A boy recorded by some earlier researchers as Joseph Creek Yeo was baptised at St Peter, Barnstaple, on 19 May 1833. His parents were Robert (a mariner) and Jane, but his name is written clearly as Joseph Greek Yeo. Joseph lived for only three years, and was buried in the same parish on 22 September 1836.
Robert Yeo and Jane Paddon had married at St Peter, Barnstaple on 8 April 1830. They had further children Robert Yeo (1833), Louisa Ellen Yeo (1837), William Yeo (1839), a boy they also named Joseph Greek Yeo (1842, see below) and John Leworthy Yeo (1847).
The 1841 census return for Salem Street, Barnstaple records Robert and Jane with children Robert, Louisa and William.
Robert Yeo senior had an aunt Susannah Edwards (née Yeo, 1771–1819) whose son John Edwards (1800–1860) was a ship broker and merchant ship owner in Bristol. Robert and his family moved to Bristol, perhaps because of the connection to his aunt and cousin, and were there in 1847 when the birth of their son John was registered.
Robert died before the 1851 census, which records Jane as a widow. With her are sons Robert (he had joined the Royal Navy as an apprentice in May 1849 and is recorded in the return as a mariner aged 16) and John (aged 3), but her other children Louisa (12), William (10) and Joseph (8) are recorded in the Clifton Union workhouse, so life was hard for the family.
Jane lived until 1878. Her daughter Louisa died in 1899 after spending much of her life in the workhouse.
The second Joseph Greek Yeo’s birth certificate records his birth in Barnstaple on 22 April 1842, but the rest of his life is difficult to trace with confidence as he appears later to be recorded as Joseph Hussey Yeo, son of Robert Hussey Yeo. These records show him marring Jean Matthews in 1870 and dying in 1902 at the age of 59. We can’t be sure this is the same man.
Another John Leworthy Yeo (1807–1881) might be related to this family. See Robert Yeo and Sarah Leworthy.