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Old 26-02-24, 16:58
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Default Mr Johnson, nephew

Harriet Jarvis died in March 1904 at 180 Weston Park Road aged 35 (!) of cirrhosis of the liver and exhaustion. She was the widow of Arthur Jarvis, chemist and druggist.

The informant was Mr Johnson, nephew, present at the death, of 30 Grove House Road Hornsey.

Except he wasn't.

Harriett was baptised in Norfolk in 1864, the daughter of William Watson and Susan nee Cater. She married Arthur Jarvis b 1854 in Brinton, Norfolk, the son of John Jarvis and Elizabeth Benton in London in 1891. He already had three children from a previous liaison.

Harriett's ill-treatment of her step-children led to her being sentenced to twelve months hard labour, and her son Oscar was born in Wormwood Scrubs.

The family lived in a large and elegantly appointed house. But while Harriett was fashionably dressed, played the piano and drank whiskey and brandy, her step children were dressed in rags and lived off the kindness of neighbours and teachers, as they only got scraps at home.

I presume that Arthur was completely dominated by his wife. At the trial he was severely censured. He took back his wife after she had served her sentence, and had another child with her. His will makes no mention of the older children and he died in hospital in 1900. By 1901, Oscar and Violet are living with their maternal aunt.

Arthur left only £102 in his will. Harriett's life must have spiralled out of control. In 1901 she was a confectioner's cashier and a lodger.

But who was Mr Johnson? Does anyone have any suggested?
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Old 26-02-24, 18:14
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The 1900 Post Office London Northern Suburbs Directory has Harry Johnson at 30 Grove House rd Hornsey:
https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageview...e&pId=19178193
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Old 26-02-24, 18:17
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And here he is on the 1901 census, age 34 born London St Lukes, with wife Adelaide 33 born Hornsey.
https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageview...ce&pId=7224991
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Old 26-02-24, 18:20
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Here he is in a public tree but none of Harriet's family seems to be in the tree:

https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tr...=successSource
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Old 26-02-24, 22:12
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Nothing stands out, does it? Harry's family seem solidly London, while Arthur and Harriet both came from Norfolk.

Harry was the same age as Harriett, which makes him unlikely to be a family friend known as a nephew.

They didn't live next door to each other in 1904.

The only possible connection I've found is that Harry's father-in-law (who died in 1877) was a druggist - so Arthur could have worked for the same firm - but it's a bit tenuous.

I'm wondering - was there any period where the informant was preferably a relative?
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Old 26-02-24, 22:21
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I think it might have just been a convenient lie in order to simplify the registration process.

I was surprised to learn ( how?) that "present at the death" didn't actually mean the informant witnessed the moment of death or was even in the same room. He might have been reading the paper in the kitchen when she died and then offered to register the death as her nephew. I've seen bigger and better lies on many a certificate, lol.

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Old 28-02-24, 12:08
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My BIL was fast asleep after a night out and missed all the excitement, but his father's death certificate still said he was "present at the death."
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Old 28-02-24, 16:42
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How weird, I had no idea that was done.
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Old 28-02-24, 18:44
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Perhaps Harry was just under the impression a relative had to register the death, so he told the registrar what he thought they needed to hear? (seems a bit odd to choose nephew though, if they were the same age!)

OH's gg-grandfather registered the death of his second 'wife' (they were not married as wife 1 was still living). On the death cert (from the local registrar) it says 'father' for the informant. Both of them were in their 30's so goodness knows what the registrar thought.
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Old 28-02-24, 20:12
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It's supposed to be a relative if the person dies at home, or rather, not in a hospital or other professional care-giving premises. Who knows, maybe the registrar himself suggested the nephew bit, lol.

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