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Monday, 14 January 2019

Beadnell’s Unusual Name: 52 Ancestors - Wk. 3

An “Unusual Name” is the this week’s theme from “52 Ancestors”, where I profile the distinctive Christian name of Beadnell Stemp  (known to the family  as Bill).  He was the father of my mother’s cousin.  She knew very little  about his background and asked if  I would research his family history. Who could resist such a challenge?

The starting point - it was known that Beadnell (Bill) was named after his father who had married three time and there was a large extended family -  and  that was the extent of previous knowledge.  

So what did I find?  The  distinctive Christian name  seemed to come from Beadnell's great grandmother  though the exact connection has been difficult to establish.   It proved to be a  story that illustrated the ups and downs of Victorian life, with early deaths of mothers, crowded  households, separated children  and several remarriages. 

BEADNELL STEMP (Bill): 1902-1977.
The photograph below was my first knowledge of Beadnell who married my great aunt Jennie Danson in St. Chad’s Church, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire in 1929.

Beadnell (Bill) was born 10th May, 1901,  son of Beadnell Stemp and Revena Ward.A month previously in the 1901 Census, the Stemp family  comprised parents and three children - Annie 9, Victor E. 3 and Emily M. aged 1. They  were living  with Revina's sister's family -  William and Mary Duckworth and their young sons,William and Arthur at Lodene Road, South Shore, Blackpool.  Beadnell senior was described as a shoemaker and his brother-in-law was a cabinet maker.  

So baby Beadnell was born into a crowded household of nine, to be increased by the birth of two more brothers -George in 1903 and Fred in 1904.   Sadly at the age of three, Beadnell (Bill) lost his mother Revina.  She died in 1904 shortly after the birth of her son Fred, leaving a young family of six.

The 1911 Census saw another change for 9 year old  Beadnell.  He was living at  Chapel Street, Blackpool in a large household of 13 residents  - his bootmaker father Beadnell, new stepmother Nellie, siblings - Annie, Victor,  Emily and George, half siblings Martha and Tom - plus 3 boarders Mary Duckworth (sister of Beadnell senior's first wife), Fred Duckworth aged 7 and George Harrison, a tailor.  A total household of 13, with eight children spanning ages 1 to 19. 

One wonders at the economic situation of the family, with only Beadnell (Senior) and George Harrison presumably  bringing  in an income.  Mary Duckworth was described as "married", but her husband was not with her on census night.  Could 7 year old Fred Duckworth be the same Fred who was born in 1904, with his mother (Mary's sister)  dying shortly afterwards?  Had Mary adopted him? The age and dates fit. 

Beadnell (Bill) married my great aunt Jennie in 1929. A daughter was born the year later.  But in a time of economic depression, the family left Blackpool, seeking work in the English Midlands, where their youngest daughter was born.  The 1939 Register showed the family living at 1 Birmingham Road, Bromsgrove, with Beadnell described as a Boot Shoe Repairer.   He died in 1977. 


BEADNELL STEMP (senior):  1872-1938.
 Beadnell (senior) was born in Lees, Lancashire, baptised 8th  August 1872, his father George Henry Stemp,   an innkeeper,  and mother Hannah - whose  maiden name was not given in the parish register entry.  

Beadnell's  life was marred by tragedy - his mother died at a young age, as did his first and second wives. . 

Beadnell's mother, Hannah died a year after his birth in 1872 , leaving his father George with a young family of Charles, Martha, William, Sarah and Beadnell.  George  remarried in 1874,  and in the 1881 census was at 2 Waterloo Place, Oldham with his new wife Elizabeth, Charles aged 21, Martha Ann 18, and with new step siblings Albert  12, and Jessie 6. 

However where were the three youngest children -  William, aged 16,  Sarah, 12 and Beadnell, 6 ?

They  were traced to 2 Lees Square, Oldham, the home of their widowed aunt Martha Beadnell.  Eureka! this was an intriguing entry, as it was  the first indication that Beadnell's distinctive Christian  name may have come from a family surname.  

Martha was described as a widow, aged 69, born Yorkshire and  having  income from property.  Also in the household was another niece  Jane Peacock aged 39, born Oldham  and unmarried.

Given the Yorkshire connection, I suspect Martha was an aunt on young Beadnell's mother's side, as census returns consistently gave Hanna's birthplace as Richmond, Yorkshire.   Beadnell's brother William, a 16 year old apprentice painter,  was traced to the home of his cousin Richard Edmondson, also born Yorkshire. 

Beadnell's Marriage No.1:
Moving on ten years to the 1891 census, 20 year old Beadnell (senior) , a clogger,  was married  to Ellen, also 20, a cotton reeler from Oldham.  They were lodging  with the Boswell Family  in Oldham with their baby daughter Annie.   No marriage record has so far been traced to ascertain Ellen's maiden name. The Index to Deaths in England and Wales lists the death of an Ellen Stemp in Oldham five years later  in  1896.

Marriage No. 2: 
Beadnell, still a clogger and now a 24 year old widower, married  cotton winder Revina Ward, aged 22 on New Year's Day 1897 at St. James Church, Oldham.  Their marriage certificate gave their their fathers' names as George Henry Stemp, coachman, and William Ward, deceased.    

By the time of the 1901 census, the Stemp family  had moved 57 miles north from Oldham to 37 Lodore Road, South Shore.  Blackpool (behind the Pleasure Beach),   where they were staying with  brother-in-law William Duckworth, a cab man, his wife Mary (Revina's sister)  and their two sons William and Arthur aged 12 and 9.   It was a large household of  nine that included three Stemp children - Annie aged 9, Victor E. 4, and Emily M.1.  Son, Beadnell (Bill) was born shortly  after this census was taken. 

Interestingly their father was listed here as John B. Stemp aged 28, a shoemaker born Oldham, though his baptismal record does not cite the name  John.   Also what Italian  sympathies or connections  had prompted their first born son  Victor Emmanuel to be  named  after the Italian monarch who became first King of a united  Italy?     

Revina gave birth to five children in seven years.  Sadly at the young age of 28, she died shortly after the birth of her youngest son Fred in 1904     

Marriage No. 3
 The 1911 census saw Beadnell (senior) with his third wife, Nellie, living at 20 Chapel Street, Blackpool (up from Central Pier).

Central Pier, Blackpool - a view from the top of blackpool Tower, c.1990

Beadnell (senior)  was described as a boot dealer and boot maker.  Eldest daughter Annie at 19 was assistant in the business, with other children:  Victor E. 13, Emily 11, Beadnell (Bill)  9. George 8, and the latest additions to the family  Martha aged 4 and Thomas 1.   This suggests Beadnell and Nellie married c. 1906, two years after Revina's death. 

Also in the large household were three "lodgers"  -  Mary Duckworth, aged 40, born Salop,  Fred Duckworth aged 7 and George Harrison, a tailor journeyman.  Was Mary the  sister of Revina who the Stemp family had been staying with ten years earlier in 1

No record  has been traced on Beadnell's third marriage to identify the maiden name of Nellie.  Beadnell (senior) died in Blackpool in 1938 aged 65.  A Nellie Stemp married a Thomas Banks in Blackpool in 1939 - could this be Beadnell's widow?   


So how had the Lancashire/Yorkshire Beadnell connection come about?
Who were Wlliiam and Martha Beadnesll who took in the two youngest Stemp children after their mother died? 

Census returns consistently gave Richmond, Yorkshire as the birthplace of Beadnell's mother Hannah.  She died in 1873, aged just 35.  By 1881, young Beadnell and his sister Sarah were traced to the home of their aunt, widow Martha Beadnell.

Who were Wiliam and Martha Beadnell?
The birth of  William Imerson Beadnell was traced in  the online parish records of Richmond, Yorkshire to  21t October 1806 - a year after the Battle of Trafalgar, with his middle name inherited from his mother, wife of Christopher Beadnell.   William was the youngest of the family,  born after four sisters - Jane, Margaret, Ann and Hannah. 

Was William's  youngest sister Hannah,  the same  Hannah who married George Henry Stemp and became the mother of Beadnell?    The baptismal entries o the Stemp children, unfortunately,  only  gave Hannah's married surname. Obtaining Beadnell's birth certificate could help confirm his mother's maiden name.

A marriage was traced between William Imerson  Beadnell and Martha Stephenson
on 16 November 1831 at Richmond.  

By the time of the 1841 census, the couple had moved  counties to Leesfield,  Lancashire. It appears  that William and Martha had no children, but regularly welcomed Stemp, Stephenson, Edmondson and Immerson family members into their home. The fact that the Christian names of  William, Martha and Beadnell appear in two generations of the Stemp family indicates a close, supportive relationship.

Martha Beadnell died in 1885 aged 72, buried besides her husband who had died nine years previously. 


But more research needs to be done to unravel all these connections and establish the exact link between Hannah, the mother and grandmother of Beadnell (Senior)  and Beadnell (Bill) to William  Immerson Beadnell.

 Another wedding photograph of Beadnell (Bill) andJennie Danson. 

Thank you for staying to the end  of this  lengthy blog post. 
It was a challenge to  make sense of a complex famly story. 


to read posts from other bloggers taking part in the
 2019  "52 Ancestors" challenges. 


  1. Must admit, never heard the name Beadnell before you blogged about Sr and Jr! Quite an intriguing family history.

  2. That's a lot of people to keep straight!

  3. Oh good for you, I could follow everything along, though there were some places that you obviously had to leave a question. Good guesswork, and I bet some of it is correct. Me too, never heard of that name before now!

  4. When you cried Eureka! I knew my hunch that Beadnell could be a surname was going to be confirmed. You were right about it being a complex family.

  5. Great name - great detail. An address is a good clue.

  6. I was intrigued from the beginning with the name Beadnell. I have a long line of Beadles in my family tree, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in the 1630s. As the Beadle daughters married, they passed the name on, too, as a forename. My most favorite Beadle ancestor also inherited his mother's maiden name as a forename "Lemon Beadle" born 30 July 1680 in Salem. He had a grandson named "Beadle Beckett" born in the 1740s!

  7. Thank you all for your kind comments. I must admit, my first thought on the Beadnell name is that it probably came from a female line - but as family historians, we know better than to assume! But it took some time to unravel the relationships.

    To Heather - there is a lovely little village called Beadnell on the north east coast of England. Your own family history sounds fascinating, able to trace back to the early American settlers. I visited Salem some years ago, sailing from Boston harbour on a wonderful trip to New England. I have never heard of the Christian name "Lemon" before - it cries out for a blog post!


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