Louisa Jane Shortland was my great grandmother on my fathers side of the family. She was the wife of Albert Edward William Clarke who served with the Northamptonshire Constabulary, the daughter of William Thomas Shortland and Elizabeth Jelley and she had one brother, Ernest Henry. Albert and Louisa had five children – Dorothy Margaret, Edward Alexander, Cicely Mary (known as Molly), Kitty Alexandra and my grandmother Delia Eileen.
I have been able to trace Louisa through census returns. The 1881 census shows her living in Weedon, aged three, with her father William (a widower) and his sister Emily, also Louisa’s brother Ernest and their grandparents. The 1891 census shows Louisa is still at home with William in Weedon but he is now married to Alis and there is is a daughter Bessie.
In 1901, Louisa is still in Weedon but now working as a parlour maid. When William’s first wife Elizabeth died, William re-married Alis, who had a daughter called Maud. William and Alis, later had a child together called Bess. The photos below show the four children (Ernest is pictured at the back, with his hand on Louisa’s shoulder) and William and Alis. Ernest lived to be 91 and Bess died, unmarried, leaving thousands of pounds for charities in Northamptonshire.
By 1911, Louisa has married my great grandfather Albert Edward William Clarke, a police sergeant and they are living together at Factory Row Police Station, Pottersbury. Their two eldest children, Dorothy and Edward who died aged four in October 1911, are also shown, together with a visitor, Cecilia E Glenn, a certified midwife. The 1911 census doesn’t appear to coincide with the births of any of Louisa’s children that I can see but my father believes Louisa had a number of miscarriages, so that could be the reason.
In 1939 register records Louisa Jane as a widow living her daughters Molly and Kitty at The Limes, Wellingboro.
It has also been possible to keep track of Louisa’s father William. In 1861 he is aged seven, living in Weedon with his parents John and Jane and siblings, Henry (recorded as an invalid), Richard, Sarah and Emily. In 1871 he is aged 17 and still living with his parents and sister Emily and but in 1881, William is recorded as a widower, living with his parents and sister, and his children Louisa and Ernest. He remains a resident of Weedon on both the 1891 and 1901 censuses.
The census returns also show my great great grandfather John Shortland – aged 36 in 1851, he is married to Jane and living with children John, Richard, Sarah and Mary. In 1861 William and another daughter, named Emily appear and Louisa Jane and her brother Ernest show on the 1881 census too.
Prior to marrying Albert, Louisa was in service. She can be found on the 1901 census, residing with a family called Liddell in Wandsworth. The photo below includes Louisa and was taken by J. Seckington photograper, of Willoughby, Rugby.