While tracing back through the life of James YEOMANS recently, I came to a standstill at his birth. There were two likely baptismal records of Josephs whose fathers were both called William but which one was the correct one? One had a mother called Mary, the other, Elizabeth. Never mind, I thought, I’ll just use the censuses.
The problem was however, that I couldn’t find Joseph YEOMANS in the 1841 census – the one that could give me his parents names and take me another step back in the line. I had Joseph’s marriage record so knew he was married in St. Philip’s Church, Birmingham in 1845 (now Birmingham Cathedral) and the ’51 and ’61 censuses located him there. A general name search (variants on and off) and an area limiting search came up with nothing. It’s possible he was living/staying elsewhere that night but also possible the transcription was askew.
The marriage certificate gives his father’s name as William YEOMANS – a tin plate worker. Joseph’s precise age is not given, only ‘of Full age’ to indicate he was at least 21. The 1851 census gives 27 which means he would only be 17 in 1841 and likely (although not guaranteed) still living at home. Locating it would hopefully solve the issue of which mother was his.
William and Mary YEOMANS were found quite easily, yet I could not find William and Elizabeth.
Presuming it was likely a different spelling of the name, Yeomans, I searched using a variety of name combinations. Finally, I searched for Jos* Yeomans and huzzah! There he was WITH his father William and mother, Elizabeth, who had been recorded as Wm & Elizth. For further proof this was the right family, both Joseph and his father were recorded as Tin Plate workers AND they were living on Summer Lane (the address given on Joseph’s marriage certificate).
His age was a couple years out from the birth years given on subsequent censuses but it fit very well with the 1822 baptismal record.
Interesting to note that he gives his age as 1 year younger than his wife, Catherine on the 1851 census and 1 year older than her on the 1861 census which are both 2/3 years younger than his actual age.