A member of The Federation of Family History Societies
St James' Church, Haslingden
St John's Church, Bacup
St Mary's, Church Rawtenstall


Rossendale Branch Newsletter January 2004


Programme: 2004

Wednesday 4th February

Anecdotes from a marrying man.

Not to be missed.

Wednesday 3rd March

Tracing your Army Ancestors.

Jonathan Ali

Wednesday 7th April

AGM and Heirlooms.

Wednesday 5th May

D Day - 60th Anniversary.

Clifford Barcroft.

Coming Events

Saturday 13th March 2004

North West Group of Family History Societies Annual Conference

This year's conference is being organised by the LFHHS, so you are urged to attend.

Venue: University of Central Lancashire, Preston in the Greenbank Lecture Theatre, Adelphi Street & Victoria Street. Time: 9.30am - 4pm.


Michael Gandy. Quaker Records with specific reference to the North West.

David Smail. The Outlaw John Taylor.

Peter Park. In good faith and truthful ignorance; researching bigamy.

Cost: (including conference, buffet lunch and refreshments) £17.50.

Forms are available.

Saturday 20th March 2004 Irish Ancestry Group Mini-Conference.

Venue: Resource Centre, 2 The Straits, Oswaldtwistle, Programme

10.30 Registration, Tea/Coffee

11.00 Pat McAvoy. Was Your Ancestor in Care?

12.15 Lunch Tea/Coffee Provided

13.45 Jo McCann. Irish Townland Records.

15.00 Joan Gill. Ireland All Mapped Out.

16.15 - 6.30 Tea/Coffee Please

Note:- As last year, numbers are limited. Please let me know if you wish to attend. Payment £5.00 each may be made on arrival. Bring a packed lunch, or if preferred, lunch may be bought locally.

Bookings and Enquiries to Miss M Purcell, 128 Red Bank Rd., Bispham, Blackpool FY2 9DZ Tel 01253 353909

Please let me know if you would like a few copies of the programme for interested members. - Margaret Purcell.

Subscriptions for 2004.

You are reminded that your subscriptions for 2003 are now due. You should have received a membership form in your November "Lancashire" magazine.

Payment should be made to our Branch Treasurer, Maureen Hodgkinson or to the Society Membership Secretary, Vicky Barlow.

New members may obtain a form from Maureen or download one from the Society web site http://www.lfhhs.org.uk

Rossendale Ancestry


Mine Thine and Ours

I have recently been typing an index to the 1901 census for Rawtenstall. One of the names was all to familiar to me, "Jesse Wakefield- Head of Family- aged 50".

Jesse was my father's maternal grandfather. His extended family reminds me of many of today's dysfunctional families, with a multitude of relationships, stepchildren, half siblings, etc. My father once described the Wakefields as being a "Mine, thine and ours family."

Jesse was born in 1850 in Belton, Leicestershire. He was the youngest son of Robert Wakefield, a ring frame worker. I don't know why he chose to come to Lancashire. He was the only member of his family to do so,

At the time of his first marriage, to Kate (Catherine) McGrath on 22 June 1873, at Ramsbottom RC Church, he was living in Burnley, a 22 year old paper hanger, She was 25 years old, her address was given as Exchange Street in Edenfield.

The McGraths were an Irish Family, They had travelled to Edenfield in stages from Much Woolton, Kirkdale, Liverpool, Burnley and Crawshawbooth. The 1871 census lists one child as being "blind/idiot" another as being "blind". Kate had had two children prior to her marriage to Jesse; there was James Thomas McGrath born 1866 in Crawshawbooth and Joseph Edward born 1869 in Clowbridge.

Jesse and Kate had four children. The twins Robert and David were registered in the June quarter of 1874. They were born in Edenfield. Another Robert was registered in 1877, Thomas in 1879. Catherine died in childbirth from puerperel fever.

Jesse married a second time in 1879, in the Anglican church of the Holy Trinity, Burnley. His second wife was a widow named Alice Dugdale. At 39, she was 11 years his senior. In 1881, Jesse was living alone with just two children, David aged 6 and Hannah aged 4. Alice was living in Accrington with her son William Dugdale aged 16 and a married daughter Mary Freeman, Mary's husband John and daughter Mary Ann Freeman aged 1 month.

Meanwhile, in Bacup the 1871 census shows a young Irish man aged 20 and his sister Bridget lodging in premises in Commerce Street. His name was Owen McCoy and he had come to Bacup from Liverpool to work in the cotton mills. On the 2nd September 1873, Owen married Ellen Murray, in St. Mary's RC church, Bacup. She gave her age as 21, her father was John Murray a sailor. Owen and Ellen had 6 children, they moved to Burnley in 1883. Two children died of diptheria and Owen himself died in 1886.

Jesse married the young widow at Turf Moor RC church, 20th June 1887. They had four children together, John born 1888, Sarah born 1889, Thomas born 1892 and Eliza born 1894 in Rawtenstall.

They were dirt poor, Sarah was baptised at the age of 2 years, the address given as place of birth was Burnley workhouse. The children seem to have been farmed out to various relatives. The McCoys (with the exception of Mary) went to Liverpool, the McGraths went to relatives in Crawshawbooth. Sarah was for a short time sent to Nottingham, to stay with Jesse's sister, Mary McCoy went with her, but they were brought home because Ellen wanted them to be brought up as Catholics.

In 1901 the Wakefields were living at 5 Collinge Fold, Rawtenstall. Mary McCoy was lodging nearby. By 1904 they had moved to Haslingden. They settled at 7 Carr Mill Street in Haslingden. In 1911 Sarah married Henry Banks who lived in the same street. Both Jesse and his third wife had died in 1907 and were buried in Holden Hall cemetery aged 57years.

The McGraths emigrated to the USA, where they changed their name to McGraw.

David Wakefield married Elizabeth Bamber in 1898 and continued to live in Burnley. His sister Hannah married Richard Hacking and moved to Padiham.

Mary McCoy married William Haworth of Rakefoot in Haslingden. She was known locally as Mary McCoy for the next 65 years. Edward McCoy went to work on the railways in Liverpool. He died of influenza after WW1. His son Owen became a missionary priest. He was priest for 55 years and Bishop of Oyo Nigeria for 25 years. He died in 1988.

John Wakefield moved to Rochdale. Thomas became a Grenadier Guard; he died in WW1. Eliza married John McIntyre. Sarah and Henry Banks were my grandparents. Rita Hirst (member 41)

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