John Williams and the Missing 1861 Census

John Williams and Susannah Jones were married on 3 October, 1837 in the Parish Church (St Giles) in Wrexham, North Wales1. During their entire marriage they lived in Brook Street, Wrexham (I am not sure if they went to live in Brook Street directly after they were married, but they are listed as living there in August 1838 when they christened their first child, daughter Mary2). They were still living in Brook Street in 1868 when Susannah died.

Undated photo of Brook Street, Wrexham
Undated photo of Brook Street, Wrexham

So what does this all have to do with a missing 1861 census entry? I have been able to find the usual baptism, burial and census entries for the family in Brook Street EXCEPT for the 1861 census. I have also found several newspaper articles and an 1850 Slaters Directory entry all placing John Williams and family in Brook Street until January, 1868 when Susannah died. Both Susannah’s death certificate3and burial entry4 list her as having lived in Brook Street.

John and Susannah’s marriage certificate states that John’s father is Thomas Williams, Smith and Susannah’s father is Benjamin Jones, Shoemaker. So far, I have been unable to satisfactorily link John and Susannah to the people who I think are their parents. One of the reasons for this are conflicting birthplaces listed on census records. In the 1841 census5, John and Susannah are both listed as being born in the county of Denbighshire. However, in 18516, John is listed as being born in England and Susannah is listed as being born in Bristol. The next available census in 18717, has John living with his younger children in Ardwick, a suburb of Manchester, and has him listed as being born in Wrexham (note that Susannah died in 1868 and the family probably moved on to better employment opportunities in the Manchester area). Therefore, birthplaces listed on the 1861 census could help to resolve this question: were John and Susannah born in or around Wrexham, or were they born in England as listed on the 1851 census?

I have searched all the main sites like Ancestry, Findmypast and FamilySearch for possible census records. As is possible on FindmyPast, I have searched through all the 1861 images for Brook Street. I have also posted on various forums, but no success so far. I am hoping that one day I may be able to determine who John and Susannah’s parents were, even without the 1861 census.

  1. Marriages (PR) Wales. Wrexham, Denbighshire. 3 October 1837. WILLIAMS, John and JONES, Susannah. General Record Office Volume: 27 Page 389 : accessed 22 November 1984.
  2. Baptisms (PR) Wales. Wrexham, Denbighshire. 26 Aug 1838. WILLIAMS, Mary. Page 75. Collection: Denbigh Baptisms. accessed 6 March 2014.
  3. Deaths (PR) Wales. Wrexham, Denbighshire. 23 January 1868. WILLIAMS, Susannah. General Record Office Volume: 11b Page 250 : accessed 15 April 2011.
  4. Burials (PR) Wales. Wrexham, Denbighshire. 27 January 1868. WILLIAMS, Susannah. Page 95. FindMyPast image. Collection: Denbigh Burials. : accessed 21 June 2014.
  5. Census 1841. Wales, Denbighshire, Wrexham. Transctiption Page 166 Wrexham Town 1841 Census. Clwyd Family History Society: accessed 18 May 2013.
  6. Census 1851. Wales, Denbighshire, Wrexham. HO107/2503/538/6. . FindMyPast transcription and image. : accessed 18 May 2013.
  7. Census 1871. Chorlton, Lancashire, England. RG10/3976/71/26/9. FindMyPast transcription and image. : accessed 18 May 2013.