Isabella Atkinson & the Censuses.

Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Following families in the early census records is always difficult and I find English Census records particularly difficult to follow.

To the best of my research, Isabella Atkinson (my wife’s 3rd great-grandmother on her maternal line) was born between 1834 and 1835 in Long Marton, Westmorland, England. She married Edward Lamb in 1853. So, during the 1851 Census, she should have been sixteen or seventeen years old and, hopefully, living with her parents. But alas, no such luck.

Isabella in the Censuses

1851 Census[i]

There is one Isabella Atkinson, born about 1835 in Long Marton, Westmorland, England.

She is living with the widow Elizabeth Wade at Church Stile House. Isabella is a 16-year-old “General Servant.”

1841 Census[ii]

Again, there is one Isabella Atkinson, born about 1834 in Long Marton, Westmorland, England. However, this census appears to have Isabella’s parents and siblings included. The 1841 Census does not provide relationships, however, this appears to be a nuclear family.

  • John Atkinson, 40 – Head – John’s occupation is “Husbandman” (aka farmer).
  • Elizabeth,        35 – Apparent Wife
  • Thomas,          16 – Apparent Son
  • Richard,           11 – Apparent Son
  • George,           9   – Apparent Son
  • Isabella            6   – Apparent Daughter
  • Ann                 3   – Apparent Daughter

Living in Township of Knock in the parish of Long Marton.
Superintendent Registrar’s District of East Ward.
Registar’s District of Appleby
Enumeration District 10.


Isabella married Edward Lamb on 27 November 1853. Following her after her marriage we find.

1861 Census[iii]

We find Isabella enumerated with her husband in Warcop, Westmorland, England.

The family unit consists of:

  • Edward Lamb     29     Head    Mar      29     Victualler[iv]   Warcop,
  • Isabella Lamb     26     Wife     Mar      26                       Long Marton,
  • Margaret Lamb   11/12 Dau.    N/A      11 mos.              Warcop,
  • Dorathy Bradley  77     Visitor  Widow  77     Landed Proprietor  Warcop,

(Note: All were Westmorland.)


I have been unsuccessful finding Isabella in the 1871 England Census. It appears that Edward may be living with his mother and two sisters in Sanford during the 1871 Census.[v] Margaret does not appear to be enumerated with Edward.


Again, I have been unsuccessful in finding Isabella in the 1881 England Census. Edward is enumerated as married, owns his house, and is a landed proprietor. He is also an annuitant. There is no evidence of Isabella with him. Edward and Isabella’s Daughter, Margaret Mary Lamb (1860-1929), has married and is living in Workington with her husband, Peter McAllister (1852-1941).


Edward and Isabella had two other children that were christened after Margaret. James Cooper in 1863 and Edward in 1864. I have been unable to find any records or references to Isabella after 1864.  Consequently, I believe she may have passed between 1864 and the 1871 Census.

Although I feel a sense of frustration not determining Isabella whereabouts after 1864, I am really happy to have determined the names of Isaballa’s parents and four of her siblings.  Maybe researching Isabella’s parents or her siblings will result in a greater understanding of Isabella’s life.

Endnotes & Source Citations:

[i] 1851 England and Wales Census – March 30, Ancestry, Isabella Atkinson (Servent) – Elizabeth Wade (Head) – Bongate, Westmorland, England. Class: HO107; Piece: 2439; Folio: 125; Page: 20; GSU roll: 87120. Description: Enumeration District: 7.

[ii] 1841 England and Wales Census – June 6, Various, John Atkinson – Knock, Parish of Long Marton, Westmorland. Class: HO107; Piece: 1158; Book: 1; Civil Parish: Long Marton; County: Westmorland; Enumeration District: 10a; Page: 1; Line: 1; GSU roll: 464189.

[iii] 1861 England and Wales Census – April 7, Ancestry, Edward Lamb – Class: RG 9; Piece: 3958; Folio: 8; Page: 9; GSU roll: 543213. 1861 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1861. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Oice (PRO), 1861. Data imaged from The National Archives, London, England. The National Archives gives no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided. Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education. Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.

[iv] A victualler is traditionally a person who supplies food, beverages and other provisions for the crew of a vessel at sea, but also may be the landlord of a public house. | Retrieved 29 November 2020, from Wikipedia

[v] 1871 England Census – April 2, Ancestry, Ann Lamb – Head – Sanford, Westmorland, England. “England and Wales Census, 1871”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 28 September 2019), Mary Lamb in the entry for Ann Lamb, 1871.

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