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Ellen Ashforth (née Ellen Tomlinson 1855-1943): A brick wall

Published: January 24, 2010    Last modified: January 12, 2017

Ellen Ashforth (née Ellen Tomlinson 1855-1943)
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Ellen Ashforth (née Ellen Tomlinson 1855-1943)

My gg grandmother Ellen ASHFORTH (née Ellen TOMLINSON 1855-1943) is at this moment the family history proverbial 'brick wall'. A quick scan of the 1841, 1851 and 1861 England and Wales censuses for the Sheffield region reveal little more than I know already. According to my mother her grandmother Ellen lived into her nineties and so probably died in the early 1940's. My mother knew her as Leah, yet in various documents she is also known as Eleanor, Ellenor and Helena.

Before I obtained her marriage certificate I carried out some rudimentary research documented in this article, this seemed to indicate her father's name would be William TOMLINSON. When I received her marriage certificate I was surprised, as expressed in this article, to see that her father's name was Samuel TOMLINSON 1826-1854. At the time I didn't give this too much thought since my paternal grandmother's marriage certificate gives her father's name as George DIXON when quite clearly it was Samuel DIXON. It was only when, in 2009, I was contacted by KW in response to this article regarding Clara ASHFORTH 1895-1932 and Jessie RENWICK 1908-1982 that I took a more in-depth look at the facts.

Though conjecture never seems to be far away when researching Ellen ASHFORTH (née Ellen TOMLINSON 1855-1943) KW puts forward a strong case for following another line of research and having spent some time considering his reasoning, I believe, unless we make some major discovery, this line (as put forward by KW) is the more likely to be correct.

The marriage certificate for William Henry ASHFORTH 1851-1899 and Ellen TOMLINSON 1855-1943 records:

Registration District: Sheffield
Date: 1876
Marriage solemnized at: St Stephens Church in the Parish of St Stephen, Sheffield in the County of York
No.: 191
When Married: 15th January
Name and Surname: William Ashforth, Ellen Tomlinson Age: 24, 21
Condition: Batchelor, Spinster
Rank or Profession: File Cutter, _____
Residence at the time of Marriage: Bellefield St, Hammond St
Father's Name and Surname: George Ashforth, Samuel Tomlinson
Rank or Profession of Father: File Cutter, Sawmaker
Married in the: Church of St Stephen according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church, by____or after Banns by me ????
This marriage was solemnized between us: William Ashforth, Ellen Tomlinson her X mark in the Presence of us, Thomas Mars??? Sanders, Sarah H??????? her X mark

This would suggest Ellen TOMLINSON 1855-1943 was born about 1855 and at the time of the England and Wales Census 1861 would be about 6 years of age. Ellen's father should be Samuel TOMLINSON, a saw maker by occupation.

During this period almost all of my ASHFORTH line resided in an area west of Saint Phillips Road, Sheffield and as far as Burton Street and Cuthbert Bank Road. Thus I have always been apprehensive regarding Norton as Ellen's place of birth, even though Norton falls under the administrative region of Ecclesall Bierlow. The following tables transcribed by me from the England and Wales Census 1861 outline this issue:

FHJ Ref: 016
Census: England and Wales Census 1861
Place: Norton, Derbyshire, England
Household: William Tomlinson

SURNAMEFIRST NAME(S)RELSTATUSAGEOCCUPATIONWHERE BORNREMARKS
TomlinsonWilliam HeadMarried43Derbyshire, Dronfield
TomlinsonRebeccaWifeMarried41Derbyshire, Totley
TomlinsonElizabethDaughter12Derbyshire, Norton
TomlinsonWilliamSon9Derbyshire, Norton
TomlinsonEllenDaughter7Derbyshire, Norton
TomlinsonJosephSon3Derbyshire, Norton
TomlinsonJaneDaughter1Derbyshire, Norton
NewboldJohnBoarder71Derbyshire, Holmesfield

To view this table full width please click here.

FHJ Ref: 017
Census: England and Wales Census 1861
Place: Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
Household: Rhoda Tomlinson

SURNAMEFIRST NAME(S)RELSTATUSSEXAGEOCCUPATIONWHERE BORNREMARKS
TomlinsonRhodaHeadWidowMale34Sheffield, Yorkshire
TomlinsonSarah AnnDaughterFemale15Sheffield, Yorkshire
TomlinsonFanny DaughterFemale14Sheffield, Yorkshire
TomlinsonAnneDaughterFemale11Sheffield, Yorkshire
TomlinsonJane DaughterFemale9Sheffield, Yorkshire
TomlinsonEllenor DaughterFemale5Sheffield, Yorkshire

To view this table full width please click here.

With reference to William and Ellen's marriage certificate the only census data that 'fits' is the names Ellen and Ellenor and the ages 7 and 5. If names are anything to go by then I am inclined to favour Ellenor, my reasoning for this is Ellen's mother-in-law was Leah ASHFORTH (née Leah WEBB) 1816-1901 and my mother's name is a variant of Leonora and as I have stated before my mother always refers to Ellen as Leah. I think the way forward is to take a chance on some more certificates, the problem is knowing which ones. I think an educated guess is in order.

Updates:
2010-01-24 Regarding the Marriage Certificate for William Henry ASHFORTH and Ellen TOMLINSON. After some online research I am certain 'Thomas Mars??? Sanders is in fact Thomas Marsden Landers. Please click here to read more.