Friday, May 25, 2012

The mystery of Eva Hollyer's husband

For some time I've known that Eva Hollyer, the accomplished artist, married her much younger cousin Joseph Richard Hollyer in 1906 in a Registry Office in Wales. But nothing seems to have come of the marriage - there were no children and she and her sister Maud lived together for much of their later lives and as we've seen 'doing up' cottages on at least two occasions. But whatever became of Joseph? In the 1911 census, he is shown as living in Richmond as a Chiropodist, married for 3 years with no children. After that he seems to disappear. No death or emigration records, remarriage or anything. Recently, I was triggered to review Eva's situation and realised that there are now online databases where one can search on first names only. So I looked for deaths for Joseph Richard and lo and behold came across a death in 1969 for a Joseph Richard D'Olier. Now I instantly recognised the surname D'Olier as a name that in former times was thought by some to be the origin of the Hollyer name. In fact, the D'Olier name related to a family of Huguenots who came over from France in the 17th century and then settled in Dublin, under an Act of Parliament encouraging Protestants to settle there. The date of birth quoted on this death record is exactly right for Joseph Richard Hollyer, but just one year exactly out - a common mistake. I then searched for any other records for a Joseph Richard D'Olier and found that he had served in the Scots Guards in the Great War. After all these years, it's good to pin down such 'missing' individuals, but it still begs the question as to why he changed his name somewhere between 1911 and 1916.