Hannah Lilian Horton

Hannah Lilian Horton (also known as Lily) was part of a duo with her sister Marie Horton.  Lily was listed on the 1891 and 1901 censuses as an actress. On the 1911 Lily is with her parents and brother Harry at Noah Wailes residence (grandfather) house in Todmorden, Yorkshire and listed as unemployed. 
I have also found a couple of ‘Wanted’ ads in the ‘Stage’ Newspaper looking for work. 

I think one of the main reasons I could not find Lily for so long was because I was told she never married and died at a young age.  I sent away for a few death certificates only to find they were not my Lily Horton.  So I thought maybe she did marry but still no luck.  I even checked all travel from the UK just on the off chance she went to Canada or America looking for work again no luck.

All leads were dead ends until three weeks ago (29/7/2018) when I decided to check every Hannah Lilian Horton (which included the ones I had already check) with all different spellings of Lilian.  It was taking days then I stumbled across a marriage dated 1919 for a Hannah Lily Horton in Wales (this information had not come up before).  I opened it and everything was right, so that is a good start.  This entry also had the banns for the marriage attached which you do not always get in modern times.

OMG! I could not believe my eyes; the information written on the marriage certificate was fantastic. As you know marriage certificates are one of the best documents for information, it gives you names, addresses, occupations, father’s name and occupation and witnesses.  This certificate gave me two address for Hannah, the one for wales and her home address in Bolton (1st tick), father’s name Joseph Horton (2nd tick) Joseph’s occupation Music Conductor (3rd tick), witnesses were Alfred Horton (brother) (4th tick) and Sidney Williams (5th tick) (Sidney Williams is the brother to Alfred’s wife Sadie Williams).

With all these ticks it had to be my Hannah Lilian Horton even though she was so far away from home.

Her husband was Thomas Smith and some interesting facts about him, he was a musician in the Army, it gave me his regiment and service number.  So she did get married after all!

**In all my days researching over the last twenty-five years, I have never seen a marriage certificate with so much information. These are the jewel in the crown as they say.

I was over the moon about finally finding my last Horton but then I found an entry for her death, it said she died in 1920 in Bolton.  So I then dug a little deeper by going to the deceased online website and getting a copy of the burial for Hannah.  It had she was buried in the same cemetery as her parents Joseph and Jane Horton (which we had visited on our trip in 2013, no headstone) so I thought great she is with her parents then I noticed an entry ‘com grave’??  So I checked the map of graves, she was not buried with her parents but very close, we must have walked right past her grave to get to theirs.

I then rung the office of the Heaton Cemetery to ask them about the grave and if it had a headstone.  I was taken back a little by what he said; she was buried in a common grave with 40 other people.  This brought a tear to my eyes to think she was not with her parents or even in her own grave.  So I decided to get her death certificate to find out what she died of because she was only married 5 months I thought maybe she had died in child birth.

I received her death certificate; cause of death was listed as (1) Uterine Fibroid (operation) and (2) Peritonitis. She had died from peritonitis which could have been caused by surgeon error (we will never know).  Thomas was present when Hannah died.

This is very interesting from the medical side of family history.  It looks like the female line on the maternal side of Horton’s may have had a similar problem.

I also tried to find more information on husband Thomas Smith, he was living with Joseph and Jane Horton at their home in Bolton on the electoral rolls for 1920 but then disappears after that.  Army records for Thomas Smith are in the hundreds.

Because of the outcome of Hannah being buried in a common grave I think this might have prompted Joseph to buy a plot for him and his wife Jane so it didn’t happen again.  Jane died 1926, Bolton and Joseph died 1939 London and transported to Bolton to be buried with Jane.

The joy of finding Hannah finally has been overcome by the sadness, she finally found love and then died suddenly from complications of surgery before enjoying her time with Thomas.

It has taken me a few weeks to get back into my research after this because even though I have found them all now.  I feel like a lost sheep thinking where do I go now, but don’t worry it won’t last long.  I still have several other families I am still struggling to find and one person in particular is Hannah’s brother Harry’s – what happened to Harry after the fighting in Belfast, did he move to another area in Ireland or did he go back to Lancashire or was he buried with his wife Alice in Ireland or somewhere else.  This is going to be a challenge.