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Tracing Beyond the Workhouse

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Tracing Beyond the Workhouse

Postby markashleypat » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:10 pm

1861 census
DURHO107_2393_2393-0236.jpg (613.44 KiB) Viewed 1843 times

I'm picking up some research on my great x2 and x3 grandfathers, after struggling to trace back beyond my x2 being born in the Durham Union Workhouse, of which there are no surviving Workhouse records.

My x2 grandfather William was born 3 Jan 1849 (thankfully a family bible gives me the exact date), but I have struggled to find census records on him for 1851 and 1861, until his marriage whereby he's then found 1971 onwards.

There aren't any records post-workhouse that have a complete family unit - William and parents Joseph and Mary that match.

However, I have just found this census from 1861 which lists a nephew William, born Durham City (where the workhouse was) and a sister-in-law Mary. The only things that are off are the ages - William should be 2, his mother should be 24. The record has them as 3 and 30.

Should I completely disregard this census record based on age?
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Re: Tracing Beyond the Workhouse

Postby ianbee » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:13 pm

It's the 1851 census that you have there, not 1861
For those wishing to help -
Possible birth reg, March 1849 Durham vol 24 page 114
Patterson, William
mother's maiden surname Nicholson

Marriage of parents?
June 1848 Durham 24 104
Nicholson, Mary
Patterson, Joseph

On 11/07/2014, someone added a Postem on FreeBMD - "Married 3.6.1848 Registery Office Joseph Patterson 22 pitman Gillygate s of Joseph and Mary nicholson 21 Gillygate d of Peter pitman"

There is a 12 year old William Pattison in the 1861 census, born Durham City, son of John and Mary. So you may need to eliminate that one as a possibilty for the nephew in 1851
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Re: Tracing Beyond the Workhouse

Postby 2012girl » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:13 am



Ian, this has been looked at before, just to save anyone covering ground already looked at. Maybe a fresh pair of eyes will help!
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Re: Tracing Beyond the Workhouse

Postby ianbee » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:09 pm

Thanks Jill. That first thread is very long, and has been very well read!
I have got an idea, all I can think of, if Mark is interested. However it all depends on Mary Nicholson's age on that 1848 marriage being wrong. Says she was 21, she would have to be older than that.
Not many Mary Nicholsons about with a father called Peter
A Mary Nicholson was baptized at Houghton le Spring, 5 Nov 1823, parents Peter + Mary.
Abode was Collierrow, father a Pitman
So far it's proving difficult to find that much more about them, siblings of Mary are/include Charles, bap Houghton,13 August 1826, and Peter, bap Houghton, 17 May 1829.

There is this interesting household in 1851 in Durham St Giles (piece 2391 folio 234 page 14)
Broomside Lane
Ralph Simpson Head Mar 53 Coalminer, born Durham Killensworth
Mary Simpson Wife Mar 54 Durham Houghton le Spring
Peter Nicholson Son in law Mar 21 Coalminer Durham Collier Row
Ralph Simpson Son Un 20 Coalminer Durham Pitt Hill
Mary Nicholson Daur Mar 27 Durham Collier Row
Thomas Head Nephew 16 Coalminer Durham Sunderland
Mark Nicholson Grandson 7 Scholar Durham St Giles

So it looks as though Peter Nicholson senior has died and his widow remarried.
Now, Peter and Mary Nicholson have been linked up by somebody and "husband + wife" is written. But who did that? The enumerator, or was it done later by a clerk?
Something is not right with info given for this household. Peter Nicholson seems in fact to have married in June qtr 1851, Durham, to Isabella Clark.
Peter + Isabella are in St Giles in 1861 (Broomside Row), with daughters Elizabeth, 6,and Barbara, 8 months. Likely birth registrations in 1854 and 1860 in Durham RD, mother Clark
So Peter was not married to Mary in 1851!
And Mary Nicholson, 27, born Collier Row does match that baptism at Houghton in 1823.
Birth registration of Mark?
Dec 1843 Durham vol 24 page 90
Nicholson, Mark
mother - (presumably illegitimate)
Last edited by ianbee on Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tracing Beyond the Workhouse

Postby ianbee » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:50 pm

What might have happened next? Well, it gets even more complicated!
There is a possible marriage for Mary Nicholson in Dec qtr 1851, Durham.
Name: George Hall
Spouse's Name: Mary Nicholson
Event Date: 19 Nov 1851
Event Place: Shadforth, Durham
Father's Name: William Hall
Spouse's Father's Name: Peter Nicholson
Marital Status: Single
Spouse's Marital Status: Single
England Marriages, 1538–1973

Did they have a daughter Margaret the following year?
Dec 1852 Durham 10a 195
Hall, Margaret
mother Nicholson

Whatever happened to George Hall, Mary seems to be in Willington in 1861 as Nicholson again! This time because her husband is Henry Nicholson.
Willington is where William Patterson married in 1869 (He and his wife Phoebe Jane later had a son called Mark. Also a daughter Margaret, who was born in Willington)
1861, piece 3739 folio 99 page 40, continues next page
New Row, Willington
Henry Nicholson Head Mar 41 Coal Miner, born Yorkshire Bedel (Bedale)
Mary Nicholson Wife Mar 37 Durham Houghton ...
Mark Nicholson Son 17 Coal Miner Durham Whitwell
William Nicholson Son 12 Lab in a Coal Mine Durham Durham
Margaret Nicholson Daur 8 Durham New...

and still in Willington in 1871
piece 4965 folio 112 page 35
Henry Nicholson Head M 52 Miner, born Yorkshe. Bedale
Mary Nicholson Wife M 48 (dittoed for Yorkshitre!) Colliery Row
Margaret Hall Step Daur UM 18 Servt. at Home, born Dm New Durham

So far, I have not seen any further sign of Mark, who appears to have been an illegitimate son of Mary
The question then is, who was William Nicholson, age 12 in 1861?
Was he a son of Henry and an earlier wife? There was an older Henry Nicholson from Bedale in 1851 with a son William of that age, but that Henry was a farmer in Yorkshire, and I think his son is around in 1861.
Is Henry Nicholson the miner findable in 1851?
Or was William another child of Mary's? And if so, where was he in 1851?
And is there a marriage for this Henry Nicholson to Mary (presumably would then be Mary Hall)?

Probably all of this will unravel! It would mean that
Mary was older than 21 when she married
Joseph Patterson most likely would have had to disappear off somewhere, leaving Mary who then reverted to her maiden name to marry George Hall as a spinster in 1852
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Re: Tracing Beyond the Workhouse

Postby ianbee » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:24 pm

meekhcs wrote:Jumping in, their marriage cert states they are residents at Gilligate, another name for Gilesgate

Interesting perhaps that the Simpson/Nicholson family were in St Giles in 1851!

In 1841 they are in the Parochial Township of Whitwell House
piece 314 book 12 folio ? page 5
Ralph Simpson, 40, Mary Simpson, 40, and others including Peter Nicholson, 10, Mary Nicholson, 15
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Re: Tracing Beyond the Workhouse

Postby ianbee » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:32 pm

ianbee wrote:So far, I have not seen any further sign of Mark

There is this death
June 1864 Durham 10a 156
Nicholson, Mark
age 21

The Mark we are interested in would have been 20, might be close enough.

More to the point, is there any sign of William Nicholson after 1861 (age 12, living in Willington, with Henry Nicholson and his wife Mary, daughter of Peter Nicholson)
Or is he in fact the William Patterson/Pattison who married Phoebe Jane Green in Willington in1869?
Last edited by ianbee on Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tracing Beyond the Workhouse

Postby 2012girl » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:48 pm

That does look interesting Ian! I wonder if Joseph & Mary split up? There are no obvious deaths for Joseph and they seem to do a disappearing act after marriage. Newspapers only seem to bring up reports of their wedding.

Like you said, it's possible that Mary has returned home to her mother in 1851 and that brother and sister, Mary & Peter, have been wrongly recorded as being married. She could have had Mark prior to marrying Joseph Pattison, but if you're on the right track where is William on that census? Has he been missed off, there does seem to be some confusion with the family? It's then possible that William has been recorded as Nicholson in 1861?

There is a marriage of a Henry Nicholson to a Mrs Mary Simpson reported in the newspapers as taking place on 24th Jun 1859 at South Church, it states they were both of Woodhouses, near Bishop Auckland. The transcript on Family Search doesn't give fathers names but states they were born in 1819 & 1824 respectively. The index on the GRO Durham site for the marriage gives the spouse as Mary Simpson but also Mary Nicholson which indicates that Mary Simpson may also have been known as Nicholson at some point! Is this them, or a red herring? The ages would fit and Simpson was the name of Mary's stepfather, but why would she be marrying under that name? Would be interesting to know if her father on the marriage was Peter Nicholson? What are your thoughts Ian?

There is also a newspaper article in the Durham Advertiser on 10 Dec 1858 about Henry Nicholson of Willington being drunk and disorderly, he stated he had spent a number of years in the army.

All very confusing but it seems there may have been some shenanigans with this Mary Nicholson in question, certainly worth looking into I think.
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Re: Tracing Beyond the Workhouse

Postby ianbee » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:09 pm

Hi Jill
That marriage you found does look very promising. Either it's the right one, or else coincidence is running riot!
There is a baptism of a Henry Nicholson in Bedale in 1819. Which might be the one. Haven't found him in 1851, hopefully he was in the army! Which would probably rule him out as the father of William.
As everyone in 1861 is enumerated as Nicholson - both parents names! - including Margaret Hall, it may be masking William's identity. Perhaps if William hadn't been married by then, and instead was still at home in 1871 he might have been enumerated as a step son of Henry, and with the name Patterson!
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Re: Tracing Beyond the Workhouse

Postby 2012girl » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:29 pm

Henry & Mary in 1881, but no children now:

Cornsay, Co. Durham

Henry Nicholson, Head, 59, Coal Miner, Bedale, Yorkshire
Mary Nicholson, Wife, 57, Houghton Le Spring, Durham

and 1891, still in Cornsay at 131 Chadwick Street

Henry Nicholson, Head, 72, Coal Miner, Bedale, Yorkshire
Mary Nicholson, Wife, 68, Durham,
John H. Brown, Boarder, 19, Coal Miner, Willington

John H. Brown was possibly a grandson. Daughter Margaret Hall may have married a Robert Brown. They are also in Cornsay in 1881 and are living at 141 Chadwick Street in 1891. They have a daughter named Phoebe Jane Brown, age 6. Wasn't Phoebe Jane also the name of William Pattison's wife? Another coincidence?

Possible death:

Henry Nicholson, Sep 1896, Durham, 10a 207, age 79

A few possibilities for Mary, assuming she stuck with Nicholson!

That's probably bombarded you enough but I think there may be some new avenues for you explore here Mark. The key may be with Mary Nicholson, her age when she married Joseph Pattison could well be incorrect, if she had a child out of wedlock already she may not have been truthful. But if we're on the right track then what happened to these husbands? First Joseph Pattison, then George Hall? And if the Henry Nicholson marriage is also her then why is she using the name Simpson if everything was above board? Maybe a few certificates would help clarify matters, certainly worth investigating further I think?
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