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Mary Christmas - A genealogy

Sometimes in genealogy we come across someome whose name fits absolutely perfectly for the season. On the 1871 census for example, there were almost 1400 people with Christmas as a surname, almost 2000 called Merry, 12 called Snowman, 37 with the first name of Jesus and thousands of examples of a Mary married to a Joseph. Let's have a look at the life of the aptly-named Mary Christmas.

One of the people named Mary Christmas was from Enfield, which is now part of the Greater London sprawl but which at the time of Mary's birth was a separate town to the north of the city.

Mary Eliza Christmas was born at the start of 1854 and baptised on 5 February 1854 at the Anglican church of All Saints, Edmonton. Her parents were Thomas Christmas, a labourer originally from Bassingbourn in Cambridgeshire, and his wife Ann from Great Morden, also in Cambridgeshire. It seems most probable that Ann and Thomas had moved south from Cambridgeshire to London to take advantage of the booming jobs market offered by this period in the capital.

On the 1861 census, Mary Christmas was living with her parents, older sister Elizabeth and younger brothers Thomas and Alfred at 2 Balsam Row, Edmonton. 33-year-old Thomas was working as a carter and the three oldest Christmas children were attending school. 10 years later in 1871 the family remained at 2 Balsam Row. By this time Thomas had changed occupation and was listed as a gardener on the census. 17-year-old Mary had no occupation listed which was not unusual for a girl at the time. Since the 1861 census the family had expanded with the addition of three more children; Arthur, Emily Ann and Kate.

At the end of 1877, when Mary was 23, she married Arthur Henry Newby in Barnet. Arthur was employed in a large house as a domestic servant, and was born in the Barnet area. On the 1881 census the Newby family had moved into a more central area of London and were found at 4 Spurstowe Place in the Hackney area of the city. Mary and Arthur had also had two daughters, Kate who was 2, and 9 month old Edith.

In 1891, Mary and her family remained in Hackney but had moved to 41 Avenue Road. Arthur was still working as a hall porter, and Mary was at home with the children. Since the previous census she had had two more called Fred and Ada. In 1901 the family had moved again to Rendlesham Road in Hackney, and also living with the family on the night of the census was Mary's younger brother Arthur Christmas. On the 1911 census Mary was listed at Benthal Road, Stoke Newington with her son, Fred. Arthur Newby died five years later in 1916 - is this why he is not with Mary on the 1911 census, or was he just temporarily away from home on the night of the census?

After Arthur's death, Mary remained in the London area and was found on the 1921 census at 31 North End Road in Hendon, working as a caretaker for the Student Christian Movement, a missionary organisation. Mary died in the last quarter of 1935 in Essex, at the age of 82.

Your own Christmas Genealogy

You might not have such a festive name as Mary Christmas, but every family has a story to be told. If you're interested in how your ancestors may have lived and how they may have spent the festive season, get in touch and I can help you find out.

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