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 October 2008

Programme: 2008 - 2009

Wednesday 1st October

Shaw’s Ribble Valley Journey No1

Jim Halsall

Wednesday November 5th

Short talks by Members.

Wednesday 3rd December

Christmas Social Evening

Wednesday 7th January 2009

Women in the Mines.

Graham Stirrup.

Coming Events

North West Group of Family History Societies Family History Day Fair 2008

Saturday 1st November at St. Georges Hall, Liverpool 10.00 – 1600 celebrating: ’08 Liverpool – European Capital of Culture’. featuring:

Family History Societies, GRO,, Register and Record Offices, etc. and lectures by Dr. Nick Barratt, Consultant Genealogist for the BBC, David Stoker, Manager Liverpool Record Office and the Rev. Professor D. Ben Rees talking on the Welsh Immigration to Liverpool (1750-2007)

Admission is £2,00 on the door, £4.00 if you wish to attend the talks. Seating for the talks is limited and will be on a first come first served basis. No charge for young persons under 16.

Federation News

The Federation of Family History Societies has an Ezine (email magazine) which is distributed by email every two months. It contains brief news items about what is going on in the Federation and the world of British Genealogy in general and is intended to keep you up-to-date on all the important issues and events. copies are available for free to anyone who is interested. www.ffhs.org.uk

Research and Advice Sessions at Rawtenstall Library

every Tuesday 1.30 - 3.30 pm The Rossendale Branch now holds regular Research and Advice sessions at Rawtenstall Library. We have arranged a rota of 10 members, of whom 2 or 3 will be on hand each week to assist members of the public. We may also be able to do simple look-ups for members not able to attend the library in person.

Rossendale Miscellany:

News, notes and queries

Did you Miss the Open Day at Newchurch on Saturday and Sunday 13th & 14th September?

Michael Hiluta and Wilfred Day were both there on Sunday afternoon to help people search the old parish registers, while Ken Inman from the Bury Group was also checking baptisms, on his own behalf. Michael tells me that the highlight of his own day was a conducted tour which involved climbing an ancient winding staircase to the top of the bell tower.

Our branch website –updates

Subject Index

Since Wilf Day (our web manager) has revamped the website, I decided that we needed a new Subject Index to the newsletters. With Wilf’s help this is now in place and should facilitate finding articles on the History of Rossendale, Book Reviews, Families, Churches etc.

Haslingden Photographs

Wilf would also like to add some more photographs of old Haslingden to the website. If you have any suitable, non copyright scenes (not people) please let us know. Wilf says that the photographs need not be older than 20 years provided they show a scene which has now changed or vanished e.g. the Marsden Square Tower Blocks or the old Grammar School.

Haslingden Church Histories

On the our website Home Page you will find the heading "Churches of Rossendale". Wilf has compiled church histories for the Rawtenstall area and for two thirds of Bacup. He would now like some assistance in compiling histories of the Haslingden churches. The ones which have been done are marked with an asterisk. The ones in grey type, also lack photographs. Please help.


Tracing back my maternal Ancestors

Tony Thompson 2008

email Apttony@aol.com

A couple of years ago I watched one of the first BBC TV programmes "Who Do You Think You Are?". It was the one where Jane Horrocks traced her family back through Taylors and Cunliffes in Rawtenstall, and the name ‘Alice Cunliffe’ shot out. My own maternal grandmother’s name was Alice Cunliffe…………I was hooked!

I knew that my mother had been born in Oswestry, and her own mother had come from Gobowen, both in Shropshire, and of course, ‘Alice Cunliffe’ was her married name. She was in fact a ‘Bowyer’ by birth, very much a Shropshire family, a family I have so far been able to trace back to the mid-1600s.

But the other name that stood out was Taylor - Alice’s husband’s name was HUGH TAYLOR CUNLIFFE , and I knew there was a Lancashire connection. I’m realistic enough to realise that the chance of a family connection to Jane Horrocks was infinitesimal, but you never know! What I didn’t appreciate until I started delving was just how many Cunliffes and Taylors there would turn out to be.

With a good knowledge of my immediate aunts, uncles and grandparents, and the help of the census returns for 1901 and 1891, I was soon pointed in the direction of Rossendale.

Hugh Taylor Cunliffe was a master painter, he had been born in Southport in 1872. He moved to Shropshire where he married my maternal grandmother Alice Bowyer. They had nine children.

In 1881, I found Hugh living in Formby with his parents James Taylor Cunliffe and his mother Ellen (Teare). His father was a 51 year old agricultural labourer, born in Haslingden. Hugh was their second child. They had moved to Formby via Southport and Ainsdale.

I had the name of James T’s father from his 1867 marriage certificate to Ellen Teare. His father was described as John Cunliffe, a butcher.

I found him in 1861 living in Blackburn. At that time, James was given as a butcher and his father John Cunliffe (aged 61) was a retired yeoman. There was no one else in the household, although John was given as being married. Both James and John were listed as being born in Rawtenstall.

From the 1851 census for Bank Top Farm, Pleasington, I learnt that John Cunliffe was a farmer of 8 acres. His wife Sarah, was aged 46.

She was also born in Rawtenstall. They only had two children listed in this census, James Taylor aged 21, born Haslingden and Lucy aged 12 born Rawtenstall.

So, I had traced my Cunliffe ancestors back to Rawtenstall. Would I be able to get any further? James had been born c1830, prior to civil registration. He gives his place of birth variously as either Haslingden or Rawtenstall. He was not baptised at Haslingden. I found a baptism at Newchurch, St. Nicholas on 20th August 1829, James Taylor Cunliffe son of John Cunliffe and his wife Sarah Cunliffe. I now had to look for a marriage of a John Cunliffe to a Sarah. They had not married at Newchurch but I did find a marriage at Haslingden St. James.

John CUNLIFFE and Sarah TAYLOR married on 7 April 1822 at Haslingden Parish Church, Lancashire, and were recorded as "Both of Lower Booths" Lower Booths is the old name for Rawtenstall.

This must surely be the correct marriage. The name of "Taylor" had facilitated my search throughout and now I had taken it back to its place of origin. However, there are so many Cunliffes and Taylors in Rossendale, could I prove that this was the right family?

Then I found my "Rosetta Stone", a gravestone in Newchurch graveyard which unlocked my family history. It read:

"In Memory of JAMES TAYLOR of Rawtenstall, Inn Keeper, who departed this life on the 4th day of April 1838 in the 62nd year of his age. Also of MARY TAYLOR wife of the above who departed this life Sept. 19th 1854 in the 81st year of her life. Also of LUCY the daughter of JAMES and MARY TAYLOR of Rawtenstall who departed this life the 27th day of October 1841 in the 36th year of her age. Also HUGH TAYLOR their son who died April 16th 1874 aged 74 years. Also SARAH CUNLIFFE daughter of the above JAMES and MARY TAYLOR who died at Rawtenstall February 17th 1899 in the 85th year of her age. Until the day breaks and shadows fall."

To be continued next month...