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Posted by LEP1950 on 5th May 2017  

Have you found any baptisms for Thomas and Ann's children? I haven't. There are a few baptisms of children to a Thomas and Ann Fairhurst in the 1830s, but I think these are the children of Thomas and Ann nee Pilkington. It's just that I found a burial of a William Fairhurst at St Aidan's, Billinge, who could be the right age, and he is noted as a "papist". Possibly Thomas and Ann were also baptised as Catholics. Billinge also had a Catholic church and baptisms from 1792 to 1900 are available on microfilm at Wigan library. What a pity that I've just come back from Wigan. I was only there for three days as I was in Liverpool before that, but if I'd had something concrete to look up, I would have popped to the library. Anyway, it's a thought.


Posted by LEP1950 on 5th May 2017  

Hi Jon,
I had also favoured William Fairhurst and Peggy Hill as the parents of Thomas, particularly since they married at St Aidan's in Billinge. But 1803 is certainly way out as far as Thomas's age in the censuses is concerned. Among Thomas and Ann's children was also a Sarah (Margaret's mother). It could be just chance that Ann's parents were also William and Margaret, but then why was the first daughter called Mary?? And where is Randle? This was a name that had been used for generations in Margaret Hill's family. I couldn't find evidence of a baptism of a Randle Fairhurst or an infant death of one. This makes me think that William and John must have been the names of the fathers, but perhaps Thomas just didn't like the name Randle. Naming conventions were unfortunately not written in stone, although at this particular time it was common to name the first two sons after the respective fathers and the first two daughters after the respective mothers.But one can't rely on this. I'm still trying to crosscheck all the Thomas Fairhursts. Will get back to you when I have something more concrete to say.


Posted by JBrown86 on 5th May 2017  

Hi Linda,
I neglected to mention that Ann nee Dixon dies as Ann Fairhurst in early 1867, recorded age 63, in Wigan (Upholland). A comparison of LancsBMD (wigan & leigh entries) and FreeBMD (Wigan) deaths shows that this is the only death between 1861 and 1871 in the area that comes remotely close to corresponding with the age she would have been. Upholland is their district of residence thru multiple censuses so it all makes sense. Wonder why the varying census reports of her birth year are all after what it would have been in this case (1804?).


Posted by JBrown86 on 5th May 2017  

Hi Linda,
interesting you mentioned that -
I had previously considered the most likely parents of Thomas Fairhurst to be William Fairhurst and Margaret Hill - their son Thomas born 1803 - as I've always understood the naming conventions to mean that the father's parents' names were given to the first son and second daughter - in this case Wm & Margaret.

I wasn't sure how likely this is - the birth/baptism time of July 1803 would mean he should have been 81 at death (recorded as 80) - but I have started to construct a little tree using Margaret's parentage (Randle and Sarah) in case anything stands out.

Have I mistaken about the naming conventions? Based on that, I was favouring the second son and first daur as the names of Ann's parents - John and Mary in this case.

Thanks for the pointer re Newton le Willows - It's one name I'm not too familiar despite so much of my father's side of the family coming from Ashton in Makerfield which I understand sometimes to be called Newton in Makerfield and am not sure if that is the same thing as NLW.

Thanks again


Posted by LEP1950 on 4th May 2017  

For Jon,

Ann Dixon could be the daughter of WILLIAM and MARGARET DIXON (note children's names). She was born on January 18th 1809 and christened on the 29th of the same month at St Peter's, Newton-le-Willows, about 7 miles south of Wigan. A scan of the entry is on ancestry under "Wigan, CofE Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths 1580-1812". The period between 1769 and 1835 is missing for this church on lan-opc.org.uk. I've been crosschecking a lot of Thomas Fairhursts, but have reached no definitive decision. Need to do more, but will let you know.


PS Margie, will get back to you. Have been away and not much time at the moment.

Posted by JBrown86 on 4th May 2017  

Sorry Linda that my post didn't go thru.
My 4x great-grandparents Thomas Fairhurst and Ann nee Dixon - I am trying to find their parentage but they're hard to pin down via Lancs OPC - they're very Wigan-based so I thought to try my luck here :)

The .pdf I sent you contains links to them on all censuses on which they appear. Summarised, their birth years and residences on each are as follows:

1841 (born abt 1811 Lancashire). living Upholland Wigan
1851 born abt 1808 Billinge. living Upholland Wigan
1861 born 1806 Wigan. living Upholland Wigan
1871 born abt 1807 Billinge. living Upholland Wigan
1881 born abt 1805 Billinge. living Wigan Hindley as a boarder

died April-June 1885, aged 80, Hindley.

1841 (born abt 1811 Lancashire). living Upholland Wigan.
1851 born abt 1808 Billinge. living Upholland Wigan.
1861 born abt 1806 Wigan. living Upholland Wigan

Some other family lines of mine are very Billinge-based; I've found Billinge events to generally be recorded under Upholland/District Wigan & Leigh in BMD records; however this time period of Thomas & Ann's births is obviously not on Lancs OPC.
There are no baptisms with Billinge (either as the chapel or the abode) on Lancs OPC to help me pin down Thomas or Ann; however, there are Pemberton and Orrell ones, which I understand to be quite close, I'm just not sure which to favour over the other. Any help (at your leisure obviously :) )would be appreciated and am happy to continue digging and sharing whatever I find also to help us get to the bottom of it. Hope all is well :)



Posted by JBrown86 on 4th May 2017  

Hi Elizabeth,
that sounds interesting!
I wrote that post a while ago, but am still interested in furthering my research on those lines. John Unsworth and Margaret nee Boardman are in my direct line of ancestors. They are my 6x great-grandparents.

I have a document (computer image of it) that I can't remember what it's called. but that reads like a Banns (or the proceedings that could be paid for if couples wanted to skip the Banns process).

At the top it reads "John Unsworth of Abraham in the parish of Wigan and the County of Lancaster, Farmer & John Boardman of Ashton in the Parish of Winwick & the said county of Lancaster, Farmer"

then goes on to say the sum they paid. It would seem to me these are the fathers of John Unsworth and Margaret Boardman. Seeing John Unsworth's father to be John, I favour Sarah nee Edwardson as his mother, but would be grateful for any info you have :)

I have done a bit to pin down which of the James Pierpoints on Lancs OPC are my James (who married Elizbeth Unsworth, the daur of John & Margaret). Unsworths seem to have been Catholics, Pierpoints not necessarily, so if my James is on the Lancs OPC site at all I favour this baptism:

Baptism: 11 Feb 1776 St Oswald, Winwick, Lancashire, England
James Parpoint - son of John Parpoint
Born: 22 Jan
Abode: Winwick
Register: Baptisms 1756 - 1776, Page 28, Entry 19
Source: LDS Film 1655876

Thanks for the post and hope to hear from you; have a great day.


Posted by Elizabeth Prior on 3rd May 2017  

I have a copy of the 1767 Return of Papists for the Diocese of Chester published by the Catholic Record Society and am happy to do look-ups. I think I may have found the John Unsworth and Margaret Boardman referred to in an earlier message. There is one Pierpoint entry - name of John an innkeeper age 40 living in Sankey resident for 15 years.

Posted by Elizabeth Prior on 3rd May 2017  

Is anyone researching the Catholic Heskeths (with various spellings)of Wigan parish, in particular the families of George who married Esther Holt in 1791 and a John who married Ann Platt in 1792? The fathers' names in the baptismal register of St John's are given as George & John but both with wives called Esther whose maiden name (Holt)is given only twice and that where the father is John. George Hesketh married Esther Holt 16 July 1791 at Upholland & St John's. They had tried a year earlier at Billinge but the banns had been forbidden. A John Hesketh married Ann Platt 18 May 1792 at Billinge & St John's. They had one child, Peter, who died of smallpox in 1794. Ann may be the Ann buried later the same year & described as wife of John weaver of Standishgate. Logic dictates that the baptismal entries for John's children should have George as the father but logic may not have anything to do with it. Has anyone come across other inconsistencies like this in the St John's registers?
I have been unable to find burials for George and Esther despite trawling through a very poor quality microfilm.
I have also been searching for the burial of Isabella (or Bella)Worsley, wife of Roger Worsley of Hardibutts, who died circa 1825/6. Roger remarried in 1827, died in 1831 and, according to the St John's register was buried at St Mary's.
Thank you.

Posted by JBrown86 on 2nd May 2017  

Posted by clive Roper on 28th April 2017  cliver@netspace.net.au 

Thanks fro adding me to the group. I live in Tasmania Australia and the My Grandfather Thomas Roper was first found in Australia when he enlisted in WW1 His pay book listed his next of kin as Sister, Margaret Roper 33 New Market Street Wigan, Lancashire England. I love to find some relatives. We know Thomas was in South Africa some time between the 1891 UK census and 1916 Thanks Clive Roper

Posted by Wigan Family & Local History Society on 25th April 2017  

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Posted by Margie on 22nd April 2017  

Hello Lynda,
This is what we have May 4th 1753 Thomas Bonney married Helen Worsake (various spellings)in St John RC Wigan, we have not found any Baptism records as of now that is if the couple did have children.
We are not entirely sure these are the couples children but taking the ages from the marriages they could be.
1781 All Saints Cof E
John Cubbin m Nancy / Ann Bonney

William Wilson 16.10.1785 St Benedict Rc Hindley to Jane Bonney

John Middlehurst to Ellen Bonney 30.9.1777 St Thomas the Martyr.

There are others but don't want to send you too much as I know how busy people can be.

Thanks Margie

Posted by LEP1950 on 17th April 2017  

No problem!

Posted by Margie on 17th April 2017  

For Lynda,
Thank you so much for all your help its really appreciated although my Bonney's are from Wigan I can discount Catherine as not one of ours.
If its ok I might get back to you with some more of our Bonney's that we are struggling with.

Posted by LEP1950 on 16th April 2017  

Hello Margie,

In the 1901 census Katherine Bonney is a 74-year old widow, born supposedly in Lytham St Anne's (perhaps not true, but she may have grown up there) and living at 1 Vauxhall Street, Wigan. She is living with her son-in-law Thomas Farnsworth aged 39, her daughter Marie aged 35 and born in Bradford, Yorkshire and their children Thomas Herb. (9, born Exeter, Devon), Harry (7, born Manchester), Florence (4, bon Manchester) and Katherine (3 months, born Wigan). She is noted as being deaf.

In 1881 Catherine Bonney is in Manchester with her daughters Annie Bonney (21, born Preston) and Maria Farnsworth (26, see above). Here she decides she was born in Ireland. She is 64 and working as a dressmaker.

1881 4, Primrose Street, Salford. Married. Born Ireland. Two daughters: Maria (16) and Annie (11).

1871, Catherine is supposedly 46 and born in Ireland. She is in this census living in Preston with her husband John, 37, a bookseller, who was born in Lytham. Apart from the daughters Maria and Annie, there are three older sons: Henry, 13, born Lytham; Thomas, 12, born Haslingden and John, 8, born Isle of Man.

1861 not yet found.

1851 Catherine is listed as the 24 year old daughter of an English mariner called Thomas FELL, who was born in Lytham, and an Irish mother from Westmeath called Mary. Catherine seems to have been born in Drogheda, but the word is difficult to read. There are two other siblings John and Ann, both born in Lytham.

IN 1841 there is a list of Fell children in Lytham without parents:

Ellen (20)
Mary (15, perhaps age rounded down)
Catherine (15)
Ann (12)
James (9)
Thomas (7)
John (2)

Ellen, Mary and Catherine were born in Ireland, the others in England.

In the parish registers for the Isle of Man, the names "Caterinae Bonny (sic) Fell" and "Joannis Bonney" are mentioned, but no year is given. The Latin endings suggest a possessive case, so it may be in the baptism entry for son John.

Civil registration suggests that Catherine Fell married John Bonney in Fylde, Lancashire in the last quarter of 1856. The register is in Blackpool and the reference is OFY/2/183. The marriage didn't take place in the Church of England. Possibly a Catholic marriage.

Hope I've helped,


Posted by margie on 16th April 2017  

I have a Catherine Bonney buried at Lower Ince Grave Number D150 (public grave)
Catherine was living at 5 Vauxhall RD at time of death in 1902 she was 76 when she died.
I can find no reference to this Catherine anywhere can anyone help to find her prior to her death

Thanks Margie

Posted by LEP1950 on 9th March 2017  

Hi Jon,

I didn't have any more ideas either, but I still think about it. The last couple of days I've been helping someone on the other Wigan site. Also a bit of a challenge.


Posted by JBrown86 on 8th March 2017  

Hi Linda
I'm constructing a tree of Robert Brown and Jane Bray and children/parents for them -so far as I can find - just to see if any lightbulb moment occurs. I'm still keeping in mind that their Wm possibly died in 1881 and is not mine at all. Mine seems likely to have been born in Scotland but cannot narrow down further at this stage. Not sure if there are any more leads - I'll check Wm son of Robert and Jane in Census images to see if there's any scribble that might give info re. birth places or otherwise, but I doubt it. Just letting you know I haven't abandoned this research just yet but as far as I can see there's not too many other paths to follow.


Posted by LEP1950 on 3rd March 2017  

Hi Jon,
The 1881 death could be him. As far as I can gather, only one William Brown was born in Newton-le-Willows in 1854. Newton is a different place. Two were registered in the St Helens district in 1853, but people moved to the area as well. I don't know.