By John Slaughter
This article was published in the April 2014 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society
New enquiries, of any significance, have been sparse. So I have been spending some time recently in updating/amending family charts using the extensive data that is nowadays freely available on the Internet.
One site that I have been using is the Lancashire Online Parish Clerks (OPC) at www.lan-opc.org.uk. This site aims to extract and preserve the records from the various parishes. The data is available online free of charge, along with data from other sources of value to family and local historians conducting research in the County of Lancashire. A small number of other counties also have OPC sites. The data is collected by volunteers and data is gathered from a multitude of sources, including parish registers, census records, cemetery records, churchwardens accounts, overseers accounts, land tax records, wills, business directories, postal directories, church and village histories, etc. The other parishes covered by OPC are Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Essex, Hampshire, Kent, Leicestershire, Somerset, Sussex, Warwickshire and Wiltshire.
Lancashire is a big Saul county and I am currently working my way through the 301 Saul entries for the period 1860 to 1900. Because the information is taken from parish registers then it records baptisms, marriages and burials. In the majority of cases I can quickly establish the identity and find the individual on one of our existing charts and then perhaps add, for example, the baptism date and place where I might have previously just had a birth year. I have cross referenced all the Sauls that we have on our charts with the GRO indexes of births, marriages and deaths, so I can quickly establish if that person exists on one of our charts and if so which chart. Every person charted has been given a unique reference number consisting of the chart reference and a consecutive number.
One area where the baptisms have proved to be particularly useful is in identifying those who died young and as a consequence do not appear on any census returns.
Where the GRO indexes do not tie an individual to a chart I have researched further to try and identify the family. Censuses for all years are now available online, a facility that was unavailable when some of the charts were originally compiled. As a result I have to date been able to add two new charts.
- Thomas Saul, Prestwich
I discovered a Saul family at Prestwich near Manchester where the father Thomas Saul was a schoolmaster. Thomas (1) and his wife Mary (neé Griffiths) had nine children between 1849 and 1869. Thomas changed his occupation sometime between 1861 and 1863 as on the baptism entry for his son Thomas in 1863 his occupation is given as Registrar. The 1871 census confirms his occupation as Registrar of births and deaths. Thomas was buried at Prestwich in 1893 aged 78 years. His wife had predeceased him in 1889.
The census returns had consistently recorded Thomas’s birthplace as Orrell, Lancashire. Orrell is in the parish of Upholland and from the Lancashire OPC website I found a baptism in the parish church of a Thomas Saul on
17 January 1816 to Thomas (2) and Hannah, the father being an Agent of Orrell. Thomas had married Hannah Shuttleworth at All Saints, Wigan on 14 July 1806. Their first two children were baptised at All Saints, Wigan but subsequent baptisms were found at Upholland.
Thomas died fairly young, in 1825 at the age of 45 years. I had previously noted that there had been an earlier burial at Upholland of an Isaac Saul of Orrell in 1811, though no age at death had been stated. Even earlier was a burial in 1800 of a Mary Saul, wife of Isaac. It seemed likely that Isaac and Mary were Thomas’s parents. A search through my records located a Thomas Saul baptised at Garstang in 1780 to Isaac and Mary. Isaac was a schoolmaster. I had previously identified a marriage at Garstang between an Isaac Saul and Mary Beesley in 1775 and that the couple had had three daughters baptised there between 1775 and 1778 followed by that of Thomas. However there is no evidence of the family at Garstang after the 1780 baptism. It seemed pretty clear that Isaac and his family had relocated to Orrell.
The real clincher though was in the names that Thomas and Mary of Prestwich gave their children. In 1860 a son was named John Shuttleworth and in 1865 a daughter was named Ada Beesley.
- Charles Henry Saul, Rusholme
I came across the marriage in 1868 at Birch in Rusholme of a Charles Henry Saul and Henrietta Bousfield. The groom’s father was given as Edward Ficker Saul, a Merchant. On the 1871 census Charles Henry gave his occupation as a drysalter, his age as 32 years and his birthplace as Manchester. I was able to swiftly find Edward Ficker Saul on the 1851 census at Chorlton on Medlock, 48 years of age, a drysalter, also born Manchester. Charles Henry was in the household as a 12 year old and clearly he grew up to carry on the same occupation as his father, perhaps taking over the family business. I was able to confirm this when I found a notice in the London Gazette in 1868 which stated that the partnership of Edward Ficker & Co had been dissolved on the death of Edward Ficker Saul on 21st October 1867, the business being taken over by his surviving partner Charles Henry Saul.
Edward Ficker Saul was identified as having been baptised at St Michael, Manchester on 4th September 1807 to Thomas Saul and Appolonia. The entry states that Edward Ficker was born on 18th July 1802 in Manchester. Three other children of Thomas and Appolonia were also baptised at St Michael in 1807. Appolonia born on 9th March 1797 in Bristol, Caroline (details obscured, but from census returns she was born circa 1800 in Bristol) and Charles born 12th July 1804 in Manchester. I also discovered an Alfred J Saul born in Manchester circa 1809. Clearly the family had moved from Bristol to Manchester between 1800 and 1802 but I haven’t so far established Thomas origins. He almost certainly died before 1841 as on that year’s census Appolonia appears to be the head of the household. Appolonia was still alive in 1861 where her age is given as 91 years and birthplace as Chester.