Monday, 12 March 2012

Isted Family Mystery

A recent query concerned the Isted family. The parents of Alfred Isted, born 1863, were Mary Ann Isted and John Henry Rengaw on his birth certificate. Then our correspondent discovered that there was another birth certificate for the same Alfred Isted, with the same birth date and the same mother and father, but this time his name was Alfred Rengaw. Both certificates have the same reference number. Not surprisingly, this intrigued his great-granddaughter who is doing the research.

She did some more digging and found Mary Ann in the 1861 census, working as a nurse, aged 15, in a house in Battle. The head of the household was a magistrate, born 1821, named John Henry Wagner. That name 'rung a bell', so she fished out Alfred's indentures dated 1877 when he was aged 14, and there was that name again - Wagner. One of the three signatures on the indentures is "Mrs Anne Wagner, widow, resident at St Leonards on Sea and is the responsible person to be named in Isted's indentures." This suggests that it was Mrs Anne Wagner who paid for the four years of Alfred's apprenticeship.

Further research showed that Mrs Anne Wagner (nee Penfold) was the mother of John Henry Wagner. As she was pursuing further interesting information, our correspondent continued mulling all this over. Finally, she looked again at Alfred's birth certificate and the penny dropped as she realised that young Mary Ann was the informant and must have wanted to leave a clue - Rengaw is Wagner backwards!

There is more to tell on the Penfold research, but that can be the subject of our next blog!

Jacquie Buttriss

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