The death of Mary Ann Roe (nee Blanch)

I’ve just obtained a copy of the death certificate for my 2 x great grandmother, Mary Ann Roe (nee Blanch), wife of Daniel Roe, and mother of my great grandfather, Joseph Priestley Roe. She died on 7th September 1870. The cause of death is given as phthisis, which is apparently another word for tuberculosis or consumption. Mary Ann’s age is given as 34, but this must be a mistake, since we know from census records that she was born around 1830-31, which means she would have been about 40 at the time of her death. However, the other details on the certificate are enough to reassure us that this is the correct Mary Ann Roe.

Mary Ann is described as the wife of Daniel Roe, a shoemaker, which suggests that he might have been alive at the time. However, some doubt is cast on this by the fact that the informant of the death is given as Kezia Roe, who was present at the death. Kezia Eliza Roe was Mary Ann’s oldest child, born in 1850 so age 20 at this time. (It’s possible that Eliza was unsure of her mother’s true age.)

The address for both is given as 10 Dufours Place, in the Golden Square district of Westminster. Dufours Place was a court of only ten houses, north of Broad Street, close to Poland Street, and not far from the Great Crown Court and Great Windmill Street addresses that we have for the Roes in 1861 and 1862 respectively.  Looking through the census records, there is no trace of the family or any of their relations at this address in either 1861 or 1871. 

Mary Ann’s surname was originally spelt ‘Rowe’ on the death certificate. However, this has been corrected to ‘Roe’ by the registrar in a marginal note. The misspelling may explain why it has been difficult to find out about Mary Ann’s death, and why the death of her husband Daniel remains a mystery.

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