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William Wilson. Durham.


Staff member

My great, great, great grandfather was William Wilson, born in about 1819 in St Helen Auckland, County Durham. The censuses give his year of birth to be about 1819 to 1823. He married my great, great, great grandmother Ann Forster in 1842. His fathers name is John Wilson, a Labourer.

I found William on the 181 census aged 20 with his father John, a labourer and mother Ann. William worked in the coal mines all his life and lived at The Square, St Helen Auckland.

He lived to a ripe old age. In the 1881 census he is aged 62 and still a coal miner living wth his son in law Thomas Bellas. By 1891 William is aged 70 and still with his son in law Thomas Bellas. William must havebeen retired as a Z shaped dash is put through the occupation for him in 1891.

By 1901 he is aged 82, living at Halls Row, Eldon, Durham with his widowed daughter Mary Currey. No occupation. He either recieved relief or his daughter housed him for free.

I searched through and found a William Wilson death in June Quarter 1904 in Auckland district aged 83, so I thought he was mine as I couldnt seem to find any other candidates.

But, while in Durham last week, in the burial registers for Eldon, there was no William Wilson burials in 1904 but there was a William Wilson burial in April 1902 aged 83 of Eldon.

I thought is it a coincidence that there were 2 William Wilsons of similar ages living in Eldon but I checked the 1901 census and there was only my ancestor William, aged 82. So I checked Ancestry and in the June Quarter 1902, a William Wilson died aged 83 in Auckland district. The ages tallied. 82 in the April 1901 census of Eldon, 83 when died in April 1902 in Eldon.

I then found another William Wilson in 1901 aged 80 living in Lynesack near to Eldon. I checked Lynesak burials and in June 1904 there was a William Wilson buried aged 83 of Lynesack.

I then proved that my William didn't die in 1904 as first thought but in 1902 and due to the commoness of the name, there were two William Wilsons in 1901 living nearby aged 80 an 82 who died within a couple of years of each other. The one who was buried in Eldon in 1902 is my William.

So in the 1901 census, elderly retired William did't know that he only had a year left to live. I shall now send off for his death certificate.