I always thought there was something odd about the birth
of my great-great-grandmother, Emma
and her twin sister, Jane
but it took her birth certificate to prove the point.
Sidebotham, married John
Caldwell in May 1821 at Manchester Cathedral and they
had five children, the two youngest having been born in
Cheshire in the mid-1930s. However, by the time of the
was living at Fernaly Street, Hyde, where Emma
were born eight months previously. Of John
there is no sign and neither is he to be found anywhere
else, but the limited information on the 1841 census means
there is no indication as to Alice's marital status.
was still in Hyde in 1851
and records that she was widowed. She has also had another
born about 1844. My first assumption then was that John
must have died some time between then and the census,
but again there was no sign of a record. My next thought
was that perhaps he wasn't Thomas'
father and that he had died earlier than I thought, perhaps
around 1840 when the twins were born. I had no reason
at that stage to think that he may not have been their
father as Emma
names him as such on her marriage
certificate, but still the record remained elusive.
My suspicions grew and in the end I had to grit my teeth
and part with £7 for Emma's
birth certificate which proved to be something of an eye-opener.
To begin with, it is very specific about the time of Emma's
birth because she was a twin — five minutes before
eight o'clock on 23 October 1840 — but instead of
the expected blank space where the father's details should
be, there was the name John Voce, occupation, tailor,
and certainly the same John
Voce who was living with the family in 1841.
Caldwell had died around the mid-1830s just prior
to the start of the registration of births, marriages
and deaths, probably in Frodsham. Why Alice
should have then moved to Hyde isn't clear. I can only
assume some family connection, although she had been born
in Manchester, but this has yet to be proved.
Technically speaking then, I am not related to the Caldwells,
at least not through John.
I don't believe that John
Voce was also the father of Thomas.
Another birth certificate might reveal who that was. Go
to the Voce
home page to learn more about that family.
was ever aware of who her father was is uncertain. As
can be seen from her marriage certificate, she names John
Caldwell, and from previous experience, people tended
to be truthful about their lineage, or at least what they
believed to be the truth.
By 1867, when Emma
, she was living at 3
, Openshaw (see map left), while Thomas was
nearby at Varna
. He was the eldest son of John
and had been born in Liverpool in 1842, although
his father's family were originally from Wigan. John
clearly moved around through his work as he had children
born in Dukinfield, Newton Moor and Gorton. As a boiler
maker, his skills would have been in demand in these areas
of heavy industry, particularly at Daniel
. (Read more on the Shorrocks
also became a boiler maker and was living in Ashton in
In 1871 Emma
was living at 31
Forge Street, Crewe with their eldest son Jabez,
was working as a boiler maker in Bedford. At the time
death in 1893. they were living at 92
Victoria Road, Dukinfield and Thomas
was a journeyman boiler maker, almost certainly at Adamson's
factory mentioned above. Emma
was only 51 when she died of TB, while Thomas
himself died at the age 58 at the same address.
had four children, the eldest surviving being Emma
Jane Shorrocks who was born at 14 Hilton Street, Ashton-under-Lyne
in 1876. She married Henry
Bell Binnie at St John's Church, Dukinfield in 1898
which is where the story continues through my Binnie
Thomas' brother John
was yet another boiler maker and settled in Leeds in the
1870s, while James
lived in Denton. His son, Philip,
lived to be 100 when he died at the Lakes
Nursing Home, Dukinfield, in 2001.
See the Shorrocks
page for more information on this family.