Patrick Delaforce & Ken Baldry

'The Delaforce Family History' -
Chapter 3 19th & 20th Century Families

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Chapter 3

"People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors" Edmond Burke 1729-1797.

19th & 20th Century Families

The main objective was to establish if there had been other Delaforces living in England in the 19th and 20th centuries. If there were, how might they have been related to the Port Wine shipper family in Portugal.

Quite frequently in the quality press and magazines there appear sensible articles on basic genealogy and family history fact finding. In the last few years well over a hundred local family history societies have sprung up all over the UK with ever increasing membership. The author is a member of five of them. Their quarterly magazines are source of great interest and extra knowledge.

The genealogical experts quite rightly state that initially all sources within the family should be probed, considered, documented and analysed. The family bible, wills, school reports, deeds, marriage and birth certificates, old photograph albums, old letters and above all 'interviews' with the oldest members of the family. The end of this chapter shows a checklist of some of the possible sources of information.

In the case of the Delaforces living in Portugal there was a little evidence available of the English scene. Nevertheless the basic research had almost to be started from scratch.

These were the clues available:


John Fleurriet Delaforce who was born 8th September 1807 in Tooley Street, Southwark had married Phoebe Wheatall, daughter of Benjamin & Iphegenia (correction supplied by Bob Wheatall) Wheatall of Baddeley House, Blackheath on 26 August 1842 at St. Saviours Church, Southwark. John was known to be a son of John Delaforce born in 1781 in London.


Edwin Francis Delaforce, son of George Henry (1844-1912) born in Oporto in 1870 spent most of his life in the British Army, married twice in 1895 and 1917 in England and retired after a distinguished service record as Brigadier-general in 1920. He had two sons, Charles Newland Nesbitt and Michael (who died at school in 1932) and a daughter Beryl Blanche Selous.

(Antony Williamson has added this:-

The connection with Delaforces arises from the fact that my mother, Dorothy Williamson, was employed by Charles’ second wife, Eileen, nee Walsh, from 1953 to 1970 at the Beehive School, Nanyuki, Kenya.

Charles had by that time retired from the Royal Scots Fusiliers with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after service in Ireland, Palestine, Burma and India. When I first met him, Charles (Colonel D. to me at the tender age of 11!) was serving with the Kenya Police Reserve with the rank of Assistant Superintendent during the Mau Mau Emergency. Latterly he left the K.P.R. and served as a Magistrate in the late 1950s and 1960s.

The Delaforces retired to Mombasa, Kenya, in the mid-70’s and Charles died there about 1978. Eileen returned to the UK and died there in the mid-1980s).


Albert Lionel, son of George Henry, born in Oporto in 1872, lived most of his life in England, married Margaret Amy Lyndon in 1936. They had no issue.


Reginald Stanley, son of George Henry, born in Oporto 1874, lived most of his life in England. His two sons George Reginald and Martin Woodville, born respectively 1900 and 1907 spent much of their lives in England and married there in 1929 and 1943.

The Public records offices in London are the first prime target for any family historian. An excellent purchase is "Record Offices: how to find them" by Jeremy Gibson and Pamela Peskelt. There are 41 pages of Do's and Dont's, 70 maps of record offices and archive departments which show details of location and transportation. (See also Appendix I for further details of PROs in the UK).

The key PROs are in Middleton Street, Islington for births, deaths & Marriages & the National Archive (formerly the Public Record Office) at Kew.

English Civil Registration started in July 1837. It is essential to consult these records in Islington. A free leaflet PSR 12 gives useful notes and advice. Entrance is free. For many years there are four quarterly books of Indexes per year, arranged alphabetically. The Indexes give limited information. From them a copy of the original certificate can be ordered and purchased. The code numbering of the parish districts is vital. The births index give the surname in the first column, the given christian names in the second, the town in the third and the reference number in the fourth column. The marriage certificates give an indication of the ages of the bridegroom and bride and the names of their fathers, as well as addresses. The death certificates are less helpful, but the age of the person and witnesses are important. The address where he dies is helpful. It is more economical to order, pay for and collect the copy of the original certificate on the spot rather than by post, although the cost of transport to Islington must be taken into account.

For the initial study of the Delaforce family over 1700 volumes had to be consulted. This is an excellent job for a conscientious, well built teenage son or daughter! It is essential for Nil returns to be included in their report. All possible name variations should be included (Delforce, Dellforce, Dalforce, Dulforce etc.).

The results of several days labour were astonishing and exciting. For the period of nearly 150 years, no less than 130 births were recorded, 192 deaths and 138 marriages. Approximately half of the marriages were girls. The average of two births per family was to be expected. But the number of deaths implied that 19th century families were quite numerous.

The vast majority of all references were in the London area. (The Indexes of course cover all of the UK.)

A card file index was purchased to log the nearly 500 pieces of new information. A card for each married couple starts with the marriage date, place and church. Names of witnesses should be noted. A date of birth can be estimated by taking 20 years from the bridegroom or bride's age, marked to show it is an estimate. Later on additional information about their children, addresses, occupations etc. can be added on the back of the card. Certain information can be marked in ink and conjecture marked in pencil. Computer programs are available now to record this type of information.

Cross references can be made backwards by the date of death. A John Delaforce who died in May 1844, a mariner, aged 81 was thus born in 1763. He might have been married when he was about 20 in 1783. If he was the eldest son, then his father too might have been called John and born about 1743. Conjecture and thus marked in pencil. His death certificate showed he died in the district of St Mary Newington, Surrey in the New Kent Road. No relatives were present at his death.

Since the Indexes at the General Register Office (GRO) at St. Catherine's House show basic data only, there comes a time when either a specific certificate is purchased (approximately £5-£8) or further detective work is needed. With a total of nearly 500 certificates involved the answer is obvious. A few key certificates were purchased to unlock certain parentages.

The detective work also involves writing or telephoning the few 'modern' relatives whose names appear in the GPO telephone books. This was of course done with limited results.

The check list was again consulted and two promising avenues of work selected.

Wills All UK wills proved after January 1858 could be consulted at Somerset House, Principal Registry of the Family Division, in the Strand, London WC2. Postal applications for copies, provided the date of death is known, can be obtained for a small fee, from the Record Keeper, Correspondence Dept. Examination of the summary of the Wills is however free. The author's teenage daughter was briefed and set to work and summaries of 35 wills emerged. This was a great help because the legatees were mentioned and usually their relationships explained. (See chapter 23).

Census Another Public Record Office in Portugal Street (Land Registry Office, London WC2A) holds all the UK Census records. The main census years were 1841 (limited)), 1851, 1861 and 1871 and 1881. Details from the 1891 and 1901 censuses can be supplied for a fee to direct descendants on application to the General Register Office.

The census results are on microfilm which is tiring to read. It is essential therefore to know the topographical details of the family before the search commences. The returns list all the occupants of each household, giving names, ages, occupations and relationships to the head of the household and place of birth.

Many local libraries and record offices have acquired local census returns. There are as yet very few Indexes. J.W.S. Gibson's book "Census returns on microfilm, a directory to local holdings" Culliver Press 1979 is therefore a great help for researchers. Also "Census Indexes and Indexing" by J.W.S. Gibson & C. Chapman, published by the Federation of Family History Societies.

The 1841 census showed a substantial Delaforce family living in Bethnal Green, London. The father, Augustus Edward was a silk weaver - a significant clue for further research. He was born in 1785 and married Mary Ann Vandome in 1815. His sons Augustus, Edward, Augustus N, George Frederick, Charles, Edward James and Henry all produced families who continued throughout the 19th and to some extent the 20th century, living in London. Their daughters were named Mary, Ann, Mary Jane, Jane Sarah and Harriet Jane. The eldest son, Augustus Edward who married Catherine Franey in 1837 was shown separately with his young family - Augustus (of course), Edward James, George, Henry and Eliza.

There were four other families shown in the 1841 census. Charles Delaforce aged 15 was a milk delivery lad, lived in Pooles Place, Spitalfields (weaver country). William, Ellen his wife, both in their 40s, lived with their daughter Hanna and son William aged 3, in George St., Bethnal Green. George Delafors aged 41 lived at 9 Rose Lane, Bethnal Green, and made 'quality fittings', and John Delaforce, 72, a labourer, lived with Jane his wife aged 46, at 126 Prince Street, Mile End New Town. Altogether 6 weaver-connected families were found living in the Bethnal Green/Spitalfields/Mile End New Town area in the 1841 census (without knowing beforehand where precisely their homes were.)

Huguenot Society of London

With a French name and a Church of England religious denomination it was a probability that some Delaforces were originally immigrant religious refugees from France during the religious wars of 1550-1685 when the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes produced a last final flood of refugees.

Membership of the Society is open to everyone who has reasonable belief that their ancestors were Huguenots. Their published records over the years are invaluable to researchers. Although most of their volumes cover the period 1550-1750 one volume (Lii and Liii) covers the long history of the French Protestant Hospital up until the 20th century and thirteen extracts are shown now. Most related to silk weavers. Despite the various names of Force, Delfosse, most of them were relatives

Several members of the Delaforce family in London were admitted to this famous hospital, provided they were Huguenots or of proved Huguenot extraction. Their records are well documented, and give a considerable amount of information. (Item 13 refers to the French charity school).


Augustus Edward Delaforce entered in December 1893, died 1900. Buried in Ilford Cemetery by his sister and son. He lived at 112 Wynford Road, near St. Silas, Islington, son of Augustus Edward Delaforce and Mary Ann (nee Vendome) who lived at Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green. He was born in 1816 at Parsons Green, Shoreditch. His parents being married on 16th September 1815 at St. Leonards, Shoreditch. Augustus Edward, the son, married Catherine Franey in December 1837. At that time he lived at Sidney Street, Shadwell and both father and son were silk weavers. He left sons Edward and George and a daughter Kattie/Katherine who married a Mr John Long.


Agnes Dinah Delaforce entered 1916, left 1919 to live with a friend'. Born 1852 at Hoxton, she lived at 119 Wick Road, Homerton, London N.E., parish of St. Lukes, was the daughter of Charles and Lavinia Delaforce, 17 Chisnall Road, Bow, East London. Charles was the son of Augustus Delaforce, brother of Augustus Edward, so Agnes had a father and uncle called Augustus.


George William Delaforce entered 1915, died 1924, buried Ilford Cemetery by his son. He had lived at 4 Norton Street, Green Street, Bethnal Green, son of George Frederick Delaforce and Harriet (nee Wells). He was born in June 1848 at 32 Cambridge Road, Bethnal Green. He was nephew to Augustus Edward (see 1.). He worked as a bricklayer and house decorator and received 4 shillings per week from the Hearts of Oak Benefit Society. His father George Frederick was born February 1818, son of Augustus Edward and Mary Ann. George William married Elizabeth Pellexfen, South Hackney parish church June 1868. Elizabeth died in 1901 aged 64 and was buried in Bow Cemetery. They left a son Harry Delaforce of 26 Alfred Street, Islington.


James Delaforce entered in July 1899 but died in September. He was given 10 shillings per month from the Poor box.


Jacques Delaforce entered October 1790, died September 1792. A slight mystery here - the entry says "Jean Delaforce (des Petittes maisons) est decedee. 'when entered Jacques'.". "Jaques Delaforce, natif de Londres, petit fils (grandson) d'Etienne (Stephen) Delaforce de la Picardie. Le suppliant age' de 63 ans (born 1727) a la vue Si foible (poor sight) qu'il se trouve incapable de gagner sa vie. La cas certifie' par L. Mercier, Pastor."


Judith Delaforce entered 1820, left 1821. She was born in 1755, nee Le Bouleux, worked as a silk weaver. Both parents were Protestant refugees. Married about 1775.


Mary Delaforce entered 1855, died 1868. She was widow of Augustus Edward, and born in 1785 (nee Vendome). Augustus died in 1847 aged 62. Mary was a weaveress and lived at 29 John Street, Green Street, Bethnal Green.


Thomas William Delaforce entered in 1897, died 1914, buried in Ilford Cemetery. He lived at 144 Chatham Avenue, Hoxton near Shoreditch, son of Thomas and Rebecca (nee White) of Slater Street, Bethnal Green. He was born in June 1830 at 3 Turville Street, Boundry Street, Bethnal Green. He worked as a carver and wood carver. Thomas Delaforce, a silkweaver, married Rebecca White at Christ Church, Middlesex, December 1809. Thomas William was apprenticed aged 15 in December 1849. He was baptised in June 1830 at St. Leonards, Shoreditch and lived originally with his parents at Old Cock Lane.


Augustus Force died March 1894, son of Pierre Michel Force and Catherine Bandon. His grandfather Francois left France early in the last century in partnership with M. de l'Arbre in the silk trade. He then went to Canada!


Jean Delfosse died in 1781, natif d'Amiens en Picardie, age 70, petit fils of Etienne, suffered from asthma - lived with M. Hude, weaver of Pelham Street, Spitalfields.


Judith Delfosse died 22nd April 1762, native d'Amiens, age 84.


Charles Du Fosse, cabinet maker, died March 1898, aged 43, ill for 2 years. £1 from Poor box.


Emily Blanche and Lavinia Rebecca (who married Albert Botley) were born in 1895 and 1890 respectively. They went to the Ecole de Charite Francaise, Westminster, and they were daughters of Charles Delaforce and Emily Ann (Holt).

At the end of many days spent cross referencing the births, marriages and deaths for the period 1837-1982 including the Census data, Somerset House Wills and the Huguenot Hospital School data, a clear picture emerged.


There was and is a 'George Frederick' family complicated since George Frederick born in 1811 married three times: to Aurelia Mary Cooper in 1837; later when she died, he remarried to her sister Mary Ann Cooper, and then when she died, remarried again in 1861 to Emma Batteley. He was shown on his marriage certificates to be a Wine Merchant and son of the John Delaforce (born in 1781) and thus his family are linked to the Port Wine Shippers in Portugal.

This family produced three more generations of George Fredericks, all connected with the railways. A corporal of a military train (1862); accountant railway clearing house: railway clerk. They also helped found the Canadian family (see chapter 7).


There was and is a 'Delforce' family. From 1820 they were Billingsgate wholesale fish merchants until the middle 1950s. The present Australian family of Delforces descended from John William Delforce born in 1807 and son of John Delaforce. (see chapter 2).


There were and are Delaforce families descended from the Silk Weavers (see chapter 12) mainly based on Bethnal Green, London. Augustus Edward 1785-1847, the patriarch, with his ten children has direct family ancestors alive today living in London.


William and Mary Ann from 1797 who were Calenderers and Clothpressers in Shoreditch have also produced a long line of Williams and Josephs still living in London.

To sum up the position at this stage. For the cost of approximately a dozen certificates of marriages and births (then £60), payments to a teenage daughter for research at the Aldwych and Somerset House (£30), subscription to the Huguenot Society (then £7.50) an immense amount of information had been gathered for the period 1837-1982 spanning six generations. The family trees are shown in the chapters associated with the family groups.

A basic check list of genealogical sources

1. Family records and papers

Family Bible, family pedigree, notes, memoranda, diaries. Photograph albums, birthday books, family portraits, wedding photographs. Account books, purchase/sale of shares, annuities, bank books. Property deeds, rent books, life assurance policies. Marriage/divorce contracts and certificates, baptism and death certificates. School and university records, reports, certificates. Passport, driving licence, wartime identity cards. Work testimonials, references, apprentice indentures. Athletic or sporting records, programmes. Trade union cards, club or professional membership records. Armed service records, decorations, discharge papers. Medical records, certificates. Family solicitor's correspondence.

2. Public Records (see PRO leaflet No.1, 37 and PSR 12)

Public Record Offices - General Register Offices - County Record Offices. Parish Records - see PRO leaflet No.1. Census Records - see PRO leaflet No.2. Wills at Somerset House, London - see PRO leaflet 4 and 34. Genealogical guides from local library. Reference books, trade directories, telephone directories. Local and national directories.

3. Other Major Records

Mormon Computer File Index. Society of Genealogists "Using the library of the Society". British (Museum) library, leaflet No.10 "British Family History". Guildhall library "A guide to Genealogical Sources in... . Local Family History Society (see Federation of LFHS leaflet). Guild of One-name Studies.

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Contact: Ken Baldry for more information, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 but best to e-mail him
©1980-2009 Patrick Delaforce, Antony Williamson & Ken Baldry. All rights reserved Last revised 8/6/2009