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Whose Uncle John?

Author Margaret O'Hanlon. Edited and Published 2003 Copyright © Hubmaker
No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without the prior consent of the publisher.


I had previously followed the Snaylam family line (grandfather’s) and knew that there was no link there, so this time I would follow my grandmother’s (Alice Sutton) line. Her marriage certificate shows her to be the daughter of Henry Sutton.

Mum remembers very little about her grandparents, but she does know where they lived and where they are buried, so off I went to Hoole churchyard to find their grave. Here we have Henry and Elizabeth his wife with sons Nicholas and John (husband of Margaret Alice). So this is Mother’s Uncle John.

I went back to Mum to report my findings on the gravestone, and she said that Uncle Nicholas had never married, and in later years had gone to live with his sister, Lilly (Elizabeth) in Hesketh Bank. There was another Uncle, Hugh, who had married Mary later in life, an Aunt Cicely who went into service in Preston, and Ellen who had married George Taylor. Great – now I have some family to go with the parents.

I thought a trip to the Records office in Preston was due, so off I went to wade through the census returns. The records of 1901, 1891, and 1881 show Henry and Elizabeth with their children. I then tried to find Henry before his marriage, living with his parents, but the only Henry I can find of the right age in 1871 is living with his grandparents (Nicholas and Alice Sutton) - was this ‘my’ Henry?

From the census figures I got a rough idea of Henry’s age, so off I went to the library to look through the St. Catherine’s index, found an entry of the right age and area and sent off for a birth certificate. This showed Henry to be the illegitimate son of Dorothy Sutton.

Elizabeth and Alice Snaylam
Elizabeth Snaylam 1917-
Alice Snaylam (nee Sutton) 1879 - 1944

Back to the records office and the census returns of 1861. These show Nicholas and Alice and family members, but no Dorothy or Henry, although there is an entry at the bottom of the page which I cannot make out – only the age is 8yrs – could this be Henry? Certainly the age would fit. The 1851 and 1841 records show Dorothy at 17 and 7 respectively, living with her parents, and the church records show her baptism. At least I know that they had a daughter called Dorothy and as all the dates fit together, I am happy that I have got the right family.

I managed to find Nicholas’ baptism in the church record but it was not easy to read, however, our Tutor, Fran found it on the Vital Records Index (VRI), showing parents Matthew and Nanny. The International Genealogical Index (IGI) gave me Matthew’s wedding to Nanny Bannister and the VRI showed the same date but gave the bride’s name as Ann.

The IGI gave me Matthew’s birth and parents William Sutton and Mary, and a further look at the church records shows William’s marriage to Mary Hilton in 1768.

There are a large number gravestones in Hoole Church yard belonging to the Sutton family, leading me to believe the family was either fairly well off or they were ‘keeping up with the Jones’. The stone for Matthew and Ann is particularly good considering its age. The Sutton side was going quite well, but no link as yet to Margaret.


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