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 November 2011

Programme: 2011

Wednesday 2nd November

Lost on the Lusitania

A talk by Bill Taylor

Wenesday 7th December

Christmas Social

Wednesday 4th January 2012

Research Evening

Wednesday 1st February

Village signs

A talk by Shirley Addy.

Research and Advice Sessions at

Haslingden Library every Monday 5.30 – 8.30 pm

Note: the doors to Haslingden Library close at 7.30.

and at Rawtenstall Library every Tuesday 1.30 – 3.30 pm

We may be able to do simple look-ups for distant members. When contacting us with an enquiry, please include your membership number.

The LFHHS Resource Centre

The Society’s Resource and Research Centre at 2 Straits, Oswaldtwistle, BB5 3LU is open every Thursday from 1.00pm – 5.00pm and 1st Saturday of each month 1.00pm.

Lancashire Archives previously the Lancashire Record Office

You will be pleased to learn that the Lancashire Archives reopened for business on October 24th. Opening Hours will revert to what they were, i.e. Mon, Wed and Fri 9-5, Tue 9-8.30 and Thu 10-5, with the second Saturday of the month 10-4.

Digitisation of British Newspapers

October saw the start of the project by the British Library and Brightsolid (the company behind Find my Past) to digitise newspapers, local, national and overseas editions. If you visit the website, www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk you can register to receive regular updates and also state your preference for whichever newspaper you would be most interested in.

Manchester Collection

For the first time ever, findmypast.co.uk has launched a collection of records that relate to an entire city. The Manchester Collection provides an insightful snapshot into what life was like in the city of Manchester. The records in the collection provide information about apprentices, cemetery records, industrial school registers, parish register transcripts, prison, school and workhouse registers. You could make vital discoveries about your family's past – whether you are aware of a Manchester connection or not – and these records provide rich information about how your ancestors lived.

Further details about the records are as follows:

Apprentices, 1700 – 1849;
Baptisms and Birth Registers, 1734 – 1920;
Cemetery and Death Records; 1750 – 1968;
Industrial School Registers, 1866 – 1912;
Marriage Registers, 1734 – 1808;
Prison Registers, 1847 – 1881;
School Registers, 1870 1916;
Workhouse registers, 1859 – 1911.

All these records can be searched at the Society’s Research Centre, 2 Straits, Oswaldtwistle BB5 3LU.

Irish Births, Marriages and Deaths

Birth, marriage and death records are the basic building blocks of anybody’s family tree. Now you can construct your Irish lines quickly and easily as the Irish Birth, Marriage, and Death Indexes, 1845-1958 are now online at www.ancestry.co.uk These 24 million records cover the period of the destroyed Irish censuses, so they can help you fill in frustrating gaps in your discoveries. Northern Ireland’s included up to 1922.

Rossendale News, Notes and Queries

At our last meeting we had the very popular “Short Talks by Members”. It seemed at first that only Mary Davison had brought a contribution. She had a diary written by a private in the Lancashire Fusiliers, who was at Gallipoli. The diary was very interesting and very sad, as he was killed after just a few months.

Then Paula produced a pocket watch made by one of her Matthews family. Two others had watch and clockmakers in their family.

Beatrice told us that she was distantly related to Len Goodman, who was due to appear on “Who do you think you are”. Her Cecil family, like Len’s were silk weavers at Spitalfields in London.

Leo produced a box of postcards and the discussion went to postcards. He invited people to help themselves to any cards they wanted. It turned out to be a very interesting evening.

The Freemen of Haslingden

The Haslingden Research Group have been asked by Haslingden Library to put on a small exhibition. We decided that we would research the 11 men and women who were given the Freedom of the Borough of Haslingden during the period 1895 – 1970. These were:

1895 Coun. Thomas Bewley Hamilton 1921
Oliver William Porritt, J.P. 1929
Ald. John Law J.P. 1929
Ald. Henry Worsley J. P. C.C 1936
Major David Halstead D.L., J.P., T.D 1947
Miss Annie Mary Knowles M,B.C.N 1947
Ald. Jeremiah Lord. J.P 1957
Ald William. Boyson M.B.E., J.P. ?
Ald. Thalberg Brown 1970
Ald. Mrs. Gertrude M. Warburton C.A.

For each of the above, we intend to research their family history and personal achievements. We are looking for “Who Do You Think You Are?” background stories and photographs. If you would like to help, come along to Haslingden Library any Monday evening. We would especially welcome anyone with artistic talent.

I didn’t receive an article this month so I have included this piece from our “Irish in Haslingden” Exhibition in 2005. If you are a member and have an enquiry or story relevant to Rossendale, I would be delighted to receive it.


MATILDA is not a name you would look at and think “Irish” yet it appears again and again among the Bridgets, Catherines and the Marys in Haslingden’s Irish community. It is particularly found in the Burke, Walsh, and Nolan families. Each Matilda has been named after a mother, grandmother or aunt but the origin of the name lies with an English girl Matilda Heys.

MATILDA HEYS was born in Ashton Under Lyne, in 1802, more than two hundred years ago. She was the daughter of Joseph and Sarah Heys. In 1828 she married John Cross and they came to live at Grane. In 1829 they had a daughter Alice, baptised in Grane Methodist Chapel.

John Cross must have died because on the 13 May 1832 Matilda Cross married William Haworth of Higher Hud Hey. They had 4 children together, born at Sherfin Nook, Thomas in 1831, Mary in 1834, Joseph in 1837 and William in 1842.. Matilda, died just after her youngest son was born. St. James registers show that “Matilda wife of William Haworth” had died aged 34 on the 17th October 1842.

Her 3 sons were living alone at Rising Bridge in 1851, Thomas 17, Joseph 12, William aged 8. Their father had vanished but an Uncle Thomas and his wife were living two doors down.

It was Matilda’s eldest son, Thomas, who introduced his mother’s name (and also one of the most common Haslingden surnames) into the Irish community. This must have been one of the first Anglo-Irish marriages in the town.

In 1855, then aged 22, he was married to Catherine Howley at St. James Church. The young couple went to live at Heys Court, off Wilkinson Street. In 1861, we find that they had two children William Haworth aged 4, and Mary Ann aged 3. The rest of the household consisted of Nancy Howley (Catherine’s mother), Winny and Nancy (Catherine’s sisters) and also Patsy Walsh and his wife Bridget (another sister).

MATILDA HAWORTH daughter of William and Catherine was born in 1867 when the family were living at Back Hindle Street. The family continued to grow and in 1881 when they were living at 32 Pleasant Street, it consisted of Thomas 20. Joseph 16, Matilda 14, James 12, John 10 and Edward 6.

Matilda married William Burke at St. Mary’s in 1883. She had a daughter MATILDA BURKE born in 1893 who did not marry; the name was carried on by her other daughters who married into the Greenwood and Nolan families. Catherine Burke married John Nolan in 1915. Their daughter, known as TILLY NOLAN was to marry John Walsh, who became a Mayor of Haslingden.

The name has even travelled to the United States, MATILDA GREENWOOD now Matilda Parr daughter of Joseph Greenwood and Ann Ellen Burke, tells me that she is proud to have the name and that she has a granddaughter who has been named Angel Matilda. One day she will tell her about her Haslingden heritage. She says all her other granddaughters love the name Matilda, so she is sure it will live on.