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The mysterious William John Vallance

September 25, 2014

This person dies on 23rd Dec 1925, Cardiff aged 61, and got married on 1st June 1895 also in Cardiff- so far, so straightforward  On both the 1911 and 1901 censuses he says he is from Berwick St John, Berkshire.  If he is from Berwick St. John then he is missing from the birth registers in 1864 and the parish Christening records too.  His birthday was celebrated on 20th March but the only person with the right string of names of approximately the right age is from Teignmouth, about 30 miles away, and can be traced separately through the 1901 and 1911 censuses.

His father is named as John on William’s marriage certificate, so I am working on the basis that a combination of these facts will be the truth (a way of uncovering a mistake, but also a lie is always better being close to the truth).  I have found a William John Cox born in Berwick St John and christened on 22nd April 1864 (father named John) and he completely disappears after the 1891 census.  I can’t find a criminal record of anything to indicate why William John Cox may have changed his name, but I am relying on internet sources, so I don’t have access to everything that is probably waiting in the Records Office.  I should mention that there are no Vallance’s from Berwick St John.  Of course, his family could always have just travelled through the place or he could have lived there when he was young (being born in the middle of the decade, he could have lived somewhere until almost 6 but not be on a census).

None of the three sisters of William John Cox marry anyone with the maiden name of Vallance, but maybe it’s time to check the families that his brothers married into.

I hate these dead ends.  It’s like having an itch that you scratch despite yourself.  Please if you have any ideas let me know!

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