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Frederick John Ellis

One of the two grandfathers that I didn’t know.  But at least my mother and her sisters spoke about him occasionally, and my grandmother too.  We also have just this one photograph, which is actually part of a larger one - he and his wife and their first baby, my mother.

In his photograph he looks quite genial, but the stories I remember were of an archetypal Victorian sort of father - severe and to be obeyed at all times.  But later in life, my aunt said that although this was true to a point, he really just wanted the best for his children.

He was a member of the Salvation Army - where he met my grandmother no doubt, so he can’t have been that bad a person.  A stevedore in the Portsmouth docks so he must have had a responsible position.  So most probably a proud, working class man working hard to lift his family above the station into which they had been born and in which he himself grew up.  His early life is a bit of a mystery because the crucial 1881 census record is missing.

Frederick John Ellis

b 21 December, 1873 Hastings

m Alice Maud Richards


d 10 April 1932, Portsmouth


Olive Alice 1913-1985

Freda Jessie 1914-2006

James Frederick 1916-1918

Kathleen May 1919-2001

Leslie John 1922-1993

Nora Winifred (1924-)


Birth certificate and baptism

Marriage certificate

Death certificate

Census for 1891, 1901, 1911

Birth certificates of all the children




Old German meaning peace and ruler (how can you have both at once?).  Lots of Prussian kings were called Frederick - but it was just a common name of the time I think.


Frederik, Friedrich,


Fred, Freddy, Freddo, Frodo?, Ferdy



Hebrew meaning ‘favoured of God” and one of the all time favourite names.  His second son was named Leslie John so John may well be a family name


Jon, Jonathan, Johan, Jean


Johnny, Jack, Johnno to the Australians