Sunday, 21 June 2009

George Griffin - The Truth

By MrsJ

Here's the truth. The Express said "Habitually lied about his age".

No. Many people genuinely, at that time, didn't always know when they were born, and some census enumerator's grasp of maths was basic, to say the least.

In 1871, George was a travelling salesman, but he did have a business partner. Possibly his sister.

In 1881, he was no longer travelling, and is listed as a dealer. His business supported his family of eight, plus a servant, Kate Goss!

In 1891, his earnings are now supporting a family of eleven, plus a servant (same one as ten years earlier) and an apprentice! He's now listed as a merchant - a step up from a dealer.

By 1901, most of George's children have flown the nest he permanently lived through three censuses, he still has the servant, Kate Goss, Esther has had another child, and one of their adult children, William, is a printer compositor - a good trade to be in.

A possible death date for George is 1912, but as it's a common name, I can't be sure. It certainly seems likely, as the George that died in Devon in 1912 was aged 72, putting the birth year as 1840.

So, he stayed married to one wife, never took money from the parish poor relief, for most of his life he lived in one place in Boutport Street in Barnstaple, Devon and was rich enough to support himself, his wife, ten children, a servant and at least one apprentice.

Not really gypsy material, then!