Wigan Family & Local History Society


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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.

Posted by JBrown86 on 3rd March 2017  

Hi Linda

using what I found yesterday re matching registry or district names between FreeBMD and Lancs BMD, here goes for all LancsBMD William Browns dying between 1880 and 1891 with a register at St Helens. Ages not given in Lancs BMD but found in FreeBMD:

Wm d.1880 St Helens AGED 3
Wm d.1881 St Helens AGED 6
Wm d.1881 Newton le Willows AGED 26
Wm d.1883 St Helens AGED 1 or 0
Wm d.1884 Newton le Willows AGED 8
Wm d.1884 St Helens AGED 0 or 2
Wm d.1885 St Helens AGED 52
Wm d.1885 St Helens AGED 0
Wm d.1886 St Helens AGED 18
Wm d.1886 St Helens AGED 0
Wm d.1888 St Helens AGED 57

There are 11, only two in the sub-district Newton LW (which corresponds to Warrington districton FreeBMD). The ones with two alternate ages are given because there were two under the FreeBMD district in the year (making it unclear which was in the District St Helens and which was in another). The ages of those render them irrelevant to our discussion anyway :)
What do you think?

Posted by JBrown86 on 3rd March 2017  

Hi Kath
yes those are their death dates - one of my grandfather's sisters married a Greenall, so there's some family ties there quite recently (my grandfather is still alive). I'm checking the BMDs now as per my message to Linda yesterday to see which FreeBMD entries (thus with ages) match LancsBMD entries that Linda showed me from 1884.

Posted by LEP1950 on 2nd March 2017  

Hi Kath,
What Jon is trying to establish is whether the William, who was the crippled son oF Robert and Jane, could possibly be that William who dies in 1915. Robert's son vanishes after the 1881 census and could perhaps be with Sarah Jane. But it's also possible that he dies between the censuses of 1881 and 1891. That's why Jon is looking at all these deaths of William Browns (and there are a lot of them!). It's a question of elimination. Who is left, if anyone, as a possible husband/partner? Of course, William Brown, if really born in Scotland, may have suddenly appeared in Lancashire shortly bfore the 1891 census. It's difficult.


Posted by Kath Arkwright on 2nd March 2017  

Have a look at public trees on Ancestry for Sarah Jane Isherwood with mother Caroline and you will find Greenall Family Tree which has William Brown of 3 Glory Row Golborne died 30 April 1915. He was buried at St Thomas Golborne 3 May age 63y which I got from Lancs OPC. Sarah Jane Crowther 24 Feb 1935 of 702 Leigh Road Atherton.

Posted by JBrown86 on 2nd March 2017  

Hi Linda
a bit of a breakthrough that may make searching the BMDs a bit easier (to determine the ages at which some potential Williams died between 1881 and 1891 - especially the 1884 ones).

I've done a lot of testing and prodding (using unusual names for easier finds and matches); here goes when it comes to comparing Lancs BMD records to FreeBMD ones:

* For Lancs BMD records that have Sub-District Newton-le-Willows and Registers at St Helens, the corresponding FreeBMD entry(ies) show District as Warrington until end 1933, and Newton from 1934 onwards.

* For Lancs BMD records that have Sub-District St Helens and Registers at St Helens, the corresponding FreeBMD entry will show District as Prescot (sometimes misspelled with double t, but still shows up in search results on FreeBMD).

St Helens seems to be divided (on LancsBMD) into St Helens North and St Helens South beginning in 1936. These are replaced by St Helens First and St Helens Second in 1957. I could look up the corresponding FreeBMD districts to these, but they're superfluous to our discussion about William Browns dying between 1881 and 1891.

I have tried and tested all the above many times both before and after the mid-1830s cut off dates for both the NLW and St Helens entries, and found it to be flawless so far. Could help in matching the "age not given" William Browns in question (esp. the 1884 ones, but any from the decade in question) to FreeBMD records (District Warrington - I was previously searching Prescot, which seems to correspond only to St Helens and Rainford entries), since the FreeBMD ones actually give ages.
More food for thought :) I'm not giving up haha

Posted by JBrown86 on 1st March 2017  

Hi Linda
I've seen the scan Kath referred to and she's right it definitely says Morecambe. I'll let you know what comes of my matching FreeBMD deaths to LancashireBMD deaths to see where the Newton LW and St Helens register deaths are recorded in FreeBMD. Pretty well done with 1884 ones as is.

Posted by LEP1950 on 1st March 2017  

Hi Jon,

I can find nothing in Morecambe, which was only known by that name somewhat later, apart from the fisherman William Brown who is present in all the censuses. Unfortunately I have no access to findmypast, but I have looked at this 1881 census so many times and all the "Ms" by this enumerator on this page and other pages and I see no similarity to the first letter here. But Kath has seen the other scan. Anyway, it doesn't look like William was born in Morecambe and so for whatever reason he is either mistaken (perhaps lived there for a few years as a young child) or lying. This place name won't help us, I don't think. I did wonder whether it was a different small village from the well-known Morecambe or even a street name (I had that once before with another place), but I can't find anything. I then wondered whether "Scotland" in 1901 and 1911 might have been "Spotland" in Rochdale, but these are just wild thoughts.
What you said about the deaths is interesting, but you might have to invest in a death certificate to either lend weight to or rule out Robert's son William Brown as "yours".

Good hunting!

Posted by chris cordwell on 1st March 2017  cwcordwell@gmail.com 

Am looking for descendants of William Baker Flemming pawnbroker.

Posted by JBrown86 on 28th February 2017  

Hi Linda

Robert died 1884 is true. He was 69. FreeBMD (5 Roberts in 1884, same as Lancs BMD) makes it easy to match them up based on the other 4. FreeBMD gives the district as Warrington, which matches the district they are recorded as living in on several censuses. This is definitely the Robert we have been looking into.
The Roberts registered at Preston are shown as Fylde and Lancaster on FreeBMD. I'm actually still quite confident in my assertion that the 2 Wm Browns shown as Newton LW/St Helens in Lancs BMD are the 0 and 2 year olds shown as Prescot in FreeBMD (if anything, I would think that the 26 year old Wm Brown recorded as in Warrington (on FreeBMD) in late 1881 would be the William we are looking at) (that said, this Robert recoreded at St Helens has been shown in Warrington on FreeBMD, so it obviously doesn't match a Prescot register in every case- tho this has been reliable in the past for me). Lots of research in the past on my Beck/Hayes/Smith lines (Rainford,Prescot, St Helens) tells me that "recorded at" St Helens in LancsBMD usually matches up to "District" Prescot in FreeBMD; but I'll use the ages a la what I've just done with the Roberts (d.1884) to match Williams (d.1884) up with each other for elimination's sake, and see if that helps.

Does the "Morecambe" give us much to work with at this stage?


Posted by LEP1950 on 28th February 2017  


If you can get back to 1530, it would be a miracle!! Before that, I think you only have a chance if your family were nobility. With one of my lines (the only proper English one) I can get back to the early 1600s, but with the rest (so many Irish) I am stuck around 1780 - 1800!!

Regarding the deaths: This particular Brown family were living in Newton-le-Willows (formerly Newton-in-Makerfield)in the 1880s. A Robert Brown (of no age) is recorded on lancashirebmd as dying in Newton-le-Willows in 1884 and the register is at St Helens (NLW/23/42). Somewhat later that year a William Brown of uncertain age also died in Newton-le-Willows. Again the register is at St Helens and the number is NLW/23/65.Newton-l-Willows is 4 miles from St Helens and 5 miles from Warrington. Registration borders shifted over time and registers have sometimes been moved to different places. Perhaps this accounts for the confusion.

I hate to say it, but I fear the two above were the Robert and William we were looking into, but I cannot, of course, be absolutely certain.


Posted by JBrown86 on 28th February 2017  

Linda, out of interest (I'm not as far back on any of my family lines) - I noticed OPC only goes back to the 1530s-ish. Where does one turn to for records before that time, once they have got so far back? Jon

Posted by JBrown86 on 28th February 2017  

Hi Linda,

Re. the death that you found (1884)
My understanding from experience has been that those in LancsBMD that "Register At" St Helens are shown as Prescot in the FreeBMD registers. The - for age means either not given (most likely) or aged 0 in most cases. A search of Free BMD and Lancs BMD shows that in 1884 there are 2 William Browns dying recorded in St Helens and 2 on the FreeBMD recorded under Prescot. FreeBMD gives their ages as 0 and 2 which if my logic holds (so far so good) would mean that neither of them are my William or the William born to this Robert and Jane (still deciding whether my William and Robert-Jane's Wm are one and the same! this is interesting).

Just in case the quarter is a little out, I checked Dec 1883 quarter (one Prescot Wm Brown death - 0 years old) and Mar 1885 quarter (one Prescot Wm Brown death - 52 years old). neither of these would be my William or the Robert-Jane Wm. Hope this helps a little :)


Posted by LEP1950 on 27th February 2017  

Doesn't give you the AGE (!) not NAME at the end of my last message.


Posted by LEP1950 on 27th February 2017  

So, Jon, here's the entry:

Marriage: 21 Jan 1842 Christ Church, Eccleston, Lancs.
Robert Brown - full age, Tile-Maker, Bachelor, Eccleston
Jane Bays - full age, Spinster, Eccleston
Groom's Father: John Brown, Labourer
Bride's Father: John Bays, Farmer
Witness: James Howard; Catherine Marsh
Married by Banns by: W. D. Lamb Offg. Minister
Register: Marriages 1840 - 1868, Page 3, Entry 6
Source: LDS Film 1657566

It would be great if their William turned out to be yours, but there is the death in 1884 of a William Brown. You would need to buy a death certificate, which should at least give you an address and the name of the person who gave notice of the death even if it does not give you the name.