Day twenty, two thirds of the way through my thirty days of writing a blog a day from a list I came across, and today’s gift of a title/subject is… well, Gift!


In 1851, in the second national census, in Penzance (the west ward) in Cornwall on North Street in Trewhella’s Court, lived the Gift family. Head of the household was Thomas a journeyman baker; born in 1798 he was fifty-three years old. His wife, Mary, was born in Sancreed in Cornwall and was thirty-seven. They had four children, Thomas aged eight, George aged six, William aged four and little Ann Maria aged two. On the night of the census they had two visitors, probably Mary’s sister and mother, Jane Gilbert aged sixty-nine and her unmarried daughter, Caroline aged twenty-five. There is still a Trewhella Lane in Penzance, but I don’t know if it is the same place.

Ten years later the census of 1861 tells us a sad story, with maybe a happy outcome. It seems that Thomas died, maybe in Bodmin in 1855, and Mary remarried John Christopher in 1859. Maybe it was to look after her children, maybe it was true love, who now knows, but John was a year younger than her – Thomas had been sixteen years older. In the 1861 census she and her second husband, John, a tin miner born in Breage, are living in Stewart’s Court in Penzance, with her children George, Maria and William – described as John’s in-laws, not step-children as we would identify them. George is an ostler, and William is a tailor, their elder brother Thomas is also an Ostler but living in Chapel Street.

After this the trail becomes fuzzy, despite it being an unusual surname, there are too many people with the more common name of Mary… maybe I can follow the children of Thomas and Mary, but that may be for another time. I know nothing about the family apart from their names and when you’re looking into family history, sometimes you need a little more than that!

My featured image is from Cornwall, but not Penzance – it’s from Fowey.

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