Faulder Family Genealogy Faulder Family Genealogy

1 April, 2018

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.

(It was initially published on 24 December 2016 and updated 1 April 2018 and 3 August 2021.)

Source Records in England

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

First nameLast nameGenderAgeBirth placeOccupation
WilliamWilliamsonMale30IrelandI Tinman

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 nameLast nameRelationshipMarital statusGenderAgeOccupationBirth place
WilliamWilliamsonHeadMarMale50Tin Plate Manufacturer Employing 3 Men & 4 BoysIreland, Cork
ElizabethWilliamsonWifeMarFemale46Ireland, Cork
GeorgeWilliamsonSonUnmMale21Tin Plate WorkerLondon
WilliamWilliamsonSonUnmMale16Tin Plate WorkerIreland, Cork
ThomasWilliamsonNephewUnmMale16Tin Plate WorkerNew Jersey, America
JosephMorganBoarderMarMale46Tin Plate WorkerSouth Wales Carmarthen
1861 England and Wales Census RG 9; Piece: 2094; Folio: 56; Page: 9; [Accessed via Ancestry]

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

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. Their ancestors are not known.

George Henry Williamson (b England)

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


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


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.

* [Update: April 2018] The Parish Record for the St Pancras birth above is at London Metropolitan Archives (Reference Number: p90/pan1/024). Accessing it through Ancestry shows:

Name:George Henry Williamson
Record Type:Baptism
Baptism Date:9 Feb 1845
Baptism Place:St Pancras, Camden, England
Father:William Williamson
Mother:Elizabeth Williamson
Register Type:Parish Registers
The Parish Record for the St Pancras birth above at London Metropolitan Archives (Reference Number: p90/pan1/024) [Accessed via Ancestry]

This matches the IGI information. Examining the actual images also reveals additional information

Name:George Henry Williamson
Birth Date (marginal note):14 Jan 1845
Abode (of parents):Brill Place
Baptism Date:9 Feb 1845
Quality, Trade Or Profession (of father):Tinplate Worker
Celebrant:F J Stainforth [?]
Ancestry Data Set:Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917
Parish Register Record Page, Number343, 246
IGI information [accessed through Family Search]

The “Tinplate” worker would tend to indicate that this is the right record.

The same record set records a baptism (11 May 1845) for the Q2 1845 Stepney birth of a George Williamson – parents George and Eleanor.

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

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:


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.

Cork Examiner 20 July 1869 (page 1 column 6) [Accessed via Find My Past]

The confusion over the dates is probably because this is a repeat advert on the actual day of the meeting.

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. The report of the meeting indicated that this experience was personal.


Last evening Mr. William B. Williamson, of Worcester, addressed a large attentive and respectable assembly in the Rotundo of the Athenæum. He described himself as a son of toil who started in life as an apprentice in a workshop, and whose education might have been of a better order than it was, but for that foe of of progress — strong drink — which hinders the march of knowledge in any family into which it finds access. In this part of the lecture, Mr. Williamson made pointed reference to the dangers of the workshop, and especially to the dangers to which the youthful apprentice is exposed due to the example of dissipation so often set before them by the older man. Mr. Williamson described the drawback which drink proved to him until he resolutely entered into conflict with this enemy, and was enabled by the help of God to overcome it. At this part of the part of the lecture he described most accurately the feelings and the habits of many of the working classes who so often lay the blame of their distress and discomfort at the door of the government, or attributes it to the mismanagement of their wives, forgetting the large portion of their wages which so often is to be found in the publican’s till. From the time that Mr. Williamson took the pledge and resolutely kept it, prosperity beamed upon him, and he has rapidly risen in wealth and comfort and influence. He is a member of the Worcester Corporation — he has a large manufactory in which he has many hands, old and young at work, and the men love the master and the master loves the men, and harmony and industry and prosperity are the results. No liquor is permitted to enter the premises, and it is to this stringent rule that order and happiness are so constantly to be found in the workshop. He has built a temperance hall1, in which lectures are given on the importance of the rule of total abstinence, and he not only does his utmost to keep up the reign of temperance, in his own home and his establishment, but he goes as a missionary into the lanes and streets and calls on families in which drunkenness prevails, and he has received, as the most valuable reward which he could expect, the blessings of wives and children from whose homes the demon of drink has been banished by his earnest and humble appeals to those who had been tied and bound by its chains.

[Address by Rev N C Dunscombe about the movement in Cork]

A vote of thanks to Mr. Williamson was proposed by Mr. Julian and seconded by Mr. Morgan, and unanimously carried.

The room was crowded, and great order and attention were visible throughout the proceedings.

Cork Constitution 21 July 1869, Page 2 Column 6 [Accessed via Find My Past]

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.

1 The Temperance Hall in Worcester was in Charles Street – the same address as the remaining Williamson’s Office Block. The Hall has since been demolished.

The Changing Face of Worcester: Temperance Hall, Charles St
[All www.cfow.org.uk/ images are subject to copyright restrictions. “However, please feel free to use them for research and educational purposes”. Any images used should clearly acknowledge their source.]


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 – presumably either when he signed the pledge or afterwards. 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, could 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.

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 family in Cork.


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

Other Irish Relatives

Possible Younger Brother

The 1861 Census for Worcester (England) 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 (but 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 nameGender:AgeBirth placeOccupation
Eliza AWilliamsonFemale24New York 
George TWilliamsonMale5New Jersey 
Samuel HWilliamsonMale3New 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 recorded as “Thomas” to distinguish him from WBW’s son George Henry. If it is this family he may well have been known by his second name to distinguish him from his father. It is also worth noting that Samuel is a name that is shared with George T’s uncle – if this is the right family.

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 nameRelationshipMarital statusGenderAgeBirth month & yearBirth placeOccupation
GeorgeWilliamsonSelfMarriedMale55Feb 1845New JerseyTinsmith
SarahWilliamsonWifeMarriedFemale63Dec 1837New York Mother of 2, both living

The census records that they have been married 30 years – so he married at ~25 and she at ~33. The 1892 Census of Dutchess County may show this couple with a probable son Fred, age 17 – born 1875, when the mother Sarah would have been 38. There could be earlier children.

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. The Census also records the place of birth of his Father as Ireland and his mother as New York; again this is consistent with this family.

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)

Possible Elder Brother

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:

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.


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:
    • First, 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
    • Secondly, to 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.


  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:


  1. […] The Athenaeum was the location of William Blizard Williamson’s address on the benefits of temperance in 1869 when he visited his native city. (see post: William Williamson of Cork) […]

    Pingback by Will: Samuel Williamson of Cork « Faulder Family Genealogy — 22 November, 2018 @ 3:40 pm

  2. […] adoptive mother’s paternal grandfather (my Grandmother’s Grandfather) was William Blizard Williamson (born Cork, Ireland 1811, died Worcester, England 1878). He had two sons: William Blizard […]

    Pingback by The Blizard Name « Faulder Family Genealogy — 7 September, 2021 @ 3:03 pm

  3. […] 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. […]

    Pingback by Williamson: Current Research « Faulder Family Genealogy — 15 September, 2021 @ 5:35 pm

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