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Bradford Mystery

Calling all hardened, experienced family history hunters! Might I ask for a bit of advice?

It concerns my own BRADFORD family history and is a mystery I have been trying to solve for many years.

My father John William BRADFORD was born in Bedford in 1916. He had two older sisters, Evelyn May BRADFORD (b1914) and Florence Cecelia BRADFORD (b1915) both also born in Bedford. Evelyn was born in Bedford Union Workhouse.

I have copies of birth certificates for them all with John Bradford being shown as the father.

There are really two mysteries -

1) Whilst on Evelyn's birth certificate (The eldest child) and my fathers birth certificate (The youngest child) The mother Margaret states her maiden name as GREEN, but on Florences birth certificate (The middle child) she gives her maiden name as DAY. To date I have found no marriage for BRADFORD - GREEN or BRADFORD - DAY.

2) In 1918 all the children are sent to a childrens home in Kempston, Beds. (The entry book for the date they arrive states "Deserted by mother") They never have any further contact with their parents and no-one knows what becomes of them.

I only have 3 official records of John BRADFORD the father.

He appears on all three birth certificates (As horse keeper, Carman, and Waggoner)

He appears on the 1913 electoral roll for Bedford together with his wife Margaret residing in Bell Court, St. John's, Bedford.

He appears on the Bedford Union Relief records on 26th September 1916 as being given two shilling and sixpence. On this record he gives his age as 60. On a similar record in 1914 when Margaret is discharged from the workhouse with her new born child Evelyn, Margaret gives her age as 35. (Quite an age gap for a married couple?)

After 1916 I can find no record of either of them. I do have a few death records in later years but no way of connecting them to my family.

I just wondered if some kind soul amongst you may be able to suggest any further avenues to explore?

Thenking you in anticipation but will perfectly understand if you cannot help.


John Bradford
Hi John,

Bit of a toughie this one.

Going back to the 1881 putting in John Bradford with occ carman (nothing for waggoner or horse keeper, if he was in any of those trades in 1881) one comes up born abt 1856 Sunningdale Berkshire, he is with his parents living in Lewisham Kent.

1891 the same is married to a Caroline living in Croydon Surrey and still in Croydon in 1901. Caroline is born abt 1857 in Dorset and there is a death for a Caroline Bradford born abt 1857 district Croydon year 1908. Probaly barking up the wrong tree.

You may have to wait for the 1911 census to see what comes up.
In 1901 there is a Margaret Green born Oxfordshire abt 1880 gen servant
living in the civil parish of Croydon. Am I putting 2 and 2 together and making 5?
Hi juliejtp,

Thanks for your efforts.

One of my thoughts was that because of the age difference between the parents (John & Margaret) the John Bradford mentioned in the Bedford Union records aged 60 may in fact be the grandfather of the children, not the father?

Perhaps a son, a younger John Bradford was overseas during World War 1?

But as usual I cannot find a suitable candidate!

All very frustrating.........


Just looked at the 1901 census putting John Bradford with father John quite a few came up all over England, but the John S Bradford who died in 1928 isnt the same (he came up with his family) ,as the John Bradford Carmen,

I've not found a marriage as of yet. It could very well be that John age 60 is her husband/partner some ladies do like older men (George Clooney look alike maybe). I wonder if either Green or Day was a married
name, and if so that may be why they didnt marry though little matters like that didnt stop some people.
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Hi juliejtp,

Thanks, I will persue that one........

I just noticed one of your surname intrests is BASS.

Bit spooky but my father was fostered for many years with a BASS family in the village of Risely in Bedfordshire! They were not a married couple but I believe a father and daughter.

Just thought it worth mentioming just in case !!?

Hi John,

Bass is a family name but turns out it was my grandads first name shortened from Bassett and used as his surname. So my mum has two maiden names to choose from.