This week I had planned to ask for help with a void in the record for Sarah – she had totally gone off the radar and was eluding all my searches, including those using variants of pronunciation and spelling.
Sarah was baptised in Rothwell Holy Trinity Church, in Yorkshire, on 4 January 1835; her future husband’s baptism is listed on the page opposite hers. Small town indeed.
Sadly for Sarah her mother Elizabeth died when she was only 2 years old; within a year her father Edward Cowling had re-married. And then she went off my radar for decades, with no record of her in either the 1841 or 1851 censuses, until her marriage in 1855 to Mark Holt in Hunslet. Mark was an engineer at a coal pit. Together they had nearly 50 years together in Leeds.
What had made the difference to tracking Sarah down was using the wavy leaf hints on Ancestry. Normally I like to go as far as I can on my own then upload my tree then compare my answers (like you get drilled into you in maths at school – I guess the method went in better than the maths!)
It turns out that Edward’s second wife, at 16 a minor but married with parental permission, was also called Elizabeth. This’d had me ruling out correct census entries for Edward because Elizabeth’s age in the later censuses didn’t match that of his first wife. In addition the variant spellings weren’t identified by the search engine prior to the tree being uploaded; after that point the clues all came together. Sarah has been called variously Sarah Cowling, Colling and Cooling then later Sarah Holt and Hoult. The family must have had cracking accents to produce that many variations.
Together Sarah and Mark had 9 children according to family records (I’ve only identified 7 so far). Their fifth was my great-grandmother Hannah Holt (Ancestor #4). So now I have Edward confirmed I’ve gone back a generation, which always makes me happy!