Hannah Whiting 1827-?

Parents: Joseph Whiting and Rebecca Cole (7)
Born: 13th September 1827(7)
Baptised: 3rd December 1827(7)
Married: John Nunn, full age, batchelor, labourer of Harts Lane, son of James Nunn, deceased, on 14th August 1870 at St James the Great Church, Bethnal Green. Witnessed by Esau and Adelaide Giles.(4,5)
Children: ?
Died: ?

Bio: Hannah's birth, baptism and confirmation of her parents can be found in the non-conformist registers of the Old Meeting House, Haverhill.(7) She first appears on the 1841 census living with her parents and siblings in Burton End, and this confirms her date of birth to within a year.

I couldn't find her on the 1851 census, but there were two references to a Hannah Whiting in the GRO registers. Firstly a Hannah Whiting marries Samuel Dochrell in the Risbridge district in 1855.(1) However, looking at baptismal records(3) we can see that Samuel and Hannah Dockerill were living in Withersfield in following years and this makes it much more likely to be Hannah daughter of George Whiting of Withersfield. Secondly a Hannah Whiting died in the same district in 1856,(1) but GRO indexes suggest that this Hannah was aged 11.

There is a third possibility, but it brings with it a few unanswered questions.

In 1870 the marriage of Hannah Whiting, spinster, full age, daughter of Joseph Whiting, deceased, to John Nunn is recorded in Bethnal Green. They are both living in Harts Lane at the time.

This is supported by our knowledge that Hannah's father had died in 1868 in Bethnal Green, but was this her? after all, the description 'full age' does not help us with identification, and surely if she was indeed born in 1827 then 43 was an unusual age for her to be getting married for the first time. Also, the marriage entry does not give her birthplace and so we cannot link her to Haverhill in any way.

Then the 1871 census teases us with another clue. It shows John Nunn, labourer, living with his wife Hannah Nunn, at 11 Broadwall, Christchurch Southwark. 'Hannah' seems to have the 'H' crossed out and then a small version added again which is confusing, but the most interesting thing is that they are both born in Haverhill.

The age of John Nunn on this census strongly suggests he was John son of James Nunn and Sarah Farrant born on 19th August 1834 in Beggars Lane, Haverhill.(6) Although this would make him 36, not 34, it ties in with the status of his father on the marriage certificate as James Nunn died in 1863.

So where does this leave Hannah?

The problem here is that her age on the census is given as 25. We know this Hannah was born in 1827 which would make her 44, and this is where the confusion lies.

In fact, the age is much more likely to make this person Anne Whiting, Hannah's sister. More clues are revealed on Anne's page which show that whoever the person who married John Nunn was, it is virtually certain that they were a daughter of Joseph Whiting and Anne Whiting and it seems more and more likely that it was Anne, not Hannah. This doesn't answer the question of what happened to Hannah though. It is possible that there is another marriage that relates to her, or that she died young. The latter seems the more likely given that her younger sister was known as both Anna and Hannah (see page on Ann Whiting 1845-1928).

...to be continued


(1) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1856, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 254
(2) Marriage Register. 1st Quarter 1855, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 433
(3) Suffolk Baptism Index, SFHS, Clare Deanery 1813-1900
(4) London Metropolitan Archives, Saint James The Great, Bethnal Green, Register of marriages, P72/JSG, Item 033
(5) Marriage Register. 3rd Quarter 1870, Bethnal Green District, Volume 1c Page 495
(6) Suffolk Baptism Index, SFHS, Clare Deanery 1812-1900.
(7) National Archives, Non-parochial Registers, RG4 1845, Haverhill Old Meeting House, www.bmdregisters.co.uk