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 2005

A Happy New Year to all our members.

Programme: 2005

Wednesday 5th January

Research Evening

You are invited to bring along your pedigree charts,photographs and other documents, to display them and discuss them with other members.

Wednesday 2nd February

North Country Folk Lore

Peter Watson

Wednesday 2nd March

As we were......

Kathy Fishwick from Rossendale Civic Society will talk about the three Boroughs of Rossendale (Bacup, Rawtenstall - Haslingden) prior to the formation of the Borough of Rossendale in 1974.

Wednesday 6th April

Annual General Meeting

followed by a short talk.

The latest members list from Pip Cowling shows that about 80 society members have expressed an interest in the Rossendale area; so don't forget that your subscriptions are now due for 2005.

Coming Events

Sunday 20th March 2005

Cumbria Family History Society

Family and Local History Fair 10.00am - 4.00pm

Sheoherd's Inn, Rosehill Estate, Carlisle, Cumbria

(200 yards from M6, Junction 43) £2.00 admission.

September 2005

An exhibition is being planned for next September 2005 at Haslingden Library to be entitled -

The Irish in Haslingden

If you have Irish ancestors, you might like to be thinking how you can participate.

Family trees, photographs, etc. will be welcome.

Rossendale Census Indexes

In recent issues of the newsletter, I have explained the situation regarding the coverage and publication (or lack of publication regarding the Rossendale census indexes. This month I am dealing with the 1881 and 1891 census indexes.

The 1881 census for the UK was fully indexed by the Church of Latter-day Saints in corporation with the UK Family History Societies. It was originally made available on microfiche and later as a set of CDs. It is also available on-line at www.familysearch.org However, if you have doubts about the accuracy of the transcript you can check the original films at local libraries.

The 1891 census for the Rossendale area has been indexed by "Head of Household etc." Microfilm is available as follows:

RG3348 - 3351 (3 fiche) listed in the LFHHS publications list as "Newchurch in Rossendale". The areas covered are:

RG3348 - Waterfoot (part), Newchurch, Stacksteads, Cloughfold. RG3349 - Higher Booths Loveclough, Goodshaw RG 3350 - Crawshawbooth, Lower Booths -Rawtenstall (part) RG3851 - Lower Booths- Rawtenstall (part) Rising Bridge (part), Stonefold. Cowpe, Lench, New Hall Hey and Hall Carr also parts of Cloughfold and Waterfoot.

The remaining 1891 census indexes for the Rossendale area will be published or republished on microfiche during the next few months.

RG12/ 3342/3344 Spotland (Bacup and Whitworth) RG12/ 3345/3347 Newchurch (Bacup, Waterfoot, Stacksteads, Cloughfold) RG10/ 3352 -3355 Edenfield, Haslingden, Musbury and Accrington (part) For further information on the availability of the 1881 and 1891 censuses on-line, access www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/census

Microfiche Sales

Dorothy Haworth, the society's Microfiche Sales Officer, has recently undergone surgery to remove a cataract from her right eye and is due to return to hospital during the next month for surgery on her other eye.

Over the next 2 - 3 months, therefore, the despatch of microfiche orders will be limited to a weekly service. We apologise for any delay you might experience but we are sure you will understand that this is necessary as a short-term measure.

Rossendale Ancestry

Andrew Taylor of Scout ... more on this remarkable man. (see the newsletter for November 2004)

Paul Dyson from Bolton tells me that several years ago he was looking in the Newchurch Burial Register in Manchester Central Library and saw the following entry:

13/12/1867: Andrew Taylor of Scout aged 74.

A marginal note by the vicar (Rev J. B. Phillips) adds:

"Andrew Taylor was married to five wives by whom he had thirty seven children; he twice married his deceased wife's sister. He was married on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and was sometime warden of this church"

According to "The Family Historian's Enquire Within" by Pauline Saul. A Federation of FHS publication,

"Marriage to a deceased wife's sister was not permissible under Canon law until 1907 as the relationship was within the 'prohibited degrees'. However, such marriages did take place - usually well away from the couple's home area. Up to 1835 such marriages were not void but were voidable by legal action. Few such actions were taken but the risk was always there."

Missing Baptisms

Chris Pickup enquired last month about missing baptisms. He wondered whether his ancestors were just an irreligious lot? He tells me that Wilf Day has located two of the baptisms in the Goodshaw registers. He says the will of John Rawstron of Brex listed his wife Sarah, his sons John, George, James, Richard and William also two grandsons George Taylor and John Tattersall as beneficiaries.

Wilf has given him the baptisms of John Rawstron the elder of Brex and Sarah Ramsbottom. Still "missing" are the baptisms of Ann c1770; the mother of the grandson George Taylor and the baptisms of James and Richard Rostron.

Goodshaw Registers

Casting the wider net.

Wilf Day has sent me the following information regarding Goodshaw Registers:

When searching for those elusive ancestors, who are not in the place where logic says they should be, the word of wisdom is "look in the surrounding parishes". But how far away is the surrounding parish? Over the past twelve months I have been transcribing the early registers for St. Mary & All Saints Goodshaw, in the Township of Higher Booths, dating from 1732 to 1783 (Manchester Central Archives Ref. L82/1/1). Very little of the early part of this register survives and from 1732 to 1754 there are under fifty entries. From 1755 onwards this number gradually increases and by the late 1700s there are close to three hundred entries per year, with the total volume being nearly five thousand entries. All this is for a small chapelry, with probably less than two hundred families, covering an area barely two miles north to south and the same east to west (four square miles).

On closer inspection of this register, it appears that only a quarter of the baptisms actually relate to Goodshaw chapelry itself. The majority of the rest cover large parts of the Newchurch parish, particularly Bacup, including such places as Brex, Brandwoodside, Weir, Sharneyford and Tong. There are also a large number of entries for the areas round Todmorden Edge, Priestbooth and Stansfield in Yorkshire. At the north end of Rochdale parish there are entries for Shawforth, Whitworth, Trough Yate, Hogshead, Corner and others. The southern reaches of the register includes Shuttleworth, Cheesden Moor and Tottington. The northern reaches cover Cliviger, Habergham Eaves, Lowerhouse and other parts of Burnley parish. Over to the west there are entries for Accrington, Huncoat and Hapton.

The area covered is approximately twelve miles from north to south and nine or ten miles from east to west, covering roughly one hundred and twenty square miles. It encroaches on at least ten townships, as many parishes and chapelries and even crosses the County boundary into Yorkshire.

The most likely reason for these entries being in the Goodshaw register is that from 1730 onwards the church was served by its own curates rather than an itinerant preacher (earlier baptisms are recorded at the church of St. James the Great, Haslingden, Goodshaw's mother church). Being such a small chapelry would leave its curate with time to act as a stand in, for the surrounding churches. In fact from 1762 until 1767, after the death of the Rev. Welsh, curate of Newchurch, there was a protracted dispute between the Vicar of Whalley, the Bishop of Chester and the Archbishop of Canterbury over the right to choose the curate. This left Newchurch without a settled curate until the Rev. John Shorrock became the incumbent in February 1767.

So after you have covered all the obvious possibilities, cast a wider net and look in that impossible place. Your ancestors may have gone to another parish for personal or historic reasons, or because like Newchurch, there were problems with a priest or curate.

Footnote: The register which follows this was started, 19th October 1783, at the implementation of the 1783 Stamp Act, when a 3d tax was levied on every entry. There are very few entries from outside the parish after this date.