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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

Emma Orchard from Corfe Castle

Emma Orchard was one of Ari’s 5x great-grandmothers. She lived in Corfe Castle in Dorset, and had been born there in 1843. Her parents, William and Sarah, had taken her to be baptised at the church on 26 June.

We know that the family lived in West Street, and Emma can be seen there in the 1851 census as an eight-year-old schoolgirl.

By 1861, she had left home and was working as a general servant in the home of Robert Taylor in East Street. He gives his occupation as “Fund holder”, and seems to have been a land agent. As well as Emma, he had a housemaid and a cook.

Nine years later, on 19 May 1870, Emma married a gardener called Fred Albert Dibben at the church in Corfe Castle. She gave her age as 26, and he was 23. Emma’s younger sister, Lucy Mary, was one of the witnesses.

Emma and Fred went to live over twenty miles away in the village of Witchampton, and the 1871 census shows them living there in Lower Street, with Fred’s widowed father Isaac, who was a miller.

A month later, Emma gave birth to Alice Sarah, who we have a photo of in later life:

The next child was Annie Elizabeth, born in 1874 (Ari’s 3x great-grandmother), then Lucy Mary in 1878, Blanche Edna in 1882 and James Albert in 1886.

The 1891 census, the last one in which Emma appears, shows the family living in West Parley, next to Hatchard’s Farm.

Emma died on 30 December 1897 at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Bournemouth. She was just 54 and the cause of death was “Cancer of Sigmoid, Obstruction, Operation Shock”, certified by Arthur Cyril Ransome, MRCS, who was the resident surgeon at the hospital. Emma was buried at St Mark’s in Kinson, Dorset, on 3 January 1898 by the Rev. Harold Cox Knocker, who had been appointed to the curacy the previous year.

Ari, this is how you are related to Emma:

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