Thomas Stevenson of Manchester, England, b. 1799:Information about Catherine Slack
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Catherine Slack (b. 1799, d. Abt. 1871)Catherine Slack was born 1799 in Ireland, and died Abt. 1871 in Prob Arthur Township, Wellington, Ontario, Canada.She married Thomas Stevenson on Abt. 1824 in prob Manchester, Lancashire, England.
Notes for Catherine Slack:
"Births, Marriages and Deaths in England and Wales Since 1837, Part Two: Access," by Sherry Irvine, CGRS, FSA (Scot)
The following is Part 2 of this 2-part series. Part 1 is available online, click here to read part 1.
Part 1 of this series gave a little background on vital record- keeping since 1837, told what to expect from the records, and what indexes are available. Today, we'll talk about how to access them and what to look out for.
Begin with what is easy. You spend time on the Internet, so start with a visit to the ever-growing Free BMD site. Do more than simply look for someone--you ought to know what years you have searched and what districts. An exploration of the parts of the site will lead you to this information. Also, look at the very interesting graphs, which show where the indexing is concentrated. It is obviously marriages, where several years are nearly complete--1854, and 1868 to 70 inclusive are just four of them. There is a breakdown of years completed for each district (identified by its number code). If this sounds baffling, the next section of this article shows how to identify districts and their number codes.
For those of you near a well-supplied Family History Center (FHC), a long run of birth, marriage, and death indexes may be readily available. If this is not the case, then you have three choices: use the FHC loan program to bring in the necessary indexes, go where the indexes are, or get help. Once an index entry has been identified, you will have to obtain the certificate from the UK as they have not been filmed. A friend or agent in London can visit the Family Records Centre, do the index search, and order the certificate. The General Register Office (GRO) will post them to a UK or overseas address.
Certificates can also be obtained by applying directly to the office of the local registrar where the event was recorded. Locations have changed over time, so it may not be simple to identify the right one. For those who want to try, lists of registration offices can be found on the Internet at the Genealogy UK and Ireland (GENUKI) Web site.
You will have to weigh the costs and complexities of each option according to your situation. Obtaining certificates at the Family Records Centre in London is a competitive business. The English Family Tree Magazine and the Genealogy and Local History Handbook contain plenty of advertisements quoting rates. Assistance is often available to members of English family history societies. There is a list of members of the Federation of Family History Societies.
Search and Traps
The index entry for a birth, marriage, or death will occur in the volume for the quarter in which the registration occurred. This is not necessarily the quarter in which the event happened. Births are more likely to have been registered late than other events, but a death on March 30th could have been registered in April, the next quarter. Until 1875, there was no requirement to register, and the fine for being late was steep. To avoid payment, many births were never registered, or altered by parents who did not have the means to pay. Some children grew up with two birthdays, and knew it. What this tells you, is be prepared to search a little further. Naturally, if the date of the event is unknown you must estimate, and search a reasonable number of years quarter by quarter.
The indexes are alphabetical, according to what the indexer of the day saw when reading the input of local registrars. You need to have an open mind and some imagination. Human error may have put the entry somewhere else in the alphabetical order (spelling mistake, or under a middle name) or left it out altogether. Also, it can be difficult to recognize your ancestor in a list of many with the same name.
Recognize that your time estimates can be wrong or that you failed to take into account the possibility of a previous marriage. If you are working from one certificate to the next, e.g., looking for a birth based on the details in a marriage record, be aware that the entries from which you are working are not always what they are supposed to be. Many women failed to state whether they were previously married. Also, ages at death (reported often by people who could only guess) are notoriously inaccurate.
Be sure of your ground geographically; it is possible and definitely helps. If looking across a county or two, find the district codes for the targeted area. You should also know the district code and the name of the sub-district for a more focused search. District boundaries changed in 1852, so use the correct ones, and be aware that before 1852 some crossed county lines. The Institute for Genealogical and Heraldic Studies has published two outline maps; many Family History Centers have them, and they can be purchased.
Using the Web, it is possible to identify the codes and the corresponding district and sub-district names through the British gateway site, GENUKI (see above). Select "England" then "civil registration" and click on the appropriate link. There are lists of districts in number order and in alphabetical order, and details of districts with their sub-districts, also in alphabetical order. The Rootsweb.com Free BMD site (also above) has direct links to these. Always have topographic maps handy for comparison.
Civil registration began four years before the first decennial census. This makes it possible to work back and forth; to get the certificate for a known event then use the place information to search in the closest census record; or, to use birthplace and age information in a census to find a birth certificate; or, to use age information to help with the search for marriage and death certificates.
After 1858, there are centralized annual alphabetical calendars (brief summaries) to probate records. An increasing portion of the population appears in probate records as the nineteenth century advances, so this is a sensible option to consider when a name is common and death details vague. At one volume per year, the search is faster; and with the additional information (occupation or status, place, value, executor/executrix), it can be easier to identify someone. The volumes for 1858 to 1957 are in the Family History Library.
Search for the records of collateral relations, especially if the first name of a sibling is unusual. Also, remember that the church records are still there, especially with searches from 1837 to about 1860 (the International Genealogical Index is less useful after this date).
Every certificate is useful. Obtain the records of birth, marriage, and death of your direct line and collaterals. Working with the census, it is challenging, interesting and informative to build the complete picture of Victorian families.
Some information can be misleading and some downright wrong, but by finding all events and building the family, errors are usually discovered. The searches can be tedious--everyone orders a wrong certificate or two--but despite these hurdles, records of civil registration offer too much not to do the work thoroughly. These certificates are certainly the foundation for research into the early decades of the 1800s and into the 1700s.
Sherry Irvine, CGRS, FSA (Scot) has been researching her British ancestry for 30 years. She founded Interlink Bookshop and Genealogical Services in 1988; she currently lectures in Canada and the United States and is vice president of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Sherry is also the author of:
Your Scottish Ancestry: A Guide for North Americans
Your English Ancestry: A Guide for North Americans
You can e-mail Sherry with suggestions forfuture British genealogy articles. She will not be able to send personal replies,but will feature some questions in upcoming issues of the Ancestry DailyNews. Sherry also regrets that she is unable to assist with personal research.
- The William Smith O'Brien Petition on CD-ROM
If you have Irish ancestry, you will want to know about a brand-
new CD-ROM disk called The William Smith O'Brien Petition as
compiled by Ruth Lawler.
The background of this petition is rather fascinating. The famine
of the 1840s created a crisis in Irish discontent with English
rule, culminating in the abortive Young Ireland uprising of 1848,
led by William Smith O'Brien (1803-64). O'Brien entered Parliament
from Ireland in 1828. His political opinions moved steadily to the
left. In 1843 he joined the Repeal Association and rapidly became
the second-in-command in the Irish nationalist struggle. O'Brien's
group, called Young Ireland, became convinced that only direct
action would free Ireland, and in 1846 O'Brien formed the Irish
Confederation. This group rose up against the government. The
revolt was abortive, and the only engagement was an attempt to
attack a police detachment in County Tipperary, otherwise known as
"the battle of Widow McCormack's Cabbage Patch." O'Brien was
arrested and sentenced to death for treason.
Petitions appeared all over Ireland as well as in many parts of
England, calling for clemency. Other petitions, mostly from
England, called for O'Brien's immediate execution. O'Brien's
sentence was commuted to transportation to Tasmania, and he lived
there for some years. He received a full pardon in 1856. Afterward
he returned to Ireland and traveled on the Continent and in
America, but he was no longer politically active.
The O'Brien petitions, signed in 1848 and 1849, apparently were
stored and then forgotten. The petitions contain signatures as
signed by over 80,000 people from every part of Ireland and from
Liverpool, Manchester, and other parts of England. By contrast,
census records from this period are non-existent, and other
records are spotty at best. As a result, these petitions probably
contain the only record of the existence of many people of that
The petitions apparently went unnoticed for nearly 150 years.
Genealogists and historians were unaware of their existence, and
they were never transcribed or microfilmed. This genealogy
treasure simply gathered dust until Ruth Lawler discovered them.
Quoting from Ms. Lawler's introduction on the CD-ROM:
Once I had decided that this huge and unique source should be
collected on database, I spent the following three years of my
time doing just that. With the permission of Dr. David Craig,
Director of the National Archives, and the practical support
of Brian Donovan of Eneclann, the electronic publishing firm,
we have produced an accessible C.D. that brings the source to
the widest possible audience. In preparing the data, we found
petitions from 31 of the 32 counties of Ireland - King's
county (modern day Co. Offaly) was the one county that does
not appear to have produced a petition. It should be noted,
however, that many of these petitions only came to light in
the course of preparing the data for publication, and there
may still be others that have not yet been found. In addition,
petitions were produced from 6 regions in England.
Ms. Lawler then lists the number of signatures collected in each
county and gives a total of 80,974 signatures, including 7,830
from England. She then writes:
The rolls and bundles of the original manuscript were, in some
cases, extremely difficult to read. Where possible, I have
checked against other primary source material in the National
Archives of Ireland to help confirm the spellings. For example
I was able to consult Thoms Directory 1846-50 for the City of
Dublin and for religious ministers and local government
officials in other counties, and Griffiths Surname Indexes for
some of the petitioners outside of Dublin.
The original Petitions were deposited in the State Paper
Office in Dublin Castle and transferred to the National
Archives in 1989. These Memorials were held in two sections in
the National Archives records, the first in the Parliamentary
Papers and the second in the Chief Secretaries Office Records.
These two have now been brought together under a single
series, Series O in the National Archives. In consultation
with the archivists of the National Archives, I have inserted
page numbers in the electronic copy, to improve the search
facility, as the original Memorials were submitted as several
petitions and therefore have no sequential numbers. Anyone who
uses the original manuscript to find a name will still need to
read the entire petition to find a signature - although they
may try to navigate the document by counting down the 'joins',
i.e., where the individual petitions were fastened together to
form a larger document. The page numbers that I have
introduced into the electronic copy are in fact based on these
original 'joins', in an attempt to preserve something of the
integrity of the original manuscript in the electronic copy.
In some cases there are only a few signatures on a page, and
on others over a hundred names, addresses, and occupations
with additional remarks.
Eneclann, a Trinity College campus company in Dublin, Ireland,
produces the William Smith O'Brien Petition CD-ROM disk. The disk
includes all the software required to install it on Windows95, 98,
NT or 2000. I found the software installation was quick and easy,
and soon I was looking at the records on the CD-ROM. There are
three different types of searches available: Standard, Expert and
The Standard Search allows for a combination of surname, forename
(first name), location and occupation fields. The fields are
optional; you can leave them blank to include all records or enter
specific search terms to narrow the results to only the records
you seek. For instance, specifying a search of the surname Lowe in
the location of Limerick will produce a listing of all records
that match those two.
Expert Search allows for wildcards and Boolean logic. It allows
for a very powerful combination of Boolean terms such as And, Or,
Not, Exclusive Or, Phrase, Proximity and more.
The Soundex Search returns results for names that sound alike,
such as Smith and Smythe. Remember the spelling wasn't
standardized in the 1840s and even related individuals may have
used more than one method of spelling the family name.
For instance, here is an entry I found when looking for the
Lafferty, Joseph Drumragh Co Tyrone L163222
Address 2: Drumragh
Page/Sheet No: 3
Signed At: Drumragh Parish
Petition: William Smith O'Brien Petition
Remarks & Occupation: Inhabitants of Drumragh Parish Co Tyrone
Immediately below that record displayed on the screen there was a
hyperlink labeled "Scan of Header (Drumragh Co Tyrone (CRF 1848 O
16/2/139))." I clicked on this link, and then an image appeared on
the screen showing the top part of that particular petition but
not listing all the names included.
The information on this CD-ROM can be printed and can be saved as
HTML files. I also found it was easy to "cut-and-paste" individual
records, as I did to insert the Lafferty entry into this
newsletter. However, there is no method of exporting large amounts
of data; For example, you cannot quickly produce a listing of all
the Murphys in Limerick.
The William Smith O'Brien Petition records are an excellent source
of genealogy data. The CD-ROM contains transcribed records that
are not available elsewhere. If you have ancestors living in
Ireland in 1848 and 1849, you may well find information on them in
this new resource. The data includes names, residences and
occupations, information that you may not be able to find
The William Smith O'Brien Petition CD-ROM sells for $39.95 (U.S.
funds) or £36.00 (Irish pounds) or €46.09 (Euros). Those prices do
not include taxes and shipping. For more information, or to order
online, go to: http://www.eneclann.ie
English Parish Records: Lancashire (General & Westmorland)
--- Cheshire & Lancashire: - Wills and Administrations, 1821-1825
--- Cheshire & Lancashire: - Wills and Administrations, 1831-1833
--- Lancashire & Cheshire: - Calendar of parsons commemorated in Monumentalinscriptions, Abstracts of Wills, and Administrations
--- Lancashire & Cheshire: - Cases in the Court of Star Chamber, 1499-1528
--- Lancashire & Cheshire: - Miscellanies containing The Book of the Abbot ofCombermere, 1289-1529
--- Lancashire & Cheshire: - Original Documents relating to Lancashire and Cheshire
--- Lancashire & Cheshire: - Wills, 1301-1752
--- Lancashire: Calendar of Assize Rolls, 1202-1281
--- Lancashire: Calendar of Assize Rolls, 1284-1363.
--- Lancashire: Calendar of Noris deads, 12th to 15th century
--- Lancashire: Court Rolls of the Lordships, Wapentakes, and Demesne Manorsof Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, in the Court of Lancaster
--- Lancashire: Estates of Papists, 1717-1788
--- Lancashire: Final Concords, or Feet of Fines, 1196 to 1307.
--- Lancashire: Final Concords, or Feet of Fines, 1510-1558
--- Lancashire: Final Concords, or Feet of Fines, John, Duke of Lancaster, toHenry 7
--- Lancashire: Inquests, Extents, and Feudal Aids, 1205-1307
--- Lancashire: Inquests, Extents, and Feudal Aids, 1310-1333
--- Lancashire: Inquests, Extents, and Feudal Aids, 1313-1335
--- Lancashire: Inquisitions, Chancery of the Duchy of Lancaster
--- Lancashire: Inquisitions post Mortem, 20-23 James 1st.
--- Lancashire: Lay Subsidies, Henry 3rd to Charles 2nd
--- Lancashire: Miscellanies Containing Homage Roll of the Manor of Warrington,1491-1517
--- Lancashire: North Meols & Euxton - Euxton Parish Registers, 1734- 1781;North Meols Parish Registers, 1813-1837
--- Lancashire: Pleadings & Depositions, Duchy Court of Lancaster, Henry VIIand Henry VII
--- Lancashire: Pleadings & Depositions, Duchy Court of Lancaster, Henry 8th
--- Lancashire: Pleadings & Depositions, Duchy Court of Lancaster, 1547-1558
--- Lancashire: Register of Lancashire Papists, 1717-1788
--- Westmoreland: Barton - Registers of Baptisms and Marriages 1666- 1812, Registerof Burials 1666-1830
Normally the English Parish Records: Lancashire (General & Westmorland) CD-ROMretails for $39.95, but today you can buy it in The Shops @ Ancestry.com foronly $29.95.
At Family Search Interntional Genealogical Index v4.02 there is an individual record under British Isles For a Thomas Stevenson marriage to Catheraine SLACKabout 1823 at , Leicester, England.Thomas's first son Robert was chritened Aug7, 1825 in Manchester, Lancashire, England and his mother is listed as Catherine and his father as Thomas Stevenson.So..........,, this could be the same Thomas and Catherine, but additional documentaion is needed.
More About Catherine Slack:
Burial: Unknown, Prob Arthur Township, Wellington, Ontario, Canada.
More About Catherine Slack and Thomas Stevenson:
Marriage: Abt. 1824, prob Manchester, Lancashire, England.
Children of Catherine Slack and Thomas Stevenson are:
- +Robert Stevenson, b. Abt. 07 Aug 1825, Manchester, Lancashire, England, d. 11 Jun 1894, Mt. Forest, Arthur Township, Wellington, Ontario, Canada.
- +James Stevenson, b. Feb 1835, Prob. Manchester, Lancashire, England, d. 11 Jul 1900, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.