Image by drgillybean via Flickr
It seems that a few days go by and then we have a new breakthrough in our search of the truth in our family tree. We had another eureka moment late last night. And it was a doozy.
If you have been following along, you might remember that we could not locate one of Louisa’s brothers, George Needs, on any census after 1871. And we also could not locate her father, William Needs.
We have finally located them in the 1881 census. Both William and George were in Alwoodley, Leeds working on the Leeds Waterworks project. This was an expansion on the waterworks that was originally built in 1843. To be exact, they were working on the Eccup Reservoir. William is listed on the census as a widower.
Interestingly enough, we finally received a copy of the marriage certificate of Elizabeth Baker Needs and James Martin. The marriage certificate also lists her as a widow. We now know that James Martin raised James Needs and Louisa Needs as his own. In fact, they were raised with the last name of Martin instead of Needs. This is the reason on the first two of Louisa’s marriages, she lists her father as James Martin. It wasn’t until her last marriage in 1920 to Robert William Pearson that she lists her father’s last name as Needs.
We believe it was because in previous times, registration wasn’t always required. Even after it was made into law, those laws weren’t completely enforced for many many years. So it was easy to just walk away from one marriage and say that a person died in order to be able to marry again. No one bothered to check the facts. It was just assumed that the people were telling the truth. So these “walk away” divorces were very common back then.
Oh how times have changed. If everything was as simple now as it was back then.