I was recently looking up information on my mother’s grandmother Annie Nicholson and found a baptismal record for her and her sister Agnes from Liverpool. In that record, her father was listed as a saw maker. This was too much of a coincidence not to be true.
Here is what I have at my Nicholson Web Page:
Ann is child 3 and Agnes is child for. This information is now probably wrong as I have them both being born in Sheffield. I had just assumed that they were born there as the Nicholson family history went back quite a ways in Sheffield. My assumption was that they emmigrated from Sheffield to Philiadelphia.
From Sheffield to Liverpool
The time that the Nicholson family was in Liverpool was not caught on the Census as the family was in Sheffield in 1861:
Parkwood Springs was part of Brightside:
It looks like Brightside is actually to the West of where I circled. At this time, William and Martha had a daughter who was 9 months old.
Not too long after the 1861 Census which was taken on April 7, the family moved to Liverpool. Sarah Ann was baptized there on January 19, 1862. I can’t make out William Nicholson’s profession other than he was a saw maker:
[Based on my research below, this says Fontenoy Street where the family lived in Liverpool before they moved to Bootle. ] This record is taken from the Bishop’s Transcript. That means that it was copied from another record. Sarah Ann’s sister Emma was baptized on the same day:
Here is a drawing of the downtown Liverpool St Peter’s Church from 1800:
My assumption is that Sarah Ann was born in Sheffield and Emma was born in Liverpool.
Ann Eliza and Agnes D
Ann Eliza was my great grandmother. Here is her baptismal record from St. Peter from 1865:
Ann Eliza was born in March and baptized in August. Also of interest is that the family lived in “Bootle”. Or Booth. But it looks like Bootle to me. Maybe the Beatles lived there. Bootle. Beatle. Here is Bootle to the North of Liverpool:
Bootle appears to be a little less than a mile from downtown Liverpool. My guess is that Ann Eliza and Agnes were born in Bootle.
Here is the baptismal record for Agnes:
This took place also at St. Peter’s Church in Liverpool on March 9, 1869.
From Bootle to Philadelphia
There was a tight time-frame for the family getting from Sheffield to Bootle. Now there was another tight time-frame for the Nicholson family moving to Philiadelphia. Here is the ship record for Martha and her children when they arrived in New York City:
William was likely already in Philadelphia at this time. Also it is interesting that Ann went by Eliza at this time. This record tells a story. Martha here traveling without her husband and her four girls from Liverpool to Queensland to New York City. From there they must have gone to Ellis Island and then made their way to Philadelphia where William must have prepared a place for them. My guess is that William missed the US Census that was held on June 1, 1870. However, according to the 1900 Census, William immigrated in 1868:
Let’s see what the 1910 Census says:
This shows he immigrated in 1870, and that he is naturalized. His wife also has an immigration date which doesn’t make sense as she is shown as being born in Pennsylvania.
Some More Parish Records from St Peter’s in Liverpool
My research friend in England reminded me that the Lancashire Online Parish Registers covers LIverpool. So I took a look there. Here is a confusing entry:
This looks like William and Martha were living in Liverpool in 1860 when Maria Baxter Nicholson was baptized. Here is a photo from 1901 of Fontenoy Street:
Here is an 1860 map showing Fontenoy Street:
Here is a modern map including the Beatles Statue:
However, the 1861 Census shows that my ancestors were living in Sheffield. William and Martha were married in 1856, so that would have given them time to have a daughter born in 1858. I can’t think that there were too many saw makers named William Nicholson who were married to a Martha who baptized their children in the same Church (St Peter, Liverpool).
Here is Maria in the 1861 Census in Liverpool The Baxters and others were living at 25 Fontenoy Street:
I might as well get more confused. Here Maria is a boarder or lodger at the house of William Baxter who is also a saw maker. Living in the house was Ann Ellis widow aged 66. So did William move back to Sheffield and say, “William take care of my daughter who I named after you”? And who is Ann Ellis? Martha’s mother was Nancy Roebuck born in 1795, so this could be the same person. That means that Ann Baxter must be Ann Ellis born about 1822:
This could also explain the Sheffield/Liverpool connection.
I see I left an important detail from the Baxter 1861 Census. That is where everyone was born:
Everyone in that Census was born in Sheffield except for Ann Ellis who was born in Thorne. I have that my ancestor Nancy Ellis was born in Thorne, so this makes sense. That is what I like about the Census. It shows a lot of family relationships and gives a lot of information in a little space.
William Baxter and Ann Ellis
I feel I have enough information to go on to make a case that William Baxter’s wife Ann was actually Ann Ellis. Here is the family in 1851 in Nether Hallam to the West of Sheffield:
William was listed as a saw smith.
More On Ann Roebuck Ellis
Here is Ann in 1871 back in Sheffield:
Ann is listed as a lodger with Elizabeth Roebuck. As Elizabeth is listed as widowed, she could be a sister-in-law. Elizabeth is listed as born in Sheffield and Ann in Thorne.
What I Have Learned So Far
Perhaps a chronology would help
- April 1858 Maria Baxter born to William Nicholson and Martha Ellis in Sheffield
- June 1860 Sarah Ann born to William Nicholson and Martha Ellis in Sheffield
- August 1860 Maria Baxter Nicholson Baptized, Liverpool
- 1861 Census William, Martha and Sarah Ann living in Sheffield
- 1861 Maria Baxter Nicholson living with Uncle William Baxter, Aunt Ann Ellis Baxter and grandmother Ann (Nancy) Roebuck Ellis
- So it is not clear whether William and Martha Nicholson were present at the baptism of their daughter Maria Baxter. I had assumed that they were.
- Dec 1861 – Emma Nicholson born, probably in Liverpool.
- Jan 19, 1862 – Emma Nicholson baptized at St Peter’s in Liverpool.
- Jan 19, 1862 – Sarah Ann Nicholson baptized at St Peter’s in Liverpool. Emma’s and Sarah’s address is given as Fontenoy Street, Liverpool.
- March 1865 – Birth of Ann Eliza Nicholson presumed in Boote, Lancashire.
- August 1865 – Baptism of Ann Eliza at St Peter’s, Liverpool
- Feb 1869 – Birth of Agnes D Nicholson in Bootle
- March 1869 – Baptism of Agnes D at St. Peter’s, Liverpool
- Nov 1870 – Martha Nicholson travels from Liverpool to New York City with her four daughters: Sarah Ann, Emma, Eliza and Agnes. The girls are between the ages of and 11.
- 1871 – Martha’s mother Ann Roebuck Ellis now 76 years old is living with Elizabeth Roebuck in North Sheffield.
That seems to summarize about 13 eventful years for the Nicholson family.
A Few Loose Ends
I haven’t found William Nicholson’s shipping record or naturalization records. This may be Maria’s death record from 1866:
Though the family should have been in Bootle by then.
I found out some things about Ann Ellis. I could fill more blanks in with her or her siblings. Here are her siblings:
Summary and Conclusions
- While I was filling in my brother’s maternal side ancestry for DNA testing, I came upon a few interesting records that indicated my Nicholson ancestors may have lived in Liverpool before moving from Sheffield to Philadelphia
- I checked the records and they did live there. In fact, my great grandmother Ann Eliza and four of her sisters were baptized in Liverpool.
- I also found my third great grandmother living in Liverpool with William and Ann Baxter in 1861. This Ann was probably Ann Ellis, Martha Ellis Nicholson’s older sister. For some reason Willliam and Martha Nicholson’s youngest daughter was living in the Baxter house also in 1861 while William and Martha were in Sheffield with their infant second daughter.
- I left with some follow up work to fill in some of the blanks.
- I didn’ know last week that I had something in common with the Beatles. Now I know that I do.