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

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