William Henry Devery’s family tree
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What little we know about William Henry
Lets start with something positive. He did his duty for his country. There is a WW1 Medal Record Card for William Henry Devery. It tells us that he served in the Army Service Corps, the people who provide a supply network of food, ammunition etc to the troops. We know he stayed in the UK because there are no medals listed, they were awarded automatically for those who served abroad during the war in any capacity.
His birth certificate tells us that he was born on 10 November 1889 at 4 Baxters Place, Berry Road, Spotland Nearerside, Rochdale. William Henry Devery married Florrie Davies on 25 April 1914 at St Michael’s Church in the parish of Tonge c Alkrington. They had six daughters and a few weeks after the birth of the youngest in 1926 William left, leaving his estranged wife and five of their daughters to live a life of poverty while he had a very comfortable lifestyle with his daughter Lily and new lady friend, Bertha Hignett. William and Bertha had a son in 1932, Roy Leach Devery, family myth suggests there was another child too.
William Henry’s father, William
William’s father, William senior, was a tailor (journeyman*) by trade. He married Mary Deleny from Ireland in St Clements Church at Spotland Bridge on 26 November 1888. At the time of the marriage both lived in Pym Street Rochdale, Mary Ann at number 14 and William at 37. The Church and Pym Street are shown on the map below. The road plan is similar today but some streets including Pym Street have been removed to make way for light industrial units.
An exert from the Alan Godfrey map of Rochdale (West) 1908 with the locations of St Clements Church and Pym Street highlighted.
I have found William snr on two census returns. In 1891 he is 39 and was born in Woolwich, London. In 1901 he is 53 and was born in Germany. Was he confused, or trying to hide something, or did he make a genuine mistake or perhaps learnt something new about his origins between these two censuses? The reason I believe it is the same person on both censuses rather than two similar people is because on both census returns his trade is tailor and William Henry is listed as his son with ages that tally between the two dates. He has a different wife for each census however which may tie in with an 1895 death record I have found for a Mary Ann Devery born about 1894. If this is WH’s younger sister his mother may have died in childbirth I have had no luck finding William snr on any earlier censuses, neither can I find a birth record for him, although I don’t have access to German records.
*Journeyman. This is not a reference to travelling. This means no fixed employer, men would hang around a specific spot in the town each morning waiting for someone to hire them for the day, they would get paid for the day’s work at the end of the day and follow the same process the day after. I assume it comes from the French word jour for day (or journee meaning the time you are awake) as it refers to daily employment.
Another William Devery
We know from William and Mary’s marriage certificate that William’s father was also called William and also a tailor.
William and Mary’s marriage certificate also tells us that Mary’s father, yet another William, was a stonemason. The 1891 census tells us that Mary was born in 1862 in Craighman, Tipperary, Ireland.
Research on William Henry’s family history has been frustrating so far, but I am sure there is more out there to discover. There must be a tailor’s guild of some sort which may fill in some gaps.
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