Could John Carlile have come from Yorkshire? (Part 2)

By David Carlisle, 27 Mar 2004

See Part 1

In my last letter I described why we expected that John Carlile had a brother Peter and a sister Rebecca, that Peter was a Lawyer and that the family had come from London. I also noted that we had found Peter the Lawyer living in Southwark, London, and that three marriages in that area within a year and a half of each other appear to be for Peter, his brother John, and his sister Rebecca. Connecting this family with Yorkshire requires that we first look at a few dates.

When John Edward Carlisle visited St. Mary's Parish in Nottingham, he found that when his grandfather died in December of 1841 he was 58 years old. The problem is that this conflicts with other information. The 1841 census completed in early March indicate that his age was 45. Under the rules for that census, this means that his age could have been rounded down from 49. The civil registration death certificate indicates that he died at age 50. The most likely year for his birth, then, seems to be 1791.

We know Peter Carlile the lawyer was living on Great Charlotte street, so when the Christ Church, Southwark burial registers show that Peter Carlisle [sic] of Great Charlotte Street died on 18 August 1837 at age 51, we can be confident he is the right Peter. This means he was born about 1786.

We don't know yet when the Rebecca Hopper Carlile who married Joseph Brooks was born, but as she may have died after the beginning of civil registration in 1837, her death certificate may not be too difficult to locate. One valuable clue to her origins is that her middle name may have been her mother's maiden name, so we could search for a family where a Carlile married a Hopper, and had children named Peter and John, born about 1786 and 1791, respectively.

Which leads me to the family of George Carlill and Ann Hopper, who were married in Cottingham, Yorkshire on the 22nd of July, 1778. I know Aunt Rebecca said that she thought her grandfather's name was John and not George, so this presents a problem, but then perhaps she remembered this detail incorrectly. I notice that the oldest son of John Carlile and Mary Shannon was named George, and that Peter Carlile also had a son named George Peter, although he was not the oldest. Cottingham is about 20 miles southeast of Pocklington, Yorkshire where John Carlile and Mary Shannon were married. This is not a compelling connection, but it has always been a puzzle why John would have come from London, got married in Yorkshire, then moved to Nottingham. Perhaps after he left London he first returned to familiar territory in Yorkshire, perhaps having known Mary Shannon previously as well, previous to her being married to Mr. Smith.

The first child of George Carlill and Ann Hopper was Ann, born in 1779, and who apparently died early because their next child born in 1780 was also named Ann. Then they had a son William, born in 1783. I should note here that John and Peter both had sons named William, and that John's first daughter was named Sarah Ann, and he had a daughter with Mary Hooley named Ann as well, so both these names appear in our Carlile families. The next child of George Carlill and Ann Hopper was named Peter, and he was born on March 16, 1785. This is about five months off from the expected date for our Peter Carlile the Lawyer, but is certainly within reason. His civil death certificate could also be checked for any differences.

Determining the birthday of their next son, John, is a little more complicated. The christenings for all the previous children were done in the congregationalist chapel in Cottingham, and show that George and Ann Carlill were residents there. But the christening record for John in 1789 indicates the family had moved to Brigg, Lincolnshire, about 15 miles south. There was a congregationalist chapel in Brigg, but the records for that time period are not available, and no other records have been found for other children. There is a possibility that this child John died early, and they had another child John in 1791, which would correspond with the expected birthday of our John Carlile.

So what about Rebecca Hopper Carlile? Was she the daughter of George Carlill and Ann Hopper as well? It appears that Ann had a brother in Cottingham who married Rebecca Harrison, so the name Rebecca would have been a familiar one in the family. And did George and Ann continue living in Brigg, did they move back to Cottingham, or could they have moved farther south down to London? Perhaps further research will turn up a few more clues.

There was a General Register of Protestant Dissenters where an additional record for these christenings could have been placed, but it is not clear at this point how easy those records are to search. It doesn't appear that they are all available on microfilm at the Salt Lake Genealogical Library. The original copies are in the Public Record Office in Kew, England. These records may be able to tell us if George and Ann really did have a daughter named Rebecca.

But a bigger question is whether the father of John, Peter and Rebecca was named John or George? There are strong family traditions favoring the name John, but Rebecca's middle name of Hopper means that George Carlill and Ann Hopper cannot be completely ruled out. There is a possibility that this question can be resolved.

Without going into great detail, we know from the record of when Peter Carlile was admitted to practice as a lawyer before the Court of Common Pleas in London, that some other records also exist which have not yet been checked. There is a chance that these records could show whether Peter's father was named John or George, or Charles or something else completely unexpected. It is also interesting to note that the record we have refers to Peter Carlile as a "gentleman." It is not clear at this point whether this is typical, or whether this is an additional clue to Peter's ancestry.

Stay tuned for further developments, as the quest to find the parents of John Carlile continues.