Henriette de Bellegarde’s first marriage

The ever resourceful Jacky Fogerty has discovered  that another Ancestry user, BrianFreeman15, who seems to be descended from the second husband of Henriette de Bellegarde’s mother, has found Henriette’s divorce record from her first husband Julius Rudolph Erckens, and uploaded it to his public Bouwen Tree.

Ironically it has been sitting there in the UK High Court of Justice divorce proceedings, Erckens v Erckens, final decree 1 Nov 1887. We had not found it because we thought she was probably divorced in France.

Brian Freeman’s has tracked down Henriette’s (English) mother and sister Eugenie (who was a witness at Henriette’s wedding to William Domville Rowland) and documented their lives in England.

There is an article in the London Evening Standard which gives a colourful account of Henriette’s life with her first husband as follows:

High Court of Justice… Probate and Divorce Division (Before Sir J Hannen) Erckens v Erckens – This was a petition presented by the wife, Henrietta Eliza Suzanne Erckens, praying for the dissolution of her marriage on the ground of the cruelty and adultery of her husband, a chemical manufacturer. Mr Middleton said in 1880 the Petitioner was living in London with her parents, and the Respondent, HER COUSIN, came on a visit. The parties became engaged, and they were married in Saxony before the Burgomaster. They lived in Saxony till 1882. The Respondent then took out emigration papers from the German Government, and the parties so doing were prevented from living in Germany afterwards except as visitors, and in no case longer than two years. They some time after that took up their residence in England, but at the latter end of that year, 1882, they went to Mexico in order to look for employment. Nothing resulted from that visit. In November 1883 they again returned to England, and after a short residence the Respondent went to Vienna, where he remained until 1884. The Respondent left his wife at Vienna, where her mother resided, and returned to London. About Christmas that year the Respondent started for New Orleans, with the hope of getting employment at the Exhibition, the Petitioner being again left in England. In 1885 he again returned, and he and the Petitioner took up their residence at Hammersmith. The Respondent again went to New Orleans, but before he came back to this country last year she discovered that he had been on improper terms with a Madame Perron, and the present suit was instituted…case stood over

Jacky found a record for Rudolph Erckens travelling to New Orleans at the right time.

The above article mentions that her husband was her cousin, so Jacky looked at her mother’s family and has given a condensed version of a complicated story, which has interesting echoes of the Rowland story, as follows:

Matthew Urlwin Sears and his wife Susanna Caroline Smartt had an engraving and publishing business in St Pancras and by 1861 also had a country residence in Edmonton Middlesex. They seem to have had three children. Daughter Harriet Sarah married a German from Burtscheid Aachen in the Rheinland, Gustav Adolph Rudolph Erckens (called Rudolph) in 1851 at St Pancras Church – probably a trade connection of her father’s. In 1853 he was a banker in Paris and signed legal documents to terminate his partnership with his father Johann/Jean, who had died, and make Harriet Sarah his partner. Shortly after, son Julius Rudolph (also called Rudolph) was born, apparently in Paris (Brian Freeman has a date), and subsequently the family was back in Burtscheid Aachen having more children, whose birth and baptism records are on Ancestry with mother’s and father’s full names. A sister of Gustav Adolph Rudolph, Julienne, has descendants in the US with a family tree on Ancestry.

At some stage another daughter of Matthew and Susanna, Caroline Prudence Sears, somehow made her way from London to Gibraltar, where she married Jean Alexandre Paulin Niboyet on 25 Oct 1856. This is conveniently set out on a Geneanet page for the Niboyet/Mouchon families: http://gw.geneanet.org/cbeale?lang=en&p=jean+alexandre+paulin&n=niboyet

This also has a fine Niboyet/Mouchon family tree and two articles about Jean Alexandre’s activities as a French Consul and an author/playwright and a photo and summary about his mother from Wikipedia (fascinating family!). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eug%C3%A9nie_Niboyet

Caroline and Jean Alexandre had two daughters, Henriette and Eugenie, but all did not go well and there was a divorce petition from him in London in 1863, co-respondent Chapotin. This did not result in divorce, but a subsequent petition from Caroline, alleging adultery and not defended, resulted in a divorce finalised on 26 January 1880.  A media report incorrectly states that there were no children from this marriage, despite the evidence of other official documents and the Geneanet page.

After the divorce, Caroline immediately married an entrepreneur called Charles Waller and both her daughters are living with them in the 1891 Census, Henriette under her maiden name. Ancestry had garbled both names and put them down with surname Waller, which is why they were not showing up on searching. Caroline died in 1893 and “Henriette Elise Susanne Erckens singlewoman” was her Executrix. Caroline was buried in St Pancras chapel, possibly a traditional burial place for the Sears family. Poor Eugenie did not marry and ended up as a servant to a bricklayer’s family in the 1911 Census, a very sad end.

Meanwhile, Jean Alexandre also quickly remarried, to a German woman, Stephanie Leser (there are good records for her family in Germany on Ancestry), and they had two children. The daughter, Pauline Niboyet Dubois, became a naturalised US citizen in New York in 1936 and died in 1937, in the US or France.

We do not know what happened to Julius Rudolph Erckens after the divorce. The article goes on to say that in 1887 he was helping his new lady friend, Madame Perron, with her glass engraving and silk painting business in Lambeth.