Faulder Family Genealogy

15 September, 2021

Williamson: Current Research

Link between myself and the Williamsons
Link between myself and the Williamsons

Currently a number of events have brought my focus back to the Williamson Family – my maternal grandmother’s family (through my mother’s adoption).

The purpose of this post is to summarise the current areas of research and what is being done (September 2021) in order to help others and via search engines to catch the attention of people currently unknown to me who may be researching the same family.

Currently we know of the Williamsons in Cork in the first half of the 19th Century, later emerging in Worcester in England in the 1861 Census. That same census indicates that there was a branch of the family in New Jersey United States.

Specific Areas being researched

Origins

  1. Williamson Origins – my cousin Helen Kingham has some notes that her youngest brother Michael Kingham made as a teenager when talking to relatives that imply the Williamsons may originally have come from Londonderry.
    • HK writing to me: “when talking to my mother’s father in the 1970s (grandpa Thomas, so the husband of Helen Mary Williamson, your grandmother’s sister) and to my mother. I’m not sure whether it is Mum who told Michael this or her father, but I think it must be Mum as I’m not sure that Grandpa ever talked about the Williamson family, only his own (Thomas) family.”
    • We currently have no definitive link to Londonderry although we know there were Williamson tinsmiths in the area. A reconstruction of Williamson families in the Londonderry / Derry (county or city) area in the early 19th century could be difficult (Family Search will have some records online, but a visit to records offices in Ulster may be necessary).
  2. Some Williamsons – The References in MJ Reader’s Book on Metal Box credits G. E. Williamson for the typescript ‘Some Williamsons‘ – which it was noted was “kindly lent by Mr. H. Williamson”.
    • From Reader’s book we know this typescript gave some details of the origins of the Williamsons (“a Plymouth Brother of obscure Irish antecedents, described by his grandson as ‘a Card’”,). GEW was the grandson of William Blizard Williamson (the elder 1811-1878)
    • Mr H Williamson is almost certainly Hugh Williamson (1916-1985). GEW was his father, George Evans Williamson (1887-1970).
    • The Evans name comes through GEW’s mother Elizabeth Ann Clark (1853-1929) whose aunt Ann Clark (1820-1886) was married to Thomas Merrett Evans (1818-1892).
      • Thomas Merrett Evans and EAC’s father, James Clark (1823-?) were in partnership together as Grocers in Leicester.
      • The Clark, sometimes Clarke, family tree has been documented by Helen Kingham back one further generation to James Clark (1795-?).
      • Ideally we would like to trace a living Clark descendant who can help navigate around this surname.
  3. The Blizard Name – The origin of the Blizard name as in William Blizard Williamson – sometime spelt with a double ‘z’.
    • This is currently work in progress. The existence of a famous surgeon Sir William Blizard (1743-1835) is possibly relevant; I have yet to find a genealogical link to any Blizard family – it could just be a reflections of his fame – much as the names “Horatio” and “Nelson” became popular after Trafalgar.

William Blizard Williamson and Cork City

  1. Elizabeth Williamson – Who was William Blizard Williamson (the elder’s) wife?
    • We know from census records that she was called Elizabeth and was born in Cork around 1815. It is not clear whether this was Cork County or Cork City; however there are other links that point towards the Williamsons being based in Cork City around Lavitt’s Quay.
  2. William Blizard Williamson family in Cork – What else do we know of his family?
    • We know that William had an elder brother Samuel (1808-1872 – Samuel’s will mentions William B Williamson of Worcester as an executor). Samuel’s will (as transcribed in the Will Books) gives an address of No 31 & 32 Lavitt’s Quay, City of Cork
    • We think he had another probably younger brother who may have been named George.
  3. Details of their life in Cork
    • The “townland” is meant to be a vital bit of information for tracing relatives in Ireland, but it is not yet discerned with certainty.
    • We are fairly certain that they were not Catholic – there are stories of being beaten up for being a “Protestant” and that this might have been the reason for leaving. It is possible however that if they were Brethren they were beaten up by Protestants for being too “Non Conformist”.
    • From WBW the elder’s obituary we also know that he was beaten up for rescuing someone from a river. Would this have been the River Lee?
    • The Cork Opera House (originally “The Athenaeum”, later the “Munster Hall”), built a decade or so after we think WBW left Cork “sides on” to Lavitt’s Quay on the north bank of the city centre island – but fronts on to Emmet Place (then known as Nelson’s Place).
      • It seems strange that tin smiths (unless very fancy tin smiths – Samuel was also described as a Japaner) should be in such an area – unless it moved up in the world – after the Williamsons had moved on!
      • Henry & Coughlan’s General Directory of Cork and Munster for 1867 Directory does not have a 31 & 32 Lavitts Quay (27 is maximum number). Perhaps Samuel’s former home was demolished to make way for the Athenaeum?
  4. William Blizard Williamson’s parents – Who was WBW, the elder’s, parents? We think Thomas Williamson (no details known) and an unknown wife (possibly Margaretta Sears)
  5. The Brethren – Can we find out more about WBW the elder and his involvement with the Brethren (this link comes from the “Some Williamsons” typescript referred to above)?
    • He appears to have been a Congregationalist when in Worcester
    • If he was a member of the Brethren when he was in Cork, it would have been in the very early days (before “Plymouth” started to be associated with some of the Brethren’s sub-groups)
  6. Drunkenness and Temperance – Can we find out when he “signed the pledge”?
    • Michael Kingham’s notes indicate: He (WBW the elder):
      • “would get blind drunk every fortnight or so (for the hell of it)” and
      • “George…on one occasion he used his mother’s stays » (the notes don’t say why [Was he hoping that the whalebone in the stays would protect him from an anticipated trashing?]) « so his father broke his stick across his back when beating him.  Then great-grandfather (WBW senior) came downstairs and said to his wife : ‘go upstairs to George, I’m afraid I’ve killed him’.”
    • WBW the elder addressed a Temperance Meeting in Cork (at the Athenaeum) in 1869 as a reformed character.
    • He built a Temperance Hall in Worcester next to his works.
Cork Opera House as pictured in the late 19th century – the Quay is Lavitt’s Quay
Wikipedia, Public Domain: French, Robert, 1841-1917 photographer – National Library of Ireland Catalogue

Holes in the data

  1. Settling in Worcester – Do we know when the family settled in Worcester and where the family was at the time of the 1851 census?
    • We see the family In Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England in the 1841 Census
    • We see the baptism of two children in St Pancras in 1842 (Cristina/Christiana) and 1845 (George Henry)
    • Michael Kingham’s notes indicate some association with Paddington – an exhaustive search of 1851 census records (in multiple online sources) may find Elizabeth and her children.
    • We find them settled in Worcester, England in the 1861 Census.
      • An Open University assignment (Cannings-Bushell, 2000) states – without specific reference – that WBW arrived in Worcester from Wolverhampton – “came from Wolverhampton and set up next to the canal at Lowesmoor around 1855 making milk churns, baths, domestic metalware and cash boxes, etc.” (An email was sent to Dave Cannings-Bushell 6 September 2021 – he replied the same day stating he no longer had his detailed notes so could not help). The bibliography at the end of the assignment could yield the specific reference.
      • We know the Providence Works (not WBW first works) was opened in 1858 – the name would imply that by then he was sober.
    • In the 1850’s I believe from WBW the elder’s obituary that he was involved in itinerant Trade Union activities – I am attempting to summarise newspaper reports of the time.
    • I don’t know where the rest of the family (wife Elizabeth, sons William Blizard Williamson the younger and George Henry Williamson and daughter Christina/Christiana Williamson) were.
  2. Christina/Christiana Williamson – Helen discovered Christina/Christiana’s baptism record (21 Jan 1843 Old St Pancras born 16 December 1842) but that is all we know of her
  3. Elections – We know about the scandal surrounding George Henry Williamson and the 1906 Worcester Election. There also seems to have been some scandal involving the family in earlier local council elections. I am currently (on and off) reviewing online newspaper archives to find out more details.

Williamsons and the USA

  1. Family in New Jersey/New York – The 1861 Census for 1861 in Worcester reveals that WBW the elder had a nephew Thomas Williamson (possibly George Thomas Williamson) born in Newark New Jersey in 1845.
    • We are trying to piece together the “US Family” and any knowledge would be gratefully received. So far we think we have details of three generations in NY/NJ (which is two generations before my generation) but we have not yet conclusively made the link back – we think WBW the elder may have had a brother George (b 1817) who went to the USA.
    • A George Williamson (b 1817 Ireland) married an Eliza A Kingsland (b ~1825 New York State) and they had at least four children;
      • George Thomas (1845-1900) the probable nephew of WBW who in 1861 was in Worcester, Samuel H (1847-?), Christina (1851-?) and Kingsland (1854-).
      • They lived in the Rensselaer and Dutchess Counties in New York state.
      • Both the Georges were tin smiths, but Kingsland and Christina were hatters.
    • In 1881 Kingsland Williamson married an Isabella (b March 1854 in England). The 1910 census indicates they had at least four children:
      • Gracie (June 1883), George (April 1885 – ?), John C (April 1887 – ?) and an unknown child who had died before 1910.
      • They lived in Dutchess County, New York.
      • In 1910 George was a draughtsman and John C a Machinist.
    • In 1916 a John Cuthbert Williamson (b 1887) married a Maude Annie Crawshaw in Orange County New York.
      • On the marriage record John Cuthbert’s details are given as: Occupation: Toolmaker; Birthplace: Beacon*, NY; Father’s Name and birth place: Kingsley F Williamson, US; Mother’s Name and birth place: Isabella Cuthbert, US.
      • Other indices give JCW’s birth place as Cornwall, NY – on the other bank of the Hudson from Dutchess County and Beacon City. There is also some indication that JCW may be widowed.
      • Is John Cuthbert Williamson above the John C Williamson son of Kingsland Williamson and Isabella?
  2. American Civil War – There are a number of hints that George Henry Williamson ran off to the USA and ended up fighting in the American Civil War – for the Confederacy (despite the possible links to Northern States).
    • Michael Kingham’s notes record that:
      • “George went to America at 18 ; went to the docks : ‘ do you want a boy ? I can cypher very well…’ So the captain allowed him on as a boy ;
      • he worked on a slave plantation and travelled the USA by train, and
      • fought in the Civil War under General Lee.
      • George’s mother wrote to him that she was very ill and dying and wanted to see him ; so he returned home from the USA and she wasn’t dying at all – it was just a ploy”
    • ACW records seem to be very non-specific and finding the right George Henry Williamson may be difficult.

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