52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

52 Ancestors 2019 #1 William Varlow

Last year, I started doing Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series, but in July I decided to take a break from my blog, as I was running out of ideas of what to write about.  Now that we are in the New Year, I am wanting to start writing for my blog again.  Amy has continued her series this year, but one of the problems I had last year was trying to decide who to write about that would fit in with the topics she had, particularly since she is from the USA, and I’m from Australia. I have therefore decided that the easiest way to pick someone to write about is to select someone in my tree who had been born that week.

Therefore, for this week I have chosen William Varlow, who was born 1 January 1856.

My relationship to William is:

William Varlow relationshipo


Before starting this post, I only had a little bit of information for William.  In researching his mother,  Ann Varlow nee Sharp, he had appeared with her on the 1861 and 1871 censuses, and I also had William’s date of birth from an email from a distant family member.

The first thing I needed to do was to see if I could verify his date of birth, and then to find out what happened to William after the 1871 census. I found a baptism record for William Varlow, born 1 January 1856, baptism 27 January 1856, Wakefield, All Saints, Yorkshire, England, in the West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910 collection at Ancestry.com.au.  His parents were John and Ann.  His father John was a butcher.  The date of birth on this record matched the date of birth from the email I had.

Since William was born in 1856, there was also an entry for William Varlow in the January quarter 1856 in Wakefield in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 (vol 9c page 24).  The Birth and Death indexes for England & Wales are also now available directly from the General Register Office website – Search the GRO Online Index.  I found that this index also included William’s mother’s maiden surname, which confirmed her maiden surname was Sharp.

There were two William Varlows born about 1856 in Yorkshire on the 1881 census – one was born in Tadcaster, Yorkshire, and living in Acomb, Yorkshire, England.  The other was born in 1856 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England, and living in Hulme, Lancashire, England.  The second one, living in Hulme, seemed to be the most likely, since the birthplace matched.

The 1881 census showed that William Sharp was living at 125 Tamworth Street Hulme, and he was a sawyer. He was the head of the household, 25 years old, married, and born in Wakefield, Yorkshire. The household included his wife Ann, age 23, and a daughter, Ada Gilbert Varlow, age 1.

The middle name Gilbert for his daughter suggested that William’s wife’s maiden surname was Gilbert.  The Suggested Records for William in the 1881 census included an entry from Manchester, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930.  This entry showed that William Varlow, age 21, married Ann Gilbert on 22 October 1877 at St Thomas Pendleton in the Parish of Eccles, in the county of Lancaster.  William was a sawyer.  Both William and Ann were living at 107 Florin Street.  William’s father was John Varlow, who was deceased.  My previous research had found that William’s father, John Varlow, had died in 1868.

I was unable to find William on the 1891 census, so I tried searching for his daughter Ada.  When I couldn’t find Ada either, I tried going into her entry on the 1881 census, and found a Suggested Record for Ada G Arlow on the 1891 census. The household included:

  • Annie Varlow, wife, age 33, birthplace Gresley (or Greeley) Derbyshire
  • Ada G Varlow, daughter, age 11, scholar, birthplace Manchester, Lancashire
  • Eveline E Varlow, daughter, age 9, scholar, birthplace Manchester, Lancashire

Although the census listed Annie as a wife, William wasn’t with the family.  I then decided to look for Ada on the 1901 census.  Ada G Varlow, age 21, born in Manchester, Lancashire, England, was in the household of Wm Rumley. She was his stepdaughter.  Also in the household was William’s wife, Ann Rumley, age 43.  This indicated that Ann Varlow, nee Gilbert, had remarried, and therefore that William had died between 1881 and 1901.

Since you need to specify the year when using the GRO Index, I needed to use one of the other indexes (Ancestry, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, and FreeBMD also have these indexes).  It is easier to specify a date range using the FreeBMD website, so I used this to search for a William Varlow who died between January 1881 and December 1901.  There were four results:

Dec 1881 William Varlow, age 75, district Caistor, vol 7a, page 367

Jun 1892 William Varlow, age 36, district Barton I, vol 8c, page 419

Dec 1893 William Varlow, age 82, district Gainsbro’, vol 7a page 516

Sep 1900 William Varlow, age 31, Chipping S, vol 6a, page 142

The entry from June 1892 was the most likely, since the age indicated a birth year that matched our William’s birth year.  I therefore then looked for that entry on the GRO Online index, to see if that entry provided more information.  It didn’t, so my next step was to see if there was an entry for William Varlow in England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995.

The following was the entry I found:

Varlow William of Manchester sawyer died 21 May 1892 Administration Manchester 22 June to Ann Varlow widow Effects £271 15s 11d.

In summary, William Varlow was born 1 January 1856, and baptized 27 January 1856 at Wakefield All Saints.  He was living with his parents, John Varlow and Ann Sharp, on the 1861 census at All Saints, Wakefield, Yorkshire. He was 5 years old, and his occupation was scholar.  His father John died in 1868, so in 1871 he was living with his mother Ann, who was widowed, at Baker’s Yard, Wakefield.  He was 15 years old, and employed at soap works.

By October 1877 he had moved to Manchester, and was living at 107 Florin Street, which was also the residence of his wife Ann Gilbert, and he was working as a sawyer.  They were married 22 October 1877 at St Thomas Pendelton in the parish of Eccles in Lancashire. The 1881 census shows William and Ann were living at 125 Tamworth Street, Hulme, with a 1 year old daughter, Ada Gilbert Varlow.  I have been unable to find William on the 1891 census.  He died 21 May 1892, when he was 36 years old.  His death was registered in the Burton upon Irwell district in Lancashire.