This information was prompted by a visit to the PRO Family Records Centre on 22nd May 1999.
Isaac Coston was previously believed to have been born in 1800 but may have been born in 1801. The census returns for 1851, 1861 and 1871 show him as 50, 60 and 70 respectively. However this may depend on the day and month of his birth and on the actual census dates.
Isaac married Mary Farnham c. 1830. My Great Grandmother believed that they only had the one son, James, but Mary registered, on 30th July 1843, the birth, on 25th July 1843, of a son William, to Isaac and Mary (formally Farnham) Coyston. Mary was, presumably, illiterate because she signed William's birth certificate with a cross ('the mark of Mary Coyston, the mother, Berden').
There was no mention of William in the Berden census returns from 1851 onwards but a William, of the right age, 56, died at Mile End in June 1899. An Ann Coyston of Mile End died three months earlier, in March 1899, aged 51. She could have been William's wife.
The census returns for Little London, Berden, show Isaac as head of the household in 1851 and 1861 (as an agricultural labourer) and, in 1871 (as a gardener). Mary appeared as his wife in the 1851, 1861 and 1871 census returns and as a member of James' household in 1881. She is recorded at that time as a farm labourer.
We could find no record of the birth of James but he is shown in the 1851 census return as a member of Isaac and Mary's household, aged 7 (hence born in 1844). He appears in the census return of 1861 as a servant in the household of Elizabeth Seabrook, working as a groom and aged 17.
In the 1871 census James is recorded as head of a household aged 27, working as a gardener. We believe he married Clara Charlotte Harradence in 1876.
In the 1881 census James' household is shown as Clara, his wife, and Charles (or Christopher) aged 3, born in 1878, with Isaac's widow Mary. We found no record of Christopher's birth but a son, Charles, was registered as born to James and Clara in 1878. Christopher signed James' death certificate in 1905 as Christopher C Coyston so it is probable that his second name was Charles.
James' household in 1891 consisted of James, aged 47, stockman, Clara his wife, aged 37, son Christopher, 13, agricultural labourer, sons Herbert, 12 and Arthur, 11, both scholars and daughters Alberta, 8, Olive, 6, Amy, 4, and Violet, 2. Christopher and Herbert died in 1911 and 1909, respectively. Arthur was my Great Grandfather, Alberta was known in the family as Daisy and married a George. My Grand-Dad believes that he met Daisy in his youth. Two other daughters, Hilda (Cis) and Elsie were born in the 1890s and he knew Amy, Cis and Elsie quite well in the 1930s and on until they died. Amy never married but looked after her widowed mother, Clara, and Cis (who was a happy soul but my no means 'all there'!). Elsie married Charles Stimpson and they were Christine Howard's grandparents.
James died on 23rd April 1905, aged 61, farm labourer and we have his death certificate. The cause of death is given as Morbus Cordis (which means heart disease) and Syncope (failure of the blood supply). The family moved from Little London after that and settled in Waltham Cross.
The lack of James' birth record may well be due to the name Coyston being misspelled by Mary, who we suspect was illiterate. We checked the birth records for several variants of Coyston, such as Coston with no success but a more thorough check could be could be worthwhile.