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Old 14-07-23, 18:49
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Phoenix Phoenix is online now
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Default What an April Fool

I've been working through the heart-breaking lives of my Portsmouth ancestors.

My Hawkins family saw three adult children die of consumption, a fourth of "congestion of the brain" - which might be meningitis. Sarah - 1858, Susan - 1861, Eliza - 1869 and John - 1872.

And what happened to Walter?

Here he is, aged 5 in 1861:
https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageview...83?pId=7857991

He is the youngest of a large family, living in Landport St, Portsea.

Walter H Hawkins aged 5, son of George and Susan, born, like his siblings, in Poole.

So I bought the death certificate of Walter Henry Hawkins, d 1884.

As soon as I looked at it, I realised my error. I had already paid good money for this certificate, and it was the wrong man. In fact, I'd done research on this. Quite a bit.

There is neither a birth nor a baptism for Walter Hawkins, either in Poole or Portsea. There is no sign of him with his family after that 1861 census.

In fact, the only other Walter Hawkins death in Portsmouth for someone of the right age, is that of Walter H H Hawkins.

Walter Hutchins Hamilton Hawkins spent his life at sea. He was born 1 April 1854 in Portsmouth, and he had two decades of continuous service - from 1872 to 1892, when he was pensioned off, and was able to marry - to Caroline Marner. (Regretably, they didn't marry at St Mary's or St Thomas's, so I can't see who he named as his father, or who the witnesses were)

Unfortunately, in 1893 while working for the Greenock Company, he tripped over a piece of wood on board the Centurion and was pitched head first down an open hold. https://search.findmypast.co.uk/bna/...lter%20hawkins

He suffered bruises, contusions and scalp wounds. The initial report said he wasn't badly hurt, but he was admitted to hospital.

Five years later, he was admitted to the Borough Asylum, suffering from delusions: https://search.findmypast.co.uk/reco...ITAL%2F0006038

He died a year later: https://search.findmypast.co.uk/reco...ITAL%2F0016994

Cause of death General Paralysis of Insane and Pthysis.

Now, he could have died of tertiary syphylis, though it's hard not to think that falling nine feet onto your head might had had something to do with it.
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