Update: Both Laura Jane and Florence have been found and many thanks to those who helped in this search. You can read Laura’s story in a five part series over on The Social Historian.

My great-aunt Laura Jane Williams and her daughter Florence Ethel Williams have been on my ‘Most Wanted’ list for a very long time and over the years, I have returned to their story again and again, sifting through the meager collection of records of their lives, hoping for one of those eureka moments.

Today, I am beginning an experiment in crowdsourcing, to see if I can finally break through this family history brick wall.

The Oxford English dictionary defines crowdsourcing as:

Obtain (information or input into a particular task or project) by enlisting the services of a number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet.

My plan is to broadcast my query to as many relevant mailing lists, websites, family history forums and social media sites in an effort to use the experience of the world genealogical community to solve the mystery of the Williams ladies.

This is what I know:

Laura Jane WILLIAMS was born 19 January 1867 at 31 St Johns Road in Ryde on the Isle of Wight to parents George WILLIAMS and Harriet STOREY and was baptised on 7 Apr 1867 at Holy Trinity Church in Ryde. She appears in both the 1871 and 1881 censuses residing with her parents on St. John’s Road. On 9 November 1886, she gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, Florence Ethel WILLIAMS and when registering the birth, she gave her name as Lorry WILLIAMS and her occupation as a bookkeeper. Last seen in the 1891 census at her parent’s house at 75 St Johns Road in Ryde, she seems to have disappeared afterwards without a trace.

Laura’s daughter Florence was born 9 November 1886 at 79 St Johns Road in Ryde and was last seen in the census records in 1901, living with her grandparents. After 1901, Florence Ethel WILLIAMS seems to have disappeared without a trace as well.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of descendants of these two ladies or what happened to them is urged to contact me!

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  1. I can help! Laura is my Great Great Grandmother. She married and had another daughter. If you send me an email I will tell you all I know. I have loved reading about George and Harriet. How fascinating… Thank you

    • Hello Victoria,

      Laura is my 2nd great grandmother. Her first daughter Florence Ethel is my great grand mother. Barbara found me June 2014 as she posted her crowd surfing post on her blog. I have been fascinated by Barbara recount of Laura’s life.

      Thank you for sharing.


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