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Another theory on Joseph Barnett's wife

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  • Another theory on Joseph Barnett's wife

    Hi all,
    I first started reading these JTR posts several years ago, and became hooked !
    The one “character” which came to life for me was Joseph Barnett. I thought the Bruce Paley book was excellent and I’ve since been intrigued with what happened to Joseph after MJK’s death.
    How, Chris Scott and others have previously posted some ideas including the Joseph / Louisa 1911 Census and the Wheeling Register article which suggested Joseph moved in with another woman soon after the inquest.
    This led me to some research and the suggestion that Joseph Barnett “married” Mary Ann Cox, who also testified at the MJK inquest. I may have made some mistakes in this research – I’m keen to have feedback and suggestions on how to test this theory.
    My starting point ….
    Firstly, Louisa said in the 1911 Census that she was 55 years old. As the census was conducted on April 1 -2, then she must have been born sometime between April 1855 – March 1856. However, we know from the 1898 Raine Street Infirmary records that she was born in 1856. Therefore, she was born sometime in January – March 1856.
    Secondly, both Joseph and Louisa said in the 1911 Census that they were married 23 years, which means they “married” in 1888. As Joseph was with Mary Kelly until she died in November, 1888, then this means they must have moved in together after the inquest – that is, in the 2 month window of November – December. There is no record of a Joseph marrying Louisa (or Mary Ann) in FreeBMD, however I understand it was not unusual for folk living together to say they were married.
    Finally, the Wheeling Register of November 1888 had an article (attached) where a reporter said Joseph was living with a woman who testified at the inquest. The paper described her as a “certain notorious Whitechapel character”. Some of you have mentioned this article before.
    If correct, this is likely to be the person who married Joseph before the year finished.
    Only 6 women testified at the MJK inquest – Elizabeth Prater, Sarah Lewis, Julia Venturney, Mary Ann Cox, Caroline Maxwell and Maria Harvey.
    We can exclude those who had no children (as Louisa had none) or were married. That leaves only Mary Ann Cox – who was described as a widow and “unfortunate”. Mary Ann had also been arrested twice for assault in 1887 and 1888 which could support the argument for being “notorious”.
    This led me to look for someone who married a woman called “Mary Ann Cox” and then died before November 1888.
    The only fit was Mary Ann Cox who married William John James Emblin in June 1878 (I have their certificate). William then died in September 1888 in Poplar district (I’ve ordered his death certificate).
    In the 1881 Census, William Emblen (surname slightly different) is living with wife Mary Ann at 65 Canrobert St, Bethnal Green with Mary Ann’s sister Alice and brother Henry. William is a dock labourer (as was Joseph in the 1891 Census and on his death certificate). Mary Ann and Alice were both Stay (or corset) Makers. Henry was a porter.
    There is also the possibility William Emblen and Joseph Barnett knew each other through work.
    From William and Mary Ann’s marriage certificate, we know Mary Ann’s father was James. Through and FreeBMD we know Mary Ann Cox was born in the March quarter, 1854 in Spitalfields to parents James and Hannah Cox. As mentioned above, Louisa was also born sometime March quarter.
    1854 is two years earlier than the 1856 Louisa said on her 1898 and 1911 records. However, while people may change their age, it’s less likely they change the month they were born.
    Another similarity is that William and Mary Ann were unable to have children in their 10 years of marriage. Similarly, Joseph and Mary Ann had no children.
    So, the suggestion of Mary Ann Cox as Joseph’s wife is based on reasons :-
    · The 1911 Census states they married in 1888, which means sometime November - December
    · The Wheeling Register article suggests Joseph moved in with a “notorious” woman who also testified at the inquest. Only Mary Ann Cox fits this description
    · Both Mary Ann and Louisa were born in the March quarter
    · Both women were unable to have children
    This idea still doesn’t explain why Mary Ann changed her name to Louisa.
    I’m interested in the thoughts of others on the above idea. Also, it’s based upon co-incidences. How can we test if it’s true ?
    Attached Files