Farley, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Farley, son of Richard Farley[1] and Grace <surname unknown>

Birth: <about 1860>
Monkleigh, Devon

Death: <date unknown>
<place unknown>

Spouse: Luigi Gargaro
(not married)
List of children

Spouse: William Thomas Lloyd[2]
Marriage: 1899
Holy Trinity Church, Newington

Elizabeth Farley has been one of the more challenging ancestors to trace in my family tree. She lists her birth place as Monkleigh – a small village in Devon – but I’ve yet to find a birth certificate for her in Devon. She was born around 1860 (possibly 1861/1862). The first record of Elizabeth Farley in London is the birth certificate of her first child, Dominic Gargaro, who was born in Bermondsey in 1881. It lists Dominic as being born at 21 Vine Street in Bermondsey and the address of the mother, Elizabeth Farley, at 42 Warner Street in Clerkenwell. For reasons unknown to me or my grandmother, Elizabeth did not marry Luigi Gargaro. On the 1881 census, the couple are living at 53c High Street in Woolwich with a 4 month old Dominic and two boarders listed as musicians from Italy. By 1891 Luigi and Elizabeth had moved to 33 Conley Street in Greenwich with their three sons, now aged 10, 8 and 6. They also had a baby girl who died only a few months old – this child was also the only of Luigi and Elizabeth’s children to be baptised in the Church of England. The 1891 census is the last trace of Elizabeth with Luigi and within 2 years, the relationship broke down and they separated. Originally, I believed Elizabeth Farley must have died leaving Luigi with the three children, and this was also what the family were told down from Dominic, but as even Dominic was very young at the time, and he might not have known himself.

In September 1893, Luigi remarried a lady named Frances Smith at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Southwark. Luigi’s condition to the marriage is ‘bachelor’. Frances died less than three months into the marriage leaving him as a widow. Luigi later remarried again the year after to another lady, who he had further children with.

After she seemingly disappears from the lives of Luigi, Dominic, Charles and Lewis, an Elizabeth Farley is recorded as the mother of Violet Lilian Lloyd in 1893/94 which would mean she went into a new relationship just as quickly as Luigi did. She also appears to be living just minutes away from her ‘old’ family, which is slightly alarming, but maybe I am missing something which they knew and I don’t! The marriage to her new spouse didn’t take place until 1899 in Newington, south London. Her new husband is an even more mysterious person than Elizabeth, using different aliases on almost every record! Here she lists her father as Richard Farley, deceased, which is how I know it is her.

The only other thing about Elizabeth Farley that is known in the family is that she sung “opera” in Covent Garden. I am unsure how what was meant by “sung the opera in Covent Garden” as the most obvious place would be the Covent Garden Opera House, but I believe she was most likely a street entertainer who did opera on the street (as you’d still see today). The story was most likely told with varying degrees of fact and fiction over the years like a game of Chinese whispers!

I would like to know more about Elizabeth Farley, perhaps more than anybody else on my family tree. Why was she untraceable in her early life? Why did she come to London? Why did she not marry Luigi Gargaro, whilst staying together for more than 10 years with numerous children?  Why did she marry after her relationship with Luigi so quickly? Why did the relationship between her and Luigi end?! How did she manage to live in a neighbouring town and start a new life with her sons believing she had died young? 

Some of these questions I hope to answer, others I don’t expect to ever find out…

If you know anything about Elizabeth Farley or have a Farley connection in the same area of Devon, please get in touch!

[1] Richard Farley is not the confirmed name but it was given on her 1899 marriage certificate and corresponds with a 1861 census with Elizabeth at a year old.
[2] William Thomas Lloyd has used several names on records including Charles Lloyd, William Thomas Stone and William Thomas Stoneham.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Heather Attwood
    Nov 17, 2011 @ 18:39:43

    Hello there, Interesting to know that you have found the Farley’s difficult to research. I am trying to find out about a Thomas Farley who married a Sarah Maine on 18.09.1834 in Monkleigh. I can’t find out anything else about him apart from the fact that he had children with Sarah. I was wondering if you found any reference to him anywhere?


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