Daniel Whiting 1889-1972

Marriage certificate of John Daniel Whiting and Alice Lawrence. 1910

Grave close-up

Stowmarket Cemetery

Grave of Daniel and Alice Whiting at Stowmarket Cemetery, Violet Hill Road. Grave plot Z34.

Marriage certificate of Daniel Whiting and Alice Ames. 1915.

Parents: Daniel Whiting and Laura Shipp (1,2)
Born: 5th October 1889 in Burton End, Haverhill.(1,2)
Baptised: 2nd September 1896 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill.(2)
Married (1): Alice Lawrence, 21, spinster, of Brick Cottage, Galleywood, Great Baddow, daughter of Charles William Lawrence, general labourer, on 5th November 1910 at Chelmsford Registry Office. Witnessed by Fanny Skingly and Anna Maria Lawrence.(10)
Children: Thomas John Whiting b.1911(12), died in infancy.(13)
Married (2): Alice Jane Elizabeth Ames, 23, spinster, of Stowmarket, daughter of Edward Ames, labourer, on 22nd August 1915 at St Peter and St Mary Parish Church, Stowmarket. Witnessed by Arthur William Ames and Rosa Beatrice Fulcher.(3)
Children: Alice L Whiting b.1915, Daniel Whiting b.1916 died in infancy and Dorothy Whiting b.1916 died in infancy
Died: 17th February 1972 in the Gipping district.(4) Buried at Stowmarket cemetery.(6)

Bio: Daniel was born in 1889 in Burton End, but baptised several years later in 1896 when his parents were living at Hazelstubbs Farm.

He features on the 1891 census living at 106 Burton End with his parents and younger brother Albert. The 1901 census finds Daniel with father Daniel, mother Laura, and brother Albert living at 6 Nunns Yard, Haverhill. Daniel is at school.

Daniel's father died the next year, and at some point over the next decade he left Haverhill.

On the 1911 census we see Daniel living in the High Street in Duxford, Cambridgeshire. He is working as a farm labourer, and according to the census has a wife called Alice to whom he has been married for one year. It is also revealed that they have had a child who has since died, and that Alice, 21, was born in Doddinghurst (a village just north of Brentwood, Essex).

We can trace their marriage to Chelmsford Register Office on 5th November 1910.(10) (see scan of the marriage certificate at top left) What is slightly unusual is that Daniel gives his name as John Daniel Whiting here. This is not a version that appears anywhere else as far as I know. His occupation is given as cowman (agricultural) and his father is listed as Daniel, deceased, which ties in with what we know although his occupation as carman doesn't.

At this point, Daniel was living at Boreham, a village just near Chelmsford. Alice's maiden name is revealed as Lawrence and her father was Charles William Lawrence. She was living at Great Baddow, another village in close proximity to Chelmsford. From these details we can trace her to the 1901 census where we find her living in Doddinghurst. This, plus her age, confirms her as the same Alice on the 1911 census which also ties John Daniel Whiting to 'our' Daniel Whiting from Haverhill.

Alice Lawrence was born in Doddinghurst, in 1889(10) the daughter of Charles William Lawrence, originally of South Wield, Essex, and Annie Maria Sparrow, of Great Baddow, who were married in 1885.(11) Alice's mother Annie Maria is witness at her marriage to Daniel.

We now know that Daniel and Alice moved to Duxford, and it seems their child who appears on the 1911 census having died in infancy was Thomas John Whiting, whose birth was registered in the Risbridge district in 1911(12), and whose death was registered in the Linton district with a burial (or baptism?) listed by CFHS at Duxford St Peter Church in 1911.(13)

After this the trail runs cold, for Alice Whiting nee Lawrence, at least. There is no trace of her death that I can find.

However, for Daniel, things get more interesting.

It seems that he vanishes to start a new life somewhere else, and that as far as we know his marriage was never annulled.

What seems clear after a bit of investigation is that 'our' Daniel is definitely the Daniel Whiting who married an Alice J E Ames in 1915 in the Stow district. (see second marriage certificate at top left) As we know he had already married another Alice in 1910, how can we be so sure?

Alice Ames middle initials are very useful and provide a basis for tracing her throughout her life, and from them we can see she was born in Stowmarket in 1891(5) She appears on the 1901 census living with her large family in Stowmarket. She is also the Alice J E Whiting who dies in 1967(7) and is buried alongside Daniel Whiting in Stowmarket cemetery. This Daniel can be matched with our 'Haverhill' Daniel because his birth date given on the GRO death register(4) exactly matches the birth date from the Haverhill Parish Register(2). Also, the GRO birth index shows only two Daniel Whitings born between 1885 and 1895 who would be around the same age as this Daniel. One is 'our' Daniel whose father was Daniel as the marriage certificate shows. The other Daniel was born in 1890 in the Ross district, in Herefordshire. His fathers name was Charles.

Alice Ames is on the 1911 census at 20 Violet Hill, Stowmarket, working as a 'mothers help at home'. Also here is her father Edward and brother Arthur, who appears as a witness to their marriage in 1915.

What's not clear either is how Daniel and Alice Ames came to meet up, but what a helpful choice of first name for Daniel's new wife - one can imagine a host of inconvenient slip-ups being averted because of it!

All we know is that Daniel must have separated from Alice no.1 for reasons that remain unclear. Possibly the death of their child had something to do with this, but that is uncorroborated. Whether the second Alice ever knew about the first is again, open to supposition. What does seem clear, is that this second marriage was illegal. Daniel does not give his status as widower, and there is no record of his wife being divorced/dead by 1915.

On the marriage certificate to Alice no.2 his occupation is hard to make out, but appears to be 'cordite worker'. This would fit in with the wartime context, and the fact that there was a well-known explosives factory at Stowmarket. As W.A Dutt says in his 1909 guide to Suffolk - 'At Stowmarket there is a large works for the manufacture of guncotton, cordite and other explosives.'(8) As a protected occupation, this job would also explain why he does not appear to have undertaken military service.

After their marriage in 1915 it looks like Daniel and Alice stayed in the Stowmarket area. The GRO index shows three Whiting children with a mothers surname of Ames being born in the years that followed.

Interestingly, Daniels occupation in later years seems to have been that of a caretaker. When his brother Albert William died in 1957, the probate records refer to him as a retired caretaker.

Daniel died on 17th February 1972 at the age of 82 and was buried at Stowmarket cemetery (plot Z34) along with Alice, who had died aged 75 on 2nd May 1967.(6,7) See pictures of the grave on the left. Thanks to Stephanie Edmans, burial administrator, for locating the grave, and Robert Vinten for the pictures.

Certificates courtesy of the GRO. © Crown Copyright.


(1) Birth Register. 4th Quarter 1889, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 624
(2) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p38 of 41
(3) Marriage Register. 3rd Quarter 1915, Stow District, Volume 4a Page 2711
(4) Death Register. 1st Quarter 1972, Gipping District, Volume 4b Page 2772
(5) Birth Register. 4th Quarter 1891, Stow District, Volume 4a Page 772
(6) Stowmarket Cemetery, plot Z34.
(7) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1967, Ipswich District, Volume 4b Page 916
(8) Gunn, W.A. (1909), 'Suffolk', Cambridge University Press. p.67
(9) Birth Register. 4th Quarter 1889, Ongar District, Volume 4a Page 326
(10) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1910, Chelmsford District, Volume 4a Page 1110
(11) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1885, Billericay District, Volume 4a Page 433
(12) Birth Register. 1st Quarter 1911, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 886
(13) Parish Records, CFHS, Duxford St Peter, 1911, CD/PR/017.