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Edward James Button born in Brighton 1854

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Cerynne Report 19 Jun 2024 15:48

(from Steve Henley - Cerynne's dad) - A brother of my great-grandmother, he was born in 1854 in Brighton (son of Benjamin Button and Eleanor Stace), recorded in the 1861 and 1871 censuses - and then vanishes. His next three younger brothers (Arthur, Albert, and William Henry) all emigarted to Australia. William Henry returned to England in 1900. I've managed to trace what happened to each of them, and their descendants. All but Edward James.
There is a 1901 census entry which seems to list William Button and James Button, roughly the right ages, born in Brighton, Sussex but I'm very doubtful about this. The William Button in Kent has a family in Faversham in the early 1900s - with living descendants who are also perplexed about him - because William Henry Button at the same time, early 1900s, is recorded in Brighton where he goes through two marriages, has three children, is licensee of the Black Horse Inn in 1903, and is listed in the electoral rolls until his death in 1908. And after 1908 the William Buton in Kent is not seen again. But the census is the only documentary evidence I have found that links the two. As for Edward James, what did he do, where did he go, after 1871? And if the same one in 1901 (listed as a bricklayer) where was his home? He was just a 'boarder' in the Dartford home of William Button. I've scoured FindMyPast, Ancestry, the British Newspaper Archive as well as Trove and papers Past to search newspapers in Australia and New Zealand. Turned up zilch. (Why New Zealand? My g-grandmother's brother-in-law John Henley emigrated there with wife and children in April 1874). I'v e found a few possible sightings of Edward James in the US and Canada but nothing that grabs me as particularly likely. Seems that he preferred to be called James rather than Edward (all 3 censuses), but some of the more likely hits are Edward. Possible death in Dartford Q1 1901 but that is before the census date, and it only appears in FreeBMD, not in the GRO index. Odd. I'm fresh out of ideas.


ErikaH Report 19 Jun 2024 16:31

Please post the 1901 death record for our info

The census records would also be useful

Are you actually asking for help?


ErikaH Report 19 Jun 2024 16:36

Edward James’s occupation in 1871 is ‘Porter’


ErikaH Report 19 Jun 2024 17:23

Sorry to appear ‘picky’, but solid blocks of text are very off-putting.

It would be really helpful if you could split your post into paragraphs for ease of comprehension. Thank you


nameslessone Report 19 Jun 2024 17:56

Do a time line for the two William Buttons. Thst way you would be sure if they are or are not the same man.

Although a census is based on a single date the enumerater would do it over several days or even weeks. So whoever is giving the information may not remember when a particular person was in their house - meaning it could look as if a person was in two places at once.

Did your James keep to the same occupation?


ArgyllGran Report 19 Jun 2024 22:58

I assume this is the Dartford death you mention on FreeBMD:

Deaths Mar 1901 (>99%)
Button Edward 50 Dartford 2a 324

It's also on Ancestry - and on the GRO Index, viewable on FreeBMD.

Several times, I've found that a birth or death record on FreeBMD is not on GRO website - presumably just human error.

Probable burial record for the same man:

Edward Button
in the Bexley, Kent, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985
Name Edward Button [Edrus Button]
Age 50
Birth Year abt 1851
Burial Date 9 Feb 1901
Burial Place Bexleyheath, Kent, England
Chapelry Christ Church
Parish as it Appears Bexleyheath, Christ Church

If it were my search, I would get a copy of the death cert in the hope of ruling that man either in or out.

Re 1901 census -
similarly, I have a few instances in my own tree where people are recorded in two different places at the same time on censuses - presumably because they were recorded correctly where they actually were on census night, but also their family misunderstood the census requirements and listed them at their usual address - and parents sometimes listed deceased children because they thought they had to list the whole family.


ArgyllGran Report 20 Jun 2024 00:00

Posting 1871 for helpers' reference:

James Button
in the 1871 England Census
Name James Button
Age 17
Estimated Birth Year 1854
Relation Son
Gender Male
Where born Brighton, Sussex, England
Civil parish Brighton
Town Brighton
County/Island Sussex
Country England
Registration district Brighton
Sub-registration district Kemp Town
ED, institution, or vessel 14
Household schedule number 12
Piece 1074
Folio 92
Page number 2
Household Members (Name) Age Relationship
Eleanor Bullen 42 Head
Mary Ann Bullen 19 Daughter
James Button 17 Son - library porter
Albert Button 15 Son
Arthur Button 13 Son
William Button 8 Son
Eleanor Button 5 Daughter
Ernest Button 3 Son

Also 1901:

James Button
in the 1901 England Census
Name James Button
Age 45
Estimated Birth Year abt 1856
Relation to Head Boarder
Gender Male
Birth Place Brighton, Sussex, England
Civil parish Dartford
Ecclesiastical parish Holy Trinity
Town Dartford
County/Island Kent
Country England
Registration district Dartford
Sub-registration district Dartford
ED, institution, or vessel 02
Piece 702
Folio 53
Page number 57
Household schedule number 346
Household Members (Name) Age Relationship
William Button 35 Head
Frances E Button 24 Wife
Hilda M Button 4 Daughter
Beatrice F Button 3 Daughter
Maude M Button 1 Daughter
James Button 45 Boarder

I'm confused by your statement "The William Button in Kent has a family in Faversham in the early 1900s "

The children who are with him and his "wife" Frances (no sign of a marriage) in 1901 are apparently NOT William's though they are Frances's, and registered at birth as Norris, which was Frances's married name.

Maud Mary Norris
in the England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
Name Maud Mary Norris
Gender Female
Birth Date 18 Apr 1900
Birth Place Faversham, Kent, England
Father Charles Henry Norris <<<<<<<<<
Mother Frances Emily
FHL Film Number 1886147
Reference ID item 4 p 270

That would fit with your assertion that William returned from Australia to the UK in 1900 - or at least before 1901, although no travel record on Ancestry, as far as I can see.


ArgyllGran Report 20 Jun 2024 00:17

The above may or may not be your William.

The one below definitely is - but none of this precludes him from being the same man as above:

[I know you've researched all this, but it helps us to see the actual records.]

William Henry Button
in the East Sussex, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936
Name William Henry Button
Marital Status Widower [first wife Harriet died in Australia ]
Marriage Age 39
Birth Date abt 1865
Marriage Date 20 Feb 1904
Marriage Place Brighton St Peter, Sussex, England
Parish as it Appears Brighton
Father Benjamin Button
Spouse Clara Ethel Johnson

GRO Reference: 1908 J Quarter in BRIGHTON Volume 02B Page 152

(Therefore born c1863)

William Henry Button
in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
Name William Henry Button
Death Date 27 May 1908
Death Place Brighton, Brighton and Hove, England
Probate Date 11 Jun 1908
Probate Registry London, England

Address: 25 New Dorset Street, Brighton.
Probate to widow Clara Ethel Button.

In 1906 he was a "fish and oyster merchant", at the time of the baptism of his son Albert Benjamin, born 14 Dec 1905.
For our info - William & Clara also had William Hubert George in 1904, and Ernest Edward iin 1908.


Jink20 Report 20 Jun 2024 23:51

An FMP tree suggests the following- No evidence to support date/place of death

Edward James BUTTON
Jan 1854
Brighton, Sussex, England

30 May 1938
Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Caroline -
Born 1861


ArgyllGran Report 21 Jun 2024 01:25

Another possibility for Edward:

Edward James Button
in the Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985
Name Edward James Button
Death Date 3 Jan 1889
Death Place Queensland
Registration Date 1889
Registration Place Australia
Registration Number 000743
Page number 2046

Edward James Button
in the Web: Queensland, Australia, Death Inquest Index, 1859-1897
Name Edward James Button
Death Year Abt 1889
Inquest Year 1889
Death Place Queensland, Australia
File Number 3
Item ID 348763
Film Number 88107
QSA Reference Number JUS/N164

That man was a butcher, who accidentally shot himself at Mellum Creek - per various newspapers on Trove.
No age given .

"DEATH FROM MISADVENTURE.— A very sad accident occurred last Thursday, to a man named Edward .James Button, the butcher at Mellum Creek. The accident
occurred at about 9 in the morning and he died at sun-down the same night. It would
appear that Button, who was. about to shoot a bullock, had laid the loaded gun on
a box. In taking the weapon up again he caught it by the muzzle, and when pulling it
towards him the trigger came in contact with some obstacle on the box, the result
being that the gun went off. Two of the fingers of his right hand were blown off, and
the contents of the barrel entered the lower part of the body. Medical aid was at once summoned from Brisbane, but the wounded man died before the arrival of the doctor.
The funeral took place on Friday, after a magisterial inquiry had been held through
the prompt action of Senior-constable Chalmers of Woombye. The deceased, who
was unmarried, has no relations in Queensland."

Article in the Moreton Mail.

Edward James is in 94 trees on Ancestry.
Several claim the 1938 death , without proof.

One says he died in Newfoundland on 1/10/1950, and shows the image of a death cert. Not the right man, however, unless the informant got his age wrong.
The cert says he was 87, married, and a mason by trade. He died of apoplexy and arteriosclerosis.
He was a Seventh Day Adventist.

There were a surprising number of men named Edward James Button, in various parts of the world.


ArgyllGran Report 21 Jun 2024 11:41

Pointless posting this, really, as its not a unique name, and there's not enough info to identify positively.

However -

this may PERHAPS be the man who shot himself - though there's no age in the death reports:

Edward Button
in the New South Wales, Australia, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1826-1922
Name Edward Button
Age 25
Birth Date abt 1857
Departure Place London
Arrival Date 26 Nov 1882
Arrival Place Sydney, New South Wales
Ship Potosi

Occupation: Butcher

Edward James Button
in the Queensland, Australia, Prison and Reformatory Indexes, 1824-1936
Name Edward James Button
Record Type Imprisonment
Imprisonment Date 1889
Imprisonment Place Queensland, Australia
Certificate Number 3
Item ID Itm348763
QSA Ref Jus/N164
M/film Number Z88107
Series Number S36


Cerynne Report 29 Jun 2024 19:53

Many thanks to all for your suggestions!

Answer to Jink20. It was certainly NOT Edward Button who died in Perth in 1938. It was his brother Albert. And a different brother Arthur was married to Caroline and died in Sydney in 1896. Any tree claiming 1938 death in Western Australia is WRONG, for certain. I know this from living descendants of his brother Albert.

Answer to ArgyllGran - not the butcher who died in a gun accident at mellum Creek. He was from an unrelated Button family in London with roots in Essex.

I have also eliminated the one who emigrated to Canada (recorded in Ontario censuses) and who could have been the one who died in Newfoundland.

The one who was a crew man (not a passenger) on the Potosi could be ours - though being a butcher suggests he might just have been working his passage and ended up at Mellum Creek.

However, could possibly be the one who served prison time in Queensland.

The William Henry Button in Brighton who died in 1908 is certainly correct. We also know for certain that he served in the army in Sudan in the 1880s and was in Victoria, Australia from 1891 to 1900 where he ran the Phillip Island hotel. If he was also in dartford for the census in 1901 he was living a double life from 1901 to at least 1905. It also means that his brother Edward james was still living (in Dartford) in 1901. However, the census entry is the only evidence I have for any Kent connection. Both were born in Brighton, and William Henry died in Brighton.

Answer to nameslessone - I did a timeline for William Henry and have circulated it to family members both know (Brighton) and suspected (Kent). But it's several pages long - far too much to post here! There is evidence - children and electoral registers - that the William Henry in Kent existed between 1901 and 1905. No trace of him yet found outside those dates.

Thanks to all for your great help - confirming what I have found and adding one or two more lines to follow.

-Stephen - Cerynne's dad.


Cerynne Report 30 Jun 2024 10:47

Here's the key to the question about William Henry Button: the 1901 census
Dartford, Holy Trinity, 10 Barham Road
William Button Head M 35 Navvy born Sussex Brighton
Frances E Button wife M 24 born Kent Canterbury
Hilda M Button daughter 4 born Kent Faversham
Beatrice F. Button daughter 3 born Kent Faversham
Maude M. Button daughter 1 born Kent Faversham
James Button boarder S 45 bricklayer born Sussex Brighton

Facts that we know. William and Frances were not married to each other. Frances (maiden name Wilson) was married to Charles Norris. William was not the father of the three children in the census records. But he was the father of three further children with Frances in 1901, 1903, and 1905. The first of these was Grace Elizabeth, born 30 Aug. 1901 at 10 Barham Road, Dartford.

William Henry Button was born in Brighton in 1863, Edward James Button was born in Brighton in 1854. These birth years do not match the ages given in the census record, but I have not found any other William and James born in Brighton of even approximately matching ages.

William Henry Button was actually a widower - his first wife Harriet died in Melbourne in 1898. On 4/11/1901 ('hotel keeper' on the certificate) he married Harriet's sister Miriam in Brighton - unlawfully, and then 20/21904 ('barman' on the certificate) he married Clara Ethel Johnson, again in Brighton.

The ONLY evidence I have found that links William Henry Button (Brighton) with William Button (Dartford) is that single census entry.

Apart from his army service in the 1880s William Henry worked solely in the hotel business until towards the end of his life he was a fish and oyster merchant. On his return from Australia in 1900 he was moderately wealthy from sale of his hotel and farmland. In 1902-1903 he was licensee of the Black Horse Inn in central Brighton.

If the two Williams are different people, it is unlikely that James Button (Dartford) bricklayer is the same person as Edward James Button (Brighton), library porter in 1871, though the census entry doesn't actually say that they are brothers.


ErikaH Report 30 Jun 2024 11:40

What was the man’s declared address when he married in 1901?

You say he returned from Australia in 1900 - did he declare an ‘intended address’?


ArgyllGran Report 30 Jun 2024 12:43

Is this the record you mean - on FMP but not on Ancestry:

Button W H

Australia, Inward, Outward & Coastal Passenger Lists 1826-1972
Western Australia, Australia

Without a sub to FMP, I can't see the details.


ErikaH Report 30 Jun 2024 13:04


That is only an arrival in Fremantle

No info other than name as transcribed, so could actually be anybody.


ArgyllGran Report 30 Jun 2024 14:10

In that case, I don't see any 1900 travel record for him on either Ancestry or FMP.

Where did you find the information, Stephen?


ArgyllGran Report 30 Jun 2024 19:44

An article on Trove says that William Henry left Hobsons Bay for London on the "Omrah" on 21st August 1900.

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957)
Wed 22 Aug 1900
Page 4


ErikaH Report 30 Jun 2024 20:32

Had a look on FMP…….records for SS Omrah, but can’t so far see any for August 1900…..only Feb, June and Oct

And certainly nothing for anyone named Button


Cerynne Report 2 Jul 2024 13:10

Hi ArgyllGran - thanks, yes, we had that too. He probably met up with his brother Albert in Fremantle when the Omrah docked there before leaving for London.

We've managed to trace his movements Brighton - Australia - Brighton but there's still enough time for him to have set up home with Frances Wilson in Dartford on his way back in 1900.
The Omrah arrived in Plymouth 20 Sept 1900 and in London presumably a few days later.
Daughter Grace Elizabeth was born 30 Aug 1901 (birth registered 14 Oct 1901 by Frances) suggesting William was in Dartford around Christmas/New Year 1900-01. The 1901 census was taken on 31 March.

He didn't need to be back in his home town Brighton before his marriage there on 4th Nov 1901. That marriage was then unlawful as Miriam was the sister of his first wife Harriet. Both William Henry and Miriam gave their address as 83 Hanover Terrace which was the home of his elder sister Mary Ann and her husband George Henley.

Occupations of the Kent "William Button" on census and certificates were variously general labourer, navvy, bricklayer - all of which could imply long absences and return home with spending money.

I have found no evidence for this William Button in Kent before late 1900 or after the 1906 Faversham electoral register. In the 1911 census Frances was again using her real married surname Norris.

Just one newspaper entry that may be important. 15 March 1907 William Henry Button was fined 5s. for assault in Belvedere (Dartford). However, by that date Frances and children (and William?) were living in Faversham, not Dartford. So maybe this is someone else altogether.

Circumstantial evidence points to the two being one and the same person. But still not satisfyingly conclusive. I think we have to shelve it for now, pending more evidence - possibly DNA.