Clara Richings was born in About 1857 in Longworth, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire), England.  Her parents were Alfred Richings and Millicent Legg and she was one of eleven children.

Our Problem

According to all the research that we have carried so far, Clara never married.

She appears on the 1871 and 1881 England Censuses as a single woman.  Then, on the 1911 Census something strange happens. – her status changes, to Widow.

 

 

There she is, on the second row. written in a different hand and with a very different pen.  It’s almost as if the older woman, the Head of the Household, completed her details and then gave it to the younger woman with a weary word, “Go on my dear, you complete the rest of it, my eyes aren’t up to it in this light.”  And, as if to confirm that idea, the address is completed by Clara (we suppose) although the signature appears to be Mary Marsh’s.

So what happened?  Did Clara simply make a mistake when she was entering her information?  Did she think her landlady was unmarried rather than widowed, and enter -Ditto- thinking the previous line said Single?  Was she in a hurry and didn’t look properly at what Mary had written?  Or was she really a widow?  If she was a widow she would surely have kept her married name and not reverted to her birth name?

We haven’t been able to find a marriage entry but then that’s not uncommon.

We suppose the most likely reason is a simple mistake but it would be interesting to know if there is a more complicated back story,  If there are any other Richings descendants out there who know the answer we’d love to hear about it please.

Paul Barrett and Sheila Wheatley (née Barrett)

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