Looking for Census records of Joseph Campbell, born in Chester 1854.

I know that his daughter Annie Elizabeth Campbell (born 1881) was my twice great grandmother and they lived in Chester.

I have his birth details, and his father's name, William Campbell, from his birth record, but not an official printed certificate. I got all my info from FamilySearch. It is also found on the later census records from 1901 and 1911 along with his wife Jane, who was born in Chatham in Kent according to the census records.

I cannot, however, find easily any census records for him before 1891, when he was a waterman. The same can be found on the 1901 and 1911 census records too.

Can anyone find anything earlier than this?

  • You "have his birth details and his father's name" so does that mean that you have his birth certificate? If so, does that say precisely where he was born or does "born in Chester" come from the later census records?
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 23:40
  • @PolyGeo it comes from the birth record, but not an official printed certificate. I got all my info from family search. It is also found on the later census records from 1901 and 1911 along with his wife Jane, who was born in Chatham in Kent according to the census records.
    – Charlie
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 23:46
  • 2
    I think it would be useful to include any links that you have to those FamilySearch records, to save potential answerers having to try and retrace your steps before commencing any answers to your question.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 23:51
  • 1
    "I got it all from FamilySearch" doesn't tell us whether you saw images, indexes, or what you've looked at.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 2:13

2 Answers 2


If you do a search on Familysearch you will find a possible marriage (index only -- no images) in Tranmere, Cheshire in 1879 between Joseph Campbell born 1855 and Jane Ann Parry born 1856 (with fathers' names William Campbell and Thomas Parry). You should verify that this is (or not) is your person of interest.

One way of doing this is searching for Annie Elizbeth Campbell born 1881 in Chester in the new GRO indices (you will need to register but registration is free). You will find Annie Elizabeth Campbell whose mother's maiden name was Perry (close enough) whose birth was registered in Chester 1881 September quarter (i.e between July and September 1881). I would take this as confirmation that you have the right marriage.

Annie Elizabeth will not have appeared in the 1881 census given the date of her birth registration, but if you extend your search in the GRO indices, you will find James William Campbell whose birth was resistered 1880 in Chester with mother's maiden name Parry. (Familysearch has bishops transcripts that confirm the parents names).Searching for deaths at the same site suggests that James William should still have been alive in 1881.

Searching for James William Campbell in the 1881 census collection on FamilySearch reveals that he is 10 months old and living with his mother Sarah. The image (subscription at Findmypast) reveals she is a boatman's wife in Chester. Also present is Sarah's daughter Elizabeth R, a scholar, aged 10 (as a result of which I would investigate if Joseph had married very young before this marriage, or Sarah Jane had a previous marriage -- given that age of the child and the parents, there's something here to research). And Joseph is not present, so you still need to locate him; he's very likely away on a boat and may not have been enumerated (boatmen were a notoriously poorly enumerated population).

If you search Familysearch.org for a Joseph Campbell born between 1855 and 1857 (census ages could be out by a year -- or more if the informant was lying or mistaken) in Chester, you'll find Joseph Campbell who is the 'Master' of a boat in Birkenhead, Cheshire, born abt 1856 in Chester and married.

In 1871, he would not have been married -- maybe living with his father or out on a boat (at 17, he would have been plenty old enough, or he might have still been at home). You should start by looking for his birth (including mother's maiden name) and records of his parent's, and following them forward see if he is living with them; there's no obvious match in the 1871 census, but more details of his FAN Club should narrow things down.

The Chester registration district didn't exist in 1855, but UkBMD will reveal that you should be looking in the Great Boughton registration district.

  • 1
    Hi there, thanks for the great answer! Turns out I'm still looking down this avenue at the moment. I'll start another post if I begin to struggle but I think I've got into a flow again
    – Charlie
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 23:57
  • 1
    Thanks for introducing the FAN principle here, I had never heard of it before.
    – Christia
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 11:18

Building off of and in addition to the information uncovered by ColeValleyGirl, in the 1891 Chester Census, Joseph and Jane and their children live next door to what appear to be Jane's parents, Thomas and Jane Perry who are 63. 1891 Chester Census Info:

Joseph Campbell
Gender: Male
Age:    36
Relationship:   Head
Birth Year: 1855
Spouse: Jane Ann Campbell
Child:  James Campbell 
Ann Elizabeth Campbell 
Jane Campbell 
Thomas Campbell
Birth Place:    Cheshire, England
Civil Parish:   Chester
Ecclesiastical parish:  St Mary without the Walls
Residence Place:    Chester, Cheshire, England
Registration district:  Chester
Sub registration district:  Chester Castle
ED, Institution or Vessel:  11
Neighbors:  View others on page
Piece:  2862
Folio:  97
Household Members:  
Name    Age
Joseph Campbell 36
Jane Ann Campbell   34
James Campbell  10
Ann Elizabeth Campbell  9
Jane Campbell   6
Thomas Campbell 1

Also in addition, there is an entry in the 1881 Census for a young and married Joseph who is the master on a vessel in Bancroft: enter image description here

I also found a baptism record (Cheshire, England, Select Bishop's Transcripts, 1576-1933):

Name:   Joseph Campbell
Gender: Male
Baptism Date:   3 Dec 1854
Baptism Place:  St. Mary's-on-the-Hill, Chester, Cheshire, England
Father: William Campbell
Mother: Ann
FHL Film Number:    1655537

The 1871 Census has an appropriately aged set of Joseph and his parents, if they're William and Ann, as suggested from the baptism record, but they're all born in Huntingdonshire instead of Chester, which is a bit far:

Name:   William Campbell
Age:    39
Estimated birth year:   abt 1832
Relation:   Head
Spouse's Name:  Ann Campbell
Gender: Male
Where born: Huntingdonshire, England
Civil Parish:   All Saints
County/Island:  Huntingdonshire
Country:    England
Registration district:  Huntingdon
Sub-registration district:  Huntingdon
ED, institution, or vessel: 9
Household schedule number:  39
Piece:  1527
Folio:  11
Page Number:    13
Household Members:  
Name    Age
William Campbell    39
Ann Campbell    40
Joseph William Campbell 16
Frances Ann Campbell    14
Stephen Campbell    12
William James Campbell  10
John Campbell   8
Winifred Campbell   4
Emily Campbell  2

I'm not sure if any of this is helpful, but wanted to provide it just in case.

  • Much appreciated. I think the William Campbell link is also possible considering that Joseph was a boatman it was quite possible they traveled often. Do you have any idea what the purpose of The Bancroft may have been?
    – Charlie
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 16:39

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