Faulder Family Genealogy

24 December, 2016

William Blizard Williamson of Cork

One of my brick walls has been William Blizard Williamson and his family;

  • His wife Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) and
  • His sons William Blizard and George Henry.

George Henry was the father of Elizabeth Ann Willett who with her husband Everard William Willett adopted my mother, which makes William Blizard Williamson (senior) my Great Great Grandfather (by adoption).

This posts summarises what is and is not known about this family and what can be done to break down this brick wall! Essentially we know little about their Irish life or of their ancestors in Ireland.

Contents

  1. Source Records in England
  2. What is not known
  3. George Henry Williamson (b England)
  4. William & Elizabeth Williamson and their eldest son William (b Ireland)
    1. Place of Birth
    2. Religion
    3. Their Ancestors
  5. Summary
  6. Other Irish Relatives
  7. Conclusion

1. Source Records in England

I first pick up three of them on the 1841 Census at Canbury Field, Kingston upon Thames (Surrey, England):

First name Last name Gender Age Birth place Occupation
William Williamson Male 30 Ireland I Tinman
Eliza Williamson Female 24 Ireland
William Williamson Male 1 Ireland

The actual census schedule appears to say Caubury Field, but I think this should be Canbury – which is a modern day ward just north of the town centre and which includes an area called Canbury Gardens.

I Tinman probably stands for Itinerant or Independent Tinman. That would be a Tinker – although that may have been the census enumerator’s judgement rather than William Williamson’s. He was certainly a tin-worker.

The one year old son, William Williamson would appear to have been born in 1840 in Ireland, which would imply they have left Ireland within the last year. The obituary of William Williamson says he left Ireland in 1836. It is possible that they were travelling to and fro or that he left his wife in Ireland (and one visited the other around 1839) and the family only joined him in late 1840 or early 1841. In writing about the obituary, I speculate that it was written by one of the family – which would probably mean one of the sons, either William Blizard (the younger) or George Henry. Either of them would surely know the circumstances of William (the younger) and the whereabouts of their father at the time.

I can’t find them in the 1851 Census; I now believe they were moving around the country. WBW’s obituary refers to him being engaged in trade union type activity.

In the 1861 Census they are in Sidbury Street, St Peter, Worcester (England).

First name Last name Relationship Marital status Gender Age Occupation Birth place
William Williamson Head Mar Male 50 Tin Plate Manufacturer Employing 3 Men & 4 Boys Ireland, Cork
Elizabeth Williamson Wife Mar Female 46 Ireland, Cork
George Williamson Son Unm Male 21 Tin Plate Worker London
William Williamson Son Unm Male 16 Tin Plate Worker Ireland, Cork
Thomas Williamson Nephew Unm Male 16 Tin Plate Worker New Jersey, America
Joseph Morgan Boarder Mar Male 46 Tin Plate Worker South Wales Carmarthen

It looks as if the sons’ ages have been transposed.

2. What is not known

The birth details of William Williamson (senior) and Elizabeth are not known. Neither are the birth details of their eldest son, William. Elizabeth’s maiden name is also unknown. George Williamson’s birth details are also unclear. Their ancestors are not known.

3. George Henry Williamson (b England)

The IGI records a baptism at St Pancras, London together with a birth date.

GEORGE HENRY WILLIAMSON Male

Event(s): Birth: 14 JAN 1845
Christening: 09 FEB 1845 Old Church, Saint Pancras, London

Parents: Father: WILLIAM WILLIAMSON Mother: ELIZABETH

Old Church, Saint Pancras, is a Church of England Church in the Pancras Registration District. It is well known for its Catholic heritage and the fact that a number of Catholics were buried in its cemetery (even post Reformation). In this respect it would seem an unusual place for a non-conformist to have his son baptised. If the family was itinerant, they may not have felt they had much choice. The church was rebuilt in 1847 having been semi-derelict prior to restoration. (ref: Catholic Herald on-line 12 May 2013)

GRO records list a birth for a George Henry Williamson registered in Q3 1845 at Islington (a registration district adjacent to Pancras). However, the certificate for this birth shows the father as Frederick Williamson, a law writer.

GRO also records a birth for a George Williamson registered in Q2 1845 at Stepney – but that is some distance from St Pancras. (GRO Reference: 1845  J[une] Quarter in Stepney  Volume 02  Page 450).

GRO also records a birth for a George Gordon Williamson registered in Q1 1845 at St Pancras – the mother’s maiden name is also listed as Gordon, so might this registration have a mistaken second name? (GRO Reference: 1845  M[arch] Quarter in St Pancras  Volume 01  Page 366).

The possibilities for George Williamson’s birth are:

  • The baptismal record is for a different individual (although no other later records such as census records are found other than those already listed above for “our” George Williamson). I think this is the right baptism.
  • George “Gordon” Williamson listed above
  • Born (and registered elsewhere) – possibly the Stepney registration even though it is rather a late registration for the stated birth. (As was the Islington registration)
  • Not registered at all.

4. William & Elizabeth Williamson and their eldest son William (b Ireland)

4.1. Place of Birth

Census records indicate that these three were born in Cork. This could mean Cork City or County Cork. However the Obituary for William Williamson (the elder) says he was born in the City of Cork. It is probable that they all came from the City.

In July 1869 the following notice appeared in both the Cork Examiner and the Cork Daily Southern Reporter:

NOTICE.
CORK TOTAL ABSTINENCE ASSOCIATION.

WILLIAM BLIZARD WILLIAMSON, formerly of Cork (now of Worcester), wishes to address the inhabitants of his native city on his experience of the Evils of intemperance and the Benefits of Total Abstinence.

A Meeting for this purpose is intended to be held in the ROTUNDO, ATHENÆUM¹, on TUESDAY EVENING next, the 20th inst., at 8 o’Clock.
ROBERT SCOTT Esq., J.P, will preside.
Admission Free.

This would also seem to confirm that he was born in the City. It would also seem to indicate that he had experience of intemperance – although it is not clear if it was direct personal experience or indirect experience of the intemperance of others.

There is possibly an element of returning to his native city so that the city can see how he has made good. Alternatively he may have been visiting regularly to see relatives.

4.2. Religion

The History of Metal Box, reported that William Blizard Williamson was a “Plymouth Brother of obscure Irish antecedents” (Metal Box, by W J Reader (Heineman 1976)).

When WBW became a “Plymouth Brother” is not clear. The Brethren were founded in the 1820s in Dublin and spread to other centres including Cork and Plymouth (from which the movement acquired the Plymouth Prefix in 1831).² A “Plymouth Brother of obscure Irish antecedents” does not preclude WBW becoming a member of the Brethren after his arrival in England; in fact the prefix “Plymouth” may imply that he joined an English Assembly – it is by no means clear that the Brethren in Cork were known as Plymouth Brethren.

If he joined the “Brethren” whilst in Cork tracing family baptismal and marriage records is more difficult. However it should be noted that William Williamson, the elder (b ~1811/12) was probably baptised before the Brethren were founded (in the 1820s). However, his marriage and certainly the baptism of his son, William, would probably have been according to the rites of the Brethren (as well as the Irish civil requirements).

The Brethren originated as a non-conformist break from Anglicanism. It is possible therefore that the elder WBW was baptised as an Anglican, but it is also likely that the Brethren would have also been attractive to some Presbyterians. Given that when he died he was a Congregationalist, I would suspect that he was (slightly) more likely to have been born into a Presbyterian family. If he joined the Brethren after arriving in England, it is probable that his baptism as well as his marriage and the baptism of his eldest son (all in Ireland) would all have been within the same denomination.

4.3 Their Ancestors

Without WBW’s baptismal record and his wife Elizabeth’s marital and baptismal records, it is next to impossible to trace their ancestors. However the 1861 Census (see above) gives a potential additional way forward in respect of WBW’s ancestors.

That Census records that WBW had a nephew staying with him. Thomas Williamson was recorded as a 16 year old Tin plate worker, born in New Jersey, America. This would imply that Thomas (and his mother and possibly his father) would have been in New Jersey around 1845.

If Thomas’s father can be named we then have WBW’s brother, and we can then try to look for baptismal records for them with the same parents (assuming we don’t have half brothers!). Williamson is not however an uncommon name, so trying to find records of Thomas Williamson in the US, even with an Irish born father, is problematic. But restricting the search to New Jersey around 1845 considerably narrows the field.

The 1850 and 1860 US Censuses unfortunately do not detail family relationships.

There is a Thomas Williamson born in New Jersey in 1845 found in the 1850 US Census for Hillsborough, Somerset, New Jersey, but the two adults in the household (assumed to be his parents) are both born in New Jersey as well – which is possible but unlikely if we are looking for the father to be a brother for WBW. The probable father, Francis, is listed as a Labourer.

There is also a Thomas Williamson born in 1843 in Ireland found in the 1850 Census for Paterson, Passaic, New Jersey. The other household members (including the probable mother) are also Irish born.

However in Troy, Ward 5, Rensselaer, New York, we find in the 1850 Census:

First name(s) Last name Gender: Age Birth place Occupation
George Williamson Male 33 Ireland Tinsmith
Eliza A Williamson Female 24 New York
George T Williamson Male 5 New Jersey
Samuel H Williamson Male 3 New Jersey

Might “George T” be “George Thomas”? George is also a name found in the family that we are looking at (George Henry Williamson, discussed above, and his son George Evans Williamson). If he is the “nephew” in the 1861 Worcester, England census, it is possible he was known as “Thomas” to distinguish him from WBW’s son George Henry.

This might be thought to be a bit tenuous – but looking for a Thomas Williamson born in New Jersey around 1845 does not return many possible results let alone certain results. There is a danger of building on speculation, but we may find it useful – particularly if we later find more corroborating evidence.

The birthplaces are what we are looking for and the father’s occupation of Tinsmith is very convenient and might indicate that his son may become a tin plate worker as well – he may even have been sent to England to see how his uncle managed his business. The father would have been born in about 1817 making him 5 or 6 years younger than WBW. If this father is WBW’s brother, that gap may indicate that we might find further siblings.

Trying to find this family again in later census records is hard but in 1900, we find what could be the eldest son at Wappingers Falls, Dutchess, New York:

First name(s) Last name Relationship Marital status Gender Age Birth month & year Birth place Occupation
George Williamson Self Married Male 55 Feb 1845 New Jersey Tinsmith
Sarah Williamson Wife Married Female 63 Dec 1837 New York  Mother of 2, both living

(The 1892 Census of Dutchess County shows this couple with a probable son Fred, age 17)

This record (if we accept the possible explanation for George T being known in England as Thomas) is consistent (in terms of date and place of birth and occupation) with the nephew in the 1861 Census in Worcester, England.

There is also a family story (see comment on another post) about George Henry Williamson having fought on possibly the Confederate side in the American Civil War [1861–1865]. It is believed he ran off as a very young man to America to fight. If true, we might guess that he was drawn into this escapade with his cousin Thomas, although given Thomas was born in New Jersey it is possibly surprising that they fought on the Confederate side. However if Civil War records (for either side) show a youngish (George) Thomas (b New Jersey) and George Henry Williamson (b London) in the same unit, we may have found them. Unfortunately the indexing of these records does not make such a check easy! (See separate post)

5. Summary

Based on the supposition above we are possibly looking for a family in Cork Ireland, possibly Presbyterian or Church of Ireland:

  • Father: Williamson, First name: possibly William, born between 1750 and 1795
  • Mother: Unknown, Surname: possibly Blizard or Evans, born between 1770 and 1795
  • Son: William Blizard Williamson, b ~1811/12
  • Son: (possibly) George Williamson, b ~1817
  • Other Children: Unknown

6. Other Irish Relatives

I have speculated previously that when William Williamson (the elder) visited Cork in 1869 to speak about the benefits of temperance, he may not have been just grandstanding but also visiting relatives who remained in Cork.

Looking at trade directories for residents of the City of Cork around 1869 we find:

  • 26, Lavitts Quay: Samuel Williamson, Tinsmith
    (Henry & Coughlan’s General Directory of Cork and Munster for 1867)
    (Slater’s Royal National Commercial Directory of Ireland 1870) – which also lists him in the Category section as a japanner

A Williamson who is a tinsmith in Cork is naturally of interest as is one called Samuel – given speculation about the family in the USA (see above).

The Irish Calendar of Wills and Administrations reveals:

485 WILLIAMSON Samuel
18 June
Letters of Administration (with the Will and one Codicil annexed) of the personal estate of Samuel Williamson late of Lavitt’s-quay Cork Tinplate Worker and Japanner deceased who died 13 January 1872 at same place were granted at Cork to Elizabeth Williamson of Lavitt’s-quay aforesaid the Widow and a Legatee

Indicates that this Samuel (tinplate worker of Lavitt’s Quay) was married and looking further we find the marriage record (Ireland Marriages 1619-1898 Transcription on Family Search):

First name(s): Samuel
Last name: Williamson
Marriage year: 1851
Marriage date: 05 Jul 1851
Marriage place: Cork, Cork, Ire
Father’s first name(s): Thomas
Father’s last name: Williamson
Spouse’s first name(s): Elizabeth
Spouse’s last name: Hogan
Spouse’s father’s first name(s): William R
Spouse’s father’s last name: Hogan
Residence: Cork, Cork, Ireland
Place: Cork
County: Cork
Country: Ireland

We now have a father’s name, but the marriage date would tend to indicate that this Samuel is probably quite a bit younger than WBW (the elder) and quite a bit older than WBW (the younger).

However the Ireland Civil Registration Indexes, 1845-1958 on Family Search gives his age at death:

Name: Samuel Williamson
Event Type: Death
Event Date: 1872
Event Place: Cork, Ireland
Registration Quarter and Year: 1872
Registration District: Cork
Age: 64
Birth Year (Estimated): 1808
Volume Number: 5
Page Number: 117

A birth year would make him a potential brother of WBW (the elder). He would have been about 43 when he married.

There is also a marriage of a Sarah Williamson (father Samuel) to a James Perdue (Family Search “Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898“):

Name: James Perdue
Spouse’s Name: Sarah Williamson
Event Date: 01 Oct 1857
Event Place: Cork, Cork, Ireland
Father’s Name: Henry Perdue
Spouse’s Father’s Name: Samuel Williamson
Marital Status: Single
Spouse’s Marital Status: Single

Exhaustive searching of all records for Samuel Williamson with an appropriate date and place turns up his will (on Find My Past – Ireland, Original Will Registers 1858-1920)

The will extends over two whole register pages and two half pages and has a lot of genealogical detail:

  • Samuel Williamson, 31 & 32 Lavitts Quay in the City of Cork, Tin Plate Worker & Japanner
  • Wife: Elizabeth Williamson [married 1851]
  • Business Partner: Son in Law, Jacob Wolfe – Partnership Agreement 23 November 1870
  • Children
    • my daughter Margaret Wolfe [married 1870, therefore possibly daughter of a previous wife]
    • “I leave nothing” to my son William Henry Williamson
    • £5 to my daughter Christina Williamson – “to be appropriated to her use in the purchase of a suit of mourning clothes, as my son in law Jacob Wolfe, and my daughter Margaret Wolfe shall deem fit.”
    • “I leave nothing” to my daughter Sarah Perdue, or her heirs [Sarah married 1857, therefore probably daughter of a previous wife]
    • my son Samuel Williamson & my daughter Rebecca Ann Williamson, now inmates of the Cork Lunatic Asylum, “be provided with a decent burial, at the joint expense of my son in law Jacob Wolfe & my Wife Elizabeth Williamson”
  • Executors
    • “my brother, William R Williamson, of Worcester, England” – later referred to as William B Williamson
    • “my friend, Joseph D Reddin”
  • Will dated 19 January 1872
  • Codicil dated 19 January 1872
  • Witnesses to both will and codicil
    • Abraham Wolfe
    • Henry Farman
  • Letters of Administration granted to Elizabeth Williamson, widow, after Executors renounced Probate and Executorship
  • Value: Under £450

Finally we have the link; Samuel was the brother of William Blizard Williamson (the elder), and through Samuel’s marriage record the name of their father; Thomas Williamson. Sarah’s status is also confirmed.

Thomas was the name of the father of George T Williamson in the USA; this is probably not the same person as there is probably a generation gap. But it is further circumstantial information supporting the suspicion that George T is the Thomas found as WBW’s nephew in the 1861 England Census – Thomas is possibly a shared family name.

The Irish Diocesan & Prerogative Marriage Licences Bonds (on Family Search) has two possible marriages (Cork and Ross Diocese) for Thomas:

  • to Catherine O’Brien in 1802, or
  • to Elizabeth Wise in 1807

Whether either of these is correct cannot yet be determined.

7. Conclusion

There is a crack in this brick wall! William Blizard Williamson’s father was Thomas Williamson. Thomas probably had two further sons:

  • The father of William Blizard Williamson’s nephew Thomas on the 1861 Worcester Census (born about 1845 in New Jersey).
    • This father may possibly have been named George Williamson
    • George’s son, the “Worcester Thomas” above, may have been George Thomas Williamson, a tinsmith born in 1844 in New Jersey.
  • Samuel (b ~1808, d 1872) who lived in Cork. Samuel probably married twice:
    • To an as yet unknown first wife, by whom he probably had two children (identified in his Will):
      • Sarah who married James Perdue in 1857
      • (possibly) Margaret who married Jacob Wolfe in 1870. They appear to have at least two children (ref: Family Search, Ireland Births and Baptisms, 1620-1881):
        • Samuel b 9 Jan 1872 to Parents Samuel Wolfe and Margaret Williamson
        • Elizabeth Jane b 1 Feb 1873 to Parents Jacob Walfe and Margaritta Williamson
    • Elizabeth Hogan who he married in July 1851
      • It would be very surprising if Sarah (above) was a daughter of this relationship – born at least 9-10 years before they married.
      • It is possible that Margaret (above) was a daughter of this relationship – if born after Elizabeth’s marriage to her father she would have been 18 or 19 when she married.
      • In the Quaker records there is a record of a death and burial in July 1883 of an Elizabeth Williamson. On the burial Certificate she is described as the Widow of Samuel Williamson of 79 Douglas St Cork. In the Irish death registers there is a corresponding entry for a 76 yo Elizabeth Williamson (Registration district: Cork; Volume: 5; Page 87)
        Whether this is Elizabeth Hogan is not clear.
    • Samuel’s Will names four further children. At the moment is not clear whether the unknown first wife or Elizabeth Hogan is their mother.
      • Samuel,
      • Christina
      • William Henry (who may have married in 1875)
      • Rebecca Ann

It would be useful if Samuel’s living descendants could be identified – they may know more.

A separate exercise is under way to detail all 19th Century Williamsons in County Cork (as much as available documents allow), partly for purposes of elimination, but also in case they prove to be related.


Footnotes:

  1. The Athenæum was opened in 1855. “It was to be used for the purpose of lectures, meetings, and experiments and for the formation of a museum and the collection of fine arts in connection with such subjects. It was also to be used for balls and other assemblies and sometimes for concerts and was equipped for theatrical performances. It was never a success. The acoustics were widely held to be terrible” (Archiseek: Cork Opera House (The Athenaeum), Cork) Charles Dickens read at the Athenæum before about a thousand people; however this would have been the main hall and not the Rotunda.
  2. The Plymouth Brethren suffered a number of schisms. As far as I can ascertain the movement was founded in Dublin and did not acquire the “Plymouth” prefix until it had spread to England in 1831. In 1848 there was a split between “Open” and “Exclusive” Brethren. Each branch was subject to further schisms and re-unions. The “Plymouth Brethren Christian Church” emerged from further schisms in the “Exclusive Brethren” in 2012. The term “Gospel Hall” is often used for groups of Brethren. Sources from which I have tried to derive a composite view include:

 

 

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