Richard & Sarah Cross

More from my mum’s branch of the tree, this time her maternal grandmother’s parents – Richard Cross and Sarah Burgess.

We’ve just received their wedding certificate, which shows they were married at the Parish Church in Great Budworth on 31st December 1861.

Their parents are recorded as James Cross (Wheelwright) and Thomas Burgess (Labourer) so they’re the next people to track down…

Thomas & Ellen Wood

Thus far my mum’s branch of the family tree has proven a little more straightforward to investigate than my dad’s – noone strayed to far from the Runcorn area as yet.

We’ve just received the marriage certificate for Thomas & Ellen Wood – the parents of my mum’s paternal grandfather (William Wood).

It shows they were married in Widnes in 1875 and gives their father’s names as Thomas Wood and Thomas Knowles respectively – we need to find birth certificates now in order to find out their mother’s names.

Maggie Holmes

Although we can find no sign of her on the 1891 or 1901 census, family history suggests that Maggie outlived her son John who died in 1906.

I’ve been searching for a death certificate and have found one in the index for 1908 – a Margaret Holmes aged 81 (consistent with the 1871 census) registered in the Prescot district.

We’ll probably have to send for this certificate to be sure – but it does beg the question where is she on the census?

Susanah Bamber

Looks like the Sarah Jane Smith we found is not our Sarah Jane Smith – even though her father has the right name.

We’ve managed to track them down on the 1881 census, as well as our Robert and Sarah Jane Smith – interestingly our Sarah Jane Smith seems to have lost a couple of years on the 1901 census and her place of birth has changed from Cavan in Ireland to St Helens.

It would be much easier if everyone stopped telling porkies on the census. 😀

Anyway taking a different tack has thrown up another lead – the International Genealogical Index at is a partial index to vital records from around the world including some from Ireland.

A search has thrown up a Susan Smith born on 21 Jul 1872 in Cavan in Ireland to a Robert Smith and Serah Johnston.

We’ll see of we can send for that Birth Certificate, but at least it gives us a concrete lead in the search for the Irish branch of our family tree.

Another John Holmes

Some more census searching at has thrown up some promising leads in the search for John Holmes.

On the 1871 census we have found a Holmes family living in Bebington on the Wirral with six children – the youngest of which are a William J aged 6 and a John aged 4 both listed as born in New Ferry. All of which is just about as close to Rock Ferry as you can get without actually being there. 🙂

Although we were looking for a James aged 6 and a John aged 2, we’ve got good reason to believe that John lied about his age – both on his marriage certificate and the 1901 census – as he’s the best part of 10 years older than his wife Elizabeth which was frowned upon at the time. From his death certificate and colliery records, which list his age as 38 in January 1906, we would expect his age to be around 4 on the 1871 census.

We’ve also found a birth certificate in the index that suggests the William J stands for William James, and as their father’s name was William it’s quite possible that in later life he dropped the William in favour of James.

On the 1881 census William (the father) has died, and the mother Maggie Holmes is running a Lodging House in Eccleston near St Helens – young William and our John are still living with her along with two of the other children, and John is listed as a Scholar aged 14 and William J as a labourer at the Glass Works aged 16.

On the 1891 census Maggie has died and John Holmes is listed as a Collier aged 24 living with his older sister Margaret, who is now married to a Frank Grundy but still running a Lodging House in Eccleston (a different one to the one on the 1881 census though) – but there’s no sign of William J Holmes.

Anyway we’ve sent for William James birth certificate which will hopefully give us Maggie’s maiden name – we know from the census she was born in the North Wales but the place name is indecipherable – and we’ll see where that takes us.

John Holmes

Looks like the John William Holmes we discovered recently is probably not our John Holmes after all.

After a length trawl through the 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses (or should that be censi) on the excellent we discovered this particular John Holmes had an elder sister Ann, but apparently no elder brother James.

That would make it difficult for them to be sharing a house on the 1901 census – so either we don’t believe the 1901 census or there’s another John and James Holmes out there waiting to be discovered.

John William Holmes

We know my dad’s maternal grandfather, John Holmes, was killed in a mining accident at Sherburn Hill colliery near Durham in 1906, but beyond that he’s proven a little difficult to track down.

He was a Sergeant in the South Lancashire regiment around the turn of the century, but the only Sergeant Holmes we can find is listed in the army records is a Sergeant W. Holmes.

On the 1901 Census he’s shown as living in St Helens, but born in Rock Ferry on the Wirral. Now although we couldn’t find an exact match in the register of births we did find a John William Holmes of the right age born in Wallasey – which is close enough to Rock Ferry and could also explain this listing as W. Holmes in the army records.

The Birth Certificate arrived today and shows the father’s name as William Holmes, which we know to be the name of the father of our John Holmes, so looks like we may have the right one!

His mother is listed as Ellen Homes (formerly Houldsworth) so we now need to try and find a Marriage Certificate for her and William, and a Birth Certificate for John’s older brother James to hopefully confirm we have the right family.