The Pettit Family 1823 - 2002

George Pettit b 1823 - d 27 December 1900

Wife - Mary Daughter - Amelia Daughter - Susannah Daughter - Martha Son - Horace William Son - George Son - Horace Daughter - Elizabeth Son - William Son - Herbert


Census Year Copy Found Certificate Type Copy Found Other Information  
1841 No


Yes, Pallott's Baptism Index


1851 Yes




1861 Yes




1871 Yes        
1881 Yes        
1891 Yes        
1901 Deceased        






Research Dates
11 Dec 02        10 Jan 03        15 Feb 04    22 Jan 0526 Mar 05

11 December 2002
George Pettit is currently the oldest member of the family I have found.   At first, I could get back no further than his Grandson and my Grandfather, Horace Pettit (1870 - 1923).   The Public Record office then put the 1901 census results on line, and Horace was searched.   The fact that the census was on-line was a real boon to me, from that I was able to establish Horace's wife and some of his children.

Another breakthrough lead to the discovery of George.   The 1881 census results are on-line through the Church of the Latter Day Saints, so Horace was again searched.   This time he was found, aged 11, staying at his Grandfather's house, who was George.   The result of the search was of great benefit as it allowed me to work out George's age and it also gave me names of other members of his family.

At the time of the 1881 census, George was, I think, living in or around Boyton, which is where his children (those known on 11 December 2002) were born.   The census shows that George was born in Woodbridge in 1823, his occupation is shown as Agricultural Labourer, he is married to Mary and he was aged 58.

Research on George is ongoing, but it is known that by the time of the 1901 census George had died, his wife's entry for that stating stating that she was a Farmer's Widow.

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10 January 2003
Research at the County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds uncovered some more information about George.   A lack of time meant that I was unable to trace his birth records in the parish registers, but that was because a number of other finds took up my time.   One find about him and Mary however was quite eerie.   The parish records at Bury are held on microfiche, many hundreds of entries to a slide.   On locating the microfiche containing wedding records for the Boyton area, it was inserted into the machine, the holder was pushed closed and the lamp turned on, to reveal a page showing the wedding banns for the couple.   I thought I was going to have a long search for the record but it was the first to appear - the shock of seeing their names appear without having to search for them spooked me I have to admit!   The entry showed that their banns were read on the Sundays of the 27th April, 4th and 11th May 1845.

The marriage took place on the Monday 12th May 1845, at Boyton Parish Church.   From the marriage certificate I was able to establish that both George and Mary were single when they married, Mary's maiden name was Ling, and both fathers were called William.   From that information I was able to go back another generation having established George's father.   His possible mother was also found a little later, although that is subject to confirmation.   See William and Mary for their story.

A search of the baptism records turned up some interesting finds too.   Before the visit to Bury I knew of the existence of Annah, George, William and Herbert.   So few children seemed extraordinary for a Victorian family, and so that proved to be.   From the baptism records of Boyton Parish Church leapt the following names, all children of George and William:   Mary, Amelia, Susannah, Martha Anne, Horace William, Horace, and Elizabeth.   Sadly, still remaining on the missing list was the person I most wanted to find, my Great Granddad, perhaps the eldest of George and Mary's children.

The burial records turned up some sad tales which can be seen on the page of individual concerned.   No record of George or Mary's fate was found, but amongst those that were children Martha Anne, Horace William, Annah and Horace.   Also found was George's possible mother, another Mary.   Although no confirmed link can be made at the moment, Mary was buried on the same date as Annah, and I feel this is more than just coincidence.

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15 February 2004
As for George himself, as of today I have been able to establish that he was still alive in 1891.   I managed to purchase an 1891 census CD set to save trips down to the County Record Office at Bury St Edmunds, and, whilst searching for the equally elusive Susannah, stumbled across George living with wife Mary at 25 Ufford Road, Eyke, Suffolk.   At the time he was aged 67 and still showing as an agricultural labourer, a testimony to his strength.   I had originally believed him to be dead by this time, as I could not find him listed in the census in the civil registration district of Woodbridge, which is where the records for Boyton, where he had lived previously, were recorded.   What is certain is that he died between 1891 and 1901 as wife Mary is showing as a widow in the 1901 census.

22 January 2005
Recent research has found an entry for George and his family in the 1871 census, a copy of which is shown below.   George is shown as aged 48, and living in Boyton Street, Boyton, together wife wife Mary, and children Susannah (shown as Anna), George, Elizabeth, William and Herbert, and also Susannah's eldest son Horace.   In this census, as in some other records, the family surname is shown as the four T variation, not the three in use today.   As expected, George is shown as an agricultural labourer, as is eldest son George, with the remaining three children listed as scholars.   No occupation is given for wife Mary or daughter Susannah.

The mystery of George's death may have been solved.   Another search of the death register has revealed an entry for a George Pettit aged 78, who died in the registration district of Plomesgate.   This would tie in with George's last known address in Eyke, which falls within the boundaries of Plomesgate.   A photograph of the village church was taken during a visit over the Christmas period, but a walk of the churchyard was not carried out, as the information above was not known to me at the time.   This is a little unfortunate, as I may well have found the grave of my great-grandfather had I taken the time to walk round.

26 March 2005
A copy of the death certificate arrived today, and it does relate to George.   As always, death certificates give a finality to a life, and the feeling is no different in George's case.   A copy of the death certificate is shown below, where it can be seen that the cause of death is given as senile dementia, at the age of 78.  George's final days can only be speculated on, the death certificate shows his occupation as a Farm Labourer, which no doubt means that he was living in some form of tied cottage which is where he must have finally died.   With him at the time of his death was daughter in law Annie, wife of eldest surviving son George, who was shown in the 1901 census as a farmer in Bromeswell, the same parish as that in which his father died.   Perhaps, at the end of his life, George had some members of his family close by to him, although this cannot be confirmed as full addresses are not available at this point in time.

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Pallott's Baptism Index

This extract from Pallott's Baptism Index shows George, son of William, mariner, and Lucy, nee Buckman.

Marriage Certificate

At the time of the marriage to wife Mary, on the 12th May 1845, George was a bachelor, and Mary was a spinster. His occupation was a labourer. Additional information gained from the certificate shows George's father as William Pettitt, a seaman, and Mary's father also as William, a labourer. The witnesses at the wedding which was conducted by Rector William W Aldrick, were Emma Daniels and Samuel Barker.

Death Certificate

The death certificate for George shows that he died on the 27th December 1900 in Eyke.   He was aged 72 and shown as a farm labourer, a job that must have been very difficult, if not impossible in his final days, given that he was certified as dying from senile dementia by J Cordy Keen, MRCS.   Present at his death, and the informant in this instance, was daughter-in-law Annie Pettitt, of Bromeswell, who would have been son George's wife.   The death was reported on the 31st December 1900, and was registered by Richard Thompson, Registrar.

1851 Census

In this census, George appears with wife Mary as expected, but also with daughter Amelia, whose name has appeared in other research but who could not be connected to the tree with any certainty. She is aged 4, putting her birth year as 1847. This ties in neatly with the final member of the family present on the night of the census, the elusive and mysterious daughter Susannah. This census may also finally kill off the mystery of her birth year, as she is shown aged 2, making her year of birth 1849. George is shown as an Agricultural Labourer, aged 29, wife Mary is shown as aged 26 and without occupation.

1861 Census

In this census George is aged 37 and is an agricultural labourer, wife Mary is 36. With them in the house were their surviving children, the still elusive Susannah, aged 13 and this time shown as Hannnah, son George aged 7, and younger daughter Elizabeth aged 2. Additionally, a previously unknown relative was also in the house. William Pettitt is shown as a nephew of George, aged 17 and a journeyman bricklayer. He is an excellent find, as his birth certificate will enable another line of Pettitts to be traced. His parents are as yet unknown.

1871 Census

Living with wife Mary, daughters Anna (Susannah) and Elizabeth, sons George, William and Herbert, and grandson Horace. He is shown as an Agricultural Labourer.

1881 Census

Living with wife Mary, daughter Annah (Susannah), sons George, William and Herbert, and grandsons Horace and John. He is shown as an Agricultural Labourer.

1891 Census

Living with wife Mary and grandson John, plus three boarders. He is working as an Agricultural Labourer.

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Mary Ling b 1825 - 9th September 1903

30 Jun 04        7 Jul 04

30 June 2004.
Whilst carrying out a general trawl of the death registers I stumbled across an entry for a Mary Pettit who died in the parish of Woodbridge.   Closer examination of the entry shows it likely to be that for Mary, wife of George, as the age at death and birth year tie up, as does the location.   A copy of the certificate will be obtained to find out exactly how and where Mary died at the good age of 78.   Research so far shows that husband George had died sometime between the 1891 and 1901 censuses, as Mary was shown as a widow on the latter census.   On the date of that census she was staying with her eldest son George in Bromeswell, Suffolk.   Whether or not she died there is a mystery I hope to clear up when the certificate arrives.

7 July 2004
The full set of certificates has now been obtained for Mary.   As she was born before the start of civil registration, no birth certificate exists, so the finding of her death certificate reproduced below, together with her marriage certificate completes the set.

The certificate shows that Mary died on the 9th September 1903, at Chapel Lane, Woodbridge, Suffolk, aged 78 and she was described as the widow of George Pettit, a farm labourer.   The writing on the certificate describing the cause of death is not entirely clear, and contains some medical terms, but parts that are readable show that Mary died from chronic asthma and congestion of the lungs.   The death was registered on the 11th September, by E Brown, daughter, who was present at the death, and who lived in Cumberland Street, Woodbridge.   The person described is presumed to be Mary's daughter Elizabeth, born on the 21st October 1858, and of whom no other information has yet come to light.

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Death Certificate

Present at the death of Mary on the 9th September 1903 at Cumberland Street, Woodbridge, was daughter E Brown, who lived in Cumberland Street, Woodbridge. The death was registered on the 11th September 1903, by William Arnott, Registrar.   The following appeared in the East Anglian Daily Times of the 12th September 1903:

PETTIT - On September 9th, at Woodbridge, Mary, the beloved wife of George Pettit, late of Boyton. aged 78.

Boyton 1890  

Reproduced from Ordnance Survey map data by permission of Ordnance Survey,  Crown copyright.

This map was produced in 1890, some time after George and wife Mary had left Boyton.   In fact, by this year they were probably in Eyke, living at the address shown in the 1891 census reproduced above.  As part of my research I visited the village, along with my mother, to see what it looks like now.   We approached the village on the road from the top right hand corner of the map, where Dock Farm is indicated.   We took the right turn and continued past the Baptist Chapel, continuing through the village until we saw the Almshouses on the right hand side of the road, where we parked the car.   This gave us access to the church of St Andrews, which is where George and Mary were married.

The Almshouses, which were on our left, are now converted and gave the impression of forming quite attractive sheltered type accommodation.   St Andrews Church stood to our right, we entered the churchyard and, as the church itself was closed, commenced a search of the graveyard to see if any headstones of interest could be found.   Not surprisingly, there were few readable inscriptions that could be located for that period, and nothing of real value came to light.   At that stage of my research I was unaware that George and Mary had moved on, so was a little disappointed not to find any Pettits laid to rest in the churchyard.   The graves of all of George and Mary's children who did die in Boyton (Martha Ann in 1850, Horace William in 1853 and Horace in 1860) appear to have long since vanished.

The church too has changed in appearance since the time of George and Mary's wedding.   Details of the changes can be found by visiting the following link, and then clicking on the link to St Andrews Church, a picture of which is shown below.

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Eyke 1891-2

Reproduced from Ordnance Survey map data by permission of Ordnance Survey,  Crown copyright.

This is Eyke in 1891/2, which was where George and Mary were living at the time of the 1891 census, and would be an accurate map of how the village looked whilst they were there.   At the time of writing, it would appear that George may have died there, certainly in the 1901 census Mary is shown as a widow, and she is shown as living with her second youngest son William and his wife Mary in Leiston.   Shown below are two photographs, one of the main street in Eyke as it is today, and the other of the church in Eyke.  

The main street in Eyke, Suffolk

Eyke Church

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