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William George Marr and Elizabeth Mules


There has been some confusion surrounding this family. Vera knew her great grandfather was the famous harbourmaster James "Daddy" Marr, but wasn't actually sure about the name of her grandfather.  After some research, it has turned out Vera's grandfather was in fact James' eldest son, William.

Vera thought that the couple had some connection with Aldershot, perhaps that her grandfather was in the army. This seems to fit, given that their youngest child Edith was born there. Moreover, on Edith's birth certificate (1890) her father William's occupation is recorded as "Gunner Coast Brigade". At this time the family were living at "29, Gordon Road, Aldershot".

At the time of the 1891 census, less than a year after Edith was born, the family were staying with Elizabeth's father in Exeter.

Husband:   William George Marr

Born: 31-Dec-1859
Father: James Marr
Mother: Elizabeth Morrison

Occupation: Soldier and golf caddie
Born in Dirleton, East Lothian.

At the time of his daughter's birth (1890) William's occupation is entered as "Gunner Coast Brigade", and the family's address is recorded as "29, Gordon Road, Aldershot".

Aged 31 at the time of the 1891 census, at which point he was staying with his wife and three children at his wife's father's house in Exeter. Here his occupation appears to have been entered as "Cook and confectioner", and his birthplace is recorded as Scotland.

Aged 41 at the time of the 1901 census, at which point he was living with his parents and brother in North Berwick. His occupation was recorded as golf caddie (!) presumably working at North Berwick golf course. At this time his marital status was recorded as married, and his son Albert was with him.

Wife:   Elizabeth Mules

Born: 7-Apr-1862
Father: James Hockin / Mules
Mother: Anna Lemon

Vera thought her grandmother was called Elizabeth, but other than that couldn't remember a great deal about her. It has taken some time to build up an exact picture of her.

Vera thought her maiden name may have been Hockin or Hocking. She remembers having a (great) uncle Horace, which could possibly have been Elizabeth's brother. Vera also remembered she had worked as a housekeeper or maid at some time in her life.

However, looking at her daughter Edith's birth certificate the mother's name is recorded as "Mary Elizabeth Marr, formerly Mules". So Elizabeth may in fact have been her middle name, although it appears to be the name she chose to use on a regular basis.

As for her surname, at various times it has been recorded as Hockin (or Hocking) and at other times Mules. It seems that her father James was born Hockin - possibly his mother's surname, but following his mother (re)marrying, the family had at times adopted the surname Mules rather than Hocking.

Given the confusion over her surname, it has proved a little difficult to track her down in the GRO indices. One promising entry is for the birth of a "Mary Elizabeth Miles Hockin", born in Bideford, Apr/May/Jun 1862 (volume 5b page 521). Hockin could well be an alternative spelling of Hocking, and Miles may well be a transcription error from Mules.

I have the birth certificate now, and it does appear to be the right one. "Mary Elizabeth Mules Hockin" was born on 7th April 1862, on Union Street in Bideford. Her father's name is entered as James Hockin, and her mother's name Joanna Hockin formerly Lemon. Her father's occupation is entered as Iron Moulder (Journeyman).

Elizabeth appears to be living next door to her parents at the time of the 1871 census, with her grandparents. One "Mary E. M. Hocking" is to be found, aged 8, with birthplace entered as Bideford, the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mules.

There is an entry of an Elizabeth Mules in the 1881 census, aged 18, with her birthplace recorded as Bideford. Her occupation is dressmaker.

The 1891 census seems to confirm this is the right Elizabeth. At this time Elizabeth, her husband William, and their three children are all living with Elizabeth's father. Elizabeth's age is entered as 28.

An Elizabeth Marr, aged 38, appears in the 1901 census. Here she is working as a housekeeper in a house in Exeter, 10 Ponderland Crescent, for the Jallyan family. Her place of birth is recorded as Devon Bideford. Her marital status doesn't seem to have been entered. This seems very likely to be our Elizabeth.


Female  Child 1:   Beatrice Marr

Born: 1885

Vera knew her aunt Beatrice by the name "Trix".

There is an entry in the GRO indices for Jul/Aug/Sep 1885 of the birth of a Beatrice Lilian Marr, recorded as having been born in Exeter (volume 5b or perhaps 6b, page 83).

At the time of the 1891 census, Beatrice was staying at her grandfather's house in Exeter along with her parents, brother and sister. Here her age is written as 5, and her place of birth is recorded as Exeter.

A Beatrice Marr, aged 16, appears in the 1901 census, her place of birth recorded as "Hamps Aldershot". Beatrice's parents had lived in Aldershot at some time, so although it seems more likely she was actually born in Exeter, it may have been an easy mistake to make. Here she is working as a maid for the Grieves (or perhaps Greeves) family at 40 Devonshire Road, Greenwich.

Male  Child 2:   Albert Victor Marr

Born: 1887

Aged 3 at the time of the 1891 census, at which time he is staying with his parents and grandfather (on his mother's side). His place of birth is recorded as being Exeter.

Aged 13 at the time of the 1901 census, at which point he is living with his father and his other grandfather in North Berwick.

This seems likely to tie in with an Albert Victor Marr recorded in the GRO indices for Jul/Aug/Sep 1887 as having been born in Exeter.

Later on in life it seems Albert settled in North Berwick, as Vera remembers him living in a house near the seafront (see picture).


Female  Child 3:   Edith Bertha Marr

Born: 13-Aug-1890
Spouse: William Edward Jewell
Children: Vera May Jewell, Valerie Beatrice "Stella" Jewell

There is an entry in the GRO indices for Jul/Aug/Sep 1890 for an Edith Bertha Marr born in Farnham (volume 2a page 122). Vera seems to think Edith parent's had some association with the army barracks in Aldershot at some time, so this could be the correct entry.

I have a copy of the birth certificate now, which seems to confirm this is the correct entry. Vera remembered her mother's birthday, which matches that on the certificate. Her father's name is entered as "William George Marr" and her mother's name "Mary Elizabeth Marr, formerly Mules". She was born at the family's home at the time, 29, Gordon Road, Aldershot.

At the time of the 1891 census, Edith is with her parents, brother and sister, staying at her grandfather's house in Exeter. Her age is recorded as being (something like) 9 months old, and her place of birth is entered as Hants, Aldershot.

As for the 1901 census, there is an entry in a household in Exeter which seems very likely to be Edith's mother, and Edith is not there. In fact, it appears Edith was again staying with her grandfather. Her surname appears to have been entered initially as Mules, but then perhaps crossed out and entered as Marr, however, it has by this point become fairly illegibile, and as such appears in census indices as Mules rather than Marr. Her age is entered as 10, and her place of birth Hants Aldershot.