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One of my maternal great-great-grandmothers was Amanda KING (1848-?). Amanda was born at Frome, Somerset, probably the second child of George KING (1813?-1879) and Martha GUY (1820-85). Amanda was named after her mother's sister, Amanda GUY.

Amanda KING married Thomas OLLIVER (1852-94) at Brighton, Sussex in 1873. They only seem to have had one child, Edward Olliver (1873-1924). Proof that my Edward Olliver was this child took 12 years to emerge. Edward's marriage certificate (obtained in 1994) said that his father's name was also Edward Olliver but as there was no sign of such a family I suspected that the name was incorrect but couldn't prove it. Amanda had apparently vanished after the 1881 census, there was no trace of her in the later censuses or the death indexes and she didn't seem to have married again after her husband died. In spring 2006 I got lucky -.-.-

I was contacted by Mark Sellar of Edinburgh who had come across my website, he had obtained one of Edward Olliver's medals and it didn't fit with the rest of his collection. Mark had also commissioned research into Edward's army career and those documents very surprisingly enabled me to discover what had happened to his mother.
Edward had enlisted as Edward GILLAM rather than OLLIVER and his next of kin was given as Eliza Gillam. This led me to think he must have been illegitimate and later become OLLIVER. The 1891 census revealed George and Eliza Gillam living at Brighton with a daughter Maud age 5. The surprise was that Eliza's birthplace was given as Frome and her age was 43. This was very suspicious - all but the name fitted Amanda's expected 1891 entry.
It was also a fairly good match for the 1901 entry I had for the female occupants of the house Edward OLLIVER married from in 1902. Living there were an Edward and Eliza Wilson plus daughter Maud age 16. The 1901 entry had Eliza born at Brighton so there had been no suspicion when that entry had been found in 2002. Searches on FreeBMD came up with no suitable marriage for George Gillam and no birth for a Maud Gillam or Wilson. It did reveal the marriage of Edward Wilson in 1895 - to Eliza OLLIVER, no such person in earlier censuses. Then a birth for Maud Gillam Olliver in 1885.
So now the full story could be constructed. Amanda and her husband must have split up after the birth of Edward Olliver. Amanda later took up with George Gillam and at sometime also adopted the first name of Eliza. She and George had their illegitimate daughter Maud in 1885 and they were still together in 1891. Amanda/Eliza's husband Thomas Olliver died in 1894 so she was now free to marry. Her second husband was Edward Wilson but she married using her adopted first name. The 1901 census entry contains at least three errors or lies. Amanda/Eliza's birthplace, Edward Wilson's claim that Maud was his daughter and Maud's surname. Edward OLLIVER's marriage witnesses were Edward Wilson and Maud OLLIVER, I had originally assumed they were his landlord and a cousin's wife as I hadn't found any Maud OLLIVER in the 1891 census. Now they were revealed as Edward OLLIVER's stepfather and his illegitimate half-sister.
To complete the proof I bought the marriage certificate of Edward Wilson and Eliza OLLIVER. Luckily 'Eliza' gave the name of her father instead of only stating that he'd died. She named him as George KING, cooper, deceased. A perfect match with the entries on her first marriage certificate.
It's no wonder I couldn't find any trace of Amanda in the records, with her first name and surname aliases she really couldn't be found without the information in her son's army enlistment papers. With him enlisting with her surname alias it also explains why I hadn't been able to find his records under Olliver. All the mysteries solved quite unexpectedly and extremely fortunately - without Mark having obtained the medal, got the associated documents, located my website and got in contact I would still be unable to prove my connections! Many, many thanks to Mark, unknowingly the catalyst to such a brilliant result for my research.

Back to Amanda/Eliza KING's ancestors. George KING (1813?-1879) married Martha GUY (1820-85) at her home village of Horningsham, Wiltshire in 1845. They had at least nine children, the first was baptised at Horningsham, the rest were born at Frome in Somerset which is only a few miles from Horningsham. One looks to have died at about 18 months, the others survived to adulthood. George worked as a Cooper (barrel maker) and Beer House keeper at Blatchbridge in south-east Frome from at least 1861. George looks to have died in 1879 at the age of 66 and Martha presumably continued to run the beer house, she's listed as such in 1881. FreeBMD has a death entry for Martha in 1885 at the age of 64.

George KING said at his marriage that his father was Nathaniel KING. FreeBMD has a death index entry for a Nathaniel King in the registration district of Frome in 1840, as entries for that date don't have an age it's not certain it was him. Perhaps I'll get the certificate when/if the ages get added to the official on-line indexes in a few years time. As he appears to have died before the 1841 census that route is closed for obtaining any information about him. George consistently reported in the census returns that he was born at Frome, his age in the censuses suggest he was born in 1814, his death entry suggests a year or two earlier. The IGI coverage for Somerset is not good enough to verify this, researching at Taunton has not yet been attempted.

However, in the last few years a website has been set up by David Smart for people with Frome ancestry. David and his team of transcribers have produced baptisms and marriages for Frome St John as well as some other parishes. Thanks to this team I have the likely baptism entries for George KING, his last four children, George's siblings, Nathaniel's baptism and those of his siblings. George and his family's 1851 census entry suggests they were living in a different part of Frome to their later entries so their earlier children, including Amanda, were probably baptised elsewhere.
Visit David Smart's website at: Frome Research

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