Mary Eaves, the midwife in question, practised midwifery for 35 years and attended 4,438 births. There are over 5,000 names listed in three surviving registers and it is these names which are now published on Findmypast for the first time. Search for your Coventry ancestor in this niche collection.
Typically, you can expect to find the following information in this collection:
Mary Eaves was born Mary Willis in around 1806 in Coventry. Her future husband, Charles Eaves was born in 1804, the son of Charles and Ann Eaves, a weaver.
Mary practised midwifery from 1847 although she was only officially sworn in on July 3rd 1849. In 1851 there were, apart from Mary Eaves, seven other midwives in Coventry. Ann Brown in Fleet Street, Maria Goode and Sarah Johnson in Foleshill, Hannah Drakeford at Chauntry Place, Charlotte Dingley at New Buildings and Catherine West and Harriett Greenway at Much Park Street.
It is noted in the registers that Mary practised midwifery for 35 years and attended 4,438 births but there are 5,035 names listed in the three surviving registers and it is these names which are now published on Findmypast for the first time.
The handwriting, for the main part, was of one person, with three short breaks where others filled in the register. Mary may not have completed the registers herself as both she and her husband, Charles Eaves signed their names with a mark when they married in 1825. It is equally possible though that Mary may have learned to read and write in the 22 years between her marriage and the beginning of her career as a midwife. .
Tickets were also noted. It would seem that certain local dignitaries could be approached, possibly via an agent, for a ticket, which would ensure that Mary Eaves attended the delivery of the child. It is likely that Mary would collect her fee from the agent that issued the ticket to the mother.
Some addresses appeared to be the place of many births. Further research may reveal that those addresses listed multiple times were in fact nursing homes.The registers reveal that there were 34 sets of twins delivered. Of those who died during delivery, five were babies and 16 are assumed to be mothers. The last entry in Mary Eaves register was on 17th October 1875.
The spellings of all the names and addresses are transcribed exactly as they appear in the registers.