Monday 29 April 2013

How mobile were our ancestors? - Benjamin Bateman's other children

I've been in touch with a descendant of James Bateman, the brother of my 4x great grandfather William Bateman.  I wrote about William in a blog a little while ago, explaining that I had spent many years thinking he came from Sheffield, when actually he was from Shelf, near Halifax.  I wrote about James just recently, explaining how he moved from Bradford to Bitchburn in Durham and then back to Bradford again.  One of our worries about connecting the two men was the nine year gap between them ... did we have the right Benjamin and Elizabeth (aka Betty)? Were there other children in that gap?  Or did Benjamin spend a lot of time away from home whilst he was a Militiaman - which was his occupation at James' baptism in 1811?

What we knew:

Benjamin Bateman and Betty Benn, who were both from Shelf, were married 7 June 1802 in St John's Halifax. 
William was baptised 7 Nov 1802 at the same church, son of Benjamin Bateman, of Shelf, a Coal Miner.
James was baptised 24 Nov 1811 at the same church, son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Bateman of Southowram, Militiaman.

Both William and James moved to Durham for work - James returned to Bradford within 10 years. 
William's children by his wife Ann (children's names often indicate the names of parents and siblings) included Jane, Elizabeth, Henry, James, Sarah, another Henry, William, Martha, Mary Ann, another Mary Ann, yet another Henry, Eleanor, John Thomas and Agnes.  William's wife's parents were Henry and Jane. 
James' children by his wife Mary included Elizabeth, Samuel, Benjamin, Daniel, Abel, John, James and Mary Ann.  James' wife's father was John. 

What this suggests:

Both men have daughters called Elizabeth quite early on, this suggests a confirmation that this was their mother's name.  William's second son is called James, this could be after his brother.

It does seem odd that William didn't have a child called Benjamin.  Of course he may have done and the child died young, didn't appear on a census return and I haven't found the baptism or burial yet. 

One obvious place to look for missing records is in the Non-Conformist registers, just because a family celebrates some event in an Anglican church it doesn't mean they didn't use the chapel as well.  It might well depend on convenience, being nearer than the Church of England church or the friendliness of the minister and the congregation if the family moved to a new town or village.

What I found next:

On the BMD Registers website I searched for any mentions of Benjamin Bateman.  This website specialises in Non-conformist registers.  One result struck me straight away, Daniel Bateman baptised 1805 in Yorkshire, father Benjamin. 

Daniel Bateman's baptism entry in a Non-Conformist Register on BMD Registers
I bought the image (£2.50) and saw that his parents were Benjamin and Betty Bateman, of S. Owram and Benjamin was a Collier.  This all fits with what we know about the Bateman family.  So Benjamin wasn't in the militia in 1805.

Two further hits on BMD Registers suggested that two children, surname Butterfield, had a grandfather called Benjamin Bateman.
Sarah Butterfield's baptism entry in the Thornton Methodist Register (from BMD Registers)
Again I bought the record and saw that the children's mother was called Ann and that her parents were Benjamin and Betty Bateman.

I looked for Ann Bateman marrying Miles Butterfield and found that with very little trouble on Ancestry.  They married in 1835 at St Peter's Bradford.  Tracking the family forward through the census I found that the Butterfields also move to Durham and in 1841 are living in the same street (Chapel Row, Shildon) as James.  In 1851 they are living in the same house (23 Thornton Street, Bradford) as a George Bateman, born around 1825 in Huddersfield or Thornton (depending on which census you read), whose father is Benjamin Bateman (proven by George's marriage entries), and again in the same street as James Bateman.  

Ann's baptism in St Peter's Huddersfield in May 1818 led me to baptisms for two more daughters to Benjamin and Elizabeth Bateman at the same church, Sarah in 1815 and Martha in 1816.  In all three cases the residence given was Fartown, a small village between Halifax and Huddersfield.  Benjamin's occupation is given as Collier or Coal Miner in all these entries.  This narrows his five year stint in the militia to between 1806 and 1813. 

Map indicating the birth places of Benjamin Bateman's children (based on a snip from a Bartholomew map)
Benjamin Bateman and Elizabeth Benn appear to have had at least seven children.  William b.1802 in Shelf, Daniel b.1805 in Southowram, James b.1811 in Southowram, Sarah b.1814 in Fartown, Martha b.1816 in Fartown, Ann b.1818 in Fartown, and George b. 1822 in Thornton near Bradford.

Neither Ann nor George call a child after their father, though to be fair George appears to only have one child, Abraham Bateman born in Bradford, or Thornton.  So maybe William was not unusual in neglecting to call a child after his father.  Ann's second daughter is called Elizabeth though, so mother was popular with everyone!

I've found a burial for a Daniel Bateman in early 1807, son of Benjamin Bateman a soldier in Southowram, which fits with the suggested time period for Benjamin's militia service.  He died before James was born in 1811, but maybe he was remembered to the later children as James calls one of his sons Daniel. 

I haven't yet found out what happened to Sarah and Martha.  It needs another lucky find like the Non-conformist baptisms with the grandparents' names to link them up, as they probably married before the introduction of marriage certificates which give the father's name in 1837.
I measured the distances travelled using Google maps, which follows modern roads - my ancestors may have walked or used water transport or caught a carrier's cart so the distances might well work out quite differently.

It is 3.7 miles from Shelf to Halifax - so quite a way to walk for the earlier events.  I did get the impression in the Halifax parish records that there may have been a 'chapel of ease' at Shelf, which would have been used for the baptisms if not the marriages.
It is only 1.9 miles from Southowram to Halifax, so they moved nearer to the large town - it doesn't look as if you could cut across from Shelf to Southowram, there's a valley in the way!  This is the period when Benjamin is a militiaman - was there some kind of barracks at Southowram? 
The next few children are born in Fartown, near Huddersfield.  From Fartown to Huddersfield is 2 miles, quite a short trip to the church for the girls' baptisms, and it is 5.7 miles from Southowram to Fartown, so Benjamin didn't travel very far to find work when his time in the militia was up.
The longest journey is from Fartown to Thornton, that's 11.8 miles, so still walkable in a day for even small children (I've done 10 mile sponsored walks with Cub Scouts before).  I'd be happier if I could find a motive for this change of residence  by Benjamin and Elizabeth - but the fact that Ann's husband comes from Thornton and her first two children are born there whilst her birthplace is plainly given as Huddersfield in the census returns supports this being the right family.

Benjamin and Elizabeth moved around quite a small chunk of West Yorkshire in their married lives - enough to yet again prove that our ancestors didn't just stay in one village all their lives.  Their sons travel further, going to Durham in the North East of England for work and I have some information that one of their grandsons, another Benjamin, went to America.  That'll make a good story for another blog post!

I just need to find the burials of Benjamin and his wife to finish off this chapter of the Bateman story.  They are being a bit elusive though ...

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