Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Wigan/Platt Bridge Belshaws - Note 2

This post continues my background notes on the English Belshaws.

Belshaw Family Tree - James and Ellen Belshaw (nee Baldwin)

According to the handwritten family tree prepared by my father, grandfather James Belshaw was born in 1867, the son of James and Ellen Belshaw, nee Baldwin.

We do not know exactly James and Ellen married, nor do we do whether or not my great grandfather was an only child. I do know that when first my Uncle then later my father went to England from New Zealand to study they visited family in the Wigan area, although this may have been on my grandmother's side.

I am only guessing at this point, but presumably there marriage was some time before 1867. I say this because for reasons I will give later I think both James and Ellen were about 37 when Grandfather Belshaw was born. If they married at 29, a not uncommon age, then they would have married in 1859.

According to my father's family tree, James Belshaw died after his son's marriage, Dad put 1903 in brackets with a question mark.

There are on-line records for the Wigan (Lower Ince) cemetry that can be accessed via the Wiganworld site. This may not be the right cemetry anyway, although the names and addresses listed suggest that it is highly likely to be. In any event, while there are a number of James Belshaws listed, none fall within the right date range.

We do not have a date of birth for Ellen Baldwin nor any details re her family. However, Baldwin was quite a common name in the district with 150 Baldwins buried in the Wigan (Lower Ince) cemetery after 1857. This compares to 148 Belshaws.

We do not know when Ellen died, although Dad's family tree states that she had died before grand father James married Mary Pilkington in 1897. Here the cemetery records are interesting.

In those days of high death rates, it was common (at least in Scotland and Australia, presumably England) to name children after relatives including people who had died, even siblings. So a common repeated name can suggest family linkages. In this context, I found the following Ellen Belshaw's buried in the Lower Ince cemetery:

  • Belshaw Ellen, 1 ¾ yrs, died Chapel Lane, 03 Jan 1864
  • Belshaw Ellen, 18 Yrs, Wigan, 7 Jun 1866
  • Belshaw Ellen, 9 Mths, Scholes, 19 Apr 1867
  • Belshaw Ellen, 4 days, Burns' Yd. Sch, 11 Aug 1874
  • Belshaw Mary Ellen, 6 mo, Burns Yd. Sch, 09-Mar 1889
  • Belshaw Ellen, 73 yrs, 18 Kay St, 08-Jan 1890
  • Belshaw Ellen, 60 yrs, 73 Victoria St, Platt Bridge, 14-Feb 1890, Hindley
  • Belshaw Ellen, 26 Yrs, Linney St, 08-Apr 1911
  • Belshaw Ellen, 21 yrs, 129 Walthew Lane, 30-Nov 1918, Platt Bridge, S 781, C of E

When I look at this list, and assuming my great grandmother was in fact buried here, the most logical person would appear to be the Ellen Belshaw who died on 14 February 1890 at the age of 60 years.

This means that she would have been born around 1830, making her 37 when my grandfather was born, which appears possible. The Platt Bridge address adds some supporting evidence. If my great grandfather was around the same age as his wife - born in 1830 - then he would have been 73 in 1903, the date dad suggested as a possible date of death. Again feasible.

But I also found the Ellen Belshaw who died at the age of 21 years in 1918 of interest because I have a vague memory of 129 Walthew Lane as a family address. This suggests that she may be a relative. If this is so, the age and date of death (she would have been born around 1897) suggests that her father may well have been an older brother to my grandfather.

I have no knowledge at this point of the life of James and Ellen Belshaw.

Belshaw Family Tree - Richard and Mary Belshaw (nee Tunstall)

Richard Belshaw, my great, great grandfather, stands out in family memory as something of a reprobate.

Again, we do not have birth details. Dad gave his birthdate as (about 1800?).

Family tradition claims that Richard eloped with a Mary Tunstall, the daughter of an aristocrat family, a move that so upset her father that he disowned her, then dieing without a will with the estates and assets going to chancery. As late at the 1930s, my father was approached by someone claiming to be another family member seeking financial support for a legal action to recover the money.

Family tradition also has it that Richard like a drink, something not approved of in the Primitive Methodist side of the family, requiring his wife to sometimes drag him out of the public house.

We do not know when they married, probably in the late 1820s given the suggested birth date for my great grandfather, nor do we know if they children other than my great grandfather, nor do we know the date of Richard Belshaw's death. There is no Richard Belshaw buried in the Lower Ince cemetery to provide a hint.

Dad's family tree records Mary Belshaw's death simply as d?(after 1867). 1867 was the year of my grandfather's birth, so the notation suggests that he remembered his grandmother, meaning that she must have died some time later.

Checking the Lower Ince cemetery records we find the following references to Mary Belshaws:

  • Belshaw Mary, 5 mo, Every St. Scholes, 09-Apr 1873
  • Belshaw Mary, 86 Yrs, New Springs, 05-Mar 1885
  • Belshaw Mary, 49 Yrs, Hallgate, 11-Jan 1886
  • Belshaw Mary Ellen, 6 mo, Burns Yd. Sch., 09-Mar 1889
  • Belshaw Mary, 83 yrs, 32 Cross st, 20-Oct 1894
  • Belshaw Mary Jane, 44 Yrs, Anderton St, 23-Jun 1897
  • Belshaw Mary, 78 Yrs, Schofield Lane, 07-Mar 1912
  • Belshaw Mary, 67 Yrs, Orchard St, 24-Oct 1914
  • Belshaw Mary, 70 yrs, 9 Gaskell St, 07-Jun 1915, Q 533, C of E
  • Belshaw Mary, 83 yrs, 2 Jane St, Platt Lane, 17-Oct 1916, Q 258, C of E

Again I find this list interesting for the same reason as Ellen, the recurrence of names.

If Mary Belshaw Snr was buried here, the most likely person is the New Springs' Mary Belshaw who died in 1885 aged 86. She would have been born around 1799 and been around 31 at the estimated date of the birth (c1830) of my great grandfather, 68 at the time my grandfather was born.

There is also an interesting pattern of names here in terms of the mix of Ellens and Marys:

  • Belshaw Ellen, 1 ¾ yrs, died Chapel Lane, 03 Jan 1864. Thus born 1863
  • Belshaw Ellen, 18 Yrs, Wigan, 7 Jun 1866. Thus born c 1848
  • Belshaw Ellen, 9 Mths, Scholes, 19 Apr 1867. Born 1867.
  • Belshaw Mary, 5 mo, Every St. Scholes, 09-Apr 1873. Born 1872.
  • Belshaw Ellen, 4 days, Burns' Yd. Sch, 11 Aug 1874. Born 1874.
  • Belshaw Mary, 86 Yrs, New Springs, 05-Mar 1885. Born c1799.
  • Belshaw Mary, 49 Yrs, Hallgate, 11-Jan 1886, Born c 1837.
  • Belshaw Mary Ellen, 6 mo, Burns Yd. Sch., 09-Mar 1889. Born 1888.

Now look at the surmised Belshaw dates:

  • ?1799 Richard Belshaw and Mary Tunstall are born
  • c1829 Richard Belshaw and Mary Tunstall marry
  • c1830 James Belshaw senior and Ellen Baldwin are born
  • James and Ellen marry somewhere between 1859, possibly earlier, and 1866.
  • Richard Belshaw dies some time before 1867
  • 1867 James and Ellen Belshaw name their son James Belshaw
  • ?1885 Mary Belshaw (ne Tunstall) dies
  • ?1890 Ellen Belshaw (nee Baldwin) dies
  • 1897 James Belshaw and Mary Pilkington marry
  • ?1903 James Belshaw senior dies

If I am right about the connection between my part of the Belshaws and the Lower Ince cemetery, then it is a reasonable hypothesis that there is probably some as yet unseen connection between the pattern of Marys and Ellens and my own family, although more than one family is involved.

It's all quite complicated!

In my next note I will look at Mary Pilkington and her family.


2old2badad said...

Hi, came across this blog while doing nothing much. I have researched my family tree from the Ince and Pemberton areas and will dust it out to cross-check names listed and see if any match.
ossie Belshaw (Oswald)

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, Ossie