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Sutcliffe Family Connections in Leeds

The Starting Point in 1999

Information about Baraclough Sutcliffe and his family was known from entries in a family bible.  Even though the Sutcliffe name is normally difficult to trace, especially in Yorkshire, the unusual first names in this family did make it much easier to start. The bible entries showed that family had lived at Mayflower Place, Hunslet and the names recorded were -

Name

Born

Died

Baraclough Sutcliffe

5 May 1871

21 Feb 1954

Sarah Anne

22 Mar 1876

13 Sep 1960

Aquilla

19 Jan 1899

-

Fred

27 Jan 1901

-

Bertha

27 Nov 1904

-

Arthur

8 Oct 1906

-

Willy

12 May 1908

-

Nellie

16 Jul 1911

-

Ivy

14 Apr 1915

-

Doris

8 Jan 1916

17 Apr 1946

The first step was to order two key birth certificates, for Baraclough and Doris, from the Family Records Centre in London. Being unable to make the trip personally we used a research agent to get them. While that was happening we needed to check the other sources. The first point of reference is normally the 1881 Census since this is fully-indexed and the indexes are on microfiche at many reference libraries. Leeds Library has a very good collection of family history material and so we started there. (Now it is even easier using the CD-Rom version of the 1881 Census Index). The starting information proved to be pretty accurate and we soon had the following results -

1881 Census

1 Upper Carr Place, Hunslet

Name

Status

Age

Occupation

Born

Morris Sutcliff

Head

38

Coal Miner

Hunslet

Sally

Wife

36

-

Hunslet

John

Son

15

Coal Miner

Hunslet

Martha

Dau

13

Tow Screwer

Hunslet

Jane

Dau

11

Scholar

Hunslet

Barrowclough

Son

9

Scholar

Hunslet

Morris

Son

7

Scholar

Hunslet

Tom

Son

5

Scholar

Hunslet

Annie

Dau

2

-

Hunslet

Lavinia

Dau

10m

-

Hunslet

Apart from 1851 and 1881, Leeds does not have the benefit of indexed census returns. So finding a family in 1861, 1871 or 1891 means using just their address. This relies on the family not moving house over a 10 years period to find them again. Fortunately Morris was just a few houses away in 1891 -

1891 Census

5 Upper Carr Place, Hunslet

Name

Status

Age

Occupation

Born

Morris Sutcliffe

Head

48

Coal Miner

Queensbury

Sally

Wife

46

-

Bradford

Barraclough

Son

19

Coal Miner

Leeds

Morris

Son

17

Coal Miner

Leeds

Lavinia

Dau

10

Scholar

Leeds

Beatrice

Dau

8

Scholar

Leeds

Aquilla

Son

6

Scholar

Leeds

Obviously this is the same family even though some of the details have changed. From a point of view of tracing the family tree, the most important points are the change of birth place for Morris and Sally. I am inclined to take Queensbury and Bradford as the most likely birth places (rather than Hunslet) and start with the census for these towns for any further searches.

The other points are the change in spelling of Sutcliffe and Barraclough, the fact that Tom and Annie are missing and that an Aquilla is also Barraclough's youngest brother. The reasons for the spelling differences being that many people could not read or write and the census collectors would write the names as they sounded. Tom and Annie could have been away from home on the day of the census but they may have also died as children.

These ages and census dates mean that we can estimate the marriage of Morris and Sally at about 1865 - Morris being born about 1843 and Sally about 1845. If we were to obtain a copy of their marriage certificate then we would find out the names of the respective fathers and so make it easier to confirm the details of next generation back. It should also be possible to find the birth certificates for Morris and Sally since it seems that they were born after civil registrations started in 1837. Obviously these would give more information than the marriage certificate. Also Barraclough and Sarah Anne would have married around 1899 and their marriage certificate would give us the first name of Sarah Anne's father - whereas her birth certificate would give the names of both parents and their address.

Since the 1901 census is not available until 2002 these are the most recent details that can be obtained from the census returns. It is possible to use the electoral roles for various years but these only provide the names of voters and are arranged by address within ward.

When the birth certificates for Barraclough and Doris arrived they confirmed their expected birth dates and provided the missing surnames for the wife of Morris (b. 1843) as Sally Gledhill and the wife of Barraclough as Sarah Anne Wilson. This enables us to search for their birth certificates.

Using the information we now know it is possible to search backwards through census returns as far as 1841 and through civil births / deaths / marriages registers as far as 1837. To go back further requires use of the less complete parish records and so becomes more hit-and-miss.

In order to go forward to the present day then the only way is to use the same civil births / deaths / marriages registers or information from surviving family members. The problem with the registers is that you cannot pick up all the family members together and the fact that the registers just contain a name and register office; you cannot see the address or the names of the parents / spouse. With unusual names it is possible to take a chance but even then the certificate that arrives is often for the wrong person. So it may be possible to find, say, a marriage for Lavinia or Aquilla but more difficult to find one for a name like Annie; because of the number of possible Annie Sutcliffes within the Leeds area.

One result of the work so far is that we can enter the data on our computer and use it to produce a basic family tree. Given more time this can be expanded with more information and to go back at least one more generation.

 

Update January 2000

A trip the Family Records Centre in London resulted in a busy day that only covered part of the long list of relatives I was searching for. However I did find an entry for the birth of a Morris Sutcliffe that seemed to fit. A copy certificate arrived the following week and seems to me to be, almost certainly, the right person. The main details on it were -

13 July 1842 at Micklemofs, Northowram, Halifax

Morris

Father: John Sutcliffe, coal miner

Mother: Jane Sutcliffe formerly Ambler

So this gives me an address for checking in the 1841 / 51 census returns and the names of one more generation of ancestors.

 

Update February 2000

While at the Bradford Reference Library my wife found an entry in the 1851 Census index that should provide the details of the Sally Gledhill's family. The details found were -

Coarse Gate, Wyke

Name

Status

Age

Occupation

Born

Luke Gledhill

Head

31

Coal Miner

Dewsbury

Betty

Wife

33

-

Norwood Green

John

Son

10

Harrior

N Bierley

Joseph

Son

9

Street picker coal

Wike

Sally

Dau

6

-

Wike

Hannah

Dau

4

-

Wike

Betty

Dau

2

-

Wike

Later, a check on the internet at FamilySearch provided a further possible connection. The details were -

Luke Gledhill; christened 22 May 1820 at Dewsbury by Joseph and Betty Gledhill.

 

Update March 2001

It was not until much later that I successfully searched the 1881 Census index to find the following details -

30 Nostell Row, Huntwick Cum Nostell & Foulby

Name

Status

Age

Occupation

Born

Luke Gledhill

Head, Widow

61

Coal Miner

not known

Joseph

Son, Married

38

Coal Miner

Low Moor

Sarah

Dau-in-L

35

-

West Bromwich, Stafford

Wm.

GSon

14

Coal Miner

West Bromwich, Stafford

Ellen

GDau

11

-

Morley

Sarah A

GDau

8

-

Wakefield

Betsy

GDau

6

-

Flakely Beck

Luke

GSon

4

-

Fairburn

Thomas

GSon

1

-

Nostell

Mathew Wall

Lodger, Widow

37

Coal Miner

Limehouse Lane, Middlesex

The only other possible family links were found by searching Birth / Marriage / Death records using the less-common first names for the Sutcliffe family. The Family Records Centre entries that may relate to these family lines are all marriages and are recorded as follows -

Lavinia Sutclife (to John Womersley)

1868/Sep/Halifax/9a/635

Lavinia Sutcliffe (to Atkinson Robinson)

1875/Jun/Bradford/9b/312

Morris Sutcliffe

1898/Sept/Hunslet/9b/502

The two Lavinia's have entries in the 1881 Census - and so cannot be two marriages for the same person. It is not clear which Lavinia might be the child of Morris and Sally (and it could be neither).

The marriage of Morris is too late to be in any published census but possible names for his wife are - Florence Annie Pettman or Fanny Elizabeth Astell (or even someone else).

Update December 2011

How things have changed! Ten years on and so much more is available online. The 1901 and 1911 Census records, the BMD records at FreeBMD and Yorkshire BMDs (amongst others) plus the work of many thousands of family history researchers have all made research that much easier ...

So now there are many more names in the expanded Sutcliffe family tree - even though the rising cost of buying actual BMD certificates has meant that few, if any, actual paper have been bought since 2001. And the prospect of BMD images for England and Wales being online seems as far away as ever. This lack of definitive evidence means that the latest trees are actually less certain than they were back in 2001 - since most of the newer entries are “best guesses”. But with 100’s of BMDs to confirm (or dismiss) it would need deep pockets to buy them all - especially when they are only used once!

For the latest version of the family tree use the main Townsley Database...

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