Several Oseman boys in the Poplar area of London were given a second name of “Emblem” or “Emblen”.

The name became something of a family tradition which persisted until 1994, when the last known “Emblem” died in Eastbourne.

It was not unusual in the 19th Century for a child to be given the mother’s maiden name as one of their Christian names, as a way of perpetuating the name.

1861 Census

In fact the 1861 census shows an entry for the Poplar area with the following entries:

19 Little James Street, Poplar, Middlesex
Name Position
Occupation Birth-Place
William Emblem Head
Sawyer Hants, Titchfield

Sarh. F. Oseman
H. Daughter
Needlewoman I of Wight, W Cowes
Thos do. Son-in-Law
Labourer in the Iron Trade Middx., London
Olive Isbla do. Gd Daug
Scholar do Poplar

Little James Street no longer exists but, from the Census records, seems to have been off Grundy Street (see map below). This Census district also included Kerby Street (now called Kerbey Street), Cordelia Street and Chrisp Street, all of which still exist.



Poplar is about 6 miles from St. Pancras and, in Victorian times, seems to have been a pretty grim place to live.

The area was very busy at this time with the growth of the East and West India Docks and there were apparently plenty of iron-works in the area, providing work for Thos (Thomas). There would also have been plenty of requirements for timber cutting to provide employment for William, assuming he was still actually working

Thos Oseman

“Thos” is an abbreviation for Thomas and he was possibly Thomas Benjamin, son of Thomas (Hoseman) (1799) who was in turn brother of our great-great-great Grandfather William (1801).

BMD contains a marriage entry for Q3 1842 in Poplar between:

Thomas Osemen (1820-1882) and Sarah Frances Emblen (1820-1872)

(Ref. 2 284).

So this must be the origin of this name tradition.

William Emblem

According to the 1861 Census William was born about 1780 in Titchfield, Hampshire. Titchfield & South Stoneham (see below) were small villages near Southampton. Titchfield still exists but South Stoneham seems to be missing!

The 1861 census shows his occupation as a “Sawyer” (i.e. somebody who cuts wood either manually or by machine). He was 71 at this point, so was he still working at this age?

The 1851 census appears to show him back in South Stoneham, Hampshire where he is shown as a lodger and also “Pauper/Formerly (?) Ag. Lab.” This latter refers to Agricultural Labourer, many of whom were made destitute by the Enclosures program of the mid-19th Century. As a pauper he should show up in the workhouse records.

The 1841 Census is totally confusing. He appears to show up in South Stoneham but his age is given as 65! The 1841 Census is renowned for its dodgy data, but this seems too far out to make sense. More work needed here! (PS It must be his father).

Thomas & Sarah’s Children

The following children were born (and died) in the Poplar area during the 1840s-1850s. As Thomas & Sarah appear to be the only Osemans in the area at that time producing children we can assume that they all belong to them.

Agnes Ann Oseman(1842-1843)
William Thomas Oseman (1844-?) – married 1872?
Charles Emblem Oseman (1846-1847)
Olive Isabella Oseman (1849-?) – married 1867
Walter Francis Osemen (1851-1851)
Elizabeth Mary Ann Oseman(1853-1853)
Jane Frances Mouncher Osemen (1855-1856)

The Next Generation:

The next three children born with the name Emblem were

William Emblem Oseman (1873-1944) – married 1907?
Thomas Emblen Oseman (1878-?)
Charles Emblen Osemen (1878-1914) – married 1909?

All were born in Poplar and are possibly the sons of William Thomas James Oseman.

Charles Emblen Osemen

Charles Emblem died in the early days of World War 1 (25th September 1914) near Seine-et-Marne (possibly at the Battle of the Marne, although the main battle was earlier in September).

His memorial shows the following inscription:

Charles Emblem Oseman
Lance Corporal 6745, 3rd Bn., Rifle Brigade
who died on Friday, 25th September 1914. Age 36
Husband of Mary E. Oseman, of 20 Addison Rd., South Norwood, London
Remembered with honour
La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial, Seine-et-Marne, France.

The Last Emblen:

The last child with the Emblen name, was

Charles Emblen Oseman (1909-1994) – married 1934

born in Croydon, probably to Charles Emblen and Mary E Oseman.

He married Aileen Hathaway in Croydon in Q1 1934 (2a 581) and died in 1994 in Eastbourne. I can find 2 children:

Sheila (b. 1937; m. Crockett 1955)
Pamela J. (b. 1944; m. Taylor 1966)

Aileen died in 1994, aged 88, in Brentwood.

Oseman vs. Osemen

Note the inter-changeability of Oseman and Osemen for this group!