Evidence pointing towards Elijah Lavender
being the son of John Lavender 1761 & Mary Gibson 1762
Lavenders in censuses
My interest stems from my great-grandmother Mary Lavender born 1833. She is the daughter of James Lavender 1798 and Elizabeth Smith 1799, also the sister of Meshach Lavender 1825.
James 1798 is the son of John Lavender 1761 and Mary Gibson 1762. They have a son John 1793 and a daughter Eliza 1807. I have checked the original Old Swinford Parish Records which show Eliza’s baptism. It is not impossible that a mistake was made – perhaps the vicar transcribed the names at a later stage and did not read it properly. I can find no further record for Eliza after this. There is no record for Elijah that I can find before his marriage to Sarah Dudley in St Thomas’ Dudley in 1833.
I think Meshach 1825 mentioned above is significant as Elijah had named one of his sons Meshach, born in 1839; James 1798 also had a brother Meshach 1788 (IGI gives his name as Mezey) and a son Meshach 1825 who was a tailor in High Street Lye. It is very obviously a family name, carried on through later generations.
The 1851 census for Elijah shows John as head of the house and Elijah as his brother, then Sarah as wife - meaning the wife of Elijah, I have seen the enumerator doing this in other census records. It has confused some others with this family in their tree causing them to name Sarah as the wife of John together with all the children! Significantly John is described as Widowed and he was born in 1793.
In the 1841 census on page 22 I see John Lavender aged 40 with his wife Susanna also 40 and son James 15. They are in Lye Forge Road and the next street on the schedule is Bot Lane where Elijah lives. It’s a bit out for John’s age if he was born in 1793 but not hugely so and anyway the ages in the 1841 census were rounded down. It might make sense if Susanna died between 1841 and 1851 and son James had left home (or died) for John to share a house with his brother Elijah. Susannah Lavender died in Q1 of 1843 – the death certificate suggests this is our Susanna. Her husband was informant and was John Lavender, a nailor.
I also see on page 13 of the same 1841 census William Lavender aged 40 and his wife Ann aged 40 and children. John & Mary had a son William born in 1795 – again possibly another member of the same family all living in the same area. He had married Mary Ann Wilcox Johnson who may well have been called Ann.
I have spent quite a bit of time looking at the Lye Lavenders in the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses. While there are no house numbers it is possible to get the rough locations of the houses if you know where the pubs are! I have put these onto the contemporary map of the area. They all lived close to each other as you would expect and there only seems to be this one Lavender family, the offspring of John & Mary or his parents (William Lavender & Elizabeth Clews).
To summarise, I do not expect to find any direct evidence to say that Elijah was the son of John Lavender 1761 & Mary Gibson and the brother of the other known siblings. However the following points lead me to believe that he is:
It leaves the question as to when he was born. The censuses in 1841 & 1851 suggest 1811 but that of 1861, and his death report in 1862, suggest 1808. If Eliza was born in 1807 and Joseph in 1809 then either date is possible and there is no firm conclusion either way. I lean towards 1811 which would make him the last in the family and so quite possible they had either not bothered or they were members of one of the smaller non-conformist churches in Lye. They had dabbled with the non-coms before when James 1798 was christened at Park Lane Cradley. Equally I can find no christening data for his wife Sarah born about the same time. This could be for the same reasons. The confusion over his age in the various censuses and at his death in 1862 is well explained by the fact he could not sign his name as informant on his brother's death certificate in 1854.