Finding Mrs Goodwin

Looking at my grandma’s autograph album which she received Christmas 1905, I came across the unusual and pretty name of Florentina. Her surname was Goodwin – was this her married name or her family name? It turns out it was her married name, her husband was Alfred William Goodwin and they married in 1906 in Richmond, which is a very pretty place. Grandma’s great-granddaughter married there a couple of years ago.. Florentina and Alfred had three children, but when she signed her name in grandma’s book, she only had little two year-old Leonard. He later had a brother Leslie in 1915, and a sister, Sylvia, in 1917.

Florentina Mary Testar was born in Camberwell 1877, so when she inscribed the autograph album she was thirty-six. I’m rather a random researcher, I’m sure ‘proper’ genealogists would be horrified at my idiosyncratic way of working – maybe they would call it dabbling, not working! In my first search for Florentina as a child, I find her aged thirteen,  in 1891 with her family and visitors at 289, Cambridge Road, Chiswick. Her mother is Florence and her father is Herbert who is a ‘telegraphist G P C’; I can’t find what GPC refers to and I wonder if it might be GPO – General Post Office? At home in 1891 was Florentina’s brother Herbert K. and the visiting Hamlin family and irene Stuart who was a nurse. In my back to front way of working I go back from 1891 to 1881, and the family are living in Hackney and Herbert has the same occupation as he does ten years later, a telegraph clerk (Civil Service)

After that I draw a blank – apart from Florentina’s marriage to Alfred the family seem to disappear… it could be they emigrated, it could be their marriages and deaths are not properly recorded, or mis-transcribed. Florentina died in 1942 in Surrey. I draw a blank in other areas too, so maybe my research is at fault, or maybe there is some mystery, maybe people called themselves by other names, or lived with people without marrying them… It’s interesting to speculate, but I hope my grandma’s friend had a happy life with her husband and sons.

On the same page is my mum’s signature, twenty-two years later, and other friends of her… But friends of my grandma include L. Collier, Myra Rickard, and her brother, my great-uncle Horace. The name which has been obliterated by the title in my featured image is M. Moseley… no chance of tracing him or her!



  1. simonjkyte

    Is it possible Alfred was considerably younger than her? 1891 one with father and mother both born Hove but he was born and living in Sydenham – but not born until summer 1885
    1901 still in sydenham aged 14
    1906 he would be aged in the region 20 +/-
    1911 ‘boarder’ aged 24 born sydenham living with the Burts in Raleigh Rd Richmond On Thames, teacher

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Frances Pereira Santos

    I’ve been researching the Davey family in Bedford. Alfred Goodwin’ mother was Ann Davey. I have loads of information about Florentina Mary Testar, who was an soprano singer. I have a card about her funeral when she died at 98 St James Road, Sutton, Surrey. Her parents had lived there and she appears to have moved there after her husband died. I have the 3 childrens names and would be interested in finding out more about Sylvia. My maternal grandmother nee Alice Mary Louise Davey was Alfred Goodwins cousin.
    Please get in touch


    1. Lois

      Hello Frances, thanks so much for your comments. I’m afraid I have no other information apart from what I have shared here and in other posts about people who signed the autograph book. I was very interested in the people you’ve mentioned, my grandma later moved to Bedfordshire when she was married, and the family lived there for quite a while in the village of Pavenham. I wonder if she kept in touch with the Goodwins? Thanks again!


      1. Frances pereira santos

        I’ve uncovered the mystery by looking on ancestry. According to your grandparents marriage certificate Ida had given her address as veing The Chestnuts (13), Stonebridge Park, Willesden. This was the Goodwins House. I found a newspaper cutting from 1906 about the Goodwins marriage that mentions a gift from a Miss Walford so may have been Ida. Alfred had a hugely successful ironmongers in Chiswick High Street for which Ive found a photo. Leonard Goodwin was actually Alfreds brother. The eldest son was Dudley born in 1908 then Leslie and Sylvia. I have obtained writings from mr Testar who explains the Goodwins did move to near Bournemouth with the success of the business. Florentina, children and parents moved to Sutton after Alfred died in 1927.
        I found out that Florentina’s brother Sidney Keene Testar comitted suicide by drowning in 1914. He was a piano teacher and appears to have been having MH issues. Florentina also did some concerts with my grandmothers brother William Reginald Davey, a successful organist attached to Trinity college, london. He remained in Bedford. All very interesting. Your grandmotger must have kept close contact via the branches in my family and thanks for renewing my interest

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lois

        Hello again Frances, wow that is wonderful information, how exciting to learn about this. Thank you so much for sharing it. I knew about The Chestnuts, but had no idea of the family whose house it was. My grandmother was very musical but only in a domestic sense – I guess the family were never in a position for her to pursue it when she was young. I remember visiting her and my grandpa when they lived in Harston near Cambridge and they had a piano. It was great fun to bang away on the keys – I would only have been four or five then, and my mum asked me to stop because grandma had a headache, No wonder – I was playing thunder and lightning fairies! Thanks so much again for this, absolutely fascinating!


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