James Hassett and Martha Pereira

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It is not known whether the cover photograph is in fact James Hassett and Martha Pereira (Hassett) but best guess given all information gathered so far, it is very likely that this photograph is them.

Martha Pereira was born to parents John and Regina Pereira on 27 April, 1865.

Martha Pereira_bap_c

Her baptism record reveals:

  1. Baptism date: 1 January 1866
  2. Birth date: 27 April 1865
  3. Parents names: John and the late Regina Pereira
  4. Abode: Byculla
  5. Profession (father): Assistant in the Judicial Dept. Secretariate

Martha’s mother, Regina, died when Martha was less than eight months old, on 23 December 1865. Her father, John, went on to marry Mary Ann Lee on 13 January 1868.

Almost three years before Martha was born, William and Isabella Hassett had welcomed their son James Hassett in to the world on 4 July, 1863:

James Hassett_bap_c

James’ baptism record reveals:

  1. Baptism date: 18 July 1863
  2. Birth date: 4 July 1863
  3. Parents: William and Isabella Hassett
  4. Abode: Poona
  5. Profession (father): Guard G.L.O. R.Y

It’s interesting to note on baptism records the father’s profession is typically stated. This has not been an oversight so far in these blog postings and will be addressed in further detail later.

Fast forward to 1885, James Hassett and Martha Pereira were married:

James Hassett and Martha Pereira_mar_c

This revealed:

  1. Marriage date: 1 March 1885
  2. Age: James:Full. Martha: Minor (generally: Full = 21 and over, Minor = under 21)
  3. Profession (James): Fitter G.I.P.R
  4. Residence: Byculla
  5. Father’s name: James: William Hassett. Martha: John Pereira
  6. Banns or licence: Banns (public announcement in a Christian parish church of an impending marriage)
  7. Witness signatures: Sam Ges Smith and G. Brooks

As with previous marriage records presented, the witness signatures may provide some additional insight into the lives of James and Martha (were the witnesses friends? colleagues? neighbours? or just the nearest people they could drag in to sign the paperwork?) It may be difficult to find out, but could prove insightful.

Curiously, James Hassett appears again in the baptism records, on 10 April 1896:

James Hassett_2bap_c

To be sure this is the same James Hassett,  the record confirms:

  1. Birth date: 4 July 1863
  2. Parents names: William and Isabella Hassett

It would be a strange coincidence for another child to be born named James Hassett on 4 July 1863 to parents named William and Isabella Hassett. Based upon these exact matches, it is assumed to be the same person.

This second baptism record of James’ reveals further:

  1. Baptism date: 10 April 1896
  2. Baptism place: Bina
  3. Parents abode: dead
  4. Fathers profession: dead

Why get baptised twice?

An interesting question. Searching for an answer reveals little insight,  so far. Many, if not all, religions accept that baptism may only be performed once. In previous examples, such as David Vincent Hassett,  a ‘conditional’ baptism was recorded, meaning that any previous baptism could not be proven, or did not happen, hence the need for an official (or conditional) baptism. In the case of James Hassett (David’s father) there is no record of a ‘conditional’ baptism. What clearly differs between the two baptism records of James Hassett, is the location.

The first baptism was conducted in Poona,  Bombay.  The second baptism in Bina,  Bengal. Given the structure of British India at this time (mid-late 19th century) into three presidencies,  it may be that James moved location, from one presidency to another – Bombay to Bengal – possibly for work, and was required to be baptised in the new setting (Bina). It may also be that the previous baptism could not be proven (i.e. the record was lost or not accessible) leading to a second baptism.

Nothing conclusive on this yet, but it will be explored further.

Martha Hassett  died on 27 March 1932:

Martha Hassett_bur_c

Her burial record reveals:

  1. Burial location: Sewri cemetry
  2. Death date: 27 March 1932
  3. Age: 67
  4. Profession: Anglo-Indian wife of retired driver
  5. Burial date: 29 March 1932
  6. Cause of death: Heart Failure

In the context of the records found so far, Martha appears to have lived a long life, at a time when global life expectancy was typically 30-35 years. Life expectancies and causes of death will be explored in more detail later.

I have not found a burial record for James Hassett yet, but Martha’s burial record indicates James May still have been alive in 1932 (he is referred to as ‘retired driver’, it does not specifically record him as ‘dead’).

James and Martha appear to have lived long lives in India. Martha’s very early life saw her lose her Mother, Regina. Presumably, she was raised by her step-mother, Mary-Ann Lee.

This may have then led to the next ‘curious case’ in the Hassett family lineage.

Cover picture credit: David Wheeler

 


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