Emma Perring was my first cousin four times removed. We are both descended from James Perring and Emma Law who were my 4th Great Grandparents, and Emma’s Grandparents. As I detailed in earlier posts on this branch of my family, at some point between 1841 and 1851, James and Emma Perring and their family were committed to the Saffron Walden Union Workhouse. In the 1851 census, the couple and four of their children are listed as “inmates” at the facility. Charles, Emma’s father, was born in 1855, so it is possible that he was born at the workhouse, or soon after the family left. At any rate, by the 1861 census, when Charles was 5, the family’s fortunes had improved enough that they were living in their own home, with James and his three oldest sons working as agricultural labourers, and his daughter Mary working as a house servant.
By the 1871 census, Charles, like his father and brothers was also working as an agricultural labourer, and three years later, at the age of 19, he had left Essex, and married Sophia Elizabeth Gray in London, after which they settled in Clapton in the east London borough of Hackney where Charles worked as a coachman and a groom. In 1876 Emma Sophia was born, the second child born to Charles and Sophia. By 1891, Emma was no longer living with her parents, which I suspect means that she was a live-in servant elsewhere by the time she was in her mid-teens. This would be consistent with her sisters Florence, Edith, and Daisy, all of whom were in service at some points as young women.
In 1903, at the age of 27, she married Frederick William Dyson, also 27, in Paddington. Frederick worked as a milk carrier for a dairyman. They had two sons, in 1906 and 1908 respectively.
Frederick’s war records are not available, presumably burnt; therefore, I don’t know exactly when he enlisted. He was a member of the 15th battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment, which was formed in late 1916, and was a transport battalion that spent the war in England, mostly in Southampton. Frederick was a Lance Corporal with the unit, so had some leadership responsibilities. The records I do have state that he died at the University War Hospital in Southampton on October 21, 1918, one hundred years ago this past week. He was 41 years old: the same age I am now. I do not know whether there was an accident or an illness that resulted in his death, but the result was that my cousin Emma lost her husband, and she was left, also at 41, with her two young boys. Emma lived the rest of her life in Paddington and passed away in 1939 at the age of 62. I am honoured to post the Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorative certificate for my cousin’s husband here.