Lost, locked up or living elsewhere?


My genealogical letter L is one of my stubborn brick walls.

Peter was born about 1824, his place of birth being given variously as Manchester or Stockport.

He married in Wolverhampton and spent most of the rest of his life there with his wife and family.  He was present for the 1871 census, a labourer in an ironworks, giving his age as 43.  The last of his(?) children was born in 1873 and by the time of the 1881 census he was nowhere to be seen. His wife still described herself as married – did this mean she was married but he was ‘away’ (?prison, working, absconded) or that she was widowed but described herself as married (many widows did).

I’ve found no death record for him between 1871 and 1881 despite using name variations and allowing considerable leeway on the age.

By 1891 his wife described herself as single,  and worked as a housekeeper for an elderly widower.; still no death certificate identified.

I can find no record of him elsewhere in the country, no prison records, no army service records (he was rather too old for army service anyway, so that’s no surprise)

If I didn’t know better, I’d be inclined to think he was a hologram – the evidence for his birth are just about as elusive as those pertaining to his later life/death.  Any bright ideas, I’d be delighted to hear them!




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