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Brentford Families - Gainsford

If you can help Sharon locate Frederick William Walter Gainsford's birth please get in touch, I will forward any replies to her. As you can see from the exchanges below she has explored the online options thoroughly.

Starting point

Sharon Freeman of Brisbane Australia wrote in June 2011:

I am related to Frederick William Walter Gainsford who died in Forest Reefs, NSW, Australia on 24/11/1898. Many family members have tried to find details of Frederick's parents but have failed. "Unknown" is on the death certificate and is registered by his wife Lois who was alive when he died.

This is what is known

BIRTH: 16/6/1829 Brentford Middlesex (from Marriage Certificate)

1st reference to Frederick : 21/10/1854 -Constable of Bathurst and Tambaroora Forces in Captain Batty's police NSW, Australia ( Court Case from "Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal")

2nd reference to Frederick : 2/7/1855 - 2/6s to Fund for the erection of St Michael's Catholic Church Bathurst (from "Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal") This was a good portion of a day's wages, so it is interesting that he should donate to a Catholic Church. Since I have had trouble finding Frederick in Cof E records, could he have Catholic connections in Brentford?

MARRIAGE : 2/10/1855 to Lois Scutt, Kelso Cof E Church, Bathurst NSW ( 3 months after above?) His birth given as Brentford but no details of parents

Other information in relation to his time before Australia: His wife said, at the time of his death, that Frederick had been in the "Imperial Forces" in "The Cape". I would assume that to be South Africa.

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Reply

I have ... not found evidence of a Gainsford family in Brentford in the 1820s/30s. There was a Gainsford family in Acton (near Brentford and part of Brentford Registration District) that moved to Turnham Green (nearer to Brentford) around 1830 and whose descendants included a Robert Gainsford bn 1826/7, who married into my family.

This line came from Kent originally, and if you look at LondonLives website, or search The National Archives website you will come across some references to this and other Gainsford families. Google Books too - try 'Gainsford Brentford' - some matches for Robert G, the afore-mentioned market gardener and his father, also a Robert.

If the whole of your Gainsford family did not move out to Aus it may be possible to trace one of Frederick's siblings in the UK and work back that way, but there are no obvious families to go for. He may have named his eldest sons after his own father - their forenames may help if they can be traced in the 1841 census.

There were Catholic churches in the Brentford area: I am aware of one in Richmond, across the river from Brentford in Surrey. The first RC church and school in Brentford were founded in 1856.

There is sometimes confusion between Brentwood in Essex and Brentford in Middx, so worth checking if Middlesex is mentioned.

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Sharon's reply

I have found these other families you mention, including Robert the Market Gardener.

In all records in Australia mentioning his birthplace as "Brentford", Frederick William Walter Gainsford has nominated Brentford, Middlesex, not Essex. I have also looked at the Kent families....

Yes, Frederick's 3 christian names are unusual. I did look for a clue in his sons' names. His first son is called 'Frederick William John' and his next son is 'Henry Walter Loyal', both 3 part names. His sons' onward are 'John Henry', 'Alfred Ernest', 'James Australian', 'Albert Edward', 'Sydney Robert' and 'Herbert Stanley'...so he gave up the 3 part names for some reason.

If it is any help his wife, Lois (nee Scutt), from Thankenham Sussex, was illegitimate (undisclosed on official Australian documents) and born to a widow Hannah Scutt (nee Holland). Lois's father William Anscomb, a methodist minister, migrated to Canada shortly after her birth and she was raised by her Grandparents who were called William and Ann Holland. So the 'William', in Frederick's first son's name, could have related to 3 possible persons.

If Frederick's father was called Robert Gainsford, he did not put his name on any official documents ( for reason unknown which raises many suspicions) and he did not use the name until his 2nd last child born, when he was in his 50's.

The comments by his wife after his death put Frederick's arrival in Australia to around 1853-54. If he was in South Africa during the Xhosa War as a British soldier, he may have come to Australia with his regiment and then left it to become a Policeman/Trooper on the goldfields. I cannot find him in army records but there may be a connection in England. Being in the army often ran in families.

Hopefully this is of some help, as I just need a clue to complete my research on Frederick. My aim has been to trace all my ancestors back to the UK and to find a reason for their migration. So far I have succeeded, except for Frederick.

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CC's reply

... He may have named an elder daughter after his mother but you really need a name like Zipporah for this to be helpful.

I have checked 'my' Gainsford family (headed by Robert and Sarah) for baptismal dates and it looks as if FWWG will not fit readily - I have

  • a baptism on 12 Nov 1826 (Robert)
  • a baptism on 8 Feb 1828 (Harriet Jane) (indexed as 'Gainford' on ancestry)
  • a baptism on 14 Nov 1830 (Charles)

So if FWWG stated an age consistent with the birth date in1829 in censuses etc then there is not room for him in this family.

He may have been born elsewhere and moved to Brentford as a small child - I have noticed that whilst the parents often get the birthplace correct for each of their children in censuses, when the children grow up and leave home they sometimes give their a birthplace as where they lived as a child. Which is not much help to you.

I have looked at familysearch again using the pilot search and come across Gainsford families baptising children in the 1820s/early 1830s in Holborn and Marylebone, both of which are around 7 miles from Brentford, but no evidence that they lived in Brentford.

I have also checked the WO 97 papers in case FWWG was discharged from the British Army before 1854 (the online searches cover a period up to 1854), but no matches found.

I notice that Lois Scutt was a servant in a household which included a Climpson in 1851, there was a familyof this name in Brentford, but I think this is just a coincidence.

I have looked at the 1841 censuses but no obvious matches appeared.

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Page published August 2011