Is Hannah on the 1851 or 1861 Census?

Return to main article What Happened to Hannah?

Here I am looking on the 1851 and 1861 censuses of the Alston, Auckland, Durham, Hexham, Teesdale and Weardale Registration Districts for Hannah BROWN, born ~1818 (allow birth 1816-1821, ie aged 30-35 in 1851 and 40-45 in 1861).

Her marital status should be “Widow” and Place of Birth should be “Hunstanworth” (though she might have believed that she was born at Rookhope, where she grew up). However, an incorrect marital status or place of birth should not of itself be sufficient reason to reject that person as a potential candidate, as errors in both are common, especially when someone else filled in the schedule.

Searching for census entries matching the criteria in para 1 above gives five hits in 1851 and two in 1861:

District 1851 1861
Alston 0 0
Auckland 1 0
Durham 1 0
Hexham 0 0
Teesdale 3 1
Weardale 0 1

This entry shows Hannah with her husband in 1841.

HO107/308/15 Fol 7 Pge 9 Weardale
Stanhope – Boltsburn

Thomas Brown 25 Lead Miner Y
Hannah “ 20 Y

Candidates to be Hannah in 1851.

1851 Census – HO107/2385 Fol 340 Pge 22 Sched 84 – Auckland District
St Andrew, Auckland – Filingbridge

Mary Brown Head U 46 Yorks Swainby
Sarah “ Daur 5 Durham Oasshope
Hannah Brown Sister U 30 Yorks Farnham
William Wildman Lodger Widr N.K. ” Ingleton

NB Filingbridge is probably Fyland Bridge between Bishop Auckland and West Auckland
Had unmarried sister Mary Brown, so Maiden name Brown. Born Farnham, Yorkshire.
This candidate can be eliminated.

1851 Census – HO107/2390 Fol 213 Pge 60 Sched 268 – Durham District


Phillis Williams Head U 39 Laundry Durham Framwellgate
Hannah Brown Serv U 32 Washing Maid ” “
Ann Conn Serv U 20 Cook Durham St Nicholas

As shown here, Hannah was with the same family in 1841:

1841 Census – HO107/320/12 Fol 12 Pge 18 – Durham

William Williams 75 Ind Y
Phillis Williams 25 Ind Y
Hannah Brown 21 F.S. Y
Jane Gordon 24 F.S. N

This candidate can be eliminated.

1851 Census – HO107/2387 Fol 554 Pge 19 Sched 69 – Teesdale District
Mickleton – Bank

Hannah Brown Head U 30 Laundress Durham Middleton
William “ Brother U 25 Lead Miner York Mickleton
Thos “ Widr 23
Anthony “ U 20
Mary “ Sister U 19 Dress Maker

Had brother William Brown, so maiden name Brown. Born Middleton.
This candidate can be eliminated.

1851 Census – HO107/2387 Fol 555 Pge 21 Sched 76 – Teesdale District
Mickleton – Low Street

John Brown Head Mar 36 Lead Miner Durham Middleton
Hannah “ Wife 34   York Mickleton
Robt “ Son 13 Lead Miner
John “ 9 Scholar
Jonathan “ 8
Mary Ann “ Daur 4
Thos “ Son 2

Wife of John Brown. Born Mickleton.
This candidate can be eliminated.

1851 Census – HO107/2387 Fol 675 Pge 23 Sched 85 – Teesdale District
Egglestone – Folley House

Martha Ridfearn Head Widow 67 Pauper Yorkshire Baldersdale
Hannah Brown Lodger Un 31 Washer Woman Durham, Stanhope
Robert Brown Son of Han Brown 1 Lodgers Son Durham Bar. Castle

Born Stanhope and unmarried – why would a widow with a son lie and say she was unmarried? Nonetheless on the criteria I’ve set, she cannot be eliminated.

Candidates to be Hannah in 1861

1861 Census – RG9/3721 Fol 42 Pge 12 Sched 56 – Teesdale District
Mickleton – High Row

John Brown Head Mar 46 Cragsblizer of Lead Ore Middleton Durham
Hannah “ wife Mar 45   Mickleton Yorkshire
Robert Parkin Son M 21 Lead Miner ” “
John Brown Son Un 20 Lead Miner ” “
Jonathan Brown Son Un 15 Lead Miner ” “
Mary Ann Brown Daur 14 ” “
Thos Brown Son 12 Scholar ” “
Hannah Brown Daur 9 Scholar ” “
Margaret Brown Daur 7 Scholar ” “
Willm Brown Son 4 ” “

Wife of John Brown. Born Mickleton.
Candidate can be eliminated.

1861 Census – RG9/3725 Fol 66 Pge 30 Sched 159 – Weardale District

Mary Bell Head W 52 Inn Keeper Durham Stanhope
Mary A “ daur Un 23 ” “
Jacob Raw Nephew Un 24 Tailor ” “
Hannah Brown Visitor 45 ag Lab ” “
Robert Brown 11 Scholar ” Middleton

Also on 1851 census – and, as stated there, on the criteria I’ve set, she cannot be eliminated.

So on the evidence of the census returns, it appears that there is indeed a candidate to be Hannah Brown, née Jordan, my 3 X great grandmother. She was lodging at Folley House, Eggleston and working as a Washer Woman in 1851, and was a “visitor” with innkeeper Mary Bell at Stanhope and working as an Ag Lab in 1861.  With her on both occasions was her son, Robert Brown, age 1 in 1851 (born Barnard Castle) and 11 in 1861 (born Middleton). His baptism is shown on “Family Search” viz Robert Brown, son of Hannah, baptised 9 March 1850 at Egglestone. However she isn’t a very strong candidate as it seems unlikely that a widow with a child would potentially stigmatise herself by describing her condition as “Unmarried”.  A widow with a child would seem far more respectable than a single woman with a child, even though, in reality, the child was illegitimate.

On the other hand, this Hannah was the right age, she gives her birthplace as “Stanhope”, the parish in which “our” Hannah was raised, and she’d returned there by 1851. She certainly can’t be ruled out,  and if she was the missing Hannah Brown née Jordan, then her son would have been a half brother of my great-great-great grandmother, and maybe headed a whole new branch of the family I know nothing about.

It will definitely be worthwhile looking for additional records of Hannah and Robert in the hope that something shows up which will confirm or refute the idea of this Hannah Brown being my missing ancestor.  For the moment, however, she remains just a possibility.

Return to main article What Happened to Hannah?

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