Hannah was baptised 17 September 1780 at Warbleton
Father – Joseph Oliver baptised 23 October 1737 at Warbleton, Sussex
Mother – Mary Moor (married 4 May 1768 at Wartling, Sussex)
Mary baptised 10 February 1771, Warbleton, Sussex
Sarah baptised 19 June 1774, Warbleton, Sussex
James baptised 6 October 1776, Warbleton, Sussex
Thomas baptised 20 July 1783, Warbleton, Sussex
Jesse baptised 16 October 1785, Warbleton, Sussex
Ann baptised 4 May 1788, Warbleton, Sussex
The story so far:
The search for Hannah began with the baptism record for her daughter Elizabeth Harriet Message. She was baptised at the Independent Chapel, Chapel Cross, Cade Street, Sussex on 1 April 1823 to __________ and Hannah Message. Elizabeth was my 3 x great grandmother.
From this I presumed that Elizabeth’s father had died somewhere during 1821 to 1823, however after extensive searches of local parish registers no death could be found. On Elizabeth’s marriage certificate to John Funnell, 27 October 1840 at Herstmonceux she gives her father as Richard Message. (Although it should be noted on her second marriage certificate dated 5 February 1868 at Warbleton to James White she leaves her father as blank).
I started searching for a Richard Message and eventually found a marriage to Hannah Oliver on 20 October 1803 at Dallington, Sussex on the Sussex Marriage Index. Then I found the baptism of a Richard Message on 9 February 1807 at Warbleton in the parish registers to Richard and Hannah Message. Then all went quiet.
To my surprise on a search on Ancestry for Richard Message I found records of a transportation to New South Wales as a convict in 1807 on the Admiral Gambier. I discovered that Richard Message from Sussex was convicted of Larceny in 1807 and transported, pardoned in 1816 and then married the same year to Mary Ann Mullins in Hobart. He died in 1821 in Hobart. The age fits with the Richard Message married to Hannah Oliver, supposing he is the Richard Message baptised in Shoreditch 1786 on Family Search to Richard Message and Mary. No baptism has been found for a Richard in Sussex and various family trees that I have seen have Richard Message senior as coming from Dallington, Sussex. This is yet to be proved by me.
Hannah also had two illegitimate children before she married Richard, Benjamin Carley Oliver baptised at Warbleton on 16 February 1800 and Stephen Carley Oliver born 1802, no baptism found at this stage.
Possible census returns for Hannah 1841 to 1861 are as follows:
1841 – Herstmonceux, Alehouse
John Catt 50 Ag Lab
Hannah Message 60
1851 – Herstmonceux, Bodle Street
John Catt, head, widower, 63, Ag Lab born Warbleton
Hannah Message, servant, widow, 70, born Warbleton
Emily Sands, servant, unmarried 15 born Arlington
1861 – Warbleton, on common (not far from the Three Cups Inn where her daughter and family were living)
John Catt, head, widower, 74, Ag Lab, born Warbleton
Hannah Message, servant, widow, 80 Housekeeper, born Warbleton
Caroline Funnell, granddaughter, 4 born Wartling (although Caroline, daughter of John Funnell and Elizabeth Harriot Message is also with her parents at the Inn the details are exactly the same so I am sure this is the same child with her grandmother).
The last bit of the jigsaw is the death certificate I obtained from GRO which could possibly be Hannah. She died on 12 November 1868 at 3 Cups, Warbleton, 88 years which does fit with the baptism I have. However the informant, Hannah Hedgcock who I believe was a neighbour, there were certainly Hedgcocks next door on the 1861 census, has entered that Hannah was the widow of Thomas Message, Farm Labourer. I have been unable to find a marriage for a Thomas Message with a Hannah. There was a Thomas Message who lived next door to Hannah and George Hedgcock in the 1861 census but he was half Hannah’s age. Therefore I am assuming this is a mistake, Hannah Hedgcock did not know who Hannah Message had been married to or more interestingly Hannah had spread that rumour around to stop gossip about Richard Message who was a convict!
So the hunt for Hannah continues. Who exactly was she, was her husband a transported convict? Sadly the records I have acquired about Richard all say he came from Sussex but nothing more than that, sadly none add Warbleton.