One thing that got me going on my family tree was the discovery of my Gran’s family’s bible after she died. It listed the family of John Nicholls and his wife Elizabeth Ludwell. It contains one of my family’s great scandals.
The Bible was presented to Mary from her dear friend Rachel Brockway in 1858.
Checking the census, I have discovered that Mary Nicholls was the housekeeper to Rachel (1802-1860) and her husband Alexander Brockway (1790-1864). Alexander was the Assistant Secretary of the Peace Society for 25 years and very involved with the peace movement of the mid-19th century.
So who was Mary? I didn’t figure it out until the census! John and Elizabeth Nicholls had no children named Mary. Turns out, she was John’s elder sister. Mary disappears from the records after the 1861 census – her name is too common to find, but I believe she may have died before the 1871 census. Since the Bible came to her nephew Alfred who went to Australia in around 1862, she possibly died in 1861-2. She may have given the Bible to Alfred who got his father to complete the family page before he left?
Here are some thumbnails of copies of it. Click on the page to see it full size. Please note that the scans are from photocopies, not the original.
To enable the information in it to be found by search engines, here is a transcription of what it contains. Notes in italics are additional information that I have subsequently found.
* * *
John Nicholls, Son of John and Mary Nicholls was Born in the Parish of Hatfield, Hartfordshire, November 10th, 1802.
Died at Blackheath, Kent 26 Dec. 1890 aged 88
[According to the Protestant Dissenters’ Registry entry for John Jnr, his parents were John Nicholls and Mary Forgg/Torgg]
Elizabeth Ludwell. Born in the Parish of Walcot, Bath. August 5th, 1803. Died 5, Feb, 1873 Aged 70
The above were Married at Trinity Church, Newington Butts, November 29th 1828.
[The church was last seen on a TV programme about the square it’s built on – it had been converted into a recording studio]
following are the Children of the Above
Elizabeth. Born in the Parish of Widcomb, Bath September 20 1829 Died Septr 1872 [Southwark, London, England]
A Son. Born in Widcomb Feby 22nd 1831. Died next day.
Mary Ann. Born in the Parish of Bermondsey June 12th 1832. Died Augt 6th, 1853.
Charlotte. Born in the Parish of Bermondsey July 30th 1834. Died Augt 16 1835.
John. Born in the Parish of Lambeth November 20 1835. Died 1866 July 27th.
Thomas. Born in the Parish of Bermondsey Augt 14 1837.
Charlotte. Born in the Parish of Bermondsey May 29th 1839.
[Married Paul Burrell in 1858.]
Alfred. Born in the Parish of Bermondsey April 28th 1841. Died July 25th, 1917 [Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand]
Jane. Born in the Parish of Bermondsey April 12th, 1843. Died December 25, 1854.
Decima. Born in the Parish of Bermondsey January 28th, 1848. Died 16 Feb 1873. [She married in the Sep qtr 1869 in Newington, London, England to William Edward Dalling and had a daughter Una (1870-1920) before her premature death].
James [Ebenezer] Born in the Parish of Bermondsey February 17th 1850. [Died on 28 Feb 1924 at 54 Gardner St, Richmond, Victoria, Australia. He married Rose Anne Maria Buxton on 07 Jun 1869 in Parish Church, Parish of Woolwich, Kent, England – my gg-grandparents]
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- John R[obert] Nicholls born 9 May 1871 [Blackheath, Kent, England]. Died 10 Dec 1917 aged 44 [St Brewer’s Hospital, Whatauporka, Gisborne, New Zealand] married Katie [Catherine Jane] Wratt at Dannevirke
- Louisa E[lizabeth] Nicholls born 27 April 1873 [3 Sunfield Cottages, Greenwich East, London, England]. [Died 18 Apr 1930 in Christchurch, New Zealand] married George Anderson Smith at Christchurch [on 28 Feb 1898]
- Alfred Jas [James] Nicholls born 6 Septr 1874 [Greenwich, London, England]. [Died on 18 Dec 1949 in Wellington, New Zealand] married Greta Marion O’Callaghan at Chch 1.2.1901 [St Albans, Christchurch, New Zealand]
- Ethel Nicholls born 12 Nov. 1877. [Died in 1948] married Frank Leslie 4 March 1909.
- Dora Nicholls born 17 Nov 1879. [Died 12 Jan 1961. She married M John Jack Henderson]
- Harold Nicholls born 12 Feb 1882 [Akaroa, New Zealand]. Died 28 Aug 1903 [Akaroa, New Zealand from injuries sustained in the Boer War].
- Gareth Nicholls born 24 July 1883. Died 17 Dec 1884.
- Aldyth Nicholls born 21 Aug 1885. [Died 10 May 1934] married Stanley Higgins 18 March 1909.
- Son Nicholls born Nov 7 1887. died next day
1. John married Katie Wratt at Dannevirke Tues 20 April 1897
At Dannevirke His first child George Alfred born 7 Feb 1898 [later a director of Air NZ]
At Dannevirke 2nd Leonard Buxton — 9 Sept 1899
At Dannevirke 3rd Arthur Medhurst — 20th Aug 1902
— (ie ditto) 4th Doris Isabel — 10 Sept 1903
At Gisborne Harold born —–
2. Louisa married George Anderson Smith at St Michael and All Angels, Christchurch 28 Feb 1898
At Westport, Fitzroy Montague Smith born 6 Feb 1899
At Westport, Louisa May Smith born 1 May 1900
At Westport, Alfred George Smith born 22 June 1901
At Westport, Dora Nicholls Smith born 30 Sept 1902
3. Alfred James Nicholls md Greta Marion O’Callaghan St Matthew’s, St Albans Chch Feb 1901
- Gerald Alfred a son born Dean St, St Albans Chch 27 Apr 1902 [Died 23 Sep 1968 in Nelson, New Zealand. He married Beatrice Maud Taylor]
- Lorna May a daughter —————– (ie ditto) 2 June 1904 [Died 10 May 1982 in Eastbourne, Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand. She married Walter Hubert Hewitt in 1938 in Lower Hutt, New Zealand]
- Frank Courtney a son —————– (ie ditto) 14 Aug 1906 died [Died on 16 Jun 1907 in St Albans, Christchurch, New Zealand of whooping cough].
- Eileen a daughter 9 Aug 1908. [Died about 15 Jul 1998 in Wellington, New Zealand. She married Guy Richardson Powles on 20 Jan 1931 in Lower Hutt, New Zealand]
* * *
Ethel Nicholls born 12 Nov 1877
Married Frank Leslie 4 Mar 1909
Phyllis Leslie born 16 Dec 1911
Aldyth Nicholls born 21 Aug 1885
Married Stanley Higgins 18 Mar 1909
Dorothy A. Higgins born 14 Nov 1909
* * *
NICHOLLS-O’CALLAGHAN – On 26th February 1901 at St Matthew’s, St Albans by the Rev. A. W. Averill, Alfred James Nichols, second son of Alfred Nicholls, Akaroa, to Greta Marion O’Callaghan, third daughter of the late Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan.