52 Ancestors: Jane Ellen Hagell, #19

Avenell families

From London to Houston

The above photo was taken sometime in 1916, in Houston, Texas. The couple sitting in the center are my 2nd great-grandparents Walter and Jane Ellen (nee Hagell) Avenell. The theme this week is Mother’s Day, and Jane Ellen is the mother of Bertrand (top left), Eleanor (next to Bertrand) and Walter (top right). Her daughter-in-law Emily sits on the left with baby Marjorie on her lap, Roland in the chair in front, Norman in Jane Ellen’s lap and my grandmother Joan seated front right.

Jane Ellen was born in Canterbury, England in 1855 to Frederick William Hagell and Eleanor Elizabeth Parsley. Her father worked as a pastry cook and may have owned a bakery. She married Walter Avenell in 1879 and went to live with him in London where they had three children: Walter Egglestone Wheeldon Avenell, Bertrand Sidney Avenell and Eleanor Elizabeth Mary Avenell. When son Bertrand decided to move to Canada and then to the United States, she and her husband and daughter decided to follow. In 1911, all are listed in the Houston City Directory as sharing the same address. Son Walter soon followed, arriving in December of that year.

I have to wonder how hard it was for Jane Ellen to adapt to the hot humid climate of Houston after growing up in southern England. Air conditioning was not available until the 1920’s and it was quite expensive then. It is details like these that make me wish I had interviewed my grandmother more exstensively while she was alive!

My 2nd-great-grandmother lived to the age of 86, dying in 1945. The last photograph I have of her is from when she was 78. She sent it to my grandmother with a little note on the back.



CANTERBURY, Certified copy of an entry of birth, Jane Ellen Hagell, 1855; General Register Office, Canterbury. registered 13 February 1855.

“Canada Passenger Lists, 1881-1922,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/2HG5-5XG : 27 December 2014), Jane Ellen Avenell, Mar 1909; citing Immigration, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, T-4820, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

“Texas Deaths, 1890-1976,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K3D4-5MS : 5 December 2014), Jane Ellen Avenell, 23 Dec 1941; citing certificate number 55794, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2,138,817.

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