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Tracking down Frank Bloxham - Part 1

Frank Bloxham has no direct connection to me as such - however, his likely son, Frank Henry Simms does indeed carries the genes of my 2nd great-aunt Charlotte Simms. I contacted a descendant of the family of Frank Henry Simms and passed the information i had over. I decided to take a closer look at this individual. To uncover the story behind the article and to track his movements after - and also, his origins. He was commonly called "Frank" (as such many were) but was born Francis A Bloxham.

Francis Bloxham - 6 years old in the 1881 census.

Like many families in Brailes there were common groups of families. The Bloxhams were quite a unique name and not as common compared to others. Brailes being as small as it was - and still is - it remains comparatively easy to track them around. Whilst working for a grocer in the following census he met Charlotte Simms.

1891 census.

Francis was working as a grocers apprentice and Charlotte as a general servant (domestic).

1892 newspaper article

This happened not long after the census. So what happened to Frank after this? I found him in the 1901 census in Leicestershire. We know it is him because he is in the same trade and give his birth place as Brailes.

1901 census
Take note of one of the names there. Constance Turner.

In 1911 we find him again. Married, intriguingly, to a woman named Constance. They are shown as being married for seven years (obviously dating the marriage to 1904) on this census - though without any children at that time. This individual, in Leicester again, is a grocer again... andgives his birth place as Brailes once again. We know we have the right man.

1911 census
Later entries show him, as a grocer, for many years. A sample entry is shown below in which we also learn his middle name - Alfred.

Still in Leicestershire in 1928.

It isn't difficult to locate the marriage either - confirming all that we currently know.

Going back what can we learn about him? His baptism in 1875 shows us why Alfred was his middle name. That was the name of his father.

So, we now have his parents names. Alfred and Frances. They were married, in Brailes, in 1866.

We also learn the surname of his mother, Pickering. This wraps up very nicely back to the original census report we looked at. In that you see it references a father called Thomas Pickering - her mother Mary. This now makes much more sense, and validates this research. It also suggests his father, Alfred, was dead by 1881. A very sad piece of news if true.

My suspicions are confirmed when i find a remarriage in 1890 to a Thomas Henry Ivins.

She was affectionately known as "Fanny" Pickering and came from a large family.

Back on to Alfred Bloxham. His death, as we surmised above, is confirmed in 1878 and explains his absence from the 1881 census and his wife, and her children, being with her Pickering family.

This background paints a slightly different picture of Frank Bloxham. Not to excuse his behaviour but to lend a little context to it. Tragically we learn, at the time of his death, Alfred was just 36 years old. Shockingly young and he left a very young family. Frank Bloxham was 3 at his fathers passing and probably never remember him.

This is worthy of scouring the newspapers although a short glance yields nothing of note. One of the irritations, in some ways, is Bloxham is also the name of a village. Leaving his death for now - and locating his birth - we find his parents with relative ease.

His parents were William and Rhoda. In 1861 we find Alfred as an apprentice away from his home. Specifically - a shoe makers apprentice.

I was hoping to perhaps learn of a more "dangerous" trade to at least try to explain his early death. We will learn this in due time i am sure. Diligence eventually pays off.

In the 1851 census we learn more about his siblings at that his father, William, was not a native of Brailes but of Wigginton, Oxfordshire. This location isn't as far as away as you would think.

He was, like a lot of men who lived in (or moved) to Brailes, an agricultural labourer and was clearly brought to the region for work. This is likely where he met Rhoda as he married her in Brailes in 1839. We learn of his fathers name at this stage also, John Bloxham.

William was born to John and Elizabeth in Wiggington, Oxfordshire in 1809.

John's wife, Elizabeth, was from Brailes also. There seemed to be a noteworthy connection between Brailes and other places. She was born Elizabeth Spencer in 1799. Her parents were Joseph and Mary (Alcock).

She died in 1839, again, at a remarkably young age. Her mother Mary Alcock was born in 1755 - her parents are shown as John and Mary.

Incredible. All of this detail from a single name given in a single newspaper about an application in bastardy put forward by my 2nd great-aunt.

Part 2 to follow...


  1. fascinating thank you for posting this.

    1. Thank you for dropping by and taking the time to read it. I absolutely love this - the thrill of locating family. This research is actually for a 3rd cousin once removed that i made contact with. You can see the article a bit further back. He was STUNNED. I completed this first tranch of research in a single sitting. Much more to do!


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