I’ve received a birth certificate which throws a little more light on the Ellis family of Soho. (To find out why I’m interested in them, and their connection to the Blanch and Roe families, start with this post and then read the other posts in the ‘Ellis family’ category).

In the 1851 census record for 3 Richmond Street, Soho, 12-year-old Richard Metcalf is listed as living with Richard Ellis and his family, and is described as Richard’s nephew. I found a birth record for the boy that seemed to match and have just received the certificate. Richard William Metcalf was born on 21st September 1839 at 2 Richmond Street. His father was Thomas Metcalf, a cordwainer, and his mother was Sarah Metcalf, formerly Ellis. The birth was registered on 1st November.

Pallot’s Marriage Index has a record for the marriage of Thomas Metcalf and Sarah Ellis in 1806, at St. Martin in the Fields. However, this raises as many questions as it answers. Assuming that Sarah was around 20 when she married, it would make her over 50 when Richard was born. This is a possibility and it would perhaps explain why neither Sarah nor Thomas are mentioned in the 1851 census: perhaps they were both dead by then, and their son Richard was living with his uncle’s family permanently. Unfortunately, as mentioned in an earlier post, the 1841 census record for Richmond Street is missing, making it difficult to determine what happened in the intervening years.

An even greater problem is created by the details that we have for Thomas Ellis, definitely the father of Richard Ellis and probably Sarah’s father too. He died in February 1838, the year before Richard Metcalf was born, and his age is given as 58 years, i.e. scarcely older than his daughter. This information could, of course, be wrong.

I’ve also found the christening record for Richard Ellis. He was born on 3rd July 1814 and christened on 17th July, in Westminster. His father was Thomas, as we know, but his mother was another Sarah.

Looking through the christening records, I found that a Sarah Ellis was born on 5th September 1781 and christened on 13th September, in Westminster. Her father’s name is given as Thomas, but the mother is Mary. Now, this date of birth would fit ‘our’ Sarah Ellis, if we allow that she was 25 when she married Thomas Metcalf in 1806. The discrepancy over the mother’s name might indicate more than one marriage for Thomas Ellis? There’s also a record for a Mary Sarah Ellis, born and christened in 1772 in Westminster, also with a father named Thomas.

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