Contact with the past

This page has a number of conversations from people who have memories of Witton Gilbert or have family that came from here. Most are keen to either make contact with family friends or trace their ancestry. So if you recognise someone of have information which could help, please contact us and we will forward the information.

Neil Hayward (Lowe – Hunter)


Hi During this time of lockdown, I continued with research into my family tree, however, whilst doing my research I came across another family (linked by marriage) and I went off at a tangent and researched the family of LOWE, this family were from the mining community and travelled between Witton and Sacriston, St Helens, Wigan and Skelmersdale, the connection to my family was in Skelmersdale, Lancashire and two weeks later I have produced a 31 page family Tree.

If anyone is interested I would gladly email them a pdf of the family tree. The head of the family were Peter Lowe and Ann Hunter and their children moved between the mining areas, so there may be some relatives still in the area today.

If anyone has any connection or think they do, please get in touch.

Thank you Neil Hayward

Bonnie Wood Glazier

14 November 2018

I have a prayer book given to my grandfather, Richard Wood, by Arthur Watts, Rector of Witton Gilbert dated April 8, 1889. Is there any way to obtain other family history. He came to America in 1889 via a steamship with 7 other “agi labor” young men.

25 November 2018
I would be wonderful to get more information on his family that may be in that area or elsewhere. I hope my information will help. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for your response.  Now that some contact has been made, I will provide some additional information or may not be accurate.
Richard George Wood
DOB:  January 19, 1874
Left Liverpool on 4/11/1889 on the steam vessel SARDINIAN and landing in  Halifax,Nova Scotia.  He traveled  with 6 or7 other young men all listed as Agi Labor.
His father’s name might be Thomas, George or Richard.
Mother’s name might be Hannah (maiden name may have been Aldbrough or Yorkshire. ?DOB  1837
At one point the lived at 18 Bridge Street,  Darlington
Siblings:  Thomas – according to 1881 census, may have been 13 years old.
                Annie, third sibling – George

29 November 2018

Dear Bonnie

I have had a couple of responses to your enquiry

here is an extract from the first response “Katherine Beer(local historian)might well know something about this. I shall be writing to her anyway, so I’ll ask.
I shall also try the Holmes family who were intermarried with the Watts family, and may have some recollection of Richard Wood.”

“I have written to Katherine Beer,  but I think that Arthur Watts gave prayer books to a lot of people, especially young men about to emigrate. So I don’t think the Holmes family will have any clues.

But I’ve a new idea. When we have a little more leisure, I could go to the county record office and check baptisms for the 1860s and early 70s and see if there is a Richard Wood among them. It might even have a home address. “

Another member of our group has carried out a little research :-
Records for Witton Gilbert Parish (which at the time was much larger than now and encompased a number of settlements)
A Richard Wood born 1889 Mothers maiden name Drysdale ( this is obviously not your Richard Wood but may be related.)

in the 1881 Census in Witton Gilbert there were 3 Wood families but no Richards(you were only counted if you were currently occupying the house, its not definitive)

4 Brick Garth…Andrew Wood (1856) John (1862) Lancelot (1869) Joseph (1867) Mother Ann
20 Red Row….. Elizabeth (1841) Rebecca (1845) George (1868)
1 Back Row….. Mary Jane (1843) Elizabeth (1865)

That’s it for now may get more later.

29th November 2018

“Wow.  You have some information that might be helpful.  His first name might have been Thomas.  He had a brother, George and  could have been a brother, 1865.  My grandfather was born in 1874.

There is no rush on this.  When I ran across the prayer book again hich I have had for several years, I just decided to research the church.
I appreciate what you have done so far.  I have never traveled to England.  Perhaps I will this year.” Boonie Glazier
3 December 2018

Dear Bonnie

I have just received some additional information which may or may not be pertinent

“Since you have the dates of your grandfather’s birth, you may have a birth certificate or some other documentary evidence. Are you sure about the Darlington connection? The 1881 Census for 18 Bridge Street shows that Hannah Wood is an unmarried mother of two sons, Thomas and Richard. Her place of birth is recorded as Aldbrough in Yorkshire. This is a small village about five miles West of Darlington just within North Yorkshire.. The two boys are recorded as being born in Darlington. We need to bear in mind though that census data is not always reliable. However, if you think this is your family, I notice that there is a Hannah Wood born in Aldbrough in 1840 (registered in Richmond) and also a Hannah Wood, daughter of Richard Wood of Aldbrough, baptised on 26th June 1763 in Stanwick St John. Stanwick is the adjacent village with the then parish church. I would imagine that they are all related”

Hope this of help.

George Lynn

“My name is George Lynn I was born in Witton Gilbert in 1948 in Newton Street /My dad was Ernest Lynn, mother Audrey Lynn. He worked down the pit most of his life in Sacriston and Witton Gilbert.  Just thought I’d share it with you. Maybe his name is familiar or some photos of the family. Bye for now George Lynn”

Keith Skinner.

“My memory of Park View is that my Aunt Jenny & husband Alf lived in the first house (Durham end) next door Peggy Lamb nee Turner lived and had two children-Shirley who was my age exactly(81)and her younger brother Ernie a few doors further along lived Alf Turner,wife Ada??and their severely disabled daughter Yvonne who I clearly remember visiting as she was bed ridden and held my hand with a grip of iron.As regards school I went to Langley Park infants (a year behind Bobby Robson)when we lived at West Hall cottage circa 1940/41 and then Sacriston junior when we moved to Fell House till 1946 when we moved back to Liverpool as my Mothers lack of mobility was not compatible with remote country living.I remember the Davidson family as the two Brothers as teenagers made me smoke a cigare t which made me violently sick-they had a sister Mavis with whom I was friendly and we spent many happy hours exploring around Broom House,Bleach Green and Kays Burn in Summers which seemed to last forever.I am a little confused regarding the Davidsons as my research shows the road off Norburn Lane to their farm was also the access to Hankeys farm signposted Fulford which I don’t understand.Regards and best wishes”

Keith Skinner.

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