Every now and then I find myself going back to people I haven't "seen" for a while and that's what I did today. I read something online which made me wonder and so I looked at Catherine Culpin.
She was was born in Stevenage in 1850, the daughter of Millice Culpin & Sarah, nee Barrett, and married Francis Joshua Kirby in 1879. For some reason I gave them two sons, using only the index to the 1901 census as proof; the note I read online suggested that they had an adopted daughter, as they had no children of their own. So, I followed Catherine and Francis through the available censuses and guess what - I was wrong!
But there the thot plickens: yes, the 1911 census says Elsie Bertha B Culpin is the "adopted daughter" of Francis, the head of the household, which also included, on that night, wife Catherine, mother in law Sarah Culpin, sister Kezia Kirby and one servant. I don't doubt that Francis & Catherine adopted Elsie but she is the natural daughter of Catherine's brother Charles and his wife Clara (nee Barrett). Clara died in 1894 and Charles disappears off the radar after he was declared bankrupt in 1892.
However, I've just sorted one thing out: the Elsie Kirby, listed as cousin & was living with Millais Culpin and his grandmother in West Ham in 1901, is clearly Elsie Bertha B (for Barrett) Culpin, the aforementioned adopted daughter. How odd that, away from her "new parents" she's listed as Kirby yet, whilst living with them, her surname is Culpin.
Anyway, it's getting dark and I really ought to get up and turn the light on. So I shall do so and then continue to sort out the Culpin/Kirby conundrum.