcester perhaps to find employment opportunities. The indexes for death registration of Bertha and the birth registrations for Gilbert and Charles shows that the family had moved to Derbyshire between 1871 and 1875. It is not known how long they stayed in Derbyshire but they were in Birmingham by 1881. According to the different census records, they lived in different locations within the Birmingham district. Several addresses were back lanes.
The 1871 census is the first one where we find Josiah as a married man with his wife Sarah and a little girl, Bertha.
In the 1851 census, I didn't find an exact match with the surname Dudley in Alcester but there is one for a Dursley family living in the Oversley Union Workhouse. This looks it could possibly Josiah's family. With Josiah, aged 3; are Ann, 31, nail maker; Solomon, 12; Charles, 7; George, 6 and Jonathan 8 mo. The workhouse was on the east end of Alcester and the building that they would have lived in was built in 1837.
Oversley House dates from 1837 was formerly the workhouse.
The inscription on the building reads 'The stone the gift of Sir Charles Throckmorton Bart'.
Needle making was an important industry in the Alcester area. In 1861, Josiah was working as needle maker and was living with his mother Ann and most likely his siblings, Joshua and William. In 1871, his occupation was needle filer.
How did Josiah go from a factory worker to a bricklayer? In the 1881 census, his occupation is reported as jobbing bricklayer. A search several years ago for apprenticeship papers for him in Warwickshire on microfilm from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City did not result in finding one for him. Did he learn the trade in an informal arrangement? His neighbour in 1861 was Thomas Niblett, a bricklayer. While in Derbyshire did he work as a bricklayer? Perhaps, obtaining the birth registrations for his two sons may provide this information. At the time of his death, Josiah was a bricklayer journeyman.
In the certified copy of an entry of death from the General Register Office, it states that Josiah died at 2 Back 6 Little Green Lane, Aston, Birmingham. He was only 56 years old. He died of cancer of Pylorus, ulcer of the stomach and rupture of stomach. His wife, Sarah signed her mark as the informant. It sounds like an awful death.
1901 England Census Aston St. Andrew. Saltley Bureau, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England RG 13/2864 Deritend Ed 84 folio 76 p. 17 household, 102 2 Back www.ancestry.ca
1891 England Census Aston All Saints Bordesley Warwickshire RG 12/2410 Aston Deritend Ed 52 folio 43 p. 32 household 171; FHL 6097520
1881 England Census Birmingham, England RG 11 /2981 Birmingham St. Martin Ed 6 Folio 70 p. 19 household 88; www.ancestry.ca
1871 England Census Alcester Warwickshire RG 10/3211 Ed 3d Folio 52 p.11 household 51 FHL 839261 www.ancestry.com
1861 England Census Alcester : RG 9; Piece: 2234; Folio: 32; Page: 16; FHL roll: 542940.
1851 England Census Oversley Hamlet Class: HO107; Piece: 2075; Folio: 249; Page: 16; FHL roll: 87344.
Josiah Dudley civil birth registration Alcester Warwick England, certified copy from General Register Office BXCB 416147.
Josiah Dudley civil death registration Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, certified from General Register Office.
© 2014 Janet Iles