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Recently I found a database on Ancestry that led me to more details about the death of John Needham. He died on September 27th, 1890, at age 39. There had been a listing on the BMD which I thought may have been him, so I had saved it to my shoebox of odds and ends on Ancestry, but the new burial record I found now confirms it was. The BMD listed him as dying in Strand, London which did not make sense to me considering he lived in Plumstead. The burial record for Plumstead notes that he died at Charing Cross Hospital, which is in the district of Strand, London (see map below). Now we have a date of death and I placed an order for the death certificate and am anxiously awaiting it to see if there are any other details listed, such as a cause of death.

Burial Records for Plumstead, September 1890, Source: London, England, Deaths and Burials 1813-1980 database,

Image of Charing Cross Hospital in 1865, Source: see image above.

It must have been extremely difficult for Elizabeth to lose her husband and be a single mother to seven children. Her youngest daughter Beatrice was still a baby at this time.  In 1890, there were not many options for women when it came to occupations, but Elizabeth was listed as a self employed Confectioner in the 1891 UK Census. The Census page does not list a date in which it was taken, but from Ernest’s age it must have been sometime between January and May 1891, merely a few months after John Needham’s death. In the census, the two oldest sons John (17) and Andrew (15) had jobs as general labourer and port office boy, respectively. The middle children, Frederick (12), Elizabeth (10), Ernest (7), and Leonard (5) were scholars.

Elizabeth Needham's family in 1891, Plumstead, Source: 1891 UK Census,


Entry in London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921

Marriage Certificate for John Needham and Elizabeth Waterhouse

After ordering the birth certificate for Ernest Needham as seen in a previous post on the blog, and discovering his mother’s maiden name (Waterhouse), it did not take long to locate the marriage records for his parents. Elizabeth Waterhouse married John Needham in the parish of St. James the Great in Bethnal Green, London, England on December 26th, 1871. Elizabeth was 16 years old at the time. John’s profession was a Baker. In the first document, we can see John Needham’s signature and Elizabeth’s mark.

You can see a photograph of St. James the Great Church in Bethnal Green on the bottom left corner on this website about Bethnal Green Churches by Susan Gane. It still stands but has been converted into flats.

Here is Ernest A. Needham’s WWI Draft Registration card from 1918. It is amazing how much information one can glean from one document. He is now married to Susie D. (Howe) Needham and living in Boston, MA. He is 35 years old, and described as medium height with a slender build, hazel eyes, and brown hair. His signature can be seen at the bottom on the left page. He, Susie, and their young family are at the time living at 25 Aberdeen St. in Boston, which is a stone’s throw from Fenway Park. He was working as Sexton at the Second Church in Boston.

Before Ernest Needham left the UK, he had been in the British military. On the 1911 UK Census he is listed as a Corporal in the Royal Fusiliers in Hounslow, England. You can read an article about the Royal Fusiliers on Wikipedia to learn more about their history, and see uniforms similar to what Ernest would have worn. His commanding officer Sergeant Charles William Chilcott recieved medals for his actions during the Anglo Boar War (1899-1902), and is listed in this medal roll. I have yet to locate Ernest Needham in the 1901 UK Census, when he would have been about 18 years old. It is possible he was in the military at that time but have not yet found any definite records during this gap. If you have any information on him please contact me via e-mail or post a comment on the blog.

1911 UK census


Ernest A. Needham emigrated to the Boston, MA, United States on the R.M.S. Ivernia (I) from Liverpool England in February 1913. Click on the link to learn more about the ship and it’s history and see several images (a photograph of the ship is at the top of this post). Below is the Passenger list which includes Ernest Augustus Needham, click to see the full image.

Passenger List

We’ll start at the beginning. At least for Ernest Augustus Needham. He was born in May 8th 1883 to Elizabeth (nee Waterhouse) and John Needham in Woolwich, Geater London, Kent, England. His father was a Baker by trade, and his older siblings were John F. (b. 1873), Andrew (b. 1876), Frederick (b. 1879), and Elizabeth Ann (b. 1880). They lived in Plumstead, a part of Greater London, throughout his childhood.

Birth Register

In this birth record we see the unfortunate typos that the clerk initially made a typo (he was presumed to be “Alice Augusta”, a girl, oops!) His father John Needham went in to correct this record as we see in the side note from the clerk.

Baptism record

This baptism record shows Ernest A. Needham was baptised July 8th at St. Barnabus. The address of City Road is interesting, but St. Barnabus was a distance from Plumstead although the family certainly had connections in London, but it is something to investigate further.

I am starting this blog to upload and share documents and information that I have found about the Needham family with other descendants. My Mom’s maiden name was Needham, and I began researching our family tree a few years ago. I joined Ancestry off and on, and mailed away to the UK for documents, and have since found out a lot more of a branch of the family that I feared was lost forever. So here we are. Someday I hope to visit England to see where my great-grandfather came from.

The following categories will be used to “tag” different topics: births, christenings, marriages, deaths, locations, photographs, military records, immigration records, passenger lists.


Other Surnames we will mention:

Waterhouse, Creed, Howe, Pooley, Morgan, Norden, and Parker, among others.

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