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Ada Brown born 1889 living in Mexborough



I'd be really grateful if anyone could help me with my family tree which I've been researching on and off for several years and keep hitting dead ends.

My grandfather Thomas Edward Law born 1920 in Mexborough was put into a Barnardo's home when he was about 4 with his younger brother Jack.

I requested my grandfather's birth certificate and his mother is named as Ada Brown working as a domestic servant. No father is given on the birth certificate.

I requested information from Barnardo's about the circumstances surrounding my grandfather's admittance and the paperwork that came back showed that after several warnings the children were taken into care because of neglect. It says they were first put into a workhouse - Doncaster/Sheffield? It also emerged that Ada Brown was living with a man named Thomas Cox and three other children - Joseph, Lily and Dorothy. Dorothy had died in the workhouse.

I've struggled finding any of them on censuses and I'm confused as to why the children have the surname Law. Could she have been married before meeting Thomas Cox? But why does her surname appear as Brown on my grandfather's certificate?

I'd really appreciate any help anyone can offer with this? I'd just like to put all the missing pieces together to know what happened to my grandfather's family.

Thank you!
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Hi With Jack having the same name ie Law, mother Brown born 1922 I suspect Ada was married. This looks good

A/J 1914 Doncaster John R Law to Veda A Brown ref 9c 1585

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Thank you Dave.

Would Veda be her first name then and her middle name Ada? Veda seems unusual, could it be a misprint for Vera?

Sorry if I'm asking silly questions, not done this before!!

Checking census's for Veda, I have gone off this marriage. Her 2nd name is Agnes not Ada, and she was born and lived in Misson, which although not far from Doncaster is in Nottinghamshire.

There is another which in some respects looks better
A/J 1912 Rotherham - Ada Brown to Sidney T Law ref 9c 1229

Mexborough is 1/2 way between Rotherham and Doncaster, could these be their children
Evelyn D 1912 Rotherham
*Ada 1913 Rotherham
Lily 1915 Rotherham
*Sidney T 1917 Doncaster
Thomas E 1920 Doncaster
jack 1922 Doncaster

I found the marriage to a Sidney T Law when I was doing some research last night. I couldn't find him on a census though.

Thanks for the info on the children too. Gives me a few more leads to go on. It still seems odd to me that my grandfather has the same name as the man that Ada was living with when the children were taken into care? Or perhaps just a strange coincidence given that they're not unusual names.

Thanks for your help, much appreciated
By the same name, do you mean Thomas?. Do you know the ages of the three children Joseph, Lily and Dorothy? I hadn't realised but there was a Lily and a Evelyn D in the children I posted.

Yes, he was named as a Thomas Edward Cox.

I haven't got the documents to hand at the moment as we have recently moved house and everything is in boxes still! I know Joseph was older than my grandfather and I'm pretty sure Lily was too.
I was just checking births and I found two more in Doncaster between parents Law and Brown - Dorothy 1923 and Dennis 1926 so apart from Joseph, we may have the other children. If all the children had a father called Law, why was he not named on your gf cert and are the other childrens certs the same..
When was Ada living with Thomas? If it is after 1926 Ada could have left Sidney, but was still married to him. If all the children were Ada's, they would have been a handful and may be the reason they were not looked after properly

edit - Have you Ada's age anywhere?
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The age for Dorothy sounds right, she was only little when she died in the workhouse. My grandfather would have been in Barnardo's at the time Dennis was born.

That's what puzzles me, if she was married, why not name the father on the birth certificate? I guess my next port of call would be to order the other childrens' birth certificates to see if the father is named on those?

My grandfather's birth certificate put Ada as being born in 1889. There are quite a few possibilities on the censuses for her but I can't be sure which one for definite.

Thanks again, would love to work it all out!
If it is the right Dorothy and she died aged one, there is a death in Sheffield Dec 1924. Was the workhouse in Sheffield?

I can't find an Ada Brown born 1889 around Mexborough. There is an Ada Brown (maiden name Holborn) on 1911 census, born 1889 in Doncaster, married in 1906 to Ernest Brown. They have children Maggie 1908 and Phyllis, deceased, born about 1910. Could this be Ada

So many questions!!

Hi Dave,

Yes, that would be the right Dorothy. Were the workhouses usually a stopgap before children were put into care?

As for Ada, I'm getting very confused!! Would this be why she is named as Brown on my grandfather's birth certificate and not Law? And that would mean there are even more siblings?!

Too many questions!! All very confusing but now I've started researching I can't leave it!
Workhouses were usually large institutions with their own schools and hospitals. I understand, people stayed in them until they were able to manage on their own, or in the case of children, old enough to earn their own living, or adopted

I don't really know why Ada would use the name Brown if she was married. Perhaps another member will have some ideas.

I'm sorry I can't be more helpful


Working on the theory that Ada Brown was Ada Holborn. This Ada had a sister Eva born abt 1891. A Eva Holborn married George Schofield in 1921 Doncaster. I know this is a longshot but maybe her sister Ada was a witnesses on the marriage certificate.
Thank you both for all your help and suggestions, really appreciate it. Thinking about the workhouse too, the other thing that puzzles me is how my grandfather and his younger brother ended up in a Barnardo's home in London after being in the Sheffield workhouse.

I will try the Ada Holborn line and see if I can get any further with that. Would it be best to apply for a copy of Eva Holborn's marriage certificate?
Hi Amy,

A Eva Holborn who was born abt 1891 Doncaster has the parents of Peter Hy and Margaret. Her sister Ada was born abt 1889 Doncaster, If she is your Ada then hopefully she might have been a witness on Eva's marriage certificate. Margaret Holborn mother remarried in 1898 to John Hardy.

There is another Eva Holborn born abt 1900 Durham but living in Worsborough Yorkshire West Riding in 1911, hmm she could be the Eva who married in 1921. 1911 has a George Schofield born at 1900 living in the sub district of Worsborough, but then again there is one born Doncaster abt 1882 plus many others of that name.