German Blood

You would think no name pronounces a person’s heritage quite like “German Blood!”

However in this case, it doesn’t!

German Blood was born in Burton on Trent, 1838, to William (An Agricultural Labourer) and Mary Blood.

Like I’ve found with most people with unusual names, his brothers and sisters all had more regular ones; John, William, Harriet, Samuel and Thomas.

However unlike some others, I think the reasoning behind his name is slightly easier to work out – if a little odd! June 1838 was the month of Victoria’s coronation – Victoria who had a German mother! I can only assume it’s some bizarrely, sort of patriotic reference to this, but a small iota of doubt was raised when I realised his age is shown as 3 in the 1841 census, which was taken in April. However ages were often rounded up, or alternatively as people had 3 months to register their childrens birth, a FREEBMD birth from the June quarter could be any time from April – June. So if he was born in April, he would have been conceived in June 1837, and the country would have found out about Victoria’s accession to the throne on 20 June 1837!

although of course I could easily be wrong, I really can’t think of any other reason, as familial anmes were ruled out when I found his mother’s surname was Hartshorn, His father’s mother’s is Edwards, his Mother’s Mother’s is Smith and so on.

So little German grows up to be a ‘Farm servant’ by 12, which was actually higher up the pecking order than an Ag Lab, and is married in 1859 to Ann.

By 1861 he is a living on Waterloo street, Hurdsfield, as a Groom (Gardener is written first, crossed out with ‘Groom’ above, so maybe at this stage he was a bit of both!)

He and Ann have two sons they name German, in 1870 and 1874, but both sadly die as infants. However his brother, John, names one of his sons German in in around 1867. This German emigrates to America in 1891, specifically to Erie, Pennsylvania. censuses before this show him as a an apprentice coach maker, and on the passenger list he is a coach painter, so how he managed to get the funds to travel (2nd class too, not steerage!), or indeed what inspired him to do so, is, of course, a mystery! German junior’s death is registered in 1895, back in Derby when he was just 28, whether or not he became ill on his travels or when he came home is unclear – when I get the money I’ll order the certificate and update. 🙂

German Senior dies in 1884, aged just 48. This is relatively young for someone in his line of work, so I had a look in the newspaper archives, and as they say, no news is good news:

German Blood

Clearly he would be close to such a long term employer, and that combined with a lack of work could easily make someone feel extremely depressed.

Verdict of ‘Temporary insanity’ were often given rather than that of calculated suicide as a method of giving greater sympathy towards the deceased and their families. There may have possibly still been secular and religious penalties too, as I know earlier in history the crown would confiscate the property of one who ‘purposefully’ committed suicide, and the church could refuse burial.

I’m yet to find out just exactly what they would have meant by ‘domestic affliction’ as I don’t think he was having any family troubles, although despite the report saying Mr Brocklehurst had left him “A handsome legacy” he only had £120 to leave his wife, around £6,000 in today’s money. Although thinking about it as he would’ve been on wages of about £30 a year this isn’t too bad!

So our German Blood has a sad end, but perhaps we can hope this was due to the juxtaposition of his happy working life previously.


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