Sunday, August 19, 2012

Thomas Ward - a hole in the wall

One of my long-standing "brick walls" has been Thomas Ward, the husband of Frances Dickinson. I knew that he and Frances married in Standish in 1802, and that she was a widow by 1818. His name didn't appear in the Walton Le Dale parish records for burials between 1809 (when his youngest son Richard was born) and 1818, but there was a tantalising gap in the records on the Lancashire Online Parish Clerks site between 1813 and 1814, and I couldn't find the records anywhere else.

Being able to narrow down his date of death to a two year period might seem more than adequate, but I was hoping to find his burial record to see if it gave me a clue to when he was born. Without a date of birth I couldn't go back any further.

Yesterday I finally found the 1813-1814 records on (or to be more accurate, the Bishop's Transcripts of the parish records). So now I know not only that Thomas Warde (sic) was buried in September 1813, but also that he was born about 1779 and worked as a joiner. Hooray!

A bit more searching on and produced a possible father and mother for Thomas - Cuthbert and Ellen Ward (nee Catteral). They had a son, Thomas, in Kirkham, Lancashire, in 1779, and then two daughters born in Kirkham, in 1781 and 1783. After that they vanish from the Kirkham records, but a Cuthbert and Ellen Ward appear in Walton Le Dale, with the birth of another daughter in 1785. Several more children were born in Walton Le Dale. Cuthbert died there in 1799 and his occupation at his burial was recorded as 'joiner'.

So it all seems to fit together nicely. I need to do a bit more research before claiming Cuthbert as 'one of ours'. Still, finding a way over or through walls is what makes the research so rewarding (and addictive.)

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