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Joseph Thomas Wilthew; piecing pieces together

December 10, 2011

Freedom admissions papers, 1681 – 1925

The London Metropolitan Archives, in partnership with Ancestry has, over the last few years, been opening up access (if behind a pay-wall) to its collections in partnership with Ancestry. At the end of November Ancestry added the Freedom admissions papers, 1681 – 1925 – containing various collections of papers relating to applications and grants for “Freemen” of the City of London status. These include indentures of apprenticeship (one route to becoming a freeman of the city was to serve an apprenticeship of 7 years) which appear to name indexed both for the apprentice and the master on Ancestry. They often also include the apprentice’s father’s name, occupation and residence, although I’m not sure these have been indexed.

Using the index on Ancestry, I was able to identify the Indenture of Apprenticeship for Joseph Thomas Wilthew, son of Joseph Wilthew, a Painter resident in the parish of St Matthew’s Bethnal Green, Middlesex. Joseph Thomas Wilthew apprenticed with a Robert Dumford, a painter-stainer on the 6th July 1803.

London Parish Registers

This fitted in with the information I’d been able to extract from (and with the help of) the London Parish records provided by the LMA via Ancestry.

Back at the end of October, I’d been matching up some of the identified Wilthew’s in various parish registers to identify those I wanted to focus on, who I maybe could, but hadn’t yet, identified in the census returns. The parish entry for the burial of Elizabeth Wilthew (buried on the 14th June 1845, aged 41 in Camberwell St Giles) listed her abode as being Carter Street, Walworth. A name search had failed (even using various wildcards.. see problems already mentioned with mistransciptions of Wilthew), but using the ever-useful National Archives Census Street Searches pages to help narrow down which folio/page of the 1841 census to start with, a quick browse through the pages to find Carter Street, and then Joseph Wilthew (52) and Elizabeth Wilthew (36) living together with one female servant.

Class:  HO107; Piece 1064; Book: 1; Civil Parish:  St Mary Newington; County: Surrey; Enumeration District: 2; Folio: 32; Page: 9; Line: 21; GSU roll: 474657.

I used a similar route, but this time starting with a burial announcement in the London Standard (not via the LMA or Ancestry) from 11th April 1854 for Joseph Thomas Wilthew, listing his residence as Ormond Cottages, Ormond Road, Old Kent Road. Using this information, I tracked down Joseph Thomas Wilthew (now living with a wife named Sophia) at No. 2 Ormond Cottages, with Joseph’s occupation noted as a Proprietor of Houses and having been born in Bloomsbury, probably about 1790.

Class:  HO107; Piece: 1582; Folio: ; Page: ; GSU roll: 174818.

Sophia is Sophia Stubbs Clements (identified both from the LMA’s parish registers and the GRO marriage certificate), daughter of Edward Clements and Mary Stubbs, born 22nd November 1800 in Yarmouth, Norfolk.

In both census’ Joseph is listed as having been born in Bloomsbury, London, and it is possible to trace him back here in the parish marriage registers… marrying Sophia on 21st February 1846 (listed as a Gentleman and widower) in Camberwell St Giles (his father is listed as a Joseph Wilthew, painter – matching with the information in the indenture of apprenticeship) following the death of his second wife, Elizabeth Budd (who appeared with him in the 1841 census) whom he married on 14th April 1835 in Lewisham St Mary. Here he was also listed as a widower. His first wife, Elizabeth Nolden, he married on the 17th May 1812 in Bloomsbury St George.

Again, a name search using various wildcards and truncations failed to locate his baptism in the baptism records, but starting a search in the records for Bloomsbury St George around the year 1790 identified both Joseph Thomas Wilthew (mistranscribed as Wilchew) and a Caroline Wilthew (mistranscibed as Willhew). Joseph is listed as the father of both, although the mother is either Esther or Elizabeth… although a marriage entry for a Joseph Wilthew and Esther Fever seems to confirm the prior.

UK, Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices’ Indentures, 1710-1811

Just a quick note that one useful accompanying source to the apprenticeship indemnities mentioned above is the collection of registers of duties paid by masters for their apprentices – also available via Ancestry, in partnership with the National Archives. These are…

…registers of the money received for the payment on taxes for an apprentice’s indenture between 1710-1811. The registers kept track of the money paid by masters of a trade to have an apprentice.

A quick search of these (to which ‘ll need to return) locates the fees paid in August 1803 by Robert Dumford for his apprentice Joseph Thomas Wilthew in August 1803… but also those paid by a Thomas Smith of Clerkenwell, a ‘Trimmer-maker’ for a Joseph Wilthew in 1779. Could this be Joseph Wilthew, father of Joseph Thomas Wilthew?

Last Will and Testament

I also got a copy of the will of Joseph Thomas Wilthew, which confirms his then current wife (Sophia Stubbs Clements) and her brother (George Stubbs Clements), several addresses of property he owned… and possibly a niece (Maria) and husband (James ‘Baudsley?’) – which gives an other avenue to pursue in identifying this family and its connection to other Wilthew’s in London.


So, with information from various different sources (parish records, census returns, newspaper articles, indenture of apprenticeship, tax lists, Last Will and Testament) I can put together a short family tree for Joseph Thomas Wilthew, and with different sources confirming different pieces of information in each other, be reasonably sure of his key dates (birth, 3x marriages and death), addresses at various times, and some other family relations.

Joseph Thomas Wilthew (rough family tree)

Joseph Thomas Wilthew (rough family tree)

Records of the Sun Fire Office

Just in closing, not all records from the LMA are available via Ancestry (there are over 77 million records covering 400 years of history after all) so a visit to see the sources in person is well worth the trip. I recently visited to pick through some of the Sun Fire Insurance policy indexes held in MS 11936. These aren’t fully name indexed, although some are and searchable via the LMA’s online catalogue. But these helped me find the entries in the register of policies for several properties owned by Joseph Thomas between 1826 and 1837 in Stoke Newington, Camberwell and Peckham. And possibly a property owned by his father: Joseph Wilthew, a silk winder, insured a property on 2 Wilks Street, Spitalfields in 1817.

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