I found the census entry below and I read the place of birth for William Thacker as Gilford, Yorkshire. I have been unable to find a location for this or anything similar.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what this location might be?

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  • 1
    It's not Guildford, because that's in Surrey, at the other end of the country.
    – shoover
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 16:49

1 Answer 1


You may be looking for Guilthwaite. From Wikipedia:

Guilthwaite is a hamlet in the civil parish of Whiston, in the Rotherham district lying to the south of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England. Whiston stands to the north of the hamlet with Ulley, and Morthen to the east, Treeton to the west and Aughton to the south.

I was not able to find Gilford, Gillford, Guilford, or Guildford in Yorkshire (either the county or the region), with or without "Hill" or "Hall" following it. There is a town named Guildford, but it is in Surrey, in the south of England.

However, I did find what may be your family in the 1871 and 1891 censuses.

First, I searched MyHeritage for Edward Willson b. Heckington to identify the snippet you provided, which turned out to be the 1881 census of Paper Mills, Leasingham, Leasingham, Lincolnshire, England.

I then searched for Elizabeth Thacker b. Heckington 1835 without much luck. Noting that William Thacker, the child born in "Gilford, Yorkshire" in your 1881 census snippet, had older brothers who should have been in the 1871 census, I searched for Charles Willson b. 1865 Lincolnshire with mother Elizabeth, and I found the 1871 census record for East Street, Heckington, Heckington, Lincolnshire, England: head Elizabeth Wilson widow 36 b. Heckington, son John Ed. 11 b. Heckington [i.e. Edward who was 21 in 1881], son Charles 6 b. Heckington, dau Betsy 4 b. Heckington, "visitor" Joseph Thacker unm 30 b. Ewerby (Lincs).

Note: In this 1871 record there is an Elizabeth Wilson with a visitor named Thacker. In 1881 we had Elizabeth Willson with some of the same children and additional children named Thacker.

Searching for John Ed Wilson b. 1860 Heckington, Lincolnshire with mother Elizabeth yielded the 1891 census of 19 Carre St, New Sleaford, Lincoln, England: head Elizabeth Willson wid 57 b Heckington, son John E 31 b. Heckington, son William 17 b. "Yorks, Gillford Hill," dau Sarah 12 b. "Lincs, Market Deeping," gr dau Florence 4 b. Sleaford.

So again we have Elizabeth Willson (not Thacker) with son William of the appropriate age and mysterious birthplace "Gillford Hill" in Yorkshire.

Searching for "Gillford Hill" + Yorkshire found this discussion of what appears to be the same family: https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=824186.0 In that discussion thread, someone calls out "William Wilson b. 1873 Gillford Hill, Yorks" and asks:

Is he the chap baptized 9 July in Whiston? :-\

That FamilySearch record is the baptism on July 9, 1873, in the parish of Whiston (Yorkshire), of William, son of William and Elizabeth Wilson, abode Guilthwaite.

The curious thing is that Elizabeth Willson was listed as a widow in 1871, but William was baptized as the son of William Wilson. The baptized child may be a different William, or the paternity may be a polite fiction, or the "1widow" designation on the census record may be incorrect.

The birth index for Apr-May-June 1873 lists a William Wilson b. Rotherham; you would have to access the GRO to discover whether this matches the William Wilson who was baptized in July 1873 in Whiston in the Rotherham district of Yorkshire.

Birth index William Wilson baptized July 9 1873

As an aside, "Winker Bank," birthplace of Margrat Thacker in the 1881 census, is possibly Wincobank.

Another possibility, if it's not Guilthwaite, is Bradford, a city in North Yorkshire. The FREEBMD index lists quite a few William Wilsons who were born in Bradford in the appropriate timeframe.

(I started to leave a comment on your question, but my thoughts grew too long and answerlike for a comment.)

  • 1
    In the US at least, we often see women listed as widows on the census when the husbands have left the family. Note too the expression "Grass widow": "a woman who is separated, divorced, or lives apart from her husband" dictionary.com/browse/grass-widow
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 21:38

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