My grandmother Elizabeth GIBSON was born in St Helens, Lancashire in 1903 and was the daughter of James GIBSON and Ruth BURNDRED. It states on her birth certificate that her father James was a coal miner.
It’s fair to say that my interest in family history is due in large part to the many conversations that my grandmother and I had together, usually while looking through the collection of family photographs. She also looked after the family bible, which was given to her mother and records the dates of birth of James and Ruth’s children:
Sarah Ann, 1898
My grandmother’s story and the fate of the family as they enter the twentieth century is dealt with separately but details of her Gibson forebears are discussed below.
All of the above children can be found in the 1901 census in St Helens:
1901 Census (18 Prospect Road, St Helens, Lancashire)
James GIBSON, head, mar, 36, coal hewer, b. Rushton, Staffordshire
Ruth D. GIBSON, wife, mar, 35, b. Rushton, Staffordshire
James GIBSON, son, 11, coal hewer, b. Rushton, Staffordshire
Hannah GIBSON, dau, 9, coal hewer, b. Rushton, Staffordshire
Ellen GIBSON, dau, 5, b. Golborne, Lancashire
Sarah Ann GIBSON, dau, 3, b. Golborne, Lancashire
Harry GIBSON, son, 1, b. Golborne, Lancashire
It would appear that at some time between the births of Hannah and Ellen (i.e. 1891 and 1895), the family had moved from Staffordshire to Golborne in Lancashire. Looking for them in the 1891 census, we find:
1891 Census (Mount Skip, Wolstanton, Staffordshire)
Jas. GIBSON, head, mar, 26, coal miner, b. Staffordshire, Leek
Ruth D. GIBSON, wife, mar, 26, b. Staffordshire, Butt Lane
Jas. GIBSON, son, 1, b. Staffordshire, Butt Lane
I have a copy of James and Ruth’s marriage certificate and they were married in 1886 in Audley, Staffordshire. James was 21 years old and a coal miner residing in Audley; his father was Edward GIBSON, a hawker. Ruth Dinah BURNDRED was a 21 year old spinster from Audley and she was illegitimate.
One possible candidate for James in 1881 is:
1881 Census (Winnington, Woolaston, Staffordshire)
Samuel C WRIGHT, head, mar, 26, farmer of 120 acres, b. North ???, Cheshire
Leavinea WRIGHT, wife, mar, 20, ag. wife, b. Rushton, Staffordshire
– – –
– – –
James GIBSON, servant, 16, farm servant indoors, b. Rushton, Staffordshire
And in 1871, we find a James GIBSON with father Edwin GIBSON in Birmingham
1871 Census (7 court, 2 house Sheep Street, Birmingham)
Edwin GIBSON, head, mar, 30, traveller, b. Rushton, Staffordshire (blind in one eye)
Ellen GIBSON, wife, mar, 39, traveller, b. Burnt Cliff, Cheshire
Leavinia GIBSON, dau, unm, 10, traveller’s daughter, b. Rushton James
Richard GIBSON, son, 8, traveller’s son, b. Rushton James
James GIBSON, son, 6, traveller’s son, b. Rushton James
Phoebe GIBSON, dau, 4, b. Rushton James
Hannah GIBSON, dau, 2, b. Rushton James
I wondered whether the Leavinia WRIGHT aged 20 in the 1881 census could be James’ sister Lavinia (as in the 1871 census), so I looked for and found a marriage certificate which seemed to suggest they were the same person: In 1876, Samuel Charles WRIGHT and Levorna GIBSON were married and Levorna’s father was Edwin GIBSON, farmer. I also obtained a copy of Lavinia’s birth certificate (b. 1860) which confirms that her parents were Edwin GIBSON and Ellen GIBSON, formerly STEEL.
Going back another ten years to 1861, we find the following family in Rushton James:
1861 Census (Lane End, Rushton James, Staffordshire)
Edward GIBSON, head, mar, 20, ag. lab, b. Staffordshire, Rushton James
Ellen GIBSON, wife, mar, 29, b. Cheshire, Wincle
Levinia GIBSON, dau, 7 months, b. Staffordshire, Rushton James
I found a marriage in 1859 for Edwin GIBSON (aged 20) and Ellen STEEL (aged 28). Edwin was a labourer and he gave his father’s name as William GIBSON, a farmer. The witnesses were Thomas GIBSON and Martha GIBSON.
Earlier still, in 1851, Edwin/Edward is living with his widowed mother:
1851 Census (Blackwood Hill, Rushton James, Staffordshire)
Martha GIBSON, head, widow, 50, farmer of 20 acres, b. Staffordshire, Rushton James
James GIBSON, son, unm, 25, ag. lab., b. Staffordshire, Rushton Spencer
Charles GIBSON, son, unm, 23, ag. lab., b. Staffordshire, Rushton Spencer
Richard GIBSON, son, unm, 19, ag. lab., b. Staffordshire, Rushton Spencer
Matthew GIBSON, son, unm, 15, ag. lab., b. Staffordshire, Rushton Spencer
Martha GIBSON, dau, 13, b. Staffordshire, Rushton Spencer
Edwin GIBSON, son, 10, b. Staffordshire, Rushton Spencer
Again, in 1841, Edwin is in Lane End, Rushton James:
1841 Census (Lane End, Rushton James, Staffordshire)
Martha GIBSON, 40, sand carrier
James GIBSON, 14
Charles GIBSON, 12
Thomas GIBSON, 10
Richard GIBSON, 8
Matthew GIBSON, 6
Martha GIBSON, 4
Edwin GIBSON, 9 months
I searched the IGI for baptisms of the above children with mother Martha in Rushton Spencer and found the following:
James GIBSON, bap. 31 Dec 1826
Charles GIBSON, bap. 14 Dec 1828
Thomas GIBSON, bap. 2 Jan 1831
Richard GIBSON, bap. 30 Sep 1832
Matthew GIBSON, bap. 24 Jul 1836
Martha GIBSON, bap. 7 Oct 1838
For the above children, the father was listed as Matthew GIBSON.
Edwin’s baptism on the 16 Aug 1840 was also recorded but no father was listed. This, along with the fact that he gave William as his father’s name on his marriage certificate makes me think that Matthew died sometime after conceiving Martha early in 1838.
I also found two more children of Matthew and Martha GIBSON on the IGI:
Phebe GIBSON, bap. 21 Sep 1834
Hannah GIBSON, bap. 21 Sep 1834
For those of you researching family history in the Rushton Spencer or Rushton James areas, a visit to Martin Ruston’s Rushton Spencer website is a must. Here you can find transcriptions from the censuses, parish registers, monumental inscriptions and trade directories that will be invaluable in your research.
I cross-referenced the above IGI records with the parish register transcriptions on the Rushton Spencer site, which provided additional information about where they were living and the father’s occupation:
James GIBSON, bap. 31 Dec 1826; abode, Charles Knowles; sand carrier
Charles GIBSON, bap. 14 Dec 1828; abode Toll Gate, Rushton James; sander
Thomas GIBSON, bap. 2 Jan 1831; abode, Rushton James; labourer
Richard GIBSON, bap. 30 Sep 1832; abode, Rushton James, sand carrier
Phebe GIBSON, bap. 21 Sep 1834; abode, Rushton James, sand carrier
Hannah GIBSON, bap. 21 Sep 1834; abode, Rushton James, sand carrier
Matthew GIBSON, bap. 24 Jul 1836; abode, Ryecroft Gate, victualler
Martha GIBSON, bap. 7 Oct 1838; abode, Ryecroft Gate, victualler
Edwin GIBSON, bap. 16 Aug 1840; abode Rushton James
Again, no father is listed for Edwin, just his mother Martha GIBSON. Under occupation it states spinster.
There is no reference on the Rushton Spencer site to the marriage of a Matthew GIBSON but the IGI does have the marriage of a Matthew GIBSON to a Martha MITCHELL on the 16 Oct 1826 in Leek, Staffordshire (which is about 5 miles away from Rushton James).
The burial records on the Rushton James site also have a reference to a Matthew GIBSON, aged 32 from Rushton James, who was buried on 1 Feb 1838. I obtained the death certificate for this Matthew and it states that he died on the 29 Jan 1838 aged 33 years and that he was a victualler. The informant was his father Charles GIBSON, a farmer of Rushton James. If this is indeed the correct Matthew then it indicates that he would have been born around 1805-6.
The IGI does have a Mathew GIBSON baptised 26 May 1805 in Rushton Spencer, the son of Charles and Sarah GIBSON.
I have also found two other burials that appear to be for the Phebe and Hannah listed above in the baptisms as they do not appear on the 1841 or subsequent censuses:
Phebe GIBSON, bur. 24 Jun 1835, infant, Ryecroft Gate
Hannah GIBSON, bur. 31 Aug 1835, infant, Rushton Spencer