William J Moseley Birth Certificate 1862

We were never Moseleys

I have been researching my family history since the 1980s, and one big mystery I have struggled with for most of that time was “who were my great-grandfather William Moseley’s parents?”. William was the grandfather of my mother, Lillian Moseley. No matter how hard I searched I could never find any proof of who William’s parents were.

Early this year (2020), I was contacted by Noreen, a second cousin, about the Moseley family history.  Noreen had recently found Moseley family records that her grandmother Dorothy had accumulated years earlier.

Among Dorothy’s records were two that were very interesting to me. One was a copy of a birth record for William Moseley (see above) that clearly states that Emma Wilkins was his mother, but makes no mention of his father.  Another is a record of William’s adult baptism into the Catholic church (see below) that also states that his mother was Emma Wilkins.

In summary: William was apparently born out of wedlock in 1862, and I have so far not found any information about who his father was. He was apparently “adopted” into the Moseley family by his grandmother Mary Glover Moseley and her second husband, Henry Hawkins Moseley. (In the 1871 British Census, William is listed as the grandson of Henry and Mary).

William J Moseley adult Baptism 1890
William J Moseley adult Baptism, 1890

Emma moved to France (perhaps to teach?) and later married Auguste Bodet in 1870 at Vernantes, Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire (near Saumur, the town where she had been living).  Emma apparently lived in France the rest of her life. Emma and Auguste had three daughters, Marie, Marguerite, and Augustine. I don’t know for sure, but it is possible I have Bodet cousins living in France to this very day. Searching for them will be one of my next mysteries to solve.

Emma Wilkins
Emma Wilkins, my 2nd-great grandmother (her birth date was 6 Sept 1841)