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Sarah Shields Strangford

Joe Shields

New member
My Great Great Grandmother turned up in Whitehaven, Cumberland around 1860 with 2 illegitimate sons. She is said to have been born in Strangford, Co.Down could be 1833-1841. I can find no record of her at all before arriving in Cumberland. Have tried Griffins, Spinning Wheel lists, Ros Davies.. Welcome any suggestions.
!851 Census

Sarah Shields
Age 13
abt 1838
Relation - Daughter
Father- Henry Shields
Mother- Sarah Shields

born - Down, Ireland
Civil parish Whitehaven
Ecclesiastical parish St James
Reg. dist. - Whitehaven
Sub-reg. dist. - Harrington
ED, institution, or vessel 14
Household sched. number 75.
Piece 2436
Folio 599

Henry Shields 42 Head
Sarah Shields 40 Wife
Thomas Shields 18 Son
James Shields 16 Son
Sarah Shields 13 Daughter
Mary Ann Shields 9 Daughter
Henry Shields 2 Son

All born Down, Ireland.
1861 Census.

Name Sarah Shields
Age 20
Est. Birth Year 1841
Father-Henry Shields
Mother- Salley Shields
Born County Down, Ireland
Civil parish St Bees
Ecclesiastical parish St James
Town Whitehaven
County/Island Cumberland
Country England
Reg. dist. Whitehaven
Sub-reg. dist. Whitehaven
ED, institution, or vessel 14

Household sched. number 288
Piece 3948
Folio 65
Page. 42

Henry Shields 53.Head
Salley Shields. 50. Wife
Thomas Shields. 25 Son
James Shields. 23. Son
Sarah Shields 20 Daughter
Mary Ann Shields. 19. Daughter
Henry Shields. 12. Son

Birth registration didn’t start in Ireland till 1864. Prior to that you need to rely on baptism records. Not every church has baptism records for the 1830s and 1840s and of those that do not all are on-line. Strangford is in the parish of Downpatrick.

RC records are mostly on-line on the nli site:


For other denominations, the churches usually hold the originals but there are also copies in PRONI, the public record office, in Belfast. A personal visit is required to access them. Access to the records there is free. This link explains what records exist, parish by parish:


If you are unable to go yourself, you could employ a researcher. Researchers in the PRONI area: http://sgni.net
Thanks all. The illegitimate sons were James, not sure on birthdate but he was older than his brother Hugh b 1857 , said to be in Strangford. Hugh was my Gt Grandad.
1861 census

Name Sarah Shields
Age 31
Residence Note West Strand
Birth Year (Estimated) 1830
Birthplace Ireland
Marital Status Single
Occupation Needle Maker
Relationship to Head of Household Head
Relationship Code Head
Event Type Census
Event Date 1861
Event Place St Bees, Cumberland, England, United Kingdom
Event Place (Original) St Bees, Cumberland, England
Registration District Whitehaven
Household Identifier 4304563Line Number 1Page Number 16Piece/Folio 3946 / 61Registration Number RG09

James Shields aged 11 born Ireland
Hugh Shields aged 7 born Ireland

Last edited:
Just posting for some background on the family and aware poster would already have this information.


Name Hugh Shields
Age 16
Birth Year (Estimated) 1855
Birthplace Ireland
Marital Status Unknown
Occupation Joiner
Relationship to Head of Household Lodger
Event Type Census
Event Date 1871
Event Place Whitehaven St Nicholas, Cumberland, England, United Kingdom
Event Place (Original) Whitehaven, Whitehaven, Cumberland, England
Sub-District WhitehavenEnumeration District 3Entry Number 21