Wednesday 3 December 2014

Finding a Nurse in the Absent Voters' List for Barnsley in World War One

I have just added a page to the Barnsley War Memorials Project website that is like a blog post in itself.  So for all my followers on this blog here's a link.
An extract from the 1918 Absent Voters' List (thanks to Barnsley Archives)
I am transcribing the streets that make up the parish of St John the Baptist in the Barebones area of Barnsley.  There are 140 men on the war memorial for this church and I have been researching them on and off for the past year.  Many of the OH's ancestors and relatives lived in the area although none of them appear to be named on the memorial.  There was a streak of non-conformity in the OH's family and I think I need to track down more of the chapel memorials to find the missing names.

In the snip above I was pleased to see a nurse listed.  This won't be a very common occurrence as despite a universal franchise for men over 21 being brought in towards the end of the war women still had to be over 30 and fulfil certain property qualifications to have the vote.  And of course they had to be serving abroad to appear in this list.  That narrows it down rather a lot!

Katherine Sarah Blackburn was a doctor's wife living in the big house on Sheffield Road, Barnsley which is now the Warren House Dental Practice.  She was born in 1879 in Hartlepool, Co Durham and had been married to Vernon Kent Blackburn, a physician and surgeon, for six years by the time of the 1911 census.  They had two children, John Kent Hartley Blackburn aged 5 and Olga Mary Blackburn aged 3 in 1911.  They married in the September quarter (Jul, Aug, Sep) of 1904 in Newport in Wales and Katherine's maiden name was Shotton, a great northern name and one that features in my own family tree!

I look forward to researching her in more depth ... having found that link to Durham I won't let this one go in a hurry! I also want to know what took her to Salonica as a nurse in WW1, that will be a great story I'm sure.


Jana Iverson Last said...


I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a great weekend!

Unknown said...

Katherine shotton Blackburn is my fathers grandmother. Both my father William and his brother james Vernon became doctors in eng, and both migrated to aust in the 1960`s. I have a bit of information on Katherine and Vernon. contact

Unknown said...

Catherine shotton 1859- 1957 was one of 11 children. f john webb shotton 1850-1929 m Louisa jane wilde 1859-1936. She met Vernon at kings college,him dr her nurse. Vernon was a solicitor b4 studying medicine. his bro earnest 1908-2000 was also a dr. he married mable Florence marsden 1865-1937. I do have the shotton tree as well,Can you please look into francis harriet warter who was also a nurse during ww1. she is on my mothers side and has a tale that should be told. Kind regards, Jeannie blackburn

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Hi Jeannie,

Thank you for this great update - I will email you!