My dad’s mother was originally a Barfoot… a name that is fairly common in the SE of England although in various forms that have changed over time (Barefoot, Barefot, Bearfoot etc) and his grandfather, my Great Grandfather, Edward Barfoot, is standing in the centre. My G Grandmother, in the dark dress on the front row, was originally Elizabeth Taylor.
Edward, from a young age, worked in a papermill in Maidstone and then started to work in a local saw mill (probably connected) and possibly was even working at the time of this photograph. He was born in Maidstone on 21 March 1857, although I’ve not been able to find his baptism just yet… maybe he wasn’t baptised! He was from a family who worked on the barges in the town, carrying goods up the Medway to London, and his decision to work in the saw mill broke the family tradition. However, his father had died when he was just eleven and I would think that his mother was pleased to have some money coming in as soon as possible, little caring whether he worked on the barges or not!
Edward married a Louisa Caroline Cook when he was 18 in 1875 but he was widowed the following year. His period of mourning was fairly brief, however, and he married Elizabeth the year after that in 1877 on 14 July in Maidstone. Fanny and Daniel Lambert were the witnesses, Edward’s sister and brother-in-law. Elizabeth gave birth to their first living child in 1879 and they went on to have 8 more with my grandmother, Lilian Lavinia the youngest and last to arrive in 1898. In this photo their fifth child John, known as Jack is standing on the left with his future wife, Jane Clara Boorman, seated in front of him. The other members of the group I’m not sure about… yet!
Elizabeth, Edward’s wife, was born in Royal Tunbridge Wells in 1859, born in the Workhouse there to an Emma Taylor. However, what is strange is that Elizabeth can’t be found on any census records and there is no trace of her until her marriage and from then on she’s there in all the census returns.
She’s my ‘brickwall’ at this stage of the family history… so many questions arise, though…. was Emma her mother’s real name? Was Elizabeth known by another name? If so, what name? Where was she? If I believe the information on her birth certificate and she was born on 19th May… what happened to her from then up to 1877?
One day, I’m sure, the answer will be revealed… but until then she’s someone without a past for me!