The Crabtree Hunt

Table of Contents

Background

Purpose

The Research

The family of John and Margaret Crabtree

Sarah Ann Crabtree

James Crabtree

Richard Crabtree

John Crabtree(Waste dealer)

Sarah Crabtree

Margaret/Peggy Ashworth

John Ashworth Crabtree Snr

Samuel Crabtree's family

Crabtrees in USA

The Liveseys

Mary Ann Livesey (bn 1820)

Starkie Livesey (bn 1815)

Elizabeth Livesey (bn 1836)

Charlotte Livesey (bn 1820)

Thomas Livesey (bn 1821)

James Livesey (bn 1812)

William Oscar Hamlin

Harris Family

Locations and Abodes

A Note on Dissenters

Source data and anomalies

Acknowledgements 

Background

My delving into the Crabtree family was instigated as a result of an email in June 2015:

I am quite impressed with your ancestral history of the Gibson family.
I have seen your paragraphs concerning the Heyworth Bros company in South America&
My specific interest is in James Crabtree who was designated a junior partner to Heyworth Brothers in South America. Evidently he married one of the Heyworth sisters (Margaret) in 1850. Do you know anything about him and his subsequent family?
Thank you for your attention.

Subsequent correspondence suggested that this James Crabtree was related to a famous American actress and charitable benefactress, and was the direct ancestor of a person still alive.

Though my original researches into merchant families from the Rossendale area trading in South America was peripheral to my Gibson research I decided to look further into this to see what the connection was.

Purpose

This document does not aim to be a biography of any of the Crabtree clan, interesting thought they may be its aim is to supplement, and explain how I came to produce, the complex family trees of the related families and how I believe they hold together to confirm or contradict various statements and assertions surrounding the families.

Overall it needs to be read in conjunction with the family tree data which I have presented on the website. The website contains my sources and notes, however understanding the logic of how the connections were made needs an insight about my research and sources.

The Research

By reconstructing the Merchant Crabtree and Heyworth families it became apparent that the original suggestion was flawed there was a James Crabtree who had been a South American merchant and two of his brothers, Thomas and Abraham had also been merchants and in partnership with the Heyworth brothers. This:

The Law Advertiser For the year 1831 Vol 9
Dissolved - Heyworth, James & Co. - viz John Heyworth, Ormerod Heyworth, James Heyworth, Lawrence Heyworth, William Hughes Christian, Thomas Crabtree, Abraham Crabtree and Richard Carlisle Bahai in Brazil, commission-merchants.... Dec 31 1830

and other notices from the London Gazette regarding the dissolution of partnerships show the connection.

The problem was that the Merchant James Crabtree, who died at his home at Newchurch-in-Rossendale in 1863 had only one child Esther Ann Crabtree who had died in Liverpool, aged 23 in 1847 (her obituary describes her as the only child of James). She was buried at St Nicholas Church in Newchurch-in-Rossendale and her death was reported in the Liverpool Mercury newspaper on July 6th 1847. This meant that James the merchant could not be the ancestor of the person who claimed him as their 3 x g/grandfather. It was evident that the ancestor had to be another James Crabtree and the two had become confused in a family tradition.

In getting to this point I had to research what I now think of as the Merchant Crabtrees and Heyworths and accumulated much data on them; newspaper cuttings and legal notices provided a rich source of data regarding these families. It is this data which is presented in the website section Merchant Crabtree and Heyworth

In moving on to investigate the possible connection to the actress I was fortunate in that on her death there were a number of legal cases regarding her estate. People claimed to be related to her and potentially heirs to parts of her fortune despite her having made a Will. My initial correspondent had been working through the papers held at Harvard Law School for many years and was able to provide information from depositions taken that allowed me to research back to England the ancestry of this actress; at the time the most highly-paid actress in America.

The family of John and Margaret Crabtree

Sarah Ann Crabtree

Sarah Ann was born in 1858, the daughter of James Crabtree and Mary Murphy she provided a detailed deposition in April 1925.

My father's name was James Crabtree who died about 30 years ago [approx 1895]. My mother's name was Mary Murphy. She died after my father. My father and mother had 4 children: Emily Jane, Sarah Ann, John Henry, and Mary Alice. Emily Jane died about 40 years ago [approx 1885]&
I was born Jan 16 1858, my brother John Henry was born July 8 1862 and my sister Mary Alice June 2 1869...
I am the oldest living child of my father and mother. I know that my father had 2 brothers, John Ashworth Crabtree and Richard Crabtree who died leaving no children.
I knew the family of Samuel Crabtree who was my father's uncle. He had 8 children:
Jane Crabtree Heyworth (mother of S. Heyworth of Southport)
Lavinia Crabtree Taylor (mother of Samuel Taylor of Southport)
James, John, Sarah Crabtree Pilkington,
Rebecca Crabtree Smith (mother of Samuel Crabtree Smith of Bacup)
and David and Samuel Crabtree.
I am certain of the relationship of Samuel Crabtree to my father and knew he was my father's uncle. His son Samuel Jr was my father's cousin.

LATER in examination :

She claimed she met Lotta and her mother about 6 times: "They were once in my home, I saw them once at Bacup, and once at Sale. I saw them a year after John Ashworth died, they came to arrange about matters."

This established that her father, James, was the brother of John Ashworth Crabtree, the father of the actress, Lotta. It is unclear what the relevance was of the references to the family of Samuel Crabtree, her father's uncle. She also refers to another brother of her father, Richard, so I had the rudiments of a family John Ashworth, Richard and James.

By examination of censuses it was possible to locate Sarah Ann in 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911. She never married and up until the early 1900s had worked as a Sewing machinist. By 1911 she was a domestic servant in the home of Kate Philips, a widow from Hull in Yorkshire who was living in Wallasey, Cheshire. It subsequently transpired that Kate was the widow of the Rev Arthur Philips who for years had been the Vicar of Bacup, which probably explains how Sarah Ann came to be working for her in Wallasey.

The earliest census that shows Sarah Ann is in 1861 :

1861: 1, Collier Street, Salford, Lancashire, England
James Crabtree Head Married Male 30 1831 Shopsman Hat Rossendale, Lancashire
Mary Crabtree Wife Married Female 29 1832 - Manchester,
Sarah Ann Crabtree Daughter - Female 3 1858 - Manchester,

So giving a reference point to James, the father of Sarah Ann Crabtree.

James Crabtree

It was not possible to locate James in the 1851 census, probably due to the water damage caused to large parts of this census in the Manchester area, however the 1841 was quite revealing :

3, Thompson Street (Mc Gills Court), Manchester, Lancashire, England
John Crabtree Male 20 1821 Sadler Lancashire
Richard Crabtree Male 15 1826 Cotton Warh'mn Lancashire,
Margret Crabtree Female 40 1801 Ind Lancashire,
James Crabtree Male 12 1829 Lancashire,

Here we have the two brothers of her father named by Sarah Ann if we accept that John is the John Ashworth Crabtree she names in the deposition. It appears from the ages that Margaret is the mother of the three boys, but there no trace of their father.

At his marriage in 1855 to Mary Murphy James names his father as John Crabtree, a Waste Dealer His address is given as 37 Dyche St (this is important as it provides another link in the chain of evidence). The reference to his father as a (Cotton) Waste Dealer also enables us to identify his father in later records.

Richard Crabtree

If we now examine Richard in 1851 the census shows him as a Lodger, living with James and Caroline Lunn at 37 Dyche St, the address also given by James at his marriage in 1855. Then in 1858 he marries Elizabeth Grey at the Baptist Chapel in Manchester

Marriage. Jan 14 1858--Richard Crabtree bachelor (waste dealer at 252 Rochdale Rd); father: John Crabtree deceased, waste dealer married Jane Gray spinster 27 North Kent St, Manchester; father: Samuel Gray, deceased, silk weaver.
Witnesses: James Lunn and Elizabeth Young

This shows Richard's father's occupation as Waste Dealer., and the witness James Lunn is almost certainly the person he was lodging with at 37 Dyche St in 1851.

Richard can be traced through censuses till his death in 1879. He and Jane had no children

John Crabtree (Waste dealer)

Having identified the father of James and Richard (and by implication also of John Ashworth Crabtree) as John Crabtree, Waste Dealer, John cannot be located in the censuses, however a search of Lancashire Archives shows the assignment of a lease of a plot of land on Holland St, Newton to John Crabtree, waste dealer in 1852. An examination of the Manchester Rate Books shows that in Holland St/Gaggs Field there was a development named Crabtree Passage consisting of a house and shop together with twelve houses. The owner and occupier of one of the houses from 1852 to 1855 was John Crabtree.

In 1856 the following death is recorded:

Death, natural causes. Feb 7 1856-- John Crabtree age 60, cotton waste dealer, Holland Street, Newton

And this appears to be his wife, Margaret who had been living at McGills Court with her three sons in 1841:

Death Dec 1 1845. Margaret Crabtree, age 49, wife of John Crabtree, cotton waste dealer Address : 3 McGills Court

This entry is matched by one for a Peggy Crabtree born 1795 who was buried in the Dissenters Burial Ground at the Rusholme Road Cemetery, Chorlton-upon-Medlock. Peggy is an alternative name for Margaret and references to the death indexes shows that the Peggy buried at Rusholme Road was the one who died in the St Georges Registration District on 1 December 1845.

So we now have the parents of the three Crabtree boys as John Crabtree, waste dealer and Margaret or Peggy Crabtree.

Sarah Crabtree

The fact that John Crabtree was a waste dealer also led to another discovery a sister to John, Richard and James.

This marriage :

Marriage: 24 Sep 1850 St Mary, Manchester, Lancashire, England
William Tonge - 26, Porter, Bachelor, 9 New Mount St.
Sarah Crabtree - 25, Spinster, 48 Rochdale Road
Groom's Father: George Tonge, Porter
Bride's Father: John Crabtree, Waste Dealer
Witness: Richard Crabtree; Mary Emma Dearden
Married by Banns by: J.N. Pocklington
Register: Marriages 1849 - 1851, Page 132, Entry 264

Provides the name of Sarah Crabtree, daughter of John a Waste Dealer the witness name of Richard Crabtree is almost certainly that of her brother the occupation of Sarah's husband as a Porter matches that of Richard in 1851 they were probably both employed at the Smithfield Market which is close to Dyche St/Rochdale Road..

The marriage did not last long as Sarah died in 1852. There is no indication that they had children in this period.

Margaret/Peggy Ashworth

Initially all that could be deduced was that John the Waste Dealer was married to a Margaret or Peggy. The problem was then locating their marriage. No baptisms could be found for John, Richard, Sarah or James, though various census entries indicated they were all born in Rossendale or more specifically Bacup. The marriage should have taken place before the birth of their oldest son, John who was born ~1820.

This marriage:

Marriage: 4 Jan 1820 St Nicholas, Newchurch in Rossendale, Lancashire, England
John Crabtree - in this Chapelry
Peggy Ashworth - (X), in this Chapelry
Witness: Abm Stott; Richard Ashworth
Married by Banns by: D Rathbone Curate
Register: Marriages 1813 - 1825, Page 158, Entry 474

Was the one which fitted the known facts and with Peggy's maiden name of Ashworth provided an explanation of the use of Ashworth as an additional first name for John (born ~1820), who in different censuses is shown variously as John and John Ashworth (abbreviated to John A). In turn his son, born ~1855 in California used the names John Ashworth and Ashworth at different times, though his familiar name later in life was Jack. The name John Ashworth Crabtree also occurs separately as a nephew of Sarah Ann Crabtree, suggesting that the Ashworth component was significant in the descendants of John and Peggy.

John Ashworth Crabtree Snr

As previously mentioned John Crabtree born ~1820 (also known as John Ashworth Crabtree) is found in the 1841 census living with his mother and two of his siblings at McGills Court (Thompson St) in the Newton Heath/Ancoats area of Manchester. At this time his trade was given as a Sadler. In 1842 John Crabtree a Harness Maker can be found in immigration lists travelling on the ship Europa to New York City. Various narratives report his life in the USA, and while useful as a guide I have concentrated on available official documents and Newspaper reports whilst tracing him beyond his initial emigration from England.

Samuel Crabtree's family

Referring back to the statement of Sarah Ann Crabtree -

I knew the family of Samuel Crabtree who was my father's uncle. He had 8 children:
Jane Crabtree Heyworth (mother of S. Heyworth of Southport)
Lavinia Crabtree Taylor (mother of Samuel Taylor of Southport)
James, John, Sarah Crabtree Pilkington,
Rebecca Crabtree Smith (mother of Samuel Crabtree Smith of Bacup)
and David and Samuel Crabtree.
I am certain of the relationship of Samuel Crabtree to my father and knew he was my father's uncle. His son Samuel Jr was my father's cousin.

It was appropriate to reconstruct this family, as it might give some indication of Samuel and John's common ancestry.

For Samuel to be the uncle of Sarah Ann's father, James it seemed Samuel was a brother to James' father, John the waste dealer. Initially this caused some concern as John was born ~1796 and when I reconstructed Samuel's family from census and other data he was born ~1816, a 20 year difference in age. Again there was no likely matching baptism in the Rossendale area for him, though Samuel, in later censuses shows his place of birth as Bacup.

From various legal notices following his death in 1871 it became apparent that Samuel had operated a Cotton Spinning Mill, and the provisions of his Will were for the shared management of the company by his children. For whatever reason the company became bankrupt in 1878. These notices however proved to be a fertile source of information about the family.

Samuel had been married twice - in 1836 to Betty Butterworth and in 1846 to Sarah, the widow of Robert Heyworth. When I traced back his second wife it appears she was born Sarah Ashworth. Betty Butterworth was baptised at the Ebeneezer Particular Baptist Chapel in Bacup and it appears Sarah Ashworth was also baptised at a Particular Baptist Chapel in Rossendale. It seems reasonable to infer that Samuel, along with many others in the district was a member of the Baptist Church which still has a strong presence in the Rossendale Valley. If this were the case then it is not surprising that his Baptism cannot be located, and the same may also be true of John Crabtree and Peggy Crabtree nee Ashworth who we know was buried in the Dissenters Burial Ground.

Another issue that occurs here is that when Sarah Ann Crabtree said I knew the family of Samuel Crabtree who was my father's uncle it could be that he was an uncle not because he was the brother of John's father as originally thought but because John's mother (Peggy Ashworth)was the sister of Samuel's wife Sarah Ashworth. A marriage in 1794 between James Ashworth and Jane Rawsthton or one in 1799 between James Ashworth and Ann Stansfield could have produced both Peggy and Sarah. In reality whichever way the two families were related would not affect the outcome of the Lotta Crabtree Will case; it may only have been introduced to exclude a descendant of Samuel from claiming they were more closely related to Lotta's father.

Crabtrees in USA

As we have seen John Ashworth Crabtree Snr arrived in the USA in 1842. There are gaps in the direct records until 1860 when he can be found with a wife, Mary A and three children Lotta, Ashworth and George, living in San Francisco. He is using the name John Crabtree and one son is Ashworth, though later in life they both use the name John Ashworth Crabtree. Lotta was born in New York and her age (12) indicates she was born ~1848 and her death record indicates a birthdate of 7 November 1847. The two boys were born in California John Ashworth Jnr ~1855 and George ~185 7 .

In 1860 The family is living adjacent to a Richard and Charlotte Whittaker. - this is significant as Charlotte Whittaker was the twin sister of John Ashworth Crabtree Snr's wife Mary A. The family name of the twins was Livesey.

No record of John's marriage have ever been found, but it is said to have happened around 1844 in New York.

The Liveseys

Mary Ann Livesey (bn 1820)

I believe that the only official record of Mary Ann's parents after she married John Ashworth Crabtree Snr is in the record of her death in 1905 where her father's name is shown as Libsey and her mother's as Catherine Starks. These may be transcription errors as I have been unable to source a copy of the original record. They can however then be verified against baptism records for Preston, Lancashire.

Baptism: 27 Aug 1820 St John, Preston, Lancashire, England
Charlotte Livesey - [Child] of James Livesey & Catherine
Abode: Spring Gardens, Preston
Occupation: Servant
Baptised by: M. Mark, Curate
Register: Baptisms 1820 - 1822, Page 24, Entry 416
Source: LDS Film 1278741
Baptism: 27 Aug 1820 St John, Preston, Lancashire, England
Mary Ann Livesey - [Child] of James Livesey & Catherine
Abode: Spring Gardens, Preston
Occupation: Servant
Baptised by: M. Mark, Curate
Register: Baptisms 1820 - 1822, Page 24, Entry 415
Source: LDS Film 1278741

Mary Ann and Charlotte were twins.

And by working back through the records it becomes clear that the parents were James Livesey and Catherine Starkie.

Starkie Livesey (bn 1815)

Starkie was an older brother of Charlotte and Mary Ann, born in Preston. He is quite useful in confirming the details of the Liveseys as he also emigrated to the USA and with such an uncommon combination of names his records are hard to confuse. The 1837 - 1840 Rate Books for Manchester shows a Starkie Livesey occupying a shop in Travis St, Hulme, Manchester. He must have left part way though 1840 as the Poor Rate was only paid on that property for around 7 months. In 1841 Starkie is a Journeyman Upholsterer living in Preston, Lancashire, the same year he can be found on the ship Fairfield arriving in New York. The 1850 New York census shows him, still an Upholsterer, living in New York, also living with him are Charlotte and John Whittaker and their son John Whittaker, born in New York. John for Charlotte's husband must have been an error in the census as the son John Richard Whittaker's baptism record shows his father as Richard, the same name that is given in the 1860 California census when Charlotte and Richard are living adjacent to John Ashworth Crabtree.

In 1859 Starkie lost his life at sea within two days sailing of New York. The subsequent probate proceedings went on to name his brothers and sisters and their known abodes:

"Thomas Livesey, Charlotte Whittaker wife of Richard Whittaker, Elizabeth Green wife of Henry C Green, severally residing in the City of New York
Mary A Crabtree wife of John A Crabtree severally residing at San Francisco, Cal.
Jane Ferguson wife of Herbert Ferguson severally residing at Manchester England
James Livesey residing at London England
and John Livesey residing at Cork, Ireland
the brothers and sisters of the Testator."

Thus giving a picture of the Livesey family and confirming that his sisters Mary Ann and Charlotte had married John Ashworth Crabtree and Richard Whittaker respectively. This confirmed many of the names I had already located using UK baptism data but in the main it showed which of James and Catherine's children had emigrated to the USA.

Elizabeth Livesey (bn 1836)

The oddest point revealed by Starkie Livesy's probate was the existence of Elizabeth, the wife of Henry C Green. - subsequent tracing of this family showed that Elizabeth died in 1862, however it also showed that she had been born in 18 3 6 in New York, this was some 13 years after the previous child John who was living in Cork, Ireland and was born in Preston. This would have meant that her mother, Catherine would have been 53 years old. It would also mean that some of the Liveseys emigrated to the USA before 1836. It is possible that Elizabeth was the illegitimate daughter of either Charlotte or Mary Ann but brought up, as often happens in these cases, as their sister. As it has been impossible to locate James Livesey, the husband of Catherine Starkie in any USA records this explanation is likely.

Charlotte Livesey (bn 1820)

In addition to the 1850 and 1860 US Censuses, Charlotte and her husband Richard also appear in the 1855 New York census. This provides a little additional information about them.

Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
Richard Whittaker Head M 36 England Boiler maker Naturalised Voter
Charlotte Whittaker Wife F 35 England (non-voting) Alien
John R Whittaker Son M 11 New York

The record shows they have all been resident in New York City for 11 years, though in the case of Charlotte this seems to have been altered from 15 suggesting that it may have been ~15 years previously (i.e. ~ 1840) that she moved to America, and then four years later to New York City. Alternatively the 15 years may have been an arithmetic error and her arrival in America was in 1844. However as their son John Richard Whittaker was born in New York on 13 May 1844 and baptised there in January 1856, it must be assumed that unless Richard and Charlotte married in England they were living somewhere else in the USA (or perhaps Canada often a gateway for immigrants from England to America ) when they married and later moved to New York in time for the birth of their first child. If Charlotte had emigrated to America in 1840 (or 1844) then she could not have been the mother of Elizabeth.

Thomas Livesey (bn 1821)

Thomas was born in Preston , and like his brother Starkie, was an upholsterer an 1857 Street Directory for New York shows Thomas Livesey, Upholsterer, 750 Broadway . This is the same address as Starkie Livesy and Co, Upholsterers. There is a Thos Livsey in the 1855 New York Census, however he was a soldier born in Rhode Island ~1823.

In 1870 he was living in California with four children but his wife wasn't present at the census, leading to the assumption that she was dead by then. His occupation was a Bookeeper, quite different from that of an Upholsterer and various Newspaper cuttings show a Thomas Livesey around this time as the Secretary of a Masonic Lodge in San Francisco .

James Livesey (bn 1812)

As noted above for Mary Ann and Cherlotte (and also for the other children of James and Catherine) his father was a Servant at Spring Gardens in Preston. When James married he gave his father's occupation as Butler.

Lancashire Lantern tells us Spring Gardens was once one of the oldest streets in Preston. The town gentry resided here as early as 1796. The area is now located below the central bus station. so his employment there as a Butler was not unreasonable.

William Oscar Hamlin

A copy of correspondence from the Lotta Crabtree case informs us Mary Ann Livesey was cousin of the wife of W.O. Hamlin, Whiteberke, Sale (maiden name Agnes Livesey) This information was derived from a note confirming the death of James Ashworth Crabtree at the Nag's Head Inn, Bollington, Sale. The correspondent was the secretary of the Stamford Mark Freemason Lodge #148 in Altrincham.

NB "cousin" in this context is used loosely they were, if I've got it right, second cousins once removed.

The point about this was that it allowed me to work back a Livesey line to a Thomas Livesey born at Bashall and baptised at Waddington, Yorkshire in 1746. From there connecting that line to James Livesey/Catherine Starkie was reasonably straightforward using Parish records.

Harris Family

The inclusion of this family in my research was prompted when I discovered in the 1900 census that John Ashworth Crabtree Jnr had married Annie Evelyn Harris.   Unscrambling this family has proved very difficult with dates/ages which are clearly wrong being given and, it appears, some births being recorded more than once with different dates.   It is unclear whether there was a single family with Peter, a plasterer and Elizabeth Forbes as parents, or whether there was another Peter & Elizabeth/Eliza J combination as there are clashes in children's dates.   It is partly confused also by all the Peters being plasterers or a similar occupation (the Stucco Worker who died in 1903 would appear to be the same as married Eliza Forbes except for the name of his father in the marriage and death record).   Eventually I believe I resolved all the issues and reconstructed a single family.   To some extent this was helped by a headstone at St Mary's Church Cemetery in Quincy, Massachusetts.   While mainly Harrises it also referred to Annie Crabtree and an Elizabeth Barry.   I summarised the census data together with births and death information to create a table














Name Birth Died 1860 1865(1) 1865(2) 1870 1880 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940
Peter Harris

1830 1830 1830 1830 1840 1929



Eliza Harris
Mar-1905 1834 1837 1835 1829
1929



Mary Harris





1841

















(Walter) John Harris Oct-1855
1856 1856 1856 1855 1857




Eliza (J) Harris Aug-1857
1858 1858 1859 1857





Walter Thomas Harris May-1860 Jan-1880 1860 1862 1861 1859





Ann (Maria) Harris Dec-1862

1863 1863 1861 1864




Peter (Sarsfield) Harris Apr-1865 Aug-1879
1865 1865 1863





James (Henry) Harris Dec-1866



1865 1869 1868


1867
(Mary Ann) Theresa Harris Sep-1868



1869 1871




Thomas J Harris Jul-1872 Jul-1901



1873 1874



William Harris Feb-1875 Mar-1876



































John F Harris
Jan-1935




1864 1864 1866 1863
Elizabeth Harris / Barry
May-1932




1867 1867 1869 1864













Annie Evelyn Crabtree
Oct-1918




1873 1870


Mary (H) Cusick






1875 1877 1878 1878 1877

The names actually used in the censuses can differ between years.   In 1865 the family have been enumerated twice and names and dates for what is clearly the same person are not totally consistent between the two.  The biggest issue is that post-1900 a number of family members ages have been reduced by up to 10 years ? if, for instance we consider "John F Harris" his dates of birth are around 1864, however if that were true where was he in the 1865 and 1870 censuses and what happened to the Walter John Harris, referred to in censuses as just "John" who was in those censuses ?   Similar logic applies to Elizabeth (Eliza J) and to Annie Crabtree (Anna Maria).   John and Elizabeth can be found living together with their parents in the 1900 census, but in 1910 they are living with Annie Crabtree who is described as John's sister; Elizabeth, though by then married to Christopher Barry is shown as Elizabeth Harris, Single.   In 1920 John and Elizabeth are still together but Elizabeth is using the name Elizabeth Barry.   Here there is clear evidence, backed up by the gravestone, that John Harris, Elizabeth Barry and Annie Crabtree are siblings.

One point which caused concern was that in the 1900 census Peter Harris' wife Eliza indicated that she had been married 41 years with  a total of six children, all still alive.   Overall I had identified a total of nine children, however three of these had died before 1900 so the reference to six still alive could have been a misunderstanding of the question.
I can find no obvious answer to why dates have been skewed, however I believe the overall evidence points to the single Harris family as I have reconstructed it.

Locations and Abodes

It appears that there was a tradition that the Livesey family were from Cheshire. I suspect this was due to a fundamental misunderstanding regarding records.

Tracing back James Livesey, the father of Charlotte, Mary Ann et. al. it becomes apparent that James was from a village known as West Bradford in Yorkshire, this is near to Clitheroe (Lancashire) and must not be confused with the large Yorkshire town noted for woollen production Bradford. However in the records West Bradford at the time in question is usually referred to simply as Bradford, which can be a source of confusion to anyone not familiar with the area. James had married Catherine Starkie in 1803 and their first four children were born in West Bradford and baptised at Waddington Church. Between 1810, when the first of their sons named James was born, and 1811 when he died they moved to Preston where the remainder of their children (with the exception of the Elizabeth named above ) were born.

Preston was in the Ecclesiastical Deanery of Amounderness, part of the Diocese of Chester. It is possible that at some point Chester and Cheshire (the county where Chester is located) have become confused.

There was, in fact a child of James and Catherine with a Cheshire connection, James (the second of that name) who was born in Preston in 1812 and married in Grappenhall, near Warrington in Cheshire. This James, however did not emigrate to the USA he is the James mentioned in the probate documents of his brother, Starkie Livesey as James Livesey residing at London England.

A Note on Dissenters

When researching the Crabtree's and Ashworths in Bacup I have noted that the difficulty in obtaining particularly baptism information could be related to the families being dissenters. Such families would not have their children baptised at the local Parish Church, however they would marry there.

The explanation for this lies in the law at the time which meant that, in general, unless you married in the Established (C of E) Church the law would treat your children as illegitimate as not the fruit of a legal marriage. As such the children would be unable to inherit property as Heirs. This was a powerful incentive for Dissenters to marry in the Parish church.

Although some dissenter naming records survive and are available they are nowhere near as common as those for the Established church; however where the do survive they can be a rich source of information, naming not only parents but also grandparents.

The Baptists tradition was, and still is, strong in the Rossendale Valley and Bacup, Chapels sprung up as offshoots of other Chapels to serve the more isolated communities. Records relating to Samuel Crabtree and his family show that his branch were part of the movement and there are a few possible examples in the RG4 Series of documents held at The National Archives (these relate to Baptist records) any of which could be the Peggy/Margaret Ashworth who married John Crabtree, waste dealer.

Source data and anomalies

There are two main sources that have not survived, both of them would have been a great help in researching the families.

In general the UK censuses have been reasonably comprehensive, with the exception of the above noted Manchester one.

In the USA this was, particularly in California, a time of change census data seems to have been of variable quality and the length of time taken over collecting data (perhaps a month) has meant that there is scope for people to be missed completely. In two instances the enumeration of a property seems to have been fragmented over time, resulting in two separate groupings of people that were only recombined into a single household by chance when I noticed that they were living at an address with the same schedule number though on non-adjacent pages and with no head of household mentioned. What with the loss of the 1890 data there are people who can be found in 1860 and then disappear completely until 1910, though it is clear they have lived in the same area continuously. Despite this where US Census data exists it does provide information not found in the UK Censuses, typically the birthplace not only of the subject but also of their parents and in some cases when the subject emigrated to the USA. Also useful is the occasional State Census in years such as 1855 which provide a better picture of family movement between the 10 year Federal Censuses.

Acknowledgements

My thanks are due to Bruce Kupelnick who brought this family to my attention and has provided transcripts from the Will Case from U.S. Libraries, and data from a number of BMD certificates.



Bob Calvert
November 2015