written by Carole M – Friends of old Folkestone cemetery
She was only 7 when she died in March 1884 at 2 Darlington Place, Folkestone. This was all the information I had from the Ancestry burial register transcription, when I randomly decided, as I had 10 minutes to spare, to look on the Find A Grave entries for a child with a surname starting with Pr. I am trying to attach some of the young children we have in the cemetery to their parents. Ellen Pratt was the first young child on my Pr. list.
I started by looking on the General Registration Office site for a birth, because that would give me her mother’s maiden name, but there was no birth of an Ellen Pratt within a year either side of 1877, which was her estimated year of birth from her age at death. I didn’t think they would be more than a year out with her age when she was so young. Next I looked on the 1881 census for an Ellen Pratt born 1877, plus or minus 2 years, living in Folkestone, but again there was nothing. I searched for people with surname Pratt, living in Folkestone in 1881, as it wasn’t a common surname, but found no useful lead. I was going to leave it there, but decided to just check her name, as the Ancestry burial transcriptions can have errors. I used FreeBMD to search simply for an Ellen (without surname) who died in the March Quarter 1884 in Elham Registration District, (which is the one for Folkestone) because those were facts I knew and there she was – Ellen Spratt, aged 7 years! Bingo.
So, back to the GRO for her birth registration and mother’s maiden name, using the correct surname, and there she was again, Ellen Spratt, born in the March Q 1877 in Elham RD, mother nee Fagg. Then to FreeBMD for a possible marriage for her parents. I searched for 10 years before her birth, but came up with nothing. I called up a list of all the Spratts buried in Folkestone Old Cemetery from Find A Grave. Very near the top of the list there was Ann Spratt, maiden name Fagg – born 1845, died 1884, so the right age to be her mother – promising. She already had a child, Annie, born 1867, attached to her entry, so maybe my marriage search was not wide enough? Going back to 1860 with that search on FreeBMD brought up Ann Fagg marrying William Cartrick Spratt in 1865 in Elham RD – very promising.
A final search of the 1881 census for William Spratt in Folkestone, came up with this family:
William Spratt, aged 35, a brickmaker, Annie Spratt, wife, aged 33, Annie Spratt, daughter, aged 14, William Spratt, son, aged 12, Charles Spratt, son, aged 10, Fanny Spratt, daughter, aged 6, Ellen Spratt, daughter, aged 4, Frederick Spratt, son aged 1 and Alfred Spratt, son, aged 1 month.
The parents were right, the age for Ellen was right, and, best of all, they were living at 2 Darlington Place, on the 1881 census. Great!
That is how research should work, but doesn’t always! Now for the next child – only a few hundreds to go!