There has for many years been a
family story about us being related to Charles Dickens. Stories like
there was always a picture of him in our family houses and claims of
home owning bust of him.
However following some basic researching I can confirm that we are not
directly related to him. Sure we have a Dickens connection but our
Dickens, Emma was born in 1830 six years before Charles Dickens was
married. Emma is not a sister of Charles or a daughter, although
strangely enough Emma was christened in the same church as Charles
Dickens was married in St Lukes, Chelsea, picture below.
Emma was born in 1830 to parents Samuel and Anne Butler who were
married 17th January 1828 in St. Martin’s in the Field. Below are
the parish records showing the birth of Emma, 7th entry down and the marriage of Samuel
Samuel was born in 1807. He was christened in St Lukes Church in 1808, shown below is the christening
record from the parish registers. The age comes from the 1851 census
where he can be found aged 43. Another clue that the below is him is
that one of his children was called Phoebe. The Samuel below has mother
So his parents would be Samuel Dickens and Phoebe
Jones married 5th January 1805 details from the parish register are
below, 4 lines from the bottom.
Samuel and Phoebe had 3 daughters that I have found so far. Phoebe,
shown as Phebe on IGI, christened 5th Feb 1806, then cam Samuel 1808,
Elizabeth followed christened 23rd Jan 1811, and then came Jane 2nd May
1813. All were christened at St Lukes, Chelsea. Hopefully with this new
data I can trace Samuel's parents.
Link to Samuel Dickens Family tree is below and you can already
see that we are moving ever more distant to the great author, if indeed
we are near him at all.
Samuel Dickens Family Tree 3 Generations
In the mean time, I have done some research on the IGI using
known facts of Charles Dickens line. Charles grandfather, William
Dickens actually married twice. Charles comes from the marriage to
Elizabeth Ball, but we may came from his first marriage to Elizabeth
If I have
proved nothing else, I have proved that there is no direct connection
with the Author and the story has probably filtered down through the
However in April 2006 a relative through the Harris side of the family
claims to have evidence of the connection. Having received the document
of the tree it connects us via Samuel Dickens up through 3 generations
to a John Dickens whose brother William is from where Charles Dickens
is descended. It is the only document that shows the connection and I
was desperate to talk to the author. I wrote to my only contact and
about a week later the person who put the tree together rang and left
me a message. The number left did not work and it took us weeks to
track down the correct dialling code. However we did and I rang a few
times and left a message. So far no one has rung back. I would really
love to talk to them so if they are reading this please call me.
Anyhow, doing some more research myself I found our Samuel on 1841 and
1851 census, it is a different Samuel to the one shown on the tree and
searches on the internet showed that the Samuel used to make the
connection died in 1808, and was married not to Phoebe but to Rebbecca
Green. He also was born and died in the US. So it is a shame but I
think the tree is wrong. For sure all the information up from it and to
Charles Dickens seems to be correct, but still there is no link to our
family. Maybe there is another connection through to them.
Emma is connected to our family by the marriage in 1850 to William
Farrall. This is covered in an earlier chapter. She was married to him
until at least 1865 when she had her last child that we know of.
By 1881 Emma is widowed and working a charwomen in the Chelsea
Workhouse in Arthur Street. This is from the 1881 census information
and she is classed as a pauper, aged 53, by 1891 she is still in
the Chelsea Workhouse now aged 62, and seems to be still going strong
in 1901, when she is found on the census aged 72, in the Chelsea
Workhouse, working as a shirt needlewomen.