Lucy Hillen néé Hodson (1857-1940)
Lucy Hillen (nee Hodson), the daughter of George Hodson and Mary Ann Newborne, was born on 26 November 1857, in Leeds.

Explore the journey of Lucy Hodson, a respected member of our family tree, whose life story unfolds across various locations, each home a chapter in her extraordinary journey.

  • 1857: Lucy’s adventure began at 20 Mark Street, Leeds, setting the stage for a life full of stories and experiences.
  • 1861: She found a new home at 61 William Street North, Islington, opening a fresh chapter in her life.
  • 1871: Lucy continued her journey in the bustling Roman Road, Lower Holloway, Finsbury, weaving her story into the fabric of the city.
  • 1891: Embracing an unconventional lifestyle, Lucy lived in a caravan nestled between Davies and Lewis Street, Aberdare, Glamorgan. During this period, she pursued her passion as a photographic researcher, a testament to her creativity and dedication.

Walk in the footsteps of Lucy Hodson as we delve into her life, tracing her movements through time and place. Her legacy is a vivid reminder of the diverse paths our ancestors walked, enriching our family history with each step.

Intrigue deepens in the story of Lucy Hodson as we uncover a mysterious chapter involving Alexander Robinson, who appears alongside her, referred to as her husband. Despite exhaustive searches, no official records confirm their marriage, nor do we find any birth or other documentation for Alexander. Interestingly, the age and birthplace attributed to him align perfectly with those of Lucy’s original husband, suggesting the possibility of an alias being used.

Adding another layer to this historical puzzle, Lucy’s children are found to be living with her mother and sister at 4 Windsor Place, Oystermouth (Mumbles) during this period. This arrangement hints at the complex family dynamics and perhaps the challenges Lucy faced during her life.

This chapter in our family’s history invites us to ponder the mysteries of the past and the stories untold. Lucy Hodson’s life, intertwined with the enigmatic figure of Alexander Robinson, remains a captivating narrative, encouraging us to explore the depths of our family’s rich heritage.

The age and place of birth given for him would fit those of her original husband – could he also be using an alias?
Her children are at this date living with her mother and sister at 4 Windsor Place, Oystermouth (Mumbles).

The narrative of Lucy Hodson’s life takes on further layers of complexity and intrigue with the discovery that her son Alan, who was born around 1893 in Mumbles, was intriguingly registered under the surname Robinson. Yet, by the 1901 census, Alan, along with Lucy’s other children, had reverted to the surname Hillen, adding a twist to the family’s story.

Lucy’s professional life as a photographer in 1894 at Dunn’s Studio, Mumbles, provides a glimpse into her independence and creativity. The copyright of a photograph relating to a house at Mumbles, shared with an Emily Hodson and Lucy Robinson of Dunn’s Studio, underscores her active engagement in her craft. Dunn’s Studio’s proximity to Windsor Place, where her family resided, illustrates the interconnectedness of her personal and professional lives.

Lucy’s life journey continued until her passing in October to December 1940 in the Stratton district, at the age of 82. After becoming a widow, she lived with Catherine Hillen, likely a relative through marriage, in Woodbridge. This period of her life, marked by the visit from Sheelagh in 1939, adds a personal touch to her story, showing her relationships and the support network around her.

The early family life, marked by the incorrect census listing of her first child as Mary and her husband’s fluctuating employment and identity as a traveller and later a master photographer, paints a picture of a family navigating the complexities of life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their residence at various addresses, including 31 Southgate Street, Gloucester, and the Shipwrights Arms in Portsmouth, showcases a life filled with movement and change.

The absence of records under her own name in the 1891 census and the intriguing note on the wife’s page about the alias usage adds to the mystery surrounding Lucy Hodson’s life. Her story, rich with unanswered questions and the resilience shown through her professional achievements and family life, offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, inviting further exploration into the depths of our family history.

1. 1871 and later census(es).
2. Look-up service (from parish registers or bishop’s transcripts).
3. 1851 census.
4. 1891 census.
5. – birth,marriage and deaths index.
6. 1861 and later census(es).
7. Marriage certificate.
8. 1861 census.
9. 1871 census.
10. 1881 census.
11. International Genealogical Index (from bishop’s transcripts).
12. Child’s birth certificate.
13. Child’s marriage certificate.
14. Birth certificate.
15. National Archives website -“Search the Archives”.
16. 1901 census.
17. 1881 and later census(es).
18. Death certificate.

Dive into the historical tapestry of our family with the story of Lucy Hodson and James Thomas Hillen, whose marriage on December 10, 1877, at St. James Church, Islington, London, forms a cornerstone of our heritage. James, born in 1850 in Perth, Great Britain, son of Frederic Bell and Emma Smyth, led a life that spanned from 1850 to 1934, ending in London and finding his final resting place in Croydon Cemetery. Their union was witnessed by Frederick John Felgate and Sarah Ann Hodson, Lucy’s sister, whose own stories are etched in the gravestones at St. John the Baptist Church in Snape, Suffolk.

Lucy’s lineage traces back to the Hodson family from Nottinghamshire, with her father, George Hodson, and her mother, Mary Ann Newborne, hailing from Ely in Cambridgeshire. The marriage of George, the son of Joseph Hodson, a farmer, and Mary, the daughter of Samuel Newborne, an innkeeper, was celebrated on March 7, 1848, at St. Mary’s parish church in Ely.

This rich history, encompassing the details of Lucy and James’s marriage, their ancestral roots, and the lives they built, offers a vivid glimpse into our family’s past. Their story, marked by connections to diverse regions and professions, from farming to innkeeping, and the enduring legacy of their descendants, invites us to explore and cherish our shared heritage.

These images were obtained from the American branch of the family. On the back of the photograph, there is a handwritten note stating that Sarah (who married James Day) was her brother, so Joseph was his father. It also states that George never came to America.

Here is a photograph of him in later life, possibly after he had retired to Lowestoft, where his brother Samuel was living:

George died on 06/02/1892, and Samuel on 11/06/1903 (

Here is an image of his gravestone in Lowestoft, from (137463553_1413744929.jpg (1358×1956) (