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William John Brooker (1852(?) - 25/10/1880)

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Woody Report 20 May 2020 19:28

I have been trying for years to find the birth details of my maternal gr gr great grandad, William John Brooker.

I have his marriage certificate and death certificate.

He married Emma Wallace (b.3rd July 1857, Bermondsey, Surrey. Died 1932 Lewisham, Surrey) on the 16 Apr 1876 at All Saints with St Margaret, Upper Norwood, Surrey.

William John Brooker died on 25th October 1880 in Lewisham, Surrey. Burial date and place: 1st November 1880, at Ladywell Cemetery Lewisham. Grave no. G2599. Cause of death: Pulmonary Tuberculosis. He was a gas fitter by trade at this point.

His Marriage certificate states that William and Emma were 'Both of age', where Emma would have been 18 still, and William about 24. He was a Cook by profession. William's Death certificate stated that he was 28 at time of death on 25th Oct 1880. William John's father was also called William John Brooker (as stated on the marriage certificate) and held the profession of a 'Smith', as did Emma's father David Wallace.

I could not find William John Brooker (1852) on the censuses. I looked for David Wallace on the 1871 census, and he was stated to live at 3 Woodside Terrace, Croydon, with his wife Emma (39), his daughter Emma (13), another daughter Ellen (11), Harry (10, son), George (7, son) and James (2,son). William John Brooker would have been about 19 at this point.

I don't live near where William John (1852) was buried, so I could have the chance to see if there was any transcription on his grave to indicate his d.o.b, or if there were further clues to his identity on there.

I tried looking for his father, but closest I got was William John Brooker married Susannah Bivand and having a son William John born in 1854 in Dorking, Surrey. I thought I hit the jackpot, except for the fact that William John was stated to be 28 at death, witnessed on the death cert by his wife Emma. Therefore, disappointed again.

I don't have access to parish registers, and I don't know where else I can look for his. … Can anyone please help so I can move on?

Dave Brooker.


safc Report 20 May 2020 19:48


Record Transcription:
1861 England, Wales & Scotland Census

East Street, Epsom, Surrey, England

Household Members
Members that resided in the household at the time of the census.
First name(s) Last name Relationship Marital status Sex Age Birth year Occupation Birth place
William Brooke Head Married Male 44 1817 Farrier Worlingham, Surrey, England
Harriet Brooke Wife Married Female 40 1821 - Banstead, Surrey, England
William Brooke Son - Male 10 1851 - Epsom, Surrey, England
Harriet Brooke Daughter - Female 8 1853 - Epsom, Surrey, England
Alice Brooke Daughter - Female 3 1858 - Epsom, Surrey, England

a farrier is a black smith who shoes horses


safc Report 20 May 2020 20:08

dont think it is william brooke

Record Transcription:
Surrey Marriages
William Brooke
Census Record
Surrey, England
Year of census: 1861
William Brooke
Parish Burials Record
Surrey, England
Year of death: 1882
William Brooke
Civil Births Record
Surrey, England
Year of birth: 1851
William Brooke
Civil Deaths & Burials Record
Surrey, England
Year of death: 1882
First name(s) William
Last name Brooke
Age 22
Occupation Coal Merchant
Marital status Bachelor
Birth year 1851
Marriage year 1873
Marriage date 25 Mar 1873
Marriage place Leatherhead, Ss Mary & Nicholas
Father's first name(s) William
Father's last name Brooke
Father occupation Farrier
Spouse's first name(s) Sarah
Spouse's last name Coldman
Spouse's age 26
Spouse's birth year 1847
Spouse's condition Spinster
Spouse's father's occupation Sawyer
First witness William Coldman
Second witness Eliza Coldman
County Surrey
Country England
Archive Surrey History Centre
Archive reference LE/2/4
Register type Marriages
Year range 1837-1887
Page 139
Record set Surrey Marriages
Category Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records
Subcategory Parish Marriages
Collections from England, Great Britain


ArgyllGran Report 20 May 2020 20:16

Remember that ages stated on death certs are only as accurate as the knowledge of the informant, which is only as good as what they've been told, and are therefore often wrong.

However, even allowing for that, the son of William John Brooker and Susannah Bivand (whom you've already ruled out) was called William Charles, not William John:

GRO Reference: 1854 S Quarter in DORKING Volume 02A Page 89


ErikaH Report 20 May 2020 20:29

Aged 28 at death, so, if accurate, he was born no later than 25th October 1852

Changing occupation from Cook to Gas Fitter in under four years seems strange.

I see I’ve accessed William Brooker records on FMP previously. Have you asked before for help with this?


Woody Report 20 May 2020 21:13

Hi ErikaH,

I think I posted a thread back in 2008.

William John's address on the death cert was 15 Fir Street, Wells Road, Sydenham, reg district Lewisham, county of Kent. Present at the death was his wife Emma. Death was registered on 26th Oct 1880. The wedding was performed in the presence of David Wallace and Alice Wallace, David her father, but I don't know who Alice was to Emma.
I have the certificates in front of me now, and it is cook to gas fitter.


Woody Report 20 May 2020 21:21

William and Emma had a son on 10th Dec 1876. So I'm guessing Emma may have been pregnant when she was married to William on 16th April 1876, or possibly had the baby early. So, William Edward, their son was born, and the address on his birth cert was 48 St.Hughes Road, Penge, Croydon Surrey. William John was still a cook at this time.


ArgyllGran Report 20 May 2020 22:14

In case anyone's looking for it, the thread David posted in 2008 was about William Joshua Brooker 1898 -
not relevant to this present thread.


Woody Report 20 May 2020 22:58

Yes, I traced back from William Joshua Brooker to his father William Edward Brooker, and from William Edward Brooker to his father William John Brooker. Of which I only hold his marriage, death and grave details


ErikaH Report 21 May 2020 08:57

That explains the earlier accessing of records

Not having any idea where the man was born is a huge stumbling-block


Mary Report 21 May 2020 10:56

On viewing marriage record for William and Emma Wallace and names of witness Alice it appears there is no C so could it be Nellie (Ellen 1860) sister to Emma.



ArgyllGran Report 21 May 2020 11:07

Yes, I think you're right, Mary.

It's written as either Allie or Nllie


Mary Report 21 May 2020 11:11

Also on wedding cert it states dad David Wallace is a Smith by trade yet 1871 he is a bricklayer unemployed and 1881 he is a gas fitter.



ArgyllGran Report 21 May 2020 11:18

And in 1861 David is an asphalt maker's labourer.

He probably had several other jobs or periods of unemployment in between censuses too.
He doesn't seem to have been able to keep any job for long.


Woody Report 21 May 2020 12:30

I even tried a long shot stemming from Abby's post at 19:48 yesterday, that maybe Alice Brooke had married into the Wallace family and was the witness, and through her possibly marrying into the family is how William and Emma met....but couldn't find anything apart from living within 2 miles apart. ...Oh well


Woody Report 1 Jun 2020 19:21

How long could it had been before William John was baptised? And would the baptism record hold his date of birth?


ArgyllGran Report 1 Jun 2020 21:18

Some late baptism records give the date of birth, some just the age, others no mention of it.

There's no limit as to how long after the birth the baptism could have been. Some people weren't / aren't baptised until they are adults.

He may not have been baptised at all, or the record may not have survived.