Peasants to Puddles
My Family History - By Nicky Rowberry

The Whiteheads

Louisa Whitehead was one of my 3 x great grandmothers. She was born in Nottingham in 1828, the second eldest daughter of William & Mary (or Mary Ann) Whitehead. William & Mary appear to have had many children between 1828 and 1847 in Nottingham. The family seem to have moved around an awful lot, giving their address variously as Leen Side, Currant Street, Poplar Place, Pleasant Row, Narrow Marsh, Lees Yard and finally Red Lion Street.

William Whitehead's occupation seems to have been mainly that of a boatman or waterman. This at least is what he gives as his occupation at most of his children's baptisms, although for a few he is recorded just as a labourer or porter. Boatman is also how Louisa describes her father on her marriage certificate in 1849. One of the witnesses at Louisa's marriage was her sister Phoebe Whitehead.

In 1841, the family were living at Close Alley, Nottingham. William was at this point described as a labourer. His and Mary's ages are given as 35, but for the 1841 census, adult's ages were rounded to the nearest 5, so their true ages may be slightly different. The table below gives the details from the 1841 census. (HO 107/870/12 Folio 11 Page 14)

City or Borough of Nottingham
Parish or Township of St Mary (part)
Place Names of each Person who abode therein the preceding NightAgeProfession, Trade, Employment or of Independent MeansWhere Born in Same County
Close Alley William Whitehead35LabourerYes
  Mary Whitehead35 Yes
  Elizabeth Whitehead15Silk SeamerYes
  Louisa Whitehead12 Yes
  William Whitehead10 Yes
  Phoebe Whitehead8 Yes
  George Whitehead5 Yes
  Mary Ann Whitehead4 Yes

By 1851 they were living at Lees Yard. Both William and his son William were described as Boatmen. With the family was William's married daughter Phoebe Guest and her baby, although there was no sign of her husband. The table below gives the details from the 1851 census. (HO107/2133)

Parish of
St Mary
Ecclesiastical District of
St John
City or Borough of
Nottingham
Town of
Nottingham
Village of
Schedule Name of Street, Place, or Road Name & Surname of each Person who abode in the house, on the Night of the 30th March, 1851Relation to Head of FamilyConditionAgeRank, Profession, or OccupationWhere Born
49 48 Lees Yard William WhiteheadHeadMarried47BoatmanNottm St Marys
   Mary WhiteheadWifeMarried49 ditto
   William WhiteheadSonUnmar21BoatmanNottm
   George WhiteheadSonUnmar17Twist HandNottm
   Mary Ann WhiteheadDaurUnmar15Bobbin ThreaderNottm
   Emma WhiteheadDaur 8dittoNottm
   Eliza WhiteheadDaur 5ScholarNottm
   Selina WhiteheadDaur 3dittoNottm
   Phoebe GuestVisitorMarried20SeamerNottm
   Mary Ann GuestDaur 3months Nottm

In 1861, William & Mary were living Star & Garter Yard on Red Lion Street, with four of their children and a grand-daughter Emma Guest. Emma's parents (Phoebe Whitehead & John Guest) were living at nearby Byron Yard with the rest of their children - perhaps Emma was just visiting her grandparents for a night the day of the census? William Whitehead was still described as a Boatman, aged 57 and born in Nottingham. The table below gives the details from the 1861 census.

The undermentioned Houses are situated within the Boundaries of the
Parish [or Township] of City or Municipal Borough of Municipal Ward of Parliamentary Borough ofTownship ofHamlet or Tyhthing of Ecclesiastical District of
St Marys Nottingham Exchange NottinghamNottingham  St John
No. of Schedule Road, Street and Name of HouseName and Surname of each personRelation to Head of FamilyCondition AgeRank, Profession or OccupationWhere Born
70 Star & Garter Yd.William WhiteheadHeadMarried 57Boat ManNottingham
   Mary Ann WhiteheadWifeMarried 59Lace HandNottingham
   George WhiteheadSonMarried26Lace MakerNottingham
   Emma WhiteheadDauMarried20Winder of CottonNottingham
   Caroline WhiteheadDauUnmar16Lace HandNottingham
   Eliza WhiteheadDau- 14Lace HandNottingham
   Emma Guest-- 7 Sheffield

By 1871 Mary seems to have died as William was living as a boarder in a house in Temple Place and descrived as a widower. I don't have a definite death for William, although there is a likely one in 1873, but I need to confirm that.

That is all I really know of William's origins at the moment. There are a few baptisms of William Whiteheads in Nottingham around the right time and I have yet to work out which one is him. Nor have I found a definite marriage for William & Mary, although I know from two of their children's birth certificates, that Mary's maiden name was Harrison (hence the middle names of at least 2 of her children). There are several Mary Harrisons born in Nottingham in the early 1800s, so at the moment I don't know her parents either.

The family tree below summarises what I know about the Whitehead family. It is hopefully reasonably accurate, but much of the information I have used here has been gleaned from information on the Internet and I have not had the chance to verify its accuracy. So if you do spot any errors, or any relatives, please feel free to E-mail me

Please click on one of the red links on the tree to move to a different page.

Whitehead Family Tree Brooksbank

If any of the above is of further interest, please feel free to contact me at: n.rowberry@btinternet.com

Nicky Rowberry 2012

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Peasants to Puddles - My Family History. By Nicky Rowberry