Life in Yorkshire

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The Costume of Yorkshire, George Walker

George Walker, a son of gentry, was born in 1781 near Leeds. His series of forty colored engravings depicting life in Yorkshire accompanied by text was first published as The Costume of Yorkshire in 1814.

The Costume of Yorkshire gives one of the few glimpses of the occupations, dress, and life of the "labouring classes" in Yorkshire at the time.

The following sixteen plates and all or parts of the "expanatory" text which accompanied them were selected because they depict in someway the lives of the Land/Law ancestors .

Clearly George Walker had some class prejudice as shown in his comments about the cloth makers, croppers and "lowkers".

Additional Comments

Under several of George Walkers's plates I have added some additional comments from other sources.

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

Cloth Makers, Plate II

"The manufacture of cloth affords employment to the major part of the lower class of people in the north-west districts of the West Riding of Yorkshire. These cloth-makers reside almost entirely in the villages, and bring their cloth on market-days for sale in the geat halls erected for that purpuse at Leeds and Huddersfield. These men have a decided provincial character; and their galloways also, which are always overloaded, have a manner of going peculiarly of their own."

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

The Cloth-Dresser, Plate V

"These men are usually denominated Croppers, from their cropping the wool off the cloth, the nicest and most difficult part of their employment. They previously wet the cloth thoroughly in a cistern of water, and comb the wool all one way with teazles, which are fixed for this purpose in a small wooden frame. Some of these are arranged on the floor in the annexed Plate. The cloth, after being dried and brushed on the tenters, is placed upon the shear board, which is a sort of long narrow table, as represented in the engraving, and he proceeds to clip the wool. The handle of the shears is supported by one hand, whilst with the other he works them by means of a small lever, called a gig, affixed to the upper edge. The pressure of the shears is increased by the addition of some heart-shaped leaden weights placed upon the flat surface. These are delineated on the Plate. The Cloth-dressers are a numerous body in the West Riding of Yorkshire, many of them natives, and many from Ireland and the west of England. An able workman will earn great wages, and if industrious and steady, is certain to make his way in the world; but it is to be lamented that comparatively few are found of this description. The majority are idle and dissolute, owing perhaps to the laborious nature of their occupation, which too often induces habits of drunkenness, and partly to their working in numbers together, a circumstance always injurious to morals. To the unsteady conduct of the Croppers, by which in times of urgent business much loss and inconvenience were suffered by their employers, and from the great improvements lately made in mechanics, may be attributed the invention of gig mills and shearing frames. This machinery effects with certainty and dispatch almost every operation of cloth-dressing, with very trifling manual assistance. The establishment of these mills excited considerable alarm amongst the Croppers, and was the alleged cause of the late unhappy disturbances. By the active vigilance of the magistrates, the prompt execution of some of the ringleaders, and the well-timed lenity shewn to others, tranquillity is now restored, and there no longer appears any disposition to outrage and even dissatisfaction.

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

Lowkers, Plate VI

" This garrulous class of mortals is usually composed of old women and children, who are employed in the spring to weed amonst the corn. The name is probability a corruption of Lookers, form their looking for the weeds, or from their great propencity to trifle and look for any thing else...... The work is done by hand only, and sometimes with tools.... It is perhaps unnecessary to add that these, in common with most other work people, require the frequent eye of the master. The owner of the field, who appears in the back ground on horseback, is no doubt fully aware of this."

Note: garrulous: given to constant, idle, trivial, tedius talking

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

Stone-Breakers on the Road, Plate VIII

"As gravel is not in general plentiful, except on the coast, the roads in Yorkshire are usually made of stone, which abounds in almost every part of the country. It is brought in large pieces from the quarry, and thrown form the carts on the road side, at convenient distances, where repair is necessary. Men are employed afterwards to break it, and spread it, as here represented.

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

Woman Making Oat Cakes, Plate IX

" Haver almost exclusively made in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and constitutes the principal food of the labouring classes in that district. It is a thin cake, composed of oatmeal and water only, and by no means unpalatable, particularly while it is new."

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

The Cranberry Girl, Plate XIII

"The oxycoccus, or cranberry, is well known as a species of vaccinium, and grows plentifully upon the moors in the north of England. For many years it has been held in such estimation for pastry, that it is regularly brought to market like other fruit. Cranberries of larger size and more beuatiful appearance are emported from Russia and America, but their flavour is much inferior to those grown in England. The girl here represented is gathering this berry upon the moors."

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

Rape Threshing

"Of all the rural occupations there is none more cheerful and joyous than the one here represented. Rape is much grown in Yorkshire, and particularly in newly enclosed land. It is always an uncertain crop, but is in general very productive, being not infrequently equal in value to the fee simple of the land. When ripe, the seed is so liable to waste and scatter, that is usual to have it threshed upon the open field in which it is grown. Large sheets are spread for this purpose, and as the operation must necessarily be completed with all possible dispatch, some hundreds of people are frequently employed, who are bountifully supplied at short intervals with meat and drink. Some are reapers, some carriers, or as they are termed in Yorkshire, huggers, and some threshers; while the rest are variously employed in forking, sifting, and lastly, putting the seed into sacks. The threshing is performed by a number of men, two abreast, who move in a large circle. The two leaders, gaily dressed out with coloured ribbands in their hats by way of distinction, move backwards; the next two face them; and so on alternately the whole party. Two women near the fore ground are seen running away from a hugh load of rape, which the waggish huggers are conspiring to bury them under. This is one of the long established jokes upon these riotously merry occasions."
Rape is an annual crop grown for it seeds. The seeds are used to make oil and the residue is feed to cattle.

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

Moor Guide, Plate XX

" The generality of men who offer themselves as quides are lead miners, and merely take up this as a autumnal employment. This circumstance may serve to account for the collier-like complexion of the present figure. Sportsmen unacquainted with the moors, and the particular haunts of the game, make a point, on their arrival, of engaging one of these Guides, who from his perfect knowledge of the country, is well qualified to direct their steps and at the same time relieve their shoulders from the irksome load of the game bag and ammunition."

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

The Preemer Boy, Plate XXI

"This may be considered as the first humble step to the more exalted situation of a Cropper. These boys usually apprentice at a very early age, and, though their proper legitimate occupation is preeming, they are always considered as the general and convenient little drudges of the dressing shops. They run every errand, sweep the premises, fetch liquor for the men, and but too often suffer from their coarse manual wit or ill governed passion. Preeming is the operation of detaching, by means of an iron comb or preem, the flocks or bits of wool from the teasels lately used......... Two men in the back ground of the Plate are using the teasel for the purpose of what is technically termed rooing the cloth."

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

The Teasel Feild, Plate XXIII

"The Teasel, or Dipsacus sativua, is a plant much cultivated in the east part of the West Riding, though form the impoverishing nature of the crop, which requires two years to bring to maturity, it is seldom approved by the proprieter of the soil. It is however and article of essential importance to the Colthier, who uses the crooked awns of the heads of this plact for raising the nap of the cloth. In the autumn of the second year the heads of the plant are cut off, carefully dried, and after being fixed upon long sticks, are conveyed away for sale. Temporary sheds are usually erected in the teasel fields for the work-people employed, who not unfrequently form very interesting groups."

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

Peat Cart, Plate XXVII

"This is a portrait of a Peat Cart in Langstroth Dale, and is, we believe, the only one now remaining of this original construction........... Peat, it is well known, is the general fuel used in the mountainous and moor-land districts. It is dug or cut into pieces about the size and form of a common brick, piled in small heaps to dry in the sun, and afterwards stacked or put under sheds for use."

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

The Cloth Hall, Plate XXVIII

"About half a century ago the Yorkshire broad cloth was exposed for sale, on market days, on the bridge and in the principal street at Leeds. Since that time two commodious hall have been erected; the one for the sale of white cloth only, the other for couloured. The annexed Plate represents part of the interior of the latter building. They are both open every Tuesday and Saturday morning for one hour; in which very limited time all the business is tranacted. The cloth is arranged on low wooden stands; the manufacturer behind it, and the merchant or buyer passes in fount. As the bargains are made in a half whisper, strangers are much surprised with the silence which prevails in such a crowd."

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

Woman Spinning, Plate XXX

"Since the general use of machinery for almost every purpose of manufacture, the spinning by a wheel, as here represented, had been very much laid aside. It is however still in some degree necessary, particularly for the warp of woolen stuffs, in which a strong hard twisted thread is required. The demand therefore is even yet sufficient to employ a considerable number of poor people, to whom the low wages of about one halfpenny per pound wight may be an object."

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

Bishop Blaize, Plate XXX

"Blaise, or Blasius, the principal personage is this festivity and procession, was bishop of Sebasta in Armenia, and the patron saint of that country. Several marvellous stories are related of him by Mede, in his "Apostacy of the latter Times", but he need only be noticed here as the reputed inventor of the art of combing wool. On this account the wool-combers have a jubilee on his festival, the third of February. The next principal character is Jason; but the story of the golden Flece is so well known that no introduction can be necessary to the hero of that beautiful allegory. The enterprising genius of Britain never ceases to realize the fable by rewarding many a British Jason with a golden fleece.

The following is the order of this singular procession, dominated, from its principal character, Bishop Blaise.

The masters on horseback, with each a white sliver; the master's sons on horseback; their colours; the apprentices on horseback in their uniforms; music; the king and queen; their attendants; the royal family; their guards and attendants; Jason; the golden fleece; attendants; bishop and chaplain; their attendants; shepherd and shepherdess; shepherd's swains, attendants, etc. foremen and wool-sorters on horseback; combers colours; wool-combers two and two, with ornamented caps, wool wigs, and various coloured slivers.

Note: A Sliver is a piece of combed wool.

St Balise was the reputed inventor of woolcombing. He was martyred by torture with iron combs and the method of his martyrdom seems to be the cause of his adoption as the patron saint of woolcombers.

The Festival of St Blaise in Bradford in 1825

The feast day of St Blaise was celebrated by the woolcombers with much gaiety and rejoicing. There are a number of discriptions in old books of the feast of St Blaise in Bradford Feburay 3, 1825.

The factories and workplaces were shut for the day. Flags and banners fluttered in the breeze. The church bells peeled continuously and multiple bands played. The streets were crowded with visitors from the neighboring villages and towns. Most had arrived on foot but some had come by stage coach.

A procession started at 10 o'clock in the morning and included: a herald (bearing a flag), 24 woolstaplers (on horseback each horse "caprisoned" in a fleece), 38 worsted spinners and manufacturers (on horseback, in white waistcoats with white sashes and a sliver over the shoulder their horses necks covered with nets of thick yarn), 6 merchants (on horseback with colored sashes), 56 apprentices and master"s sons (on horseback with ornamental caps, scarlet coats, white waistcoats and blue pantaloons), 160 woolsorters (on horseback with ornamental caps and various colored slivers), 30 comb makers, charcoal burners, 470 woolcombers (in wool wigs), 40 dyers (with red cockades, blue aprons, and crossed slivers of red and blue), several bands, honor guards, and "colors" (flags), figures dressed as the king, queen, Jason, Medea, St Blaise, shepherds, and shepherdesses and swains.

The ornamental caps of the apprentices and master's sons were decorated with ostrich feathers, flowers and knots of various colored yarn. Some of them were attired in very costly garments. The hats of the wool-combers sported brightly colored tall plumes that formed a fleur-de lis. The combmakers carried their combs on standards together with golden fleeces and ram"s heard with golden horns.

The whole procession was about a half a mile to a mile in length and marched throughout the town. During the course of the day barrels of ale were opened, enormous sandwiches were eaten. The outdoor festivities ended around 5 o'clock in the evening. Dinners were held in the evening in various inns in the town.

This type of festival had been held periodically in the West Riding of Yorkshire for a long time. However, due to the mechanization of the woolen industry the festival in 1825 in Bradford was one of the last great festivals in Yorkshire. Wakefield held it's last large festival in 1829. While gatherings on the feast of St Blaise continued for some time after that the nature and extent were much altered.

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

Midsummer Eve, Plate XXXVI

"Every custom which tends to promote social intercourse and hospitality should be zealouly encouraged. Of this class is the one here represented, which is still observed in some parts of Craven, and other districts of Yorkshire. New settlers in a town or village, on the Midsummer Eve immediately succeeding their arrival, set out a plentiful repast before their doors, of cold beef, bread, cheese, and ale. Those of their neighbors who feel inclinded to cultivate their acquaintance sit down and partake of their hospitable fare, and thus east and drink themselves into intimacy.

The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker

Factory Children, Plate XXXVIII

"A great part of the West Riding of Yorkshire abounds with cottom mills, cloth manufactories, and other large buildings appropriates to trade, which are now usually known under the general, though perhaps vulgar, denomination of Factories. They are essentially requisite for the widely extended commerce of Britain, and furnish employment, food and raiment to thousands of poor industrious individuals. It is much however to be lamented that this is too frequently at the expence of health and morals. The little blue dirty group in the Plate are painted in their true collours; but where in their complexions would the painter discover the blooming carnations of youth, or the valetudinarion, in the surrounding scenery, the pure air necessary for health? Many proprietors of factories have, much to their credit, remedied these evils by a strict attention to the morals, behaviour, and cleanliness of the children, and adopting the very easy and effectual plan of consuming or burning the smoke."
For more information on child labor see Childen now or at the bottom of the page.

"Christmas Singers"

Circa 1800

Illustrated History From Hipperholme to Tong, James Parker, 1904

"Leeds on a Market Day

A Sketch in Boar Land and Briggate"


Part 1

The print is too large to scan the whole thing so I did it in two parts with some cropping.

Print collection of Maggie Blanck

"Leeds on a Market Day

A Sketch in Boar Land and Briggate"


Part 2

This part of the print shows the clothiers carrying their cloths on their heads.

Notice the horse drawn trolley in the background.

Print collection of Maggie Blanck

The Cup That Cheers

Postmarked: Leeds, 1909

Postcard collection of Maggie Blanck

Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Bird Catchers

William Hensley (1813-1893), Painter

H Brandard, Engraver

From the Departure of the Mail by Heywood Hardy (English 1843-1933)

Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Contrary winds by Thomas Webster (1800-1886). Engraved in 1869

Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck


The Illustrated London News, Nov 12, 1881

Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Illustrated London News December 19, 1857

Jack's Sweetheart
Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

A Yorkshire farm
Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Photo collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Victorian Ladies From Bradford, Yorkshire

Female Costumes (Outdoors) A D 1836, Morley: ancient and modern By William Smith (F.S.A.S.), 1886, Google Books

Female Costumes (Indoors) A D 1836, Morley: ancient and modern By William Smith (F.S.A.S.), 1886, Google Books

Male Costumes (Outdoors) A D 1836, Morley: ancient and modern By William Smith (F.S.A.S.), 1886, Google Books

Male Costumes (Indoors) A D 1836, Morley: ancient and modern By William Smith (F.S.A.S.), 1886, Google Books

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck, copyright Leeds Gallery, kind permission of Leed Gallery

A Village Funeral by Frank Holl RA, Leeds Gallery

Frank Holl (1845-1888) Social Realist Painter - there is a lot on the Internet on Frank Holl.

Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Christmas-eve in Yorkshire - Drawn by Dodgson, Illustrated London News Christmas Supplement, 1849

Unfortunately, the accompanying test which might have explained some of the goings on is missing.

Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Carol-singing in Yorkshire - Drawn by John Gilbert, Illustrated London News Christmas December 24, 1862

Unfortunately, the accompanying test is also missing for this image.

Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck The Baptism of a Beliver: A Scene on a Yorkshire Hillside

Date Unknown, publication unknown

This rather strange scene represents a ceremony of the Baptist body, according to whose special tenets the rite of baptism can only be administered to persons who are "converted" and are believers in the doctrines of the Christian faith, not to infants. In this instance the minister with the person to be baptised, steps down into a little open-air baptistry, and each candidate in succession is fully immersed. The most inclement season of the years is no obstacle to the performance of this religious duty; and on a very recent occasion it is recorded that five young men and one young woman were immersed in a out-door baptistry in Yorkshire in the month of February, when much snow had to be cleared away in order to approach the water.


1840 studies of marriage registers, where brides and grooms either signed or "made their mark" (X'ed), showed that two thirds of the males and half the females were literate.

In 1839 two thirds of the weavers in Bradford could read but only one quarter could write.


Very few people in England had the right to vote until the Reform A of 1884, which extended the franchise to two thirds of adult males.

Females could not vote until 1918.


Marriage "by Banns" was by far the most common approach to marriage. According to Webster banns are "a public announcement of an intended marriage given out on the same three Sundays in the parish churches of the engaged pair, to give an opportunity for objection if there is some impediment".

Marriage "by license" was rarer perhaps because there was a fee involved. Webster says license is "a right formally granted in writing by an authority (who has the power to withhold it) e.g. to drive a vehicle, marry conduct certain business etc".

Life Expectancy

In 1860 there was a slight decline in the "crude" death rate. This did not necessarily reflect improved life expectancy but rather was an indication of increased birth rates. It also reflected a high number of people in early to middle life who were reproducing.

A significant fall in the rate of deaths for children and young women occurred in 1870.

Life expectancy improved for middle-aged women in the 1880s.

Life expectancy improved for middle-aged men in the 1890s.

Infant mortality remained high through out the latter decades of the nineteenth century.

Illegitimate infant mortality was twice as high as legitimated infant mortality.

Urban infant mortality was 30 per cent higher than rural.

At all times, female life expectancy was superior to male. More male children were born, but at all ages above infancy females outnumbered males.

Death rates were lower in pre-industrial towns, higher in cities and in heavy manufacturing areas.

Information from Private Lives, Public Spirit: Britain 1870-1914 by Jose Harris

Disease and Health

Deaths from small pox were virtually eliminated in England between 1871 and 1905 due to inoculation.

Increase in population caused housing shortages and sanitation problems which resulted in an increase in cholera and typhoid epidemics.

Processing of wool, coal miner, resulted in pollution of the rivers.

Information from Private Lives, Public Spirit: Britain 1870-1914 by Jose Harris

Female Labor

"Over the county as a whole there was a gradual decline in married women's employment over the last thirty years of the century, then an increase in the 1900s."

Private Lives, Public Spirit: Britain 1870-1914 by Jose Harris

"The life of most working-class mothers was an incessant round of cooking, laundering, child care, ironing, cleaning grates, laying fires, emptying slop-pails, and keeping dirt at bay."

Private Lives, Public Spirit: Britain 1870-1914 by Jose Harris

Social Life

The center of working class social life was the midday Sunday dinner. It was strictly a family occasion. Neighbors or friends were rarely invited.

"The British working class families rarely appeared together in public places, a habit influenced by the greater sized of their houses, the prevalence of British pubs."

Private Lives, Public Spirit: Britain 1870-1914 by Jose Harris

Private Property

Most of the property (85%) in Great Britain was owned by a few "great landowners". These families were in possession of the land from the 16th century.

Private Lives, Public Spirit: Britain 1870-1914 by Jose Harris


Tea, coffee, tobacco and imported spirits were subject to taxes.

Yorkshire Scenes Lore and Legends by M Tait, 1888


According to the earliest population studies in England, the population doubled in the century between the early 1700's and the early 1800's. The population census of 1811 estimated that there were 10,164,000 people living in England and Wales. The population appears to have grown slowly until the 1740's and rapidly after the 1780's. A dramatic upturn in industrial growth also began around 1780. Before then the English economy was mainly based on agriculture and rural commerce. There was only one major city, London. After 1870 migration to centers of industry increased and some towns grew into cities. Most of the population of England, however, remained rural until the census on 1851.

Yorkshire Scenes Lore and Legends by M Tait, 1888

Hours and Wages

1740 Wages

In the 1740s, the ordinary pay per day for a tailor, a cooper, a blacksmith, and most other handicrafts was about 9 pence. Common laborers earned less. At the same time the best cuts of veal, beef, or mutton cost 1 pence per pound. A knife cost 1 pence. A pound of tobacco cost 1 pence. A pint of brandy cost 1 pence.

A man's wages were seldom enough to feed a growing family. It was important to have a wife and/or children who worked.

1832 Wages in Yorkshire Textile Mills

A male factory worker (working as a spinner) could earn between 14s. and 22s. a week.

A female power loom weaver could earn between 5s. to 10s. a week.

1839 Wages in Leeds

Cloth drawers earned 24s. 6d. per week.
Slubbers earned 24S.
Shoemakers made about 14s.
Children employed as piecers earned 2s. 6d. to 5s. per week.

1858 Wages in Leeds

Slubbers 27 shillings per week
Weavers Handloom 15 shillings per week
Power loom weavers 10-12 shillings per week
Drawers 30-40 shillings per week
Piecers, girls and boys 6 shillings per week

1820-1823 Work Week

Between 1820-1823 a normal work week was seventy two hours.

1850 Half A Day Off On Saturdays

A half day off on Saturdays was granted to textile workers under the Factory Act of 1850.

1855 Reduction in Hours for Women and Children

As a result of workmen putting pressure on the factories, hours for women and children were reduce in 1855 to 55 hours a week.

1870s Introduction of the Nine Hour Day

In the 1870s a nine hour day was introduced.

Paid Holidays

In the 19th century there were NO paid holidays.

The traditional three holidays of Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide (Pentecost or Whitsun is observed on the seventh Sunday after Easter), were officially sanctioned but were NOT paid holidays.

Effect of the Factory System on Family Life

Before the advent of factories the family lived and worked all together in one space. After people started working in the mills they were together only for eating and sleeping and on Sundays.

Naming Patterns

One of the most important devices in tracking families through several generations is naming patterns. Particularly in the early records, people got their children's names from family sources. Children were named for their parents, grandparents and other family members. According to A. Ashwell Cadman in Gomersal, Past and Present, the first obvious introduction of non family names was during the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted from 1649-1660, when a commoner, Oliver Cromwell, ruled England. During the Commonwealth reading the bible in the vernacular became fairly common and biblical names became popular. Apparently the only King's name to become popular to any extent was George. There were four Georges who reigned from 1714 to 1830. My own observation is that around the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700's and early 1800's the use of double names came into fashion. These were names that combined two first names like, Mary Ann Law (the daughter of William Law in 1836) or the full name of a grandparent or other relative, such as George Stell Sykes (1826). Around the same period the use of a surname as a first name also became popular, including Law Land (1858), who was given his mother's maiden name as a first name.

I believe that the custom of the double name derived from an ancestor may have started earlier and not been recorded in the parish records. For example Charles Land married Elizabeth Dunford in 1787. There first son was named James. While there was no middle name listed for this James Land subsequent generations of James Lands in several branches were James Dunford Land. Likewise Charles Land (born in 1767) was simply listed as Charles Land whereas subsequent Charles Lands were Charles Lewis Land.

The Parish Records

Many of the original parish registers are missing and the existing records are transcriptions such as Bishop's Transcripts. The Bishops Transcripts were hand transcribed copies of the parish records which were sent to the Bishop once a year. Whenever anything is transcribed some things are bound to be omitted or copied wrong.

Even when the original parish records exist there are lots of years missing.

In addition there was a tremendous amount of underreporting in the years that are not missing. Underreporting not only occurred in the transcriptions but also in original records and includes all three categories or rites: baptisms, marriages and deaths.

Marriages of course could and often did take place in a parish other than where one was born. People moved around a lot more than I thought they would have, even from the earliest times. Moves, at least until the Industrial Revolution, often occurred at the time of one's marriage. While it is not always true, women tended to marry in the parish where they were born, even if they subsequently moved to the village where their husband was born. The marriage of males are often hard to locate because the found their brides surprisingly far afield. It is difficult to know if some marriages were unreported or just occurred in another parish. There is also a strange phenomena where people marry in a parish that they otherwise do not appear to have a connection with. There are numerous instances of couples marrying in Leeds parish when they appear to have lived both before and after in Batley or Birstall parish. The opposite is also true with people marrying in Batley or Birstall parish when they both appear to have lived both before and after in Leeds.

The underreporting of baptisms is more glaring. There are numerous cases where the death of a child will be reported when there was no baptism reported for that child. There are families with big gaps in the baptismal records of the children, and then twenty years later a person will show up living in the same village and having a family using all the same names as the family with the gap in the baptisms. How can I be truly certain that this person belongs where I think they do? Sometimes it is quite clear. Other times it leaves me unsure of what I have. There is of course the possibility that some children were baptized in another parish for a variety of reasons. There are also clear cases of children not being baptized until they are several years old.

There are also lots of deaths that were unreported. A case in point was Rachael, the wife of Benjamin Law, whose death was not listed in the parish records, but whose tombstone inscription I found. Death records can be very important in helping to determine who the mother of a given child was. Since only the father's name was included on the baptismal record, the only way to know who the mother was is to track the family from the marriage, through the baptisms of all the children. If there are large gaps, there is the real possibility that the mother died and the father remarried. If the mother's death was unreported and the father remarried in another parish, it would be quite easy to have the wrong mother listed.

All of this is compounded by the possibility that a family were members of a nonconformist congregation whose records did not survive or that they were simply not religious at all and avoided baptisms all together.

Weaving in Yorkshire
Children in Yorkshire
Introduction to English Pages
Houses in Yorkshire

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©Maggie Land Blanck - Page created 2004 - Latest update, August 2011