Somewhere, on he look out for names to use for my characters, I came across the name Purchin… which I thought was unusual and yet pronounceable. I haven’t yet got a character to give it to… but it’s there waiting.

Looking through archive material, I only came across a few Purchins in the censuses from 1841- 1911 – there were no Purchins in 1841, but…

1851 – there are two separate Purchins, Grey Purchin in Stockton, a miller journeyman, and little Mary, aged 11 in a Catholic school in Tottenham
1861 – there’s a large family of Purchins living in Portsmouth, a painter, Charles aged 34, his wife Ann aged thirty, and their seven children: William 12, Emma 10, Charles 8, Ann and George 6,  Fanny 3 and Frederick 1.
1871 – a young woman in the Winchcomb Street Female Refuge in Cheltenham appears on this census; she is Sarah Ann Purchin, aged 19, described as ‘an inmate’
1891 – in Hull there were a family of Purchins, John F aged 24 who was a ‘rully’ man whatever that is, his wife Sara, and his two little children, Jacob and Mary.1881 – a single female Purchin, Kate, lived in Bath, aged sixteen and a servant in a lodging house – whether she was a servant to the owners, Mr and Mrs Morrish, or whether she just lodged there, I don’t know
1901 – Mr John Robert Purchin aged , Clerk To the Organising Secretary,  Technical Education Committee,  Devon County Council, and his wife, Rosina Marian aged, 34. They were living in Exeter, where she was born, he was born in Portsmouth.
1911 – George Arthur Purchin aged 11 (recorded as ‘female’ – careless enumerator!) was living with his great-grandfather, Richard Smith Pickering, and his two aunties, Hilda and Emily in Hull

If my name were Purchin and I was trying to find my family, I would also look at the births, marriages and deaths… there are three births, none of whom appear on any census:

  • Matilda, 1852 in Leicester
  • Anne Elizabeth, 1853 in Hunslet, Yorkshire
  • Evelyn S. in 1938, London

… and marriages:

  • Jane married John Godderd in 1593 in Canterbury
  • Elizabeth married William Patterson in 1701 in Canterbury
  • John married Mary Bartholomew in 1826 in Liverpool

…and deaths:

…well, there are quite a few more deaths recorded, mostly in Sussex, some in Kent, and one in Hereford and one in Derbyshire… but none corresponding to the marriages and births above

These disappearing people are typical of what happens when on a genealogical search… people come.. and then they go… without records of arrival or departure… Maybe I should look at shipping lists! In the meantime I think I can safely choose any first name for Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Purchin without risk of upsetting anyone!

My featured image is of Pultney Bridge, near where Kate Purchin lived.

5 thoughts on “Seaching for Purchin

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