January 31, 2012

Rosina Hankinson of Garston/Liverpool: Her Name was Key to Finding a Missing Person

The Hankinson family of Liverpool, England had 9 children, the oldest of whom was William born in 1865. He was with his parents in the census of 1881, aged 16 and a plumber. I could not find him 10 years later in the 1891 census -- not with the family, not alone.  

I guessed that he may have married, being 26 in 1891. So I checked the Lancashire county marriage records and found a possible match or two; but it is only an index without many details.  I also checked ancestry's UK bmd (birth-marriage-death) records and found at least 5 possible matches in Lancashire. Assuming that "my" William Hankinson was probably one of those listed, I tried again to find him with a wife in the 1891 census, but without success.  I thought perhaps he had left the area, so I moved on to document other family members.

This year I began updating the family tree with 1911 UK census information, starting with a simple search on the surname Hankinson.  I happened to notice a listing for 13 year old Rosina Hankinson in Garston, the part of Liverpool William's family lived in.  It had caught my eye because it is not a common name AND it was the name of my missing William's mother (Rosina Craghill Hankinson).  Could this be her granddaughter?  And, if so, was her father William?

I pulled up the full record and saw that Rosina was listed with her mother Martha, 5 Hankinson siblings, a step-father and 4 step-siblings. And they were living at 31 Shakespeare Street, the neighborhood where many other Hankinson family members lived.  So, I strongly suspected that my missing William had been her father.  

Tracing back through the marriage records I confirmed that Martha Forrest and William Hankinson wed in 1888. Returning to the 1891 census yet again, I found them together but indexed as HAWKINS. They were living in Garston with 3 young children and he was listed as a labourer.  Even if I had seen this record previously, I might have passed it by assuming his occupation would be plumber.

To verify that William and Martha were indeed Rosina's parents, I found her Liverpool Baptism record on ancestry.com which did confirm my hunch, as shown below.

Name:Rosina Hankinson
Birth Date:abt 1898
Baptism Date:19 Jul 1898
Parish:Garston St Michael
Father's Name:William Hankinson
Mother's name:Martha Hankinson

Following up on William, I found a death record in 1898 and was able to obtain additional information from the Liverpool burial records. This confirmed that he was buried at St Michael's in Garston and had lived at 30 Byron Street, near Shakespeare Street where his widow and children lived in the 1901 and 1911 census.

The fact that young Rosina was named for her grandmother brought her to my attention and helped me find her parents'  marriage, her father's death and identified an additional 7 grandchildren for William's parents, John and Rosina.  The excellent Liverpool records in the ancestry database helped greatly in piecing together this and the other families I am tracing in Garston.  If your family lived there, take advantage of this resource.  Become familiar with the neighborhood your family lived in and the local parish church ... then search for those records. Good Luck !

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