However, on the 20th June, 1813, another child named Richard Ward was baptised at St Leonard’s. The record states that he was born on the 20th April 1813 and his parents were Thomas Ward, joiner, and Fanny.2
This creates a problem – which of these two Richards was ‘our’ Richard, husband of Mary, the father of John, and the grandfather of Thomas Henry Ward? Having looked at the images of the original documents (online) there doesn’t seem to be any doubt about the accuracy of the transcriptions. The fact that the dates for the two births and baptisms are so different makes it highly unlikely that they’re records of the same events. I can think of a number of other possibilities:
- The first child died in infancy and Thomas and Frances called the later child by the same name. This was a common practice in those days. Unfortunately for this theory, I can’t find any record of a death for a Richard Ward between 1809 and 1813.
- Another child of Thomas and Frances was mistakenly recorded as Richard instead of by their correct name. If so, it would be very difficult to trace them.
- There could have been two couples in Walton Le Dale named Thomas and Frances/Fanny Ward and both had sons named Richard. These names are all very common. However, I can’t find any record of another Thomas Ward married to a Frances, or Fanny, anywhere in Lancashire, who would be of roughly the right age.
In all the census records I can only find one Richard Ward of approximately the right age who was recorded as being born in Walton Le Dale, although there was another Richard Ward living in Walton Le Dale in 1841 and 1851. (Born in Treales in 1801, he was the husband of Margaret, and possibly a cousin of the other Richard.) It’s all rather confusing.
1. Ancestry.com. Lancashire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 [database on-line].
2. Ancestry.com. Lancashire, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1911 [database on-line].