What are some effective research strategies for England and Wales, when you are making the transition from the era of civil registration and censuses to the period before civil registration begins?
For a case study, let's use George Hindley (a tailor) and wife Hannah Drake, residents "of full age" in Sheffield (Yorkshire West Riding) around 1841.
A rough timeline of the family:
- about 1818 According to Hannah's entry in the Williamstown, Massachusetts town records (Massachusetts Deaths, 1841-1915, entry 23 on the linked image), she was born in Sheffield, England, the daughter of Jonathan Drake. (Birth date estimated by FamilySearch website.)
about 1819 According to George Hindley's entry in the Williamstown, Massachusetts town records (Massachusetts Deaths, 1841-1915 v 364 p 54 entry 233), he was born in Sheffield and his father's name was Samuel (no mother's name is given, and the field for the birthplace of his parents is blank). (Birth date estimated by FamilySearch website.)
6 June 1841 A possible census enumeration. Ann Drake and George Hindley are enumerated in the same 1841 Census household on Bailey Street in Sheffield (HO107/1338/4/23/2); Ann is from Yorkshire; George (tailor) is Not from the County -- if this is accurate, the discrepancy with the 1841 Census could be explained by his reported birthplace in the death records citing the nearest large town rather than the actual birthplace (i.e. 'he was from the area').
August 1841 The couple marries. This is from a listing of MARRIAGES in the Sheffield Independent, 14 August 1841, page 5:
On Sunday last, at Upper Chapel, by the Rev. B. T. Stannus, Mr. George Hindley, tailor, to Miss Hannah Drake.
This is likely to be Upper Chapel Unitarian church in the city centre of Sheffield. I found material via Google Books that discusses Rev. Stannus' tenure there. See also this post at Sheffield History: Rev Bartholomew Tealing Stannus which has a transcription of an account of a tea given to welcome him in 1838.
This marriage date is consistent with the Q3 Marriage Registration for George Hindley and Hannah Drake in SHEFFIELD Registration district Volume 22 Page 448 (the marriage estimated to be between late June - September of 1841).
(At the time I originally wrote this question, I did not have the certificate or church register. I have since purchased the certificate from the GRO. see update below line)
I have searched in the newly-released collection of Yorkshire Methodist records on Find My Past (see FindMyPast Friday for 13 Jan 2017 on the blog) which have transcriptions and marriages of Sheffield-area records, but did not find George or Hannah, but there are some other people with the surnames Hindley and Drake that I can follow up on.
The next time and place marker I have for this couple is 1844 when their first son Samuel is born in Toronto, Canada.
All the other information I have about this family is from the United States (see related question Finding residence information for Toronto in the 1840s?). Hannah Hindley died in Williamstown (Berkshre County, Massachusetts) on 30 Jun 1856, and George Hindley died on 06 Nov 1885 in North Adams, Massachusetts (per the previously-cited death registers). I do not have obituaries for either George or Hannah; the major paper in the area, the Transcript, is only available online starting in 1895.
So far I have not been able to find any siblings or other relatives in United States records, nor have I been able to find friends and associates for them.
Obviously I need to widen the search, but how?
I now have the certificate from the GRO.
Eighth August 1841 George Hindley, of full age, batchelor, Tailor, Residence Rockingham Street, father Samuel Hindley, shoemaker
Hannah Drake, spinster, of full age, Residence Broad Lane, father Johnathan Drake, (occupation unclear -- it might be 'Joiner')
Married in the Upper Chapel according to the rites and ceremonies of the Presbyterian Dissenters by me, B.T. Stannus, Mins. of Upper Chapel Witnesses: J. Bridgeford, May Butler
May Butler could be the Mary Butler, in the entry immediately above Ann Drake's in the 1841 Census cited above. J. Bridgeford is more elusive; I have candidates from an 1848 Electoral Register and an 1857 Post Office Directory.
George's son Samuel J. Hindley is also a shoemaker. While looking for possible records for Samuel Hindley (that is, candidates for George's father), I found a Samuel Hindley, shoemaker, in nearby East Retford, Notts. -- 22.3 miles (35.9 Km) to the E of Sheffield, according to GENUKI nearby places.
A friend kindly searched at Sheffield City Archives, where the Upper Chapel (Non-conformist) records are held, but they were unable to locate a record of this marriage.