Thanks to information gained from the England Census in 1851 it is possible to confirm Fanny was aged 5 in this year and two more children had been added to the family. Harry was born in 1848 and Charlotte Harriet in 1850. They had moved to number 18 Ship Street, and Uncle James was staying with them (John Dinnis’s brother) working as a general labourer.
Ten years later, the 1861 England Census shows the family had moved around the corner to number 3, Old Steine, and John Dinnis was the Cook and Publican at the Queens Head. Fanny was 15, and another little boy had been born to the family – George, born in 1854, who would go on to become my great grandfather.
Another ten years passes and the next Census (1871) shows that the family had moved up to Islington in London. The older children (Catherine Ann and John Henry) had moved on and had families of their own. Fanny was 25, working as a Milliner. Milliners were workers in the hat trade, and in the publication ‘Discover your family’s Occupations’ it mentions that “Many of the enhancements for hats were locally made. For example, the silk weaving industry grew up in Spitalfields in Middlesex because of the close proximity to the hat trade, which had established itself in Islington.”
The next information comes from the London, England, Marriages and Banns 1754 – 1921 index, when we see that on the 9 December 1876 Fanny Dinnis married John William Forbes at St Andrews Church, Islington.
This shows that John Forbes was working as a Compositor, living at 39 Albion Grove, and Fanny was ‘the girl next door’ at 37 Albion Grove. The two witness signatures are John Henry Dinnis and Charlotte Harriet Dinnis.
I have been trying to find what a ‘Compositor’ did for a living but have drawn a blank so far. I think it’s something to do with Printing, which interests me as it’s the closest I have come to finding someone in the past who shares my interests today. If anyone could give me a simple explanation of this occupation, that would be great!