We have gathered a great deal of family history information over the years. Occasionally out of impersonal records: census lists, certificates and parish registers glimpses of real people are revealed. We have tried to tell some of their stories here.



William and Margaret Close and the Liverpool cholera epidemic
(Monica's Great Great Great Grandparents)

 William and Margaret lived in Liverpool in the first half of the nineteenth century. They were probably cousins and married in 1826 in St Thomas' Church, Liverpool and had eight children over a period of sixteen years but two of these died in childhood. William was a bookbinder though he was unemployed for parts of his married life. In 1841 the family were living with William's mother who ran a lodging house in Pleasant Street, Liverpool. There were another seven people living in the house (sixteen people in total) including his sister Mary. By 1849 the family had moved a few streets away to Duckinfield Street when tragedy struck. William and Margaret contracted Asiatic cholera and died within fifteen minutes of each other on 15 August 1849: their nineteen year old son Thomas, the eldest child at home, is named on both death certificates. Cholera reached Europe from India in 1832 and there was a major outbreak of the disease in Liverpool. A second epidemic occurred in the City in 1849 when 5,308 people died in the space of a few months, William and Margaret amongst them. They left three other children in addition to Thomas: Mary, Martha and William who was only five. The children were looked after by William's unmarried sister, Mary and lived in Trowbridge Street (near Duckinfield Street) but must have lived in poverty as Mary was classed as a pauper in 1851. One of the children, Mary (Monica's Great Great Grandmother) made a quick escape and married Charles Joseph Holt four months after her parents died. She was just sixteen years old. She died before she was thirty.

Sarah Dixon and the Leeds Workhouse

(Mick's Great Grandmother)

We know very little about the early life of Sarah Dixon, we're not even sure that this is her real name. On 28 July 1865 she gave birth to a boy, named James William Dixon in the Leeds Union Workhouse in Beckett Street, Leeds. She was about sixteen years old. The workhouse was opened in 1861 "to accommodate 800 paupers". Was Sarah living in the workhouse or had she been sent there to have her baby? Who was the father? Three months later she married Sam Clark so perhaps the child was his. Sam and Sarah brought James up and two further children: Sam and Mary.


Edward Leng's Will and poor William

(Mick's 5 x Great Grandfather)

 Edward Leng was a fairly wealthy farmer who farmed at Low Catton, about six miles east of York. He died in 1759 and his Will was proved in Jan 1759.The estate, which was valued at £132.1s.0d (a considerable sum at the time), was divided between his four children: -

1)      Edward received 2 closes at Longmoor, plus £20.

2)      John received another 2 closes at Longmoor and a cottage and 2 garths in Low Catton, also Morrels and Thorp fields, totaling 1 acre. John also got Cowling Close, totaling 6 acres and the residue of the estate.  

3)      Mary was married to John Coultas and had four children: they each received £10.

4)      William received half a guinea.

What had William done to earn his father's displeasure?

Joseph Orrell and Liverpool Football Club

Joseph Orrell (1860-1933) was a cousin of Monica's great granddad. He was a wealthy brewer and builder in Liverpool at the end of the nineteenth century.

Along with a John Houlding (also a brewer), Orrell owned the land at Anfield on which Everton had built their football ground. In the early 1890s Everton had a series of complicated disputes with these landowners about increases to the rent and access to the ground. John Houlding was the lead negotiator for the landowners. In 1892 the relationship broke down completely and Everton found new land nearby and built Goodison Park. Houlding then set up a new company, initially called Everton Athletic but in June 1892 renamed Liverpool F.C. The team continued to play at Anfield and Houlding became the first chairman of Liverpool. Eventually Joseph Orrell sold his land at Anfield to Houlding.