Mining Disaster – James Ernest Gawthrop (1887-1928)

I was recently trawling through the newspaper archives on Find My Past and came across the article below from the Leeds Intelligencer of 17 January 1928.

Leeds Intelligencer 7 January 1928

Leeds Intelligencer
7 January 1928

I soon realised that this looked suspiciously like my relative James Ernest Gawthrop, my 2nd cousin 3x removed. His parents were Thomas Gawthrop and Christiana Hey. Our common ancestors were John Gawthrop and Sarah Brown, my 4x great grandparents.

I already had a bit of information about James – I know for example that he was born in 1887 – his birth is registered in Q3 in Keighley, West Yorkshire. As far as I can tell James was the youngest of nine children.

In the 1901 census, at the age of 13 James was working as a “worsted spinner and doffer”.

Sometime in the summer of 1909 James married Annie Morris in Halifax.

In the 1911 census James and Annie are living in Keighley with their son Benjamin (born in 1910) and James is employed as a “mohair warehouseman”.

They had two more children – Nellie in 1912 and Lewis in 1914. I assume that James served in WW1 but I can’t find any remaining military records for him on either Ancestry or Find My Past.

I already knew that James died in 1928 and his death was registered in Q1 in Hemsworth, Yorkshire. This is supported by the newspaper article in terms of date and location.

However there is one obvious discrepancy – the newspaper report says that “Gawthrop leaves a widow and eight children”. That clearly doesn’t agree with the information I already had. So what’s going on? I decided to do a bit more digging.

I found a death record for Annie Gawthrop registered in Keighley in Q2 of 1914. That was the same quarter that the birth of Lewis was registered. Had Annie died in child birth? That’s certainly a possibility.

Next I found another marriage for James E Gawthrop – this time to Maud M Morris registered in Q2 1919 in Halifax. OK, same surname as Annie and same location as the marriage to Annie. Is this just a coincidence? A bit more digging required I think.

Searching the 1891 and 1901 census returns for Halifax and things started to look a bit clearer.

Below is the 1901 census clearly showing Annie Morris (14) and Maud M Morris (10) – sisters. Interestingly there are two other siblings called Nellie and Lewis – the same names that James and Annie gave two of their children. Their other son Benjamin was probably named after James’s grandfather Benjamin Gawthrop.

Morris Census - 1901

So I am as confident as I can be that I now understand what happened here.  James married his sister-in-law.

James and Maud it seems had five children between 1919 and 1925, all registered in Barnsley, South Yorkshire:-

Margaret and Hilda – December 1919
Doreen – March 1921
Betty – March 1923
Ada – June 1925

After James died on 3 January 1928 Maud Mary married William Martin sometime in Q4 1928, this marriage is registered in Barnsley. There is a death record for Maud M Martin registered in Halifax in Q2 1957.

So without any certificates I can’t confirm any of this but it makes for an interesting story anyway.

I suspect that after Annie died inn 1914 maybe James was called up for service in WW1. Perhaps Benjamin, Nellie and Lewis went to live with Annie’s parents in Halifax while James was away. When James came back home romance blossomed between him and Maud Mary. The rest as they say is history!!

Surname Saturday – Gawthrop

The surname Gawthrop features in my paternal line.  My 2x great grandmother is Ellen Gawthrop (1824-1892) and my 3x great grandfather is Martin Gawthrop (1800-1860). I haven’t yet been able to find any concrete evidence for Martin’s parents but continue to research the name.

According to surnamedb  the name is of Old Norse origin, and is a locational name from either of two places in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Gawthope near Dewsbury is recorded as “Goukethorpe” in the 1274 Wakefield Court Rolls, and Gawthorpe near Huddersfield is recorded as “Goutthorp” in the 1297 Subsidy Rolls.

The derivation of the placename is from the Old Norse “gaukr”, cuckoo, and “thorp”, enclosure, hamlet, village; hence, “village where cuckoo’s frequented”.

During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name.

The surname has many variant spellings ranging from Gawthrope, Gowthrop and Gawthrop, to Gawthorp, Gawthorpe and Gowthorpe. Recordings of the surname from Yorkshire Church Registers include: the marriage of Beatrice Gawthorpe and Henry Leigh, which took place at Howden, on May 10th 1572; the marriage of Richard Gawthorpe and Elizabeth Holroyd, which took place on February 14th 1573, at Halifax; and the christening of Robert, son of Thomas Gawthorpe, on August 28th 1580, at Aberford.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jane Galthorpe, which was dated August 15th 1540, when she married Roger Belman, at Rotherham, South Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry V111.

Tombstone Tuesday – Tale of Two Sisters

This gravestone marks the resting place of two sisters who were born within three years of each other but who died nearly half a century apart.

Mary Ellen Gawthrop (nee Snowden) was born about 1869 in Cowling, West Yorkshire and her sister Leah was born about 1872, also in Cowling.

Mary Ellen is the wife of my 1st cousin 3x removed.

On the 1881 UK census Mary Ellen and Leah were living with their parents John (48) and Ann Snowden (44) and  their seven other siblings

Alice (19)

Annie (19)

John (16)

Emily (14)

Selina (10)

Dinah (6)

James (4)

The family is living at Fold Lane, Cowling.  The father is working as a weaving overlooker at a worsted factory.  The four oldest children are working as worsted weavers and the remaining children are recorded as scholars.

Mary Ellen married Joseph Gawthrop sometime in Q3 of 1889.  In the 1891 UK census they are living at 7 Gladstone Terrace, Trawden, Lancashire.  Jospeh’s occupation is cotton weaving overlooker and Mary Ellen is working as a cotton winder.

The following year their son, Wilfred, was born and his birth is registered at Burnley, Lancashire in Q3 1892.

I have no other information about Mary Ellen until her death on 29th April 1897.

Joseph married Selina Bannister in 1898 and they had twin boys the following year, John Elvin and Joseph Arthur.

In 1891 the UK census shows Leah Snowden living with her widowed mother Ann and still at Fold Lane, Cowling.  Also still living at home are siblings Emily (24), Selina (20), Dinah (16) and James (14).  All the children are working as cotton weavers.

In 1901 the family are still together and still living in Fold Lane and still working as cotton weavers.

In 1911 Leah remains living at home with her mother and three siblings – Emily (44), Selina (40), and James (35).

I have no other information about Leah until her death on 1st June 1944.  And I find it really interesting that sisters were buried together after so much time between their deaths.