Archive for the ‘Boddy’ Category

Clarinda Boddy (c1844-1909) part 1

When I first came across Clarinda Boddy, she didn’t particularly stand out… Clarinda was just an unmarried daughter who I made a note of from census returns for her father – Clarinda’s father being John Marlett Boddy (c1791-1875), a son of my direct ancestor George Boddy who I have described in earlier posts (here and here).

 Clarinda Boddy first attracted my attention when I found the following interesting news report in The Times Digital Archive:

“FEMALE MEDICAL STUDENTS – At the preliminary examination in arts at the Society of Apothecaries, which has just been brought to a close, 109 candidates presented themselves, when 72 passed and received certificates of proficiency in general education. Among them were the following ladies, placed in the first class and in the order of merit:- Annie Jacob, Mary Susan Mungearn, Clarinda Boddy, Elizabeth Longheed, and Catherine Mitchell. The following were placed in the second division:- Julia Cock, Elizabeth Grace Evans, and Janet Michie. At the half-yearly preliminary examinations in arts, &c., for the diplomas of fellowship and membership of the Royal College of Surgeons, to which young ladies are not admitted, the large number of 410 candidates presented themselves—viz., 128 for the fellowship and 282 for the membership; of this number 71 passed for the first-named distinction and 180 for the latter.”

from The Times 28 Sept. 1878 p6 colA (my enboldening)

Clearly there was more to Clarinda Boddy than I had realised! I reviewed my known facts. Her father, John Marlett, had died in 1875, and her mother, Mary, a year later. Her father had worked for the Admiralty, and the probate value of his effects was about £20,000.

So, it looks like once her parents were gone, Clarinda could please herself, and it clearly pleased her to look into medical training. As can be gleaned from the comments in The Times news report, and from any casual reading around about the history of women in medicine (for example), 1878 was right in the middle of when women were finally being allowed to qualify as doctors. Indeed, the first five women doctors qualified and were placed on the Medical Register in 1877.

So, now I was motivated to look further into Clarinda’s life, and the next step was tracking her through later census entries:

  • 1881 Clarinda is visiting a sister in Paddington, London, but is described as a medical student
  • 1891 cannot find an entry
  • 1901 Clarinda is a boarder in Maidstone, Kent and her occupation is a physician, living on her own means

So, Clarinda had succeeded in training and qualifying as a doctor! I knew the next step was to discover where she trained and when she qualified…

…but I’ve gone on long enough, and that will have to wait for another post 😉


George Boddy’s 1805 letter to the Admiralty

To follow up a previous post, here is the transcribed text of this most interesting and amusing (in my view) letter my ancestor George Boddy (c1761-1834), a shipwright & Timber Master, wrote to Sir Evan Nepean at the Admiralty.

The text of the letter is below the cut. Just a few comments first:

To me as a family historian, the letter reads as if George Boddy knew I wanted a summary of his career & family 😉 I feel very lucky that George wrote the letter & that I’ve found it.

Did this letter to Sir Evan Nepean help in getting George the recognition, money and help he sought? I don’t know (yet – more research required), but from other information about the Boddy family I suspect that in the end he did…

  • George’s son John Marlett Boddy (c1791-1875) went on to a career in the Admiralty. I suspect, but have yet to prove, that John Marlett is the former midshipman of HMS Conqueror referred to in this letter – he is certainly the correct age (14 in 1805).
  • Two of George’s grandchildren were apparently named after Sir Evan Nepean – Evan Nepean George Boddy (b1830) and Wentworth Nepean Boddy (b1835), sons of William Barnard Boddy (c1800-1884).

There are so many other things I want to comment on, but rather than ramble on, I’ll just let you read the letter for yourselves – its below the cut. Continue reading

Google Book Search & George Boddy

My ancestor George Boddy (c1761-1834) was a shipwright and Timber Master in the Royal Navy Dockyards for 57 years. I have traced his long career using various resources, but one of the most helpful has been Google Book Search.

When I heard about this new search function last year, I tried the names of various ancestors – I thought that maybe one would appear in a book published in 1850, or some such.

Amazingly, George Boddy scored hits in books published in 1983 and 1999 on naval dockyard history. As the books are still in copyright, there were only two line snippets in the results, but I was able to order both from my local library for the bargain inter-library loan price of £1.75 each 🙂

So I discovered the work of a naval dockyards historian called Roger Morriss, including the precise references to George Boddy in Admiralty and Navy Board papers at The National Archives, Kew and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Who knows if I would have ever identified these papers for myself – but Roger Morriss’s work found via Google Book Search gave me a very welcome short cut.

This July I visited The National Archives, Kew, and read, photographed and transcribed the letters from & about my ancestor – a real thrill for me and my mum who was visiting the Kew archives for the first time.

I now know, in George’s own words, about his career moves from dockyard to dockyard, his invention of a tool to remove broken pintles (don’t ask, but he was hoping for money from the Admiralty!), and about struggling to provide for his eight children.

Note 1: The National Archive references are:

ADM1/4379  a box of loose letters; specifically letters numbered Pro B300, Pro B301 & Pro B302;

ADM1/4379 letter Pro B300 Page 3 letter from George Boddy to Sir Evan Nepean July 1805 This image is Crown copyright.

ADM106/2227 a book of copy letters from the Navy Board to the Admiralty; page 385.

Note 2: the two naval dockyards history books are:

The Royal Dockyards During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, by Roger Morriss. Pub. 1983 by Leicester University Press. ISBN: 0718512154

History of Work and Labour Relations in the Royal Dockyards, edited by Kenneth Lunn & Ann Day. Pub. 1999 by Routledge (UK). ISBN: 0720123496