Monthly Archives: May 2014

52 Ancestors – Dina/Dinah Townend

Dinah Townend is my GGGG Grandmother daughter of Titus Townend and Mary Ambler. I have found out a couple of new things about her recently, she seems to be calling for me to add her to the blog, so here is her story.

Dinah was born in 1785 in Skelmanthorp, she is described as a bobbin winder on the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses. She remained unmarried throughout her life but in 1841 is living with daughter Jane (another unmarried mother) and Grandsons Henry and Sam (my GG Grandfather), in 1851 Dinah is still living with Henry and also with a son William, aged 42. In 1861 she is still working as a bobbin winder and is living with her 22 year old Grandson Henry, who is a coal miner.

Dinah had three children William born 1807 a fancy weaver who remains unmarried then Jane born 1818 who eventually married George Senior and had several more children. I only discovered her third child recently, son William is lodging with a Mary Shaw in 1871, records show that Mary was illegitimate and a Townend prior to marriage, I have found records of Dinah having a daughter Mary baptised in 1826 although according to all the censuses Mary was born in 1822  (which seems more likely given Dinah’s age) and makes it likely she shares the same father as Jane and simply got baptised when she was four. I think William must be from an earlier relationship.

Just recently I discovered a record of a Dina Townend in the West Riding House of Correction for “not performing her contract”, she was sentenced for one month and her conduct in prison was good; we also get her description, 5ft 5 (tall for then), grey eyes, brown hair and fresh complexion. I am sure it is her as there are no other Dina or Dinah Townends or Townsends (seem interchangeable) in the area.

Prison record Dinah Townend

Dinah Townend in West Riding House of Correction

Perhaps the fresh complexion was a sign of good health because she lived until the ripe old age of 82 (approximately) and died in 1867.

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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in genealogy, family history


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52 Ancestors – Mary Hyslop Stevenson/Jackson

Mary Hyslop Stevenson is my Great Grandmother and the gateway to the Scottish side of the family tree. She was born on 3 July 1870 in Kirkbean, Kirkcudbrightshire to William Gibson Stevenson and Mary Hyslop, tragically her mother died in childbirth. On the 1871 census Mary is living with her mother’s parents Andrew Hyslop and Flora Swan.

We find her back with her father in 1881 living with him and his second wife Jane Kitchin and her half siblings James, Thomas and baby Jane. They are living at Gretna Green where William Stevenson (Red Rob) was policeman, apparently there was a police cell under the house and one day a prisoner escaped and was about to attack Red Rob, young Mary witnessed this and hit him over the head with something and so saved her father, despite the fact she wasn’t much over 5ft and Red Rob was 6ft 3.

In the 1891 census, after much searching, I found Mary in Carlisle, working as a cook for a retired Doctor, she must have met James Jackson around this time as they married in 1895 in Carlisle, by 1901 the family are settled in Darlington and living at 25 Edward Street, daughter Jane (Ginnie) is five, William (Billy) is three and John (Jack) is one.

By 1911 additions to Mary’s family are James (Jimmy) aged nine, Selina aged seven and Albert one, you can see from the census that one of Mary’s children died, this was Thomas born between 1907 and who died in 1908. Mary (Molly) wasn’t born until 1913. They also have a lodger staying with them called Matthew McGann. They are living at 32 Vulcan Street, Albert Hill, Darlington.


Mary Hyslop Stevenson was a keen card player and a fast talker, her false teeth didn’t fit particularly well so if she had a lot to say quickly she would take them out, usually to tell you off!

She died in 1940.

Stevensons and Jacksons

Stevensons and Jacksons

This picture shows Mary Hyslop Stevenson with her daughter Mary (Molly), her half brother Andrew Stevenson and his mother Jane Coultart Stevenson, Red Rob’s third wife. The other lady is Andrew’s first wife Mary and the baby is his daughter, known as “Scotch Molly” later to move to New Zealand.


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