Harriet Thake Whiting 1830-1855

Parents: Louisa (Lucy) Whiting, father unknown. (1)
Born: 2nd May 1830 in Burton End, Haverhill.(1)
Baptised: 3rd July 1830 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill (1)
Married: Not married
Children: Henry Whiting b.1850(2,3) and Thomas Whiting b.1852(2,4)
Died: March 1855. Buried on 22nd March 1855 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill.(5,6)

Bio: Harriet was 'base-born' (illegitimate), but her middle name on the parish register was given as Thake, which is a possible clue to her father's identity. Her mother was Louisa Whiting, from Burton End. We know that her grandparents were Joseph and Sarah Whiting because she is living with them on the 1841 and 1851 censuses, and they are referred to as such on the latter. But which one of their ten children was Harriet's parent? because of the ages involved it could only really be George, Ann, Mary Ann or Lucy.

The parish registers tell us that Lucy was born in Burton End in 1813. Could Lucy and Louisa be the same person? There are several reasons why I think they are. There is no one else other than Louisa with a similar sounding name around at this time in Burton End. There is a Louisa Whiting who marries a Thomas Tarvin in 1835. On the 1841 census she is the same age as Lucy Whiting. There is no mention of a Lucy Whiting anywhere else on the birth, death, marriage or census entries and there is only one Louisa mentioned around this time.

My hunch is that Louisa (Lucy) had Harriet illegitimately, and left her to be brought up by her parents when she married Thomas Tarvin and they had children together. I make this case to the reader, but ultimately there is a certain amount of speculation involved here.

On the 1851 census, Harriet is living with her grandmother Sarah Whiting (Farecloth) in Burton End, Haverhill. She is working on the land. Her young son Henry is living with them, and there is a visitor, Thomas Jobson. He is 21, two years older than Harriet. Possibly the father of her child? We'll never know of course. It is of interest that he goes on to marry Lydia Whiting, her cousin.

Harriet was to have two illegitimate children, Henry and Thomas. Henry was born in 1850 and Thomas in 1852. Both were baptised on 15th February 1853. At the time of baptism, Harriet's whereabouts is given as Union House, Haverhill. This used to be the Workhouse before the Risbridge Union House was built in Kedington in 1856.

Harriet was to die in the Union Workhouse at the age of 25 not long after the baptism of her sons. She was buried at St Mary's Parish Church on 22nd March 1855.

After their mother's death, the two boys went to live with Harriet's Aunt Susannah, where they are found on the 1861 census.


(1) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p8 of 37
(2) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p12 of 37
(3) Birth Register. 4th Quarter 1849, Risbridge district, Volume 12 Page 396?
(4) Birth Register. 4th Quarter 1852, Risbridge district, Volume 4a Page 334
(5) Death Register. 1st Quarter 1855, Risbridge district, Volume 4a Page 297
(6) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p35 of 37