Wigan Family & Local History Society


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Posted by LEP1950 on 27th February 2017  

Hi Jon,
It was in the 1861 census that Isabella was supposedly born in Scotland. In 1851, it says Prescot, as it does for her siblings Jane and John. Subsequent children were born in Newton-le-Willows, but Isabella herself also claims to have been born in Newton, e.g. in the 1881 census. By this time she was married to Thomas Pearson. Their daughter Jessie was the granddaughter with Jane Brown in 1891.That's the problem with places of birth.
It seems like Isabella was born in 1842, looking at the registers for Prescot.
In 1842 a Robert Brown married a Jane Boys at Christ Church, Eccleston, St Helens. Eccleston is in Prescot parish. I'm thinking that these were the parents, but of course I cannot be absolutely certain. In the marriage register, Jane's surname is written as Bays.

I'll send the entry separately. Not had good experience with copying from the internet.


Posted by LEP1950 on 27th February 2017  

Hi Jon,
Have just seen the death of a William Brown in Newton-le-Willows in 1884. No age is given. I think I took this to mean at birth when I first glanced, but now I'm not sure. Will look more intensely this evening.

Posted by LEP1950 on 27th February 2017  

Hi Linda and Kath,

I found a 26 year old William's death recorded in June quarter 1881 in Warrington - the district the family is recorded in in the Censuses that you Linda mentioned in a previous post. I've been going through a lot of those this morning. I found the death on FreeBMD which from my experience is better for the Warrington area as it's not clear to me when Warrington stopped being recorded in Lancashire and when it started in Cheshire. I hope this is not the William you have found with Robert and Jane, as the "cripple" lead seemed so promising! I can't for the life of me find what Jane's maiden name was - the children all seemed to be recorded in Prescot and the later ones in Newton L-W, all St Helens distrcit, which doesn't give mother's maiden names in the Lancs BMD. You mentioned an older daughter born in Scotland but the oldest Isabella is onyl shown as born in Prescot in all records I can come across - I may have missed something.
No cigar either in trying to pinpoint Robert and Jane on earlier Censuses or a marriage record (though they seem to have started with children 1843, so it was probably in the few years before that year) - have searched for this in both Scotland and England records.
Just adding that death of Wm to the discussion in case it's him - it doesn't take away from the Morecambe lead regardless, even if it is. I'll keep looking.


Posted by JBrown86 on 27th February 2017  

Hi Linda and Kath
very excited about any information that helps to narrow down Wm and his ancestry! I haven't read all the posts in depth yet - I had another look at the 1911 Census image over the weekend and for the life of me couldn't figure out what it said - Morecambe I have never heard of. I am perusing all posts now. I also scanned all William Browns born in Scotland in 1881 Census, that had either railway or plate in the occupation, and then connected as many as possible to 1891 Scottish censuses to determine who I could eliminate. Most of them seem pretty easy to eliminate, so I can't be sure at what time in his life my William moved to England - for all I know it was in his young childhood. Thanks again and I will delve into this new information now :)

Posted by LP1950 on 26th February 2017  

Hi Jon,
You will have read Kath's messages by now. Apparently, the name "Morecambe" for the place was not in use at the time of William's birth. It arose later and comprised the hamlets of Poulton, Bare and Torrisholme. I did find the birth of a William Brown in 1854, son of a fisherman named William and his wife Ann. However, son William also became a fisherman and you can follow him through the censuses (later ones give Morecambe as the birthplace and no longer Poulton le Sands) and so he cannot be "your" William.

If William Brown did claim to have been born in Morecambe, why did he do so? Did he spend some of his childhood there? Perhaps his father worked on the railways. I read that in the early 50s a new railway line was being built in the area. William may have been born in Scotland but come to Morecambe as a child.

I've also been following something else. I looked at the names of the children of William and Sarah and wondered whether his father's name could have been Henry or Robert. I decided that Robert sounded more Scottish and Looked for a Robert Brown born in Scotland and living in England. I started with 1861 and I found one in Newton-le-Willows (which is 3 miles from Golborne if you don't know the area). Both parents and the eldest daughter were born in Scotland, the later children in Newton-le-Willows. William is with his parents in 1861, 1871 and 1881 and was born in 1854 (confirmed by LancsBMD). In 1881 he is listed as having "no occupation", but what is perhaps interesting is that he is noted as being a "cripple" in the relevant section. Mother Jane is widowed in 1891 and has a son called James with her and a granddaughter, but NO WILLIAM. I haven't found a death of a suitable William between 1881 and 1891 in Newton-le-Willows (admittedly have only so far looked on Lancs BMD). So where was he after 1881?? Possibly with Sarah Jane???? The area is correct and he is of Scottish descent, but what's all this about being born in Morecambe or for that matter Scotland??
But I feel you should look at this William more closely.


Posted by LEP1950 on 26th February 2017  

Hi Kath,
I knew there were variations in the records between ancestry and findmypast, but I didn't know the quality of the scanning varied. Let's see if Morecambe helps us any further. Unfortunately people for various reasons often lie about their birthplace, but perhaps Scotland was the lie.
Thanks and I'm sure your information will interest Jon.

Posted by Kath Arkwright on 26th February 2017  

The original on Find My Past is a much better scanning than that on Ancestry and Morecambe is absolutely what is there.The last place of birth on the page is Dublin!.

Posted by LEP1950 on 25th February 2017  

Hi Kath,

I've spent quite a long time looking at the copy of the original 1891 census for William Brown on ancestry. While I agree that the second half of the word could possibly be ...cambe, I can't see how the beginning could be More... The first letter doesn't look like anything like the other "M's" of this enumerator .I've now listed the alphabet and will look to see how the enumerator does each letter to see if I can make out the first letter by a process of elimination. That would help enormously.
I did think of "Mid." in the 1911 census as the full stop could indicate an abbreviation, but the word could just as easily be "Keith" or "birth" as I said. The only thing I'm sure of is that the word contains an "i" as you can recognise the dot.

By the way, I've chosen to ignore the silly comments of the males on the convent thread. I don't want to get into a discussion with them, but thanks for taking the time to reply. When I left in 1968, the prayer was still said.


Posted by Kath Arkwright on 25th February 2017  

Hi Linda and Jon
The 1891 birthplace, which I've got from Find My Past,is Morecambe!

Have you considered that Rud in 1911 could be
Mid for Midlothian?


Posted by LEP1950 on 23rd February 2017  

Hi Jon,
I found the accident on a site called "railwaysarchive" (will post the link separately as sometimes the message doesn't appear if I enclose a link). There was unfortunately no newspaper report included. It was just an idea that William may have been injured in a railway accident since he was a railway plate layer in early 1891. Of course, he could have had polio. I don't know of any registers of disabled people. The 1911 census was the first one to collect more differentiated data about infirmities, as far as I know. "Blind" and "deaf and dumb" had been noted before.

I wish we could read the birthplace in 1891. The second half of the word seems to be ..."lande" or "dande", but it's not even possible to really know what the first letter is. I have been trying to compare it to other letters on the page, but am none the wiser.

Looking for William Brown really is like looking for a needle in a haystack. As there are only two years between Albert Crowther (b. Haslingden) and Henry Brown (b. Salford), I'm speculating that he was in the area around these places in the 1880s. There is a boarder in Oldham (9 miles from Salford) in 1881, born in Scotland about 1853/54. He's a "tin plate worker", which isn't really the same, but perhaps the enumerator added "tin" and William had just said he was a plate worker (?) I'm no further than this speculation yet.


Posted by JBrown86 on 23rd February 2017  

In case not known yet:
Henry, Elizabeth and Robert (I'm descended thru Robert) are all children of Wm and Sarah. Sarah's two kids with John Crowther are Ellen and Albert, who appear in 1891 and 1901. Henry begins using the surname "Brown-Crowther" just before his marriage, and his children are all baptised with that surname. Makes it mighty easy to track their descendants, as the "Brown-Crowther" surname is obviously limited pretty much to this family's descendants. They all seem to still live in Wigan or Warrington, and who would be my third cousins by my calculation. Henry seems to have been the first Brown-Crowther ... ever. Sarah's name throughout her time with William would have still been Crowther.
Back to my searching I go :)

Posted by JBrown86 on 23rd February 2017  

Thanks Linda! I had no idea of those several codes and abbreviations - wow the Censuses contain more info than one might think when we consider all those things. Where do you look for the records of accidents that you quoted later in your post? Yes Sarah Jane and her husband-hopping has always been an enigma, changing names at will and convenience.
I will use your information to have a Google around the world wide web and see what I can find! Would be incredible to nail this enigma of a person - I had never considered that I might find him in a first marriage - I guess I had tunnel vision just trying to figure out where and when he was born, and when he might have moved to England.


Posted by LEP1950 on 22nd February 2017  

Hi Jon,
At first glance, this is a difficult one!! In 1911, both William and Sarah say they are married, but obviously they are not married to each other. The columns for number of years married and number of children born during the marriage both show slashes (in the red ink of the enumerator). We know that Sarah Jane was married to a Crowther, but we don't know whether William was also married when he got together with Sarah, and so we don't know whether we are looking for a married or single William Brown in 1881.
I don't think the word says "Rud" next to Scotland. It's been added, probably by the enumerator and could well say "birth".
The birthplace code 533 ("county not stated") has been crossed out and replaced by 510. As far as I could gather, this means "Edinburgh residents" and doesn't make any sense, as William is definitely not residing in Edinburgh at this point.
The occupational code 409 stands for municipal, parish and other local or county offices. The employer looks like U.D.Council (Urban District - just a guess?).
William has been crippled (not very PC these days) since 1892.
In 1901 William does not seem to know where in Scotland he was born since "n.k." is noted where the more exact county or town usually is. This suggests to me two things: either William left Scotland as a child and really does not have any more exact knowledge or that he does not want to be found, perhaps by a wife and family.

In 1881, before his disability, which I take to be the result of an accident or severe illness, William was a railway plate layer. I had hoped that that might help to find him in previous censuses, but so far no luck. There is one in Scotland, but he is still with his wife and family in Scotland in 1891. The place of birth in 1891 deinitely does not say "Manchester". This is a wrong transcription, but it's extremely difficult to decipher. The second part of the word may well be "...land" with a fancy curve on the "d", but it's hard to make "Scot.." from the rest. It would really help if this word were a place and could be deciphered.

Well, those are my thoughts so far. You could try to look for an accident of a William Brown in 1892 in the Salford area. I found a railway accident in Salford on July 6th 1891 with one fatality and numerous people injured. It was caused by a train collision. Don't know whether this has anything to do with William's disability.

I've just been looking back and see that John Crowther died in 1890. If that is the case, isn't it strange that William and Sarah didn't marry if they were free? Perhaps William was married???

I'll do some more thinking.


Posted by JBrown86 on 20th February 2017  

Hi Linda
I'm still working on the Pierpoint/Unsworth families that you were helping me with pre-Christmas; will send you what I have soon (trying to pinpoint when my James Pierpoint was born and who his parents were - I think I'm making some progress tho!).

In the meantime - I was asked by family yesterday about my ancestor William Brown. You may remember helping me out with his wife Sarah Jane Isherwood in late 2015 (thanks again). This is them together in 1891:



and 1911:

They lived in Wigan/Leigh in these years. Wm is hard to track further back as they never married, and his name is so common. All I have is born c1852 and Scotland (nothing more specific - a typo reading "Rud" is shown in 1911). I guess my question is if you know if England/Lancashire kept registers of the details of disabled/crippled people - as the images of both 1901 and 1911 censuses show that he was one or the other (or both). He worked as a (Highway) Watchman. I'm at the point where I think a register of cripples might be my only source for more info on this man.
Interestingly, he is recorded as born Manchester in the 1891 Census; but I don't think this is true. The image is awfully hard to read, and could say anything.
Hope all is well. Thanks in advance for anything you might know :)


Posted by LEP1950 on 14th February 2017  

Alfred Rogers and Ellen Speakman!!

Posted by LEP1950 on 14th February 2017  

For Suzanne Dwyer:

Hi Suzanne,
I don't know whether you ever look at this message board now, but I just want to let you know that I have finally had a reply from the person I mentioned on ancestry (after 8 months!) with permission to send you the photos of your relatives Alfred Speakmann and Ellen.


Posted by Christine McDermott on 31st January 2017  chris@dominoe.org 

Dear Sharon,
I am programme secretaty for warrington history society, would you kindly let me have Tony Fosters email and telephone number.
\many thanks.

Posted by silvi wright on 20th January 2017  hughsiwright@gmail.com 

Hi Linda,
What a search, you have given me alot of thinking to do. I will continue to find a link by relative or neighbour as to why she ended up in Bolton.
Thanks for your help.

Posted by LEP1950 on 20th January 2017  

To finish off, Silvi, Thomas died in 1906, leaving Florence a widow. I'd say that Thomas and Martha's Annie is more likely to be the Annie with Thomas and Martha Hanley. It looks like the other Annie was with her mother Kate in 1901 and with her husband Thomas Wilde in 1911. But I'm still puzzled as to why Annie went from Worsley to Bolton and suspect some kind of link. Distant relatives, common acquaintances...

So for the moment, that's it, I think.


Posted by LEP1950 on 20th January 2017  


Forget the bit about Thomas Jackson. He's turnd up again in 1901, still living in Boothstown with somone called Florence. Sons THOMAS and HERBERT are with him as well as four young children under five, obviously with Florence. He had married almost immediately after Martha's death:

Marriage: 4 Oct 1894 St George, Tyldesley, Lancashire, England
Thomas Jackson - (X), 42, Game Keeper, Widower, Boothstown
Florence Yates - (X), 29, Widow, Mosley Common
Groom's Father: William Jackson, Farmer
Bride's Father: David Booth, Underlooker
Witness: William Wilkinson; Sarah Daniels, (X)
Married by License by: Richard Willett Curate
Register: Marriages 1893 - 1901, Page 37, Entry 73
Source: LDS Film 1885667

The two daughters Martha Ann and Annie are NOT with the family. I could imagine that Martha Ann soon went into service, but Annie would have been too young. Is she with the Hanleys? Why from Worsley to Bolton? Do any of the names in the entry above say anything to you - Yates, Booth??