See also

Family of William Coles Attfield and Maria Unknown

Husband: William Coles Attfield (1844- )
Wife: Maria Unknown (c. 1851- )
Children: William Coles (c. 1879- )

Husband: William Coles Attfield

Name: William Coles Attfield
Sex: Male
Father: William Coles (c. 1819- )
Mother: Harriet Attfield (1825- )
Birth 1844 Farnham, Surrey
Baptism 17 Apr 1844 (age 0) Farnham, Surrey (William Attfield, base born)
Birth fact 1844 (age 0) 1844 Mar Qtr, Farnham, 4/139 (as William Coles Attfield, and as William Coles Coles)
Census 1851 (age 6-7) Living with parents (William Coles)
Census 1861 (age 16-17) Labourer, living with parents (aged 17, William Coles)
Occupation 16 Jul 1864 (age 19-20) Labourer, Hammersmith (on marriage cert.)
Occupation 22 May 1870 (age 25-26) "Scaffler" (scaffolder), 2 White Court, Bethnal Green (son George's baptism)
Census 1871 (age 26-27) Builder's labourer, 16 James St, Tower Hamlets (William Attfield, aged 28)
Occupation 25 Sep 1872 (age 27-28) Scaffold builder, 11 Samuel Street, Cannon Street Road (daughter Harriett's baptism)
Census 1881 (age 36-37) Mason, 34 James St, Cardiff St Mary, Glamorgan (William Coles)
Census 1891 (age 46-47) Mason, 18 Salisbury Row, Newington, Surrey (William Coles)

Wife: Maria Unknown

Name: Maria Unknown
Sex: Female
Father: -
Mother: -
Birth c. 1851 Westminster
Census 1881 (age 29-30) Wife in household
Census 1891 (age 39-40) Wife in household

Child 1: William Coles

Name: William Coles
Sex: Male
Birth c. 1879 Hackney, Middlesex
Census 1891 (age 11-12) Living with parents

Note on Husband: William Coles Attfield

The William Attfield of Farnham who married Harriett Swaine in 1864 is extremely elusive. I have decided to accept him as identical to William Coles Attfield although there is no firm proof.

The birth was registered twice at Farnham in 1844 under two different names, "William Coles Attfield" and "William Coles Coles". His baptism, also at Farnham, took place under the name "William Coles Attfield" - 6 months before his mother Harriet married William Coles. In the 1851 and 1861 censuses, he is living with his parents under the name "William Coles".

William Coles cannot be found in the 1871 census, but reappears in 1881 (in Wales) and 1891 (in Newington, Surrey), as a mason, in both censuses accompanied by wife Maria. It has not been possible to trace any marriage between William Coles and Maria.

Meanwhile, William Attfield, labourer, married Harriett Swaine at Hammersmith in 1864, and in the 1871 census the couple is living in East London with 3 children. The father, William Attfield, is a builder's labourer aged 28 - implying a birth year of 1843 - birthplace Farnham. In 1881, William has disappeared and Harriett is living alone with the 3 children in East London where she is described as "mason's wife". In 1891 she is recorded as a widow, but no matching deaths of a William Attfield are recorded in the 1881-1891 period. I therefore assume that William ran away sometime in the 1870s leaving Harriett with the children, abandoned the surname "Attfield" and reverted to the name "Coles".

William Attfield's marriage certificate names his father as "William Attfield", labourer. No such person has been identified among the Farnham Attfields but the occupation matches that of William Coles senior.

Harriett Attfield can be traced in the record through until her death in 1919, but no traces have been found of either "William Attfield" or "William Coles" after 1891.

The strongest evidence identifying the William Attfield who married Harriett Swaine with William Coles Attfield is the fact that they are both described as "mason" in the 1881 census. The rest is largely conjecture. The whole family - including William Coles's siblings and William Attfield's children - is very hard to track and there are many gaps in the information.