Monday, March 19, 2018

Where do Grace and Anne fit in?

Market Place, Garstang 
Sometimes the best way to solve a mystery is to think laterally. If you can't find the information you want about someone by a direct route, discover all you can about their siblings, in-laws, neighbours and friends, and you may find a clue that leads to the answer. That was my thinking when I set out to discover the maiden name of Betty Lambert, one of my great great great grandmothers.

Betty was probably born about 1772, based on her age when she died in 1833. She and her husband William Lambert had three daughters who were baptised in Garstang, Lancashire, in the early 1800s (Betty, Hannah and Esther). And that was all I knew about her. I couldn't find any record of her marriage to William.

First came Grace

Former Church of St John, Preston,
demolished and rebuilt in the 1850's.
So, taking the indirect route, I set out to find out more about the daughters. I didn't find anything useful in Betty and Hannah's stories. The other daughter, Esther (my great great grandmother) married Matthew Cragg in October 1833. In May 1831, two years before they married, Esther and Matthew were witnesses together at a wedding in Preston, Lancashire, between a Grace Lambert and John Singleton.

The next question was, who was Grace Lambert? Could she be a sister to Esther? Or a cousin? Knowing the answer to that could be a step forward in finding out more about Betty. Unfortunately, none of the baptism records I found for children named Grace Lambert appear likely to be hers.

All I have discovered about Grace is that she married John Singleton, had two children, George (1833) and Elizabeth (1841) and was living with her family in Bolton in 1841. The census suggests she was born about 1800. Young Elizabeth died in 1848.

It seems Grace must have died sometime between 1841 and the next census, since she doesn't appear in 1851. She is possibly the Grace Singleton whose death is recorded in Burnley in 1849. I haven't been able to trace with any certainty what became of her husband John or her son George after her death .

Since Grace was born and married before civil registration began in 1837, there are no birth or marriage certificates available for her. Her death certificate is unlikely to reveal much, as parents names were not recorded for adults. So instead of being a step forward, she has become another mystery.

And then there's Anne

I eventually discovered, by another indirect route, that Esther Lambert had an older sister named Anne. Her children, Mary and William Newsham, were living with Esther and Matthew Cragg when the 1851 census was taken. I've been able to trace their births, Anne's marriage in Preston in 1829, and her death in 1832.

Anne doesn't appear to have been baptised in Garstang, so William and Betty Lambert may have been living elsewhere when she was born. Perhaps she was the child named Anne Lambert, daughter of William and Elizabeth Lambert, who was baptised in Warton, near Lancaster, in 1795. But, so far, that is another cold trail. And Betty remains plain Betty Unknown for now.

Photo credits:
Royal Oak, Garstang cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Alan Godfree -
St John's church Preston see St John's Minster Preston


  1. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at

    Thank you, Chris

    1. Thank you, Chris. Maybe someone else might have the missing clue.