I recently came across this wonderful website and immediately entered the wood in search of a very rare species, my great grandmother, Birdie Mary Funnell.
Birdie Mary married my great grandfather, Henry William Stagg, on 1st May 1880 at St Simon’s Church, Southsea.
Their marriage certificate gives her age as 19, a spinster. Her father is Alfred James Funnell, tradesman. The marriage was witnessed by Francis Diment and Sophia Stagg (Henry’s sister).
Henry, a batchelor aged 25, was a butler residing at Kensington Palace.
A year after their marriage in April 1881, when my grandfather was born, they were living at 102 Oakley Street, Lambeth and Henry William had become a fishmonger.
1891 sees them at Tyrell Road, Camberwell with three children and Henry is now a civil servant.
1901 they are still in the same district at Pellatt Road, now with five children and Henry William still in the same job.
The children were: Henry Francis Victor Stagg (b.1881)(my grandfather)
Ethel Birdie Stagg (b.1883)
Valentine Herbert C. Stagg (b.1888)
William George V. (b.1893)
Jack Vernon F. (b.1901)
I was intrigued by the name “Birdie” and thought it would be easy to track down her birth record. Not so.
There is, however, a Mary Jane Funnell, born to Alfred Funnell and Fanny Funnell (formerly Thorpe) in Portsea on 4th November 1860 and I feel sure this must be her.
If it is, why did she become “Birdie”? Was she very small in stature, i.e. bird-like or perhaps she had a wonderful singing voice?
Has anyone else heard her singing in the wood?
I’d love to know.
I am Vivienne Christina Gardner (nee Stagg).
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