|Census Year||Copy Found||Certificate Type||Copy Found|
8 December 2006
The males of the Pettit family are an unfortunate bunch, and here is yet another male with a sad story. Herbert was born to parents George and Mary (nee Ling) Pettit, and he was their last child. Present in the 1871 and 1881 censuses, on both occasions in his parents' home, no trace of him was found in either of the subsequent censuses. Fearing the worst a search of the death records was carried out, but nothing was found, nor was anything found during a trawl of the marriage records. A search of the Suffolk Burial Index CD did produce a result however, and it looks as though the entry does refer to the correct Herbert Pettit.
Aged 16 in the 1881 census, Herbert is shown as an agricultural labourer, like the rest of his family. The death certificate shows the Herbert concerned as a fisherman, a discrepancy on first sight, but Herbert died on the 18th November 1881, so it is quite likely that fishing was Herbert's winter job. What is certain is that Herbert died by accident, falling from the deck of the trawler Xanthe in Lowestoft Harbour, and drowning there. The only problem with the certificate is that it lists Herbert's age as 18, though it is much more likely that he was actually 17. There is one fact that does make my mind up that this is the 'right' Herbert however, and that is that the Suffolk Burials Index CD shows a Herbert Pettit, living in Butley, being buried in Boyton churchyard on the 22nd November 1881, a place where many of the Pettit family are buried.
Herbert was born to parents George and Mary (nee Ling) Pettit in Boyton. Herbert's birth was registered by mother Mary, on the 22nd April 1864. The registrar was William Arnott.
There is only one entry in the deaths register for the corresponding entry in the Suffolk Burials CD as described above. It shows a Herbert Pettit, aged 18, dying as a result of suffocation by drowning having accidentally fallen into the water from the deck of the fishing boat Xanthe of Lowestoft. The date of the death was the 18th November 1881, in Lowestoft Harbour. The nature of the death required that an inquest be held, which was concluded on the 19th November 1881, and the death was registered on the 23rd November by W Oldham Chambers, Registrar.