Comments: 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.
Spouse: William George Marr (Married)
Children: Beatrice Marr, Albert Victor Marr, Edith Bertha Marr
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.
Parents: James Hockin / Mules, Anna Lemon
Siblings: William J. Hocking, John Mules Hocking, Samuel M. Hocking, Anna Mules, Bertha Mules
Elizabeth's Picture Album
Found in Vera's photo collection, with the writing on the back saying simply grandmother (nana). It was taken by Harry Short, 173 Sidwell Street, Exeter. Vera said this was a picture of her grandmother on her mother's side, which fits well with the location.
In the same collection as the previous photo.
Taken at W. J. Little Studios, 90 South Street, Exeter.