Recently I’ve been writing about the Brown family. My G-G-G-Grandfather Joseph Brown was a horse-breaker born in 1838 in Northumberland, he married a mystery girl called Jane and they had seven children including Joseph 2nd.
That son Joseph Brown, a soldier and later a carpet fitter, married Alice Hedley and together they had six sons. Four of these sons had names which were likely to be surnames, pointers, remembrances of loved ones and three I’d identified:
- JJ Hedley, named after Alice
- James Denholm, named after Joseph’s married youngest sister Elizabeth and brother-in-law James
- William Hindmarsh
- Thomas Henderson, named after Alice’s married oldest sister Mary and brother-in-law Thomas
- Albert Edward
So that leaves Hindmarsh. So I’ve been thorough, and now I’m going to try something. Let’s see if his mysterious grandmother, Jane, with whom the trail goes cold, was a Hindmarsh. I know from the census she was born in 1802, in Allington/Ellington, spelling has varied a lot.
FindMyPast has a set of records transcriptions made by the Northumberland & Durham Family History Society; that collection was one of the reasons I took out a subscription.
So. Type in Jane’s name and year, hit return. Only 66 results offered, with only one of those a baptism. And it’s her. My husband goes deaf as I scream across the room. She’s living in Carshope parish of Alwinton and I now have her parents’ names, even her mother’s maiden name, and her home.
But best to double-check. And there’s her marriage to Joseph Brown, a year before their first child was born. So much easier to search for a Jane Hindmarsh than a Joseph Brown! So happy.
It appears then that Jane was born in Carshope, probably a farm/small-holding, just south of the Scottish border near Alwinton in 1802 in the reign of King George III. Her father William Hindmarsh was a hill man according to the 1841 census. Her mother was Margaret Grieve, and I found 2 other baptisms on FindMyPast for Jane’s brothers Adam and Alexander.
Alwinton at that time had a population of 102 souls, a Norman church (St Michael and All Angels) for spiritual needs and a pub for worldly ones (the Rose and Thistle, some lovely views on their website). Now part of the Northumberland National Park, it looks like the area was beautiful but that Jane would have have had to get on with hard work in all weathers. The Rose & Thistle website describes the nearest market town as Rothbury to the south east; and Cragside stately home is nearby (I’ve found family members working on that estate).
Jane’s path, however, led south-west rather than south-east as at the age of 20 she married in Elsdon, east of Otterburn, then moved further on to have her 7 children in Bellingham where Joseph worked as a horse-breaker. I was looking at the area on Google maps and see both are towns on junctions of roads across the hills.
Later the family moved east, living near Ponteland (1841 & 1851) and Bulman Village, Cox Lodge (this now appears to be an area of Newcastle Upon Tyne) in 1861 and 1871. Jane died in summer 1871, aged 69.
When pulling together all information I knew about Jane I googled Alwinton to see if there are any specific sites for it, Genuki, or perhaps A Vision of Britain Through Time. And yes, there are both. But the very first item that came up on my search results was the Hindmarsh Family Tree page. Wow, just wow.
The site owners have obviously pulled together the findings of years of time and effort onto this website and have consulted some specialist sources. There seem to be a whole wider family network of Presbyterian Hindmarshes. And on this site it lists Jane’s baptism, correct parents and also six of her brothers and sisters’ baptisms. These include Adam on whom I have some reliable info, and Alexander. Alexander’s been a bit of a mystery, with confirmed information floating in a sea of possibles and probables.
And there are mentions of the likely origins of the surname and its variants; early recordings of the name, mainly in Northumberland. Now I get really chuffed when I manage to trace someone back into the mid-18th century. This site includes reference to some much earlier instances of the names around the area, albeit some info and links unconfirmed. I still have to work out the link to specific Hindmarshes in the area the author writes about so that will be something for 2015.
© Text copyright Lynne Black 21 December 2014
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/jane-hindmarsh/