20 July 2013

Mystery Solved . . . almost

Jane Ann (Jennie) BEARDSELL
9 August 1889 - 10 February 1940

Back in March of this year, I shared  the mystery that is my Grand Aunt Jennie (Jane Ann BEARDSELL); the purpose of the post was to help document the pieces of the puzzle that I had and to find the missing pieces, with the goal of putting the puzzle together to see the picture (her story) in its entirety.

Today, I happily share that this family history mystery is solved . . . almost.  There is still a glaring hole (mystery) dead center of the puzzle; where is Jennie between 1911 and 1930?

What we now know and how we got there . . .

'Jennie' was born Jane Ann BEARDSELL, 9 August 1889, in Huddersfield, England.  Her father, Wallace Arthur BEARDSELL was 26 and her mother, Elizabeth Ann (nee ROWBOTTOM) was 22.  On 3 November 1889, Jennie was baptized, Jane Ann BEARDSELL; she was three months (12 weeks) old.  The baptismal record states that she and her faily were living at 'David's' Cottage.

 Baptismal Record

And, in 1891, Jennie is living in Wooldale, England with her father and mother.

1891 England Census

In 1895 Jennie, her brother George, and their mother, Elizabeth made the journey from the port of Liverpool, England to Pennsylvania, United States and the 'New World.'  A journey of 11 days on the American Line, S/S Southwark.  Their ship departed the port of Liverpool and the waters of England on 11 April 1895 and arrived the port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 21 April 1895.

S/S Southwark

 S/S Southwark Passenger List
The Immigrant Receiving Station located at the Washington Avenue, Philadelphia waterfront is where I imagine that Wallace Arthur BEARDSELL happily greeted his wife Elizabeth and two children, 5 year old Jennie and one year old, George.  Wallace, who immigrated to Pennsylvania two years before, would have walked with his family a short distance to the waterfront neighborhood of Kensington and their new home.  It is not currently known why the BEARDSELLs chose to leave their home in England, I can only presume that it was for the promise of better opportunities and employment.
Jennie would again sail the Atlantic in October 1898 with her mother and siblings, George and Edith.  The ship, S/S Russia, set sail for Liverpool, England, 29 October 1898.  The family would stay in England for a year and four months, setting sail once again for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in February 1900.  Again, it is not known, with certainty, why the family returned to England, but I can only assume that it was to visit both the ROWBOTTOM and BEARDSELL families still living in England.  Knowing that I don't travel well - any mode of transportation - I can only imagine what it must have been like for the young children and their mother on these trans-Atlantic crossings that were before the more modern and comfortable cruise lines that we know today.
S/S Russia
Library of Congress
S/S Russia Passenger List
 By February 1900, Jennie, her siblings, and her mother were home in Philadelphia with her father.


S/S Belgenland
S/S Belgenland Passenger List

Sadly, a few short months later (August 1900) Jennie, at the age of 10, would lose her mother to tuberculosis.  Eight years later, according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Jennie is married and living with her husband, Stanley McLean and their son, Ralph, in Knowlton Township, Warren County, New Jersey; Jennie is 20.  (to date, I have not been able to locate a marriage license or certificate in either Pennsylvania or New Jersey for Jane Ann (Jennie) BEARDSELL and Stanley McLean).
1910 U.S. Federal Census
And then . . . Jennie disappears.
In 1920, Stanley is living in a boarding house in Paulsboro, Gloucester, New Jersey.
1920 U.S. Federal Census

And, their son, Ralph, is found living with his grandparents (his father's parents) in the Tacony suburb of Philadephia, Pennsylvania.
1920 U.S. Federal Census

It is not currently known when Jennie and Stanley separated, nor when their divorce was finalized.  While I have looked for Jennie in New Jersey and Pennsylvania; she had a brother, George; a sister Edith and her family; and her father Wallace who all were residents of Philadelphia at the time.  I have been unable to account for Jennie's whereabouts between 1911 and 1930 when I next find her.
In 1930, Jennie was 40 years old and living in Merchantville, Camden, New Jersey with her husband William J Brown, Sr. and their son, William, Jr.
1930 U.S. Federal Census


 At the time that the 1930 census was taken, William Brown, Jr. was one year and four months old; having nothing else, at this time, to go by, I am assuming that Jennie and William, Sr. were married on, or about, 1928.
In 1940 at the age of 50 years and 6 months, Jennie passed away; her last known residence was 109 Monroe Street, Delaware Township, Camden, New Jersey.  She was survived by her husband, William J Brown, Sr.,; her sons Ralph Stanley Mclean and William J Brown, Jr.; her sister, Edith Rose (nee BEARDSELL) Costello; her brother, George BEARDSELL; and her father, Wallace BEARDSELL.
Death Certificate
Personal Collection - TLCmeyers.blogspot.com
Jane Ann (Jennie) (nee BEARDSELL) Brown is buried alongside her former husband, Stanley McLean in the Magnolia Cemetery in Tacony, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Lot 387, Section E, Grave 3.
Questions Remaining:
1. When and where were Jennie and Stanley married? 
    Pennsylvania?  New Jersey?
2. When did Stanley and Jennie separate?
3. When was the divorce between Stanley and Jennie final?  
    Where were the papers filed?
4. Where in the world was Jennie, between 1911 and 1930?
5. When and where were Jennie and William J Brown married? 
    New Jersey?  Pennsylvania?
If you are a descendant of any, who are listed here, and have information that could shed some light on the remaining questions, I'd love to hear from you.  Or, if you are visiting and are working through a similar situation, I'd love to hear your research strategies and how you are working to answer your questions?




  1. Wallace Beardsell was paying a boarding fee to Bethesda Christian Childrens home from May 1901 through December 1906. Can't tell from the ledger the names of the children being boarded.

    1. Raymond, thank you so much for the lead, I am looking forward to exploring it further; can you please share where you are seeing this information and/or provide a link to it? Oh, I am too excited now!

      So happy you visited Family Preserves today and I hope you will visit again in the near future.