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Jonathan Holmes - Bradford

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Jonathan Holmes - Bradford

Postby MoVidger » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:36 pm

I've hit a brick wall with Jonathan Holmes, specifically what happens to him after 1847.

The 1841 census shows him living at Black Abbey, Bradford with his wife Betty and three young children. His age is "25" and he was born in Yorkshire. Occupation is "comber".

I have the birth certificate for his son Bob, born 1847 in Bradford. Occupation is still "comber". The family's address was Summer Street, White Abbey.

In 1851, the Holmes family are living at 49 (?) Wood Street, Manningham, Bradford. Wife Betty is shown as "married", but there is no sign of Jonathan. In 1861, the family is living at 3 Broadbent Street, Horton, Bradford. Wife Elizabeth (Betty) is still listed as "married", but where is Jonathan?

Later in 1861, daughter Mary marries in Horton. Marriage record indicates father Jonathan (comber) is still living. In 1869, son Bob marries in Horton. Again, marriage record shows Jonathan is still living.

In 1865, Mary and her husband emigrate to the USA and settle in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. In 1881, Bob and his family also emigrate and settle in Coatesville.

Older brother Abraham had joined the British Army prior to 1861, and I have accounted for him until his death in 1910. No idea what became of oldest brother Joseph after 1851. I don't think he's the Bradford-born soldier who is stationed in Aldershot in the 1861 census. On that chap's second marriage record, he states his father is "William Holmes" (comber). Unless that was a clerical error.

But where is Jonathan? He's obviously still alive by 1869, as evidenced by son Bob's marriage record.

All I know is he marries Elizabeth/Betty (nee Taylor) in Shipley in 1835. Son Joseph is born in Halifax, though, like his mother (according to the 1851 census).

Any help or suggestions with locating Jonathan after 1847 will be greatly appreciated!
Last edited by MoVidger on Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Jonathan Holmes - Bradford

Postby sdup26 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:01 pm

Usually, on a marriage certificate, a father's name and occupation are given, followed by the word 'deceased' if that applies. But not always - it's not uncommon for a father's details to be stated on a marriage certificate as if he was alive, when he wasn't, so keep an open mind on that. All you know for certain is that he was with his family in 1841, he's named as the father on Bob's 1847 birth certificate, but he doesn't appear on censuses with his family after 1841.

In 1851/61, Betty is still 'married' so did Jonathan simply miss the censuses for some reason, or had they separated? If it wasn't for Bob's birth in 1847, I'd have wondered about the death entry for a Jonathan Holmes JQ 1841, Bradford 23 149.

Have you sent for the 1864 death certificate you suspect is Betty's? (Betty Holmes, DecQ 1864, Bradford Yk, 9b26) Hopefully, it will describe her as 'wife' or 'widow' of Jonathan, which may help.
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Re: Jonathan Holmes - Bradford

Postby brunes08 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:14 pm

One of the difficulties all family historians have is verifying the truth of what is written on certificates and census returns etc. I have at least four marriage certificates that provide inaccurate entries with regard to the father of the bride or groom. On two marriage certificates, one of the fathers was described as deceased but research has found this not to be the case. This was because the father had left the family and they had lost touch. In another two cases the father indicated was not the biological father because of the individuals were illegitimate and the father was known. With regard to your search, he could be in a number of places. There is the possibility of having enlisted in the army, in an asylum, in prison, in a workhouse or he might even have emigrated etc. Have you tried looking in local newspapers to see if any item might relate to him?
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Re: Jonathan Holmes - Bradford

Postby MoVidger » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:13 pm

Hello sdup26 and brunes08 - thanks for the advice. Actually Jonathan registered his son Bob's birth on 24 October 1847, so it confirms he was still alive at that point.

I agree there is the possibility that Jonathan died, but it still makes me curious as to why Betty would claim she was still married in both census records, and the fact Jonathan isn't listed as "deceased" on his children's marriage records. Even son Abraham's 1870 marriage record in India mentions Jonathan (although I'm not sure if India marriage records gave the distinction of the father being "deceased" or not). It's a pity I can't trace brother Joseph after 1851.

Interestingly, Betty has taken in lodgers (the Briley family) in the 1851 census; and in 1861 she is working as a "charwoman". So if Jonathan was still living by then, it doesn't appear that his absence was only temporary.

I'd be surprised if Jonathan had joined the military with a wife and four children at home. So that leaves the possibility of him being somewhere else in the UK from post-1847 onwards, or perhaps even emigrating, like two of his adult children did in 1865 and 1881.

I've searched the newspaper records on FMP, but haven't found anything that relates to Jonathan yet. For now, I will assume he was still alive and continue my searching.
Last edited by MoVidger on Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Jonathan Holmes - Bradford

Postby sdup26 » Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:43 pm

If Betty's death cert suggests Jonathan was still alive, I wonder if there's any chance he went to the US? Did the children plan to emigrate anyway, or did they follow him out?
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Re: Jonathan Holmes - Bradford

Postby MoVidger » Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:15 pm

I wish I knew the reason for Jonathan's two children emigrating to America. There's always the possibility he went to America first, with the hopes of sending for his family later.

I'm still searching for daughter Mary and her husband's immigration records circa 1865. Her husband was William Midgley. I'm curious if they arrived in America before the Civil War ended (April 1865).

The first Midgley child was born in 1867 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. So if Jonathan had emigrated, it's possible he was lurking around Massachusetts prior to daughter Mary's emigration. (The other two children were born in Camden, New Jersey -- but the family moved there for work reasons). Between 1881 and 1900, they had settled in Pennsylvania.
Last edited by MoVidger on Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jonathan Holmes - Bradford

Postby sdup26 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:54 pm

Robert (Bob) doesn't seem to be on the 1880 US census, and unfortunately, the 1890 US census is a fragment, so no joy there either. But I think this is him on the 1900 census for Coatsville. If he didn't have a son called Arthur, I'll try again!

Arthur Holmes, Head, b1872 England, barber. Wife Emma Holmes b1874 Germany. Dau Lena E Holmes b1894 Pennsylvania. Son Joseph Holmes b1899 Pennsylvania. Father Robert Holmes b1847 England, widower. Year of Immigration 1880.
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Re: Jonathan Holmes - Bradford

Postby MoVidger » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:50 pm

Hello sdup26 - yes that's Bob living with his son in the 1900 census. His two sons (Arthur and Joseph) were born in Bradford, before the family emigrated in 1881. Bob and family are in the 1881 census (Bowling, Bradford), so they must have emigrated later that year.

As a side note, Bob wasn't christened Robert. He is simply "Bob".

I've also got Bob in the 1910 US census - living with his other son Joseph in a town called Delaware, Pennsylvania (near Coatesville). But I lose trace of him after that.

I've got Bob's sister Mary in the 1841-1861 UK census records, then the 1870-1910 US records. She died in 1919 in Coatesville. On her death certificate, her mother is incorrectly listed as "Elizabeth Groves" - who was actually Bob's wife. Her son-in-law registered the death, so he must have got the family names muddled up.

Incidentally, I have two Pennsylvania Passenger & Crew Lists records for Elizabeth Friend (nee Holmes) for the years 1905 and 1907. Elizabeth was the daughter of Abraham (the soldier). She and her husband paid two visits to her aunt Mary and cousins in Coatesville.

So my only "missing links" with this Holmes family are Jonathan and his whereabouts after 1847 (if he wasn't dead), and oldest son Joseph. In the 1851 census, Joseph is aged 16 and working as an "errand boy". But he disappears after 1851. Maybe he died before the 1861 census ??

I was tempted to assume the soldier stationed in Aldershot in 1861 was my Joseph. But he stated his father was "William Holmes" (wool comber) on a marriage record when he remarried.

It's a pity because this Joseph relocates to Bradford by 1881, and is living in Horton in the 1891 census. And Horton is where the Holmes family were living by 1861. Moreover, Abraham is living in Horton with his family in the 1891 census.
Last edited by MoVidger on Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jonathan Holmes - Bradford

Postby sdup26 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:51 pm

Have you done any research on the Brileys, on the 1851 census with Betty? It's not unknown for visiting members of the extended family to be listed as lodgers.

Once you start searching, you realise just how common the surname Holmes is in West Yorkshire, and I have to report failure in finding Joseph. There are plenty of marriages and deaths for that name, but you'd have to spend a fortune to check them all out. West Yorkshire parish records on ancestry and familysearch don't turn up a Joseph marrying with a father named as Jonathan. Are there any family stories suggesting that Joseph also emigrated?
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Re: Jonathan Holmes - Bradford

Postby MoVidger » Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:19 pm

Hi sdup26 - many thanks for your search efforts re Joseph Holmes. As you say, there are far too many chaps from the Bradford area with that name. I've tried searching for any likely marriage records for Joseph on Ancestry, FMP, FamilySearch, in hopes there may be one indicating a father named Jonathan. But if it exists, I certainly haven't seen it yet. And I keep perusing any possible emigration for him, as well. But with his teenage occupation being "errand boy", it makes it that much harder to locate a likely Joseph.

I've also been thinking outside the box, hoping I might stumble upon a non-UK record in which a relative is visiting Joseph somewhere abroad, or he's returned to the UK to see relatives.
Last edited by MoVidger on Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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