Henry Edward Rowland’s family

Jacky Fogerty has been filling out the tree with information about Henry Edward Rowland brother of Rev William John Rowland, and an expert on the Doomsday Book, and his descendants. She writes-

I have had a look at Henry Edward Rowland’s family as you suggested.


1. Descendants of Henry Edward Rowland (1843-1882) and Victoria Jane nee Walker (1843-1889)


Henry and Victoria are very well documented, with lots of records including probate etc and a good Census trail. There were two Henry E Rowlands born around Lewisham at this time and there used to be a tree on Ancestry which had this family and their descendants attached to a different set of parents and poor Henry Edward spending his youth as a boot boy. I emailed the owner and politely mentioned the baptism records with correct parent names, the records showing the name of Henry’s father on his indenture papers, marriage record with fathers’ names etc but they did not reply and I don’t know if they changed their tree.  I think from memory it did not look as if the tree owner was descended from our branch of the Rowlands.


Four of Henry and Victoria’s five children, including their two sons Alexander Henry (1868-1924) and Walter Otto (1875-1903), appear to have died single and without descendants: I have extensively searched Marriage Index and parish marriages on Ancestry and Findmypast as well as Censuses and have searched hard for others with the same name or initials, but none fits the bill.


Alexander Henry was an accountant, single in 1891, 1901 and 1911 Censuses, living with his sister Victoria Edith Bassett nee Rowland in 1891, with non-relatives in 1901 and with his aunt on his father’s side in 1911. This may have been because he was frail or just for ease of housekeeping. He died in 1924, probate to sister Victoria Edith Bassett nee Rowland. I cannot find any military service records.


Walter Otto Rowland (full name from Birth Index and Baptism record, the latter lists both parents) seems to have been living in an odd arrangement in 1891 (soon after his mother died), in a large single house with a non-related head “living on own means”, several servants and one other person who was a “lunatic”. This seems to have been some sort of private care arrangement. The age is wrong (he was 16 not 13) but the name Walter O Rowland and place of birth are correct. In 1903 Walter Otto Rowland died at Colchester (Death Index) and Walter Otto Rowland was buried at St Paul Colchester on 21 Feb 1903 (Parish Records Collection 1538-2005, findmypast.co.uk). I cannot find any other possible deaths or burials. In the 1901 Census, “W O R” was a patient at Eastern Counties Asylum for Idiots Imbeciles and the Feebleminded, Colchester, Essex, England, labelled “imbecile”, correct age and place of birth (at this time, people in asylums were often recorded by their initials in the Census).


Florence Ethel Rowland (1874-1898, you have her on your tree as Flossie), also died young, at sea, in 1898,  and seems to have been living at least part of the time with aunt Henrietta Barnett nee Rowland – “Florence Ethel Rowland of Toynbee Hall, Whitechapel and 8 Royal York Crescent Clifton (Bristol), spinster, died at sea”, probate to Francis Gilmore Barnett, brother of Canon Samuel Barnett.


Alice Maud Rowland (1870-1957-8?) was definitely a spinster at 41 in the 1911 Census so I think we can rule out children. In 1881 she is called Maud Alice Rowland, student, same school as her sister Victoria Edith Rowland, see below, right age and place of birth. I have not found her in the 1891 Census but in 1901 she is visiting her aunt Alice Marion Hart and calls herself Maud Rowland, single, 30, born Sydenham, occupation “designer – linens, author, artist … own account, single”. By 1911 she has settled on Alice Maud and refined her occupation to “artist, single” and is living with non-relatives “age 40”. In 1929 Alice Maud Rowland is living in Wandsworth. There are two Alice M Rowlands in the phone directory until around 1955, one in Clapham and one in Lewisham. The only two Alice M Rowland deaths that look possible for her are in Surrey mid Eastern in 1957 and Hove Sussex in 1958, and I cannot find any probate or burial records.


The oldest child, Victoria Edith Rowland (1867-1944, you have her as Edith) married John Dollin Bassett (1864-1949), stock jobber, employer, in 1889 and they had six children. In 1891 they had a son John Albert (1890-1892) and her brother Alexander Henry living with them. After John Albert’s death they had Geoffrey Edward Bassett (1894-1918), Marjorie Edith Bassett (1895-?), Douglas Dollin Bassett (1896-1969), Sybil Helen Maud Bassett (1903-1988) and John Dollin Bassett the younger, (1909-?). In the 1901 Census, John and Victoria are staying with his cousin, without the children, but birth records are all in order and some baptisms, and in 1911 Census the family are all together.


John Albert and Geoffrey Edward died young, no marriage records for Geoffrey, Lieutenant, Army Supply Corps. He was killed in action and is buried in Picardie, France, two medals, service details and nice photo of cemetery on international find a grave index  (eg also see Ancestry or forces-war-records.co.uk). John Dollin Bassett senior also served in WW1 in the Army Pay Corps as a temporary captain, two medals also.


Douglas Dollin Bassett (1896-1969)  also served in WW1, also has medals, subsequently described as a Company Director (coal merchants) in probate for both parents and wife Catherine M nee Spiers (1897-1964). I cannot find any children by my usual method of checking for other family trees and, if this is not successful, putting in “unknown Bassett”s with birthdates in right range until all the children with that surname and mother’s maiden name (in this case, Spiers) on their birth index record show up in searches.


John Dollin Bassett (1909-?) was an insurance broker in 1944 when his mother’s probate went to him and Douglas. Have not found any definite records after that so far but will keep trying. Wife Doreen B Airs (1919-?) is also elusive. No children found by the methods outlined above.  As Bassett is quite a common name, the best hope with both of these might be that one of their descendants puts a tree up on Ancestry.


On the other hand, both daughters definitely had children.


Marjorie Edith Bassett (1895-?) married Archibald N Palan (1898- ) who was born in Buenos Aires to an English mother who also lived in the United States for some time, as did Archibald (including after his marriage). They had one child in England, Geoffrey B Palan (1921-?), who married the wonderfully named Lulu St Claire Gower Williams (1921-?) in England. It is possible that Marjorie and Archibald had more children in the US but none of those showing up look particularly likely.


Geoffrey may have changed the name spelling to Palin as there are two baby girls Jacqueline H Palin (1947-1948) and Patricia J Palin (1949 – ), mother’s maiden name Williams, born in the right area at the right time. A couple of possible marriages for Patricia J Palin, however no death or burial records appearing for Marjorie, Archibald, Geoffrey or Lulu in England and no likely looking ones in United States either. Having said that they may suddenly appear tomorrow, Ancestry sometimes suddenly decides to offer up the record you were looking for for hours the day before.


Sybil Helen Maud Bassett (1903-1988) married Arthur James Mountford (1907-1959) and had two daughters, Helen (1939- ) and Mary (1940-), birth indexes Mountford mother Bassett. Sybil had an obituary in the Times. The daughters show up as private (ie living) on one tree on Ancestry, so it is not possible to see whether they have children and I could not find any marriage records for them (the obituary would probably have family info but it is not readable from Ancestry).


2. The solution to the mystery about Ethel Theresa Rowland


As mentioned before, your tree has FAA Rowland’s daughter Ethel Theresa Rowland marrying M J Bassett and having two children Cissie and Dolly. You mentioned that this information was from your father. As you know, my family was told that she died single and in an asylum, so I tested the proposition by creating a new family tree for this family and trying to find them. I could not find any matching records on Ancestry or findmypast- there were no possible Rowland/Bassett marriages or births, and although I found one actual Cissie Bassett and one Dolly Bassett born about the right time (and lots of Dorothys), their parents’ names were wrong.


However, once I got to Henry and Victoria’s eldest daughter Victoria Edith and her husband John Dollin Bassett, all became clear. Your father must have confused her for her cousin Ethel Theresa. She married a Bassett, and their two youngest children, Sybil and John Dollin Bassett, could easily have been Cissie and Dolly as children (especially as their parents had already had a baby John who had died as a toddler – Dolly was a common nickname for boys called Adolphus, so not as cissy then as it sounds now). I still have no explanation for the initials M J  – I thought maybe he was a major in the army, but he seems to have been a captain, then I thought maybe it was Mr J Bassett