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Henry Barber is believed to be the father of John Barber. Family stories have suggested that John's father was a 'tinker' and was killed with his wife during a political riot that took place in Bridgwater, Somerset.
No direct evidence has been uncovered concerning the life of Henry Barber. All that is currently known is taken from documentation pertaining to other members of the family.
A precise date of birth has yet to be established for Henry's son, John Barber. Various data suggests a birthplace of Bridgwater or Exeter between 1862 and 1872. Family stories have also suggested a possible birthplace of Frome.
The first known mention of a Henry Barber in Bridgwater is as the father of Elizabeth Barber. Elizabeth was born in the Union Workhouse, Bridgwater on 5 October 1867. Henry is described as a Tinman (journeyman). Elizabeth's mother is recorded as Jane Barber, nee Bartlett.
No Barbers could be found in the Bridgwater census for 1871
The 1881 census for Bridgwater identifies Elizabeth Barber, 13 as the adopted daughter of the Cox family, living at 35 Eastover.
The 1881 Census for St Bololphs, Colchester reveals 18 year old, Bridgwater born, John Barber as a soldier at infantry camp.
John Barber was married to Alice Dyer in Bristol on 22 October 1888. The marriage certificate records his father as Henry Barber, an engine fitter. The certificate also notes the fact that Henry had died. It is believed that John and Alice had travelled to Bristol to be married, they had both previously lived in Bridgwater.
From research currently available, it is suggested that Henry Barber married Jane Bartlett and they had at least two children, John and Elizabeth. It is unlikely that Henry would have been older than 45 at the time of Elizabeth's birth, this giving him an earliest birth date of 1821.
If as the research suggests, John and Elizabeth were the children of the same Henry Barber, Henry was alive at the conception of Elizabeth, but had died at the time of John's marriage. This would indicate a death date between 1867 and 1888. This date could be narrowed further to 1867 to 1881 as Henry could not be found in the 1881 census and Elizabeth was recorded as adopted.
The GRO indexes covering the period 1867 to 1881 were reviewed in an attempt to find the death of Henry or Jane Barber. All areas and name alternatives were considered but no significant entries were found.
It was noted that an Ernest Barber had died in Bridgwater during the last quarter of 1881, aged 0 (ref 5C 231). However, having obtained a copy of the Ernest Barber death certificate, it is clear that he is unrelated and living outside Bridgwater.