Robert Melton (1846-1910) and Ellen Armitage nee Pinnuck (1855-1913) married in 1876 and were my great parents. The 1911 census says that Ellen had 12 children, of which only 7 were alive on April 2nd 1911. Robert and his family are listed in the 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses. From these, I found the names of eight children, of which only one (Percy) had died by 1911. The General Register Office has recently launched an online index of births from 1837 to 1915 which includes the mother’s maiden name. This has enabled me to find another three children (Luke, Albert and Maud) born to Robert and Ellen. The names I now know of are
1. LUKE ARMITAGE, b. Q3 (quarter 3) 1877, Holbeck, Yorkshire; d. September 1877, Holbeck, Yorkshire, aged 0. Holbeck is a district of Leeds. Luke was buried on September 25th 1877 in Churwell, a village which was then part of the Holbeck registration district.
2. ALBERT EDWARD ARMITAGE, b. Q2 1879, St Giles, London. His death is not registered, but he is not listed in the 1881 census and so had presumably died by then.
3. ROBERT MELTON ARMITAGE, b. 14 May 1881, Islington; d. 24 May 1916, Vimy Ridge, killed in action during WW1, aged 35.
4. EMMA ARMITAGE, b. 30 June 1883, Islington East; d. 2 October 1970, The Brook Hospital, Greenwich of bronchopneumonia, aged 87.
5. WILLIAM FREDERICK ARMITAGE, b. 9 July 1884, Islington; d. Q4 1940, Edmonton aged 56.
6. MAUD ETHEL ARMITAGE, b. Q2 1886, Islington; d. Q3 1886, Islington, aged 0.
7. FLORENCE EDITH ARMITAGE, b. 17 June 1887, Islington; d. 2 February 1945, Barnet aged 57 of heart disease and stroke.
8. GERTRUDE ELLEN ARMITAGE, b. 22 February 1889, South Hornsey, London; d. 28 February 1978, Ashford aged 89.
9. PERCY EDWIN ARMITAGE, b. Q4 1890, South Hornsey (Edmonton); d. Q1 1892, Edmonton aged 1.
10. ALFRED JOHN ARMITAGE, b. 14 February 1893, South Hornsey; d. Q3 1957, Hackney aged 64.
11. GEORGE HENRY ARMITAGE, b. 17 January 1898, South Hornsey; d. 28 August 1936, Malling by suicide resulting from depression caused by TB, aged 38.
I cannot find any record of Ellen’s 12th child. Apparently its birth was not registered.
Infant mortality rates in England and Wales between 1875 and 1900 were about 150 deaths per thousand live births. This high rate was a reflection of widespread poverty and the poor state of health of the population. Infant mortality dropped during the 20th century such that by 2000 the rate was only 6 deaths per thousand live births.