|1861 census of High Street, Earl Shilton|
In 1861, Sarah Swinfield was still living in the High Street, Earl Shilton. Her partner of the last twenty years, Thomas Brown, was the head of the household. Was he the real father of my great-grandfather, William, and of his illegitimate brother, Joseph, born in 1841 and 1843 respectively? He was then a 52 year-old unmarried framework knitter, who would also have struggled to “make ends meet” in that arduous and depressed trade during the 1840s and 1850s. Sarah, unlike in 1851, was recorded as a married woman of 56. Did she know where her husband lived? With them were Thomas’s daughter and grandson, who both had the surname of Swinfield. Sarah’s son, Joseph, then aged 19, a carter and servant, was living nearby inWhere was Richard at that time? He had been a coal miner at the time of the 1851 census. He was nowhere to be found, indexed as Swinfield, and did not seem to have married or died by the age of 27! Perhaps he had given up on his family and fled these shores. I had certainly given up hope of finding him.
Church Street. My great-grandfather, William, who had joined the army in 1859, was a private in Winchester Barracks, Hampshire, by 1861.
|1861 census of Ecclesfield, Yorkshire|
Sarah Swinfield died on 25th February 1862 at Earl Shilton and was registered, according to the handwritten copy which was issued in 1980, by Elizabeth “Bown”. She recorded the deceased as “wife of Thomas Swinfield a stocking maker”. Was he still alive and where was he?
|1881 census of Wood Street, Earl Shilton|
Thomas Brown continued to live with his Swinfield “children” and “grandchildren” at Earl Shilton until his death in 1893, when he aged 84.