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Bradford, Yorkshire

bradford2This is a summary of the results I have had when I first started researching the Townsley name in the Bradford area of West Yorkshire, England. It was my obvious starting point since it is my birthplace. This page covers the Townsley families living in the Bradford Registration District - covering the area of Wilsden to Pudsey and Cleckheaton to Shipley. The page summarises how the families appear in the records. It has had a few updates over the years but is only a small part of the latest family tree database.

1841 Census (6 June) - The Bradford index has no entries for the family surname. Even though there is evidence of Townsleys being in Bradford during the 1700's, all references to Townsley for this Census are in other Districts.

1851 Census (30 March)

Francis Townsley and his family were living at 12 Preston Place, Horton. He was born in Selby and aged 52. His wife was Hannah, born in Harden and aged 46. The children were Thomas (born Keighley, aged 21), David (born Cullingworth, aged 19), John (born Cullingworth, aged 12), Francis (born Wistow, Selby, aged 9) and Septimus (born Bradford, aged 6).

This is the only family with the Townsley name found in the Bradford District. From the age of Septimus they must have moved to Bradford from Keighley / Cullingworth between 1841 and 1845. Because there was another John (Jonathan) apparently born in Cullingworth - perhaps to the same parents - at about the same time (see the two entries in the 1881 and 1891 Censuses) it has been more difficult to establish exact links. With no other Townsley families in the area and no entry found in this Census for Jonathan, it is not clear if he is a son of Francis and Hannah. The most likely links are to 1861.1, 1861.2, 1871.3, 1871.4, 1871.6 & 1871.8 below.

From the name of the youngest child there must have been two other sons who had either died before 1851 or were living elsewhere. One may have been the missing Jonathan. [Update Dec 2011 This family were at Wistow at the time of the 1841 Census. They seem to have had a son named Jonathan who died and then to have named their next son Jonathan as well. However this is not confirmed] These parents are most likely the Francis Townsley and Hannah Bailey who were married in Bradford on 1 February 1829. Also Francis was probably the son of Thomas Townsley and Elizabeth Midgley that was baptised 11 February 1798 at Wistow, Selby.

1861 Census (7 April)

  1. Thomas from Keighley (aged 30) and Mary (also aged 30) from Annroyd (?) at 26 Harrington Street, Little Horton with child Hannah (aged 4) born in Horton. Link to 1871.4 below.
  2. David M from Cullingworth (aged 29) and Elizabeth (aged 28) from Rawden at 95a Girlington Road, Manningham. Link to 1871.8 - even though he has probably re-married.
  3. William Smith Bray from Kendal, Westmorland (aged 29) and Mary (aged 44) from Armley at 15 Bower Green, off Leeds Road, Bradford with child Eva May (aged 5), mother-in-law Ellen Glover (aged 73 from Armley), sister-in-law Sarah Townsley (aged 41 from Armley) and niece Emily Townsley (aged 1 from Hunslet).

Francis and Hannah, as well as John, Francis and Septimus, from 1851 were not found. Francis and Hannah may have died but some of the sons are believed to have survived beyond 1861.

IMQ29459w

The gravestone of Jonathan, Caroline and relatives at Heaton Baptist Highgate Cemetery, Bradford [photo 2011]

1871 Census (2 April)
  1. Fred from Leek, Staffordshire (aged 22) and Agnes (aged 20) at 9 Frances Street, South Bradford. Update - we now know that Fred and Agnes emigrated to New Zealand in 1873. Update April 2009 It now seems likely that Fred was registered at birth as Tansley in Leek in 1850 also appearing in the IGI as the son of James and Elizabeth. This now ties-in with the death of James Tansley in 1862 in Bradford and the subsequent re-marriage of Elizabeth to Byran Gamble(s). Elizabeth then appears below with Fred's brother, William, and sister, Elizabeth; also registered as Tansley.
  2. Ada (aged 5) with her grandmother Elizabeth Akam at 39 Montgomery Street, Manningham. Link to 1881.2 and probably to Francis and Ann B below (Elizabeth Akam most likely being the mother of Ann).
  3. Jonathan from Cullingworth (aged 35) and Caroline from Wistow, Selby (aged 24) at 49 Belgrave Street, Manningham with child Bertha (aged 3 months). Links to 1881.5 and 1891.6 below.
  4. Thomas from Keighley (aged 41) with Mary (also 41) at 26 Harrington Street, Little Horton with child Hannah (aged 14). Link to 1881.9 below.
  5. Thomas from Leeds (aged 54) with Ann (aged 51) at 9 Topham Street, Little Horton with children Emily (born Leeds, aged 23), Thomas (born Leeds, aged 21), John (born Leeds, aged 19), Sarah A (born Bradford, aged 19), Robert (born Bradford, aged 17), Sophia (born Bradford, aged 12), and Joseph (born Burnley, aged 9). Since Leeds is conveniently close to Bradford a search in the Leeds 1851 Census for this particular family was worthwhile. The results are given below* and see links to 1881.8, 1891.4 and 1891.5.
  6. Frank or Francis from Wistow, Selby (aged 29) and Ann B (aged 28) at 89 Mytholme, Wilsden with children Major A (born Harden, aged 4), William (born Wilsden, aged 2) and Arthur (born Wilsden, aged 4 months). Link to 1881.2 below.
  7. Elizabeth from Sandal, Wakefield (aged 24) a servant for the Mortimer family at 324 Green Road, Manningham.
  8. David from Cullingworth (aged 38) and Mary (aged 37) at 16 Exeter Street, East Bradford with children Phyllis (aged 13), Elizah (?) S (aged 10) and Fred (aged 8); all born in Bradford. Link to 1891.10 below.
  9. Elizabeth Gamble (aged 42) with children William (born Queensbury, aged 15) and Elizabeth (born Bradford, aged 12) at 34 Saville Street with her second husband, Bryan Gamble, and his two children - Mary J (aged 4) and Emily (aged 2).

*Leeds 1851 Census Link

Thomas (aged 35) and Ann (aged 32) were living with children Mary Ann (aged 11), Joseph (aged 7), Emily (aged 5), Thomas (aged 1) and John William (aged 2 weeks); all were born in Leeds. This is almost certainly the family that appears in 1871.5 above; even though some of ages are 1 year out. It seems that this Joseph died before 1862 and the youngest son was also named Joseph.

 

IMQ29460w

The gravestone of John and Mary at Heaton Baptist Highgate Cemetery, Bradford [photo 2011]

1881 Census (3 April)
  1. George (aged 50) and Ann (aged 45) at 3 Argyle Street, Shipley with children George T (born Hendon, Durham aged 18), James H (born Seaham Harbour, Durham aged 16), Mark E (born Brotherton, aged 10), Arthur (born Windhill, Shipley aged 8), Charlie (born Windhill, Shipley aged 5), Alice A (born Windhill, Shipley aged 3) and Walter (aged 1 month). George was from Brotherton and worked as a Canal Boat Captain, while George his son was a Canal Boat Mate. They are almost certainly are my great, grandparents. My grandfather Walter also became a Canal Boatman and I now know was born February 1881 to George and Ann at this address. All the locations mentioned were important commercial centres and either on the coast or near an important waterway. The Durham ports served the industrial North-East. Brotherton was on the Great North Road near the junction of the River Aire with the Aire & Calder Navigation (canal). Shipley was at the junction of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and the Bradford Canal. The family moved around the country and have proved hard to trace. Link to 1891.11 and after much searching to 1891.13
  2. Francis from Wistow, Selby (aged 39) and Ann Bell (aged 38) at 51 Alexander Road, Shipley with children Ada (born Manningham, aged 15), Major A (born Harden, aged 14), Arthur (born Wilsden, aged 10), Albert E (born Bingley, aged 8), Elizabeth (born Horton, aged 4) and Frank (aged 1). Link to 1891.9 and 1891.12 below.
  3. John from Leeds (aged 31) and Ann (aged 30) at 660 Manchester Road, Bowling with child Edith (aged 2). Probable link to 1891.1 below.
  4. Caleb Wilkinson (aged 40) and Agnes Wilkinson (aged 33) at 10 Chestnut Grove, Bolton with step-children Alice Ann Townsley (aged 12) and Florrie Townsley (aged 6) as well as Christiana Wilkinson (aged 2) and Elizabeth Ann Wilkinson (aged 9 months). The assumption is that Agnes was previously married to a Townsley. Link to 1891.8 below.
  5. Jonathan from Cullingworth (aged 44) and Caroline from Selby Wilton (aged 34) at 47 Chesham Street, Horton with children Nelson (aged 6) and William (aged 4); both born in Horton, Bradford. Link to 1891.6 below.
  6. Mary from Windhill, Calverley (aged 21) with new born son at 28 Hall Lane, Shipley with her mother Mary A Hird, 3 brothers and 3 sisters. Confirmed link to John William Townser (Townsley), aged 20, boatman on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Tarleton, Lancashire - with marriage record now located. Also on the same canal boat were Jonathan & Sarah Elizabeth Cowman; Sarah being thought to be the sister of John William, daughter of George and Ann (1881.1 above)
  7. John from Cullingworth (aged 42) and Mary from Heaton (aged 42) at 36 Silver Street with son Edwin (aged 15). Link to 1891.2 and 1891.3 below.
  8. Thomas from Hardsley (Ardsley) a widower aged 65 at Milton Street, Horton with children Joseph (aged 19 from Burnley) and Sophia (aged 22) as well as grandson Frank (aged 1). Link to 1891.4 and 1891.5. Note that Sophia was probably married shortly after (FRC marriage ref 1881/Jun/Bradford/9b/144)
  9. Mary from Midgley a widow aged 50 at 7 Topham Street, Horton with son-in-law William H Sykes (aged 25) and Hannah Sykes (daughter, aged 24) and children Arthur (aged 2) and Edith (aged 11 months). This address is next to the house that was the home of Thomas in 1871 (see 1871.5).

Bryan and Elizabeth Gamble were still living in Saville Street but the Townsley children were not listed.

1891 Census (5 April)

  1. John from Leeds (aged 41) and Ann (aged 42) at 55 Parsonage Road, Bowling with children Edith (aged 13), Walter (aged 7) and Elsie (aged 6); all born in Bradford.
  2. John from Cullingworth and Mary (both aged 52) at 22 Silver Street, Manningham.
  3. Edwin from Heaton, Bradford and Hannah (both aged 25) at 15 Silver Street, Manningham with children John (aged 3) and Charles E (aged 1); both born in Manningham. Edwin is almost certainly the son of John and Mary above.
  4. Joseph from Burnley (aged 30) and Emma (aged 29) at 18 Heaton Road, Manningham with children Thomas (aged 6), Arthur (aged 5) and Harold (aged 4); all born in Bradford.
  5. Thomas from Ardsley (aged 75) a lodger at 15 Legrams Lane, Horton.
  6. Jonathan from Cullingworth (aged 52) and Caroline from Wistow, Selby (aged 42) at 47 Chesham Street, Horton with children Nelson (aged 16), William (aged 14) and Ethel (aged 7); all born Bradford.
  7. Arthur from Birstall (aged 25) and Annette (aged 23) at 2 Harrison Building, Eccleshill with child Harry (born Eccleshill, aged 6 months).
  8. Alice (aged 22) and Florence (aged 17), both born Bradford, at 687 Bolton Road, North Bradford.
  9. Major Akam from Harden (aged 24) and Jane Elizabeth from Bradford (aged 23) at 9 Ferrands Road, Shipley.
  10. Fred (aged 28) and Esther (aged 23), both from Bradford, at 3 Shipley Fields Road, Shipley
  11. George Thomas, a master (aged 26) and Sarah (aged 25), both from Brotherton, on the vessel "Ida" at Shipley on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal
  12. Ann B (aged 46) a widow at 3 Mount Place, Shipley with children Albert E (aged 18, born Bingley), Elizabeth B (aged 14, born Horton) and Frank (aged 11, born Shipley)
  13. George (aged 67) and Ann (aged 58), both born Brotherton, at 21 Picccadilly, Shipley with children Charles (aged 14, born Windhill), Alice A (aged 13, born Windhill), Walter (aged 10, born Shipley) and married daughter Mary Hawksworth (aged 33, born Brotherton) with her daughter Ann Hawksworth (aged 2, born Shipley)

Update September 2000 - A search for other possible relatives in the Bradford 1891 Census lead to the missing entries for George and Ann (found via the link to the Hawksworth family as they were indexed under Lownsley!). However their married sons, other than George Thomas, still need to be located for 1891. This may be due to their involvement with the canals and coastal shipping - see Sailing Ships.

With the links to Cullingworth, Wilsden and Harden another useful local search should have been the one for the Bingley district. But only one entry was found.

1891 Census Bingley

  1. Robert (aged 25) a British Subject from Maral, Bengal, India was a lodger at Cherry Street, Bingley.

With the links to Brotherton, Selby and Birstall, amongst others, the tree is starting to branch out with the prospect of much more searching for any further links. Looking at the emerging picture it was clear that Brotherton, near Pontefract was a good place for research. Here the census, plus the International Genealogical Index (IGI), have come up with far more Townsleys than anywhere else - considering that the village had a population of 2,000 or less.

1887-1900 Births & Marriages

The paper references that were collected have now been superseded by the FreeBMD web site.

.

1901 Census

Becoming available in January 2002 the census provided a valuable new resource - despite having a large number of errors and no obvious method of providing corrections. The initial list of Townsley names found was -

First Name

Age

Born

Occupation

Alice

9

Shipley

-

Alice

31

Burton-on-Trent

-

Annie

3

Windhill

-

Annie

30

Baildon Wood Bottom

-

Charlie

25

Shipley

Carter

Dorothy

6

Bradford

-

Edward

2

Shipley

-

Edward

27

Brotherton

Canal Boatman

George

34

Sunderland

Boatman

John

40

Durham

Canal Bargeman

June

33

Bradford

-

Major

34

Harden

Stuff Woolen Pullen Room

Mary

24

Bingley

-

May

6

Shipley

-

Rennard

8m

Shipley

-

Sam

8

Shipley

-

Sarah

1

Shipley

-

Walter

21

Shipley

-

1911 Census

This is the latest census data to be generally available. It can be searched online but viewing the detailed results is chargeable.

 

This cutting from 1916 reveals some of the reality of life in Shipley among my Townsley relatives ... and others living in the industrial town.

ShipleyTE19161124

Other 20th Century Records

By searching through the indexes to the Register of Birth, Deaths and Marriages, at the Family Records Centre in London, it was possible to pick-up every entry in every quarter for a relevant district - providing you have an uncommon surname, such as Townsley. But this facility has now closed and the paper records are not longer open to the public. However the books and their digital replacements are simply indexes; not the actual registers. So only present a partial picture. It would be so much easier if the actual register entry could be viewed - online or at the archives. But the only solution in England and Wales is to purchase a certificate before you can see the content. The prohibitive cost of buying so many certificates, which genealogists often want just to check the parent's names, makes the BMD index trawl much less rewarding than it could be; given current technology.

1901+ Births & Marriages

The paper references that were collected have now been superseded by the FreeBMD web site.Trade Directories

  1. John was a Wool & Waste Dealer at 4B Thornton Road in 1901
  2. Jonathan was Maker-Up & Packer at 10 Brook Street in 1901

1914-18 War - There are some family names recorded in the Bradford Roll of Honour for being in military service during the Great War. However these are not all the Townsley's that served. This may be because of the difference in coverage between the Bradford census district and the local authority boundaries - where Shipley was a separate authority.

  1. Charles E Townsley of 60 Church Street, Bradford; link to 1891.3.
  2. Edgar Townsley of 206 Tichbourne Road, Bradford
  3. Harold L Townsley of 4 Newgate Street, Bowling; possible link to 1891.4 but more likely the one born in 1900. [This is probably the same person as the Home Guard that was killed during World War II]
  4. Thomas Townsley of 14 Birch Lane, West Bowling; possible link to 1891.4.

There are also a few press cuttings for the War victims -

  1. John Townsley, Sergeant in RFA and employed by Mr John Bentley (Greengrocer, Oak Lane) wounded in France early October1917.
  2. Arthur Townsley from Shipley, Private 11230 in D Company, 2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment was wounded then gassed - died early June 1915. His wife and three children were at Perseverance Road, Queensbury. (This is almost certainly the same Arthur as the one given in the Commonwealth War Graves entry even though the addresses are hard to reconcile with his wife being given as living in Bramley, Leeds).

Personal research has traced my grandfather Walter Townsley (from 1881.1 above) to a war cemetery at Roeux, northern France. All of the soldiers known so far are listed in Service Deaths.

After the First World War, I have mainly relied on information from the birth, death and marriage certificates of my immediate family. Unfortunately I did not start my research until I inherited our sketchy family records on the death of my father, William (Tim), in January 1997 at the age of 86. This means that there are stilll many gaps in my information about many family members.

Does anyone out there have anything that might help?

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