William Christopher Chappell and Elizabeth Emma Farthing

22 October 2014, Chriss Coleman

I deliberated for a while as to which relative(s) I should start with on this blog, until it suddenly it occurred to me that I couldn’t start with anyone other than William and Elizabeth Chappell. They were the two that got me asking questions, interrogating family, and inevitably got me started in genealogy as I searched to find the truth behind the family stories (and annoy the relations). They are my husband’s 2xgreat-grandparents.

William Christopher Chappell and family
William Christopher Chappell with wife Elizabeth Emma Farthing and daughter Rosemary, circa 1900 to 1901, taken in Ford, Devon, England.

William C. Chappell was born on 29 Nov 1869, in Bath, Somerset, England. He was the son of Edwin Chappell and Harriet Oaten, and was one of 10 children to this couple.1 He lived in Bath until he joined the Royal Navy.

William Christopher Chappell birth
William Christopher Chappell’s entry in the Chappell family record

Elizabeth Emma Farthing, who often went by her middle name Emma, was born on 3 February 1868, at the family home on Castle Street in Mere, Wiltshire, and was the daughter of Isaiah Farthing and Sarah Hester Hart.2 Emma Farthing grew up in Mere, but as a young woman she travelled to continental Europe to teach English.

It wasn’t until Emma returned to England for her sister Helen’s wedding in 1898 that she met her future husband. Helen married Albert Chappell, William Christopher Chappell’s brother. A few months later William Chappell and Elizabeth Farthing were wed at the bride’s church in Gasper, Stourton, on the Wiltshire-Somerset border near Mere.

After their wedding, William and Emma removed themselves to Devon. On 27 July 1900, their daughter Rosemary Cecelia Chappell was born at their home in Ford, Devon.3 They were still living at the same residence when they were enumerated on the 1901 England Census.

William Christopher Chappell on 1901 England Census
William Christopher Chappell with his family living in Devonport, Devon in the 1901 England Census. Image courtesy of 4

William is enumerated as the head of household, 31, and occupied as a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy, alongside his wife Emma, and daughter Rosemary in Ford, Devonshire, England.

This was the first chapter of their lives together.

  1. Chappell Family Record, undated handwritten document, original in the collection of Joan [Name withheld for privacy; address for Private Use], Simcoe county, Ontario, digital copy held by author. [From the appearance this document it seems most likely to be a copy of the family bible, copied after 1897.  

  2. Certified copy of an Entry of Birth for Elizabeth Emma Farthing; citing General Register Office, index, Q1 1868, Mere, Wiltshire, Vol 5a, Page 220; 

  3. Certified copy of an Entry of Birth for Rosemary Chappell; citing General Register Office, index, Q3 1900, Devonport, Devon, Vol 5b, Page 295. 

  4. “1901 England Census”, Devon, Devonport, Ford, St Marks parish, Enumeration district (ED) 10, Folio 121, p. 29 (stamped), Family 177, household of Wm Chapple; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 Mar 2014); citing The National Archives, Kew, “Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901”, Class RG13, Piece 2110.