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A little bit more about Anna Maria

Anna Maria Van Cooten was the eldest daughter of John Van Cooten and Martha (nee Smithers). According to the 1851 census she was born in Newport, Monmouthshire, which is where her parents were married. Ida Gorsuch lists her as Anna Maria in a letter in 1893, and also mentions that “Aunt Maria (fathers eldest sister) joined her mother, and never again returned to her Fathers house”. In a family tree summary from about 1900, Ida says “Anna Maria Van Cooten, died unmarried a Milton next Gravesend in or about the year 1875 or 6”, and in another list, possibly from about 1903, just says “Maria Anna Van Cooten died unmarried”.

The next documented information I have is from the 1851 census for 9 Draycott Street, Chelsea where Martha K. Van Cooten, 61, Annuitant, born in Surrey Southwark is presumably being looked after by Anna M. Van Cooten, 38, born in Monmouthshire Newport. No occupation is listed for Anna Maria. Anna Maria’s death certificate on 12 December 1873 states her occupation as “gentlewoman”. M. A. Painter is listed as the informant, present at the death. Martha died in 1854.

Anna Maria divided an amount of £300 in her will. In today’s money this is the equivalent of about £20,000 or about $AUS45,000. The income of £15/annum from the investment of this money is worth about £1000 or $AUS2,200 – which wouldn’t seem enough to live on. Anna must have had some other form of support.

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