My 2nd great grandfather William Henry Rouse married Agnes Green on 4 Aug 1853 at St Clement, Cornwall.
On their Marriage Certificate the Age for both of them appears to say Major, which I assume to mean over 21. From this I deduce that William Henry Rouse was born no later than about 1832.
On the Marriage Certificate William Henry Rouse's occupation was Clerk and his father, called William Rouse, had the occupation of Plasterer.
When he died of tuberculosis on 8 Feb 1887 at Adelaide, South Australia, the age given on his death notice was 49 years. If correct, this would mean he was born in about 1838.
Other clues to his birth year come from:
- the 1851 Census when William Rouse, a Grocer's Assistant aged 18, born in Truro, was living at Truro St Mary with William Hobbs 48 "Brother-in-law", Elizabeth Hobbs 35 "sister", Elizabeth J Hobbs 13 "niece", and Kitty Rouse 76 "mother". The relationships here are all placed I double quotes because I am extremely sceptical that his mother was aged 58 when he was born and I believe Kitty (born Christian Crossman) was probably his grandmother. His age at this Census would mean he was born about 1833.
- the 1861 Census when William H Rouse, a Traveller in Flour and Groceries, aged 29, born in Truro, was living at Truro St Mary with wife Agness Rouse 29 and children Henry Rouse 7, Clara Rouse 5, Kate Rouse 2, and William Rouse 8 Months. His age at this Census would mean he was born about 1832.
- the 1871 Census when William H Rase 38, a Grocer, aged 38, born in Truro, was living at Truro St Mary with wife Agnes Rase 38 and their children Henry Rase 17, Clara Rase 14, Catherine Rase 13, William Rouse 10, Elizabeth Ann Rouse 9, Mazzie Rouse 8, James Rouse 6, and Harriet Rouse 3.His age at this Census would mean he was born about 1833.
I think there are two candidates for him in the 1841 Census:
- 9 year old Labourer named Will Rowe (could possibly be Will Rouse) appears to be living at Truro St Mary alone alongside or next door to William Hobbs, his wife Elizabeth (nee Rouse) and their daughter Elizabeth (aged 6) - who were in the same house with William Rouse 10 years later. If this is him, then his age at this Census would mean he was born about 1832.
- 8 year old Pupil named William Rouse living with a Dissenting Minister named James Hart, his wife, two children, Elizabeth Tyeth (perhaps his mother-in-law), and eight other Pupils at Fore Street, St James, Tregony.
I thought I had a record of him from FamilySearch where William Henry Rouse was christened on 24 May 1836 at Redruth St Uny, Cornwall to parents William Rouse and Elizabeth. However, I have recently found a newspaper article (supported by a death record) in the Royal Cornwall Gazette of 21 Jan 1848 that leads me to believe that this William Henry Rouse cannot be the William Henry Rouse (son of William Rouse the Plasterer) who married Agnes Green in 1853.
Almost all of the evidence above points to a birth date about 1832-33 and is at odds with the age given at death many years later in another country (1838).
My theory is that William Henry Rouse was the grandson of "Kitty" Rouse, and possibly/probably the illegitimate son of William Crossman Rouse (born 5 Sep 1813, christened 26 Sep 1813; a Plasterer from multiple Census Records). William Crossman Rouse married Eliza Reed on 25 Jun 1838 at St Day, Cornwall and had nine children including another William Rouse in 1841.
This is a long story cut a bit short, but if I were to find either of the two vital records below then I am sure that they would shed some more light on what actually happened:
- Birth (or another Christening Record) for William (Henry) Rouse near Truro in 1832-33
- Marriage Record for William (Crossman) Rouse near Truro about 1832
Does anyone have any thoughts on where else I might be able to look for them?
To look hard and not find them I think makes my theory a little harder to disprove.
I've looked unsuccessfully for whether the birth of William Henry Rouse may resulted in a paternity bond. An interesting aside is that the grandfather of William Crossman Rouse, Edmund Rouse paid a paternity bond in 1785 at St Clements when his son George fathered an illegitimate child of Jenefer Webb.