I have spent the afternoon pinning down Carmen. She was born Maria Carmen Benita Gertrude Navarrete in Cartagena Spain- When she was first married , in 1851 census, living in Plymouth she called herself Maria. In 1861 she was Carmen both at home and professionally when she signed the University Local Exams petition.
Running her prep school and girls’ boarding school in Brighton she calls herself Catherine, and at the convalescent home in 1901, she is known as Mary C Atkinson. No wonder she was hard to track down. She had three sons while living in Devon, one of whom, Harry Percy Atkinson, went to Oxford University and became a vicar.
There is still a puzzle about her daughter Constance who in 1861 is listed as being 17 years old and born in Blackheath. I think that this could be an error, and have ordered what seems a possible birth certificate –for a child that could have been 17 months old- and has the name Carmen Emily Adelaide Constance Atkinson born 1859 in Greenwich, who appears at school in Westbury on Trym in 1871. I have to wait until about the 21st June to receive the certificate.
Ancestry.com who made all this possible have done a little sneaky trick. They snare you into ordering the certificates from them for £22, but they are still available from the GRO for £7. I don’t normally buy certificates for the Suffrage Petition women, only when there is a particularly knotty puzzle which needs unravelling…