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Amelia Susannah Hughes

    I wondered what was Robert Ball Hughes mother's name. Only her first name was hand-written on the family genealogy written by Ball Hughes grandson, George Edward Brown. Up until recently, I couldn't make out what the name was and I had no idea what her maiden name was.

    Enter the Internet. A property insurance record MS 11936/545/1194975  18 March 1835 from the Sun Fire Office on the British National Archives website listed the “Insured: Amelia Susannah Hughes, John Hallett Hughes and William Rogers Hughes, 37 Long Acre.” According to the Sketch of the Life of Robert Ball Hughes, by Mrs. E. Ball Hughes, Robert was born at 59 Long Acre (same street as the carriage shop?). Amelia was the first name that I could not read before. So now we have her first name and middle name, but what about her maiden name?

    The answer is in the same insurance record. According to the Sketch of the Life of Robert Ball Hughes, by Mrs. E. Ball Hughes, Robert Ball Hughes was the second son of John Hallett Hughes (1773-1824/1827). If we assume that William Rogers Hughes was Robert's older brother, then William may have gotten his middle name from his mother's maiden name, Rogers. This was, and continues to be a common practice. My own middle name is my mother's maiden name. So Robert Ball Hughes mother's maiden name could be Amelia Susannah Rogers. But how could we prove it?

    A Google search for “Amelia Susannah Rogers” revealed a May 11th, 1796 court record from The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's Central Criminal Court, 1674 to 1913. The record reveals two men were indicted for feloniously stealing a wooden cask, called a sugar hogshead, value, 5s., the property of Ann Rogers, spinster, and Amelia Susannah Rogers. A witness who knew the two "Miss Rogers" stated that Ann and Amelia Rogers were coopers (barrel makers) in the Old-Change (street named for the money-exchangers).

    That answers the question but creates another: Why was Mrs. Hughes referred to as "Miss Rogers" once and “Mrs. Rogers” several times if she was married? Remember, her sister Ann was the one called a spinster. It could be that Amelia Susannah Hughes was younger than her sister and not married to John Hallett Hughes yet in 1796. If she was married at the time, she may have continued to be known as Amelia Rogers or Miss/Mrs. Rogers to her customers and workers. It's all too coincidental to not be the same person in 1796 London.

    By he way, one of the two thieves was sentenced to six months in prison and the other (the lookout who claimed he had a broken leg and couldn't have rolled the cask away) was publicly whipped and discharged. Read the short court transcript and view an image of the original document at oldbailyonline.org. Enter "ameila susannah rogers" (in quotes) into the Keyword search box and select Search.

 

last update 11/22/2010

For noncommercial use, Copyright David E. Brown 2008-2010

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