Relative Sketch – James Cooper Lamb

By Don Taylor

James Cooper Lamb was the brother of my wife’s 2nd great-grandmother, Margaret Mary Lamb (1860-1929). I researched him primarily to seek additional information regarding his mother Isabella (Atkinson) Lamb who appears to have vanished from the records about 1864. I may, or may not, have found her in am 1898 record.

Darling-McAllister-Lamb – Brother of #27

List of Greats & Grands

James Cooper Lamb (1862-1898).


James Cooper Lamb was baptized on 18 May 1862, He was nine years old during the 1871 Census, taken on 2 April) so I presumed he was born between 2 April 1862 and 17 May 1862.

James had a difficult childhood. His mother appears to have vanished from the records after the birth of his younger brother, Edward, in 1864. The 1871 Census shows the family has been broken up and nine-year-old James is living with his grandparents.


Photo courtesy of the New York Public Library, from their British Cigarette Cards collection.

The 1881 Census finds 19-year-old James working as a servant in the household of John Lancaster.

James may have become ill and entered the City Road Workhouse in London on 5 August 1886. He was transferred to the Highgate Workhouse the next day and was discharged from Highgate on 4 September 1886.[1]

James’ father, Edward Lamb, died November 1st. 1893. Edward’s estate was probated and James received the effects. James was a sergeant in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.


James died on 20 April 1898. His estate was also probated. The Isabella Lamb (a widow) was the administrator. It isn’t clear if this is Isabella, James’ widow, or Isabella, the widow of Edward Lamb. If the latter, that would prove James’ mother, Isabella, was living in 1898.

Events by Location

  • England, Westmorland, Soulby – 2 Apr 1871 – Residence.
  • England, Cumberland, Culgaith – 3 Apr 1881 – Residence.
  • England, Cumberland, Carlisle – 10 Jul 1894 – Probate of father.
  • England, Middlesex, Holborn – 5 Aug 1886 – Event.
  • England, Westmorland, Warcop – Between 2 Apr – 17 May 1862 (Birth)
  • England, Westmorland, Warcop – 18 May 1892 –  Christening,
  • Ireland, Kildare, Curragh – 20 Apr 1898 – Death.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Find the probate record for James Cooper Lamb.
  • Find the military record for James Cooper Lamb.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–


  • Source Title: 1871 England Census (April 2)
    Repository: Ancestry
    Citation: 1871 England Census (April 2) (National Archives of the UK), Ancestry, John Atkerson – Soulby, Westmorland, England. The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1871 England Census; Class: RG10; Piece: 5271; Folio: 88; Page: 7; GSU roll: 847454.
  • Source Title: 1881 England Census (April 3)
    Repository: Ancestry
    Citation: 1881 England Census (April 3) (National Archives of the UK), Ancestry, James Lamb – Age 19 – Culgaith, Cumberland, England. Class: RG11; Piece: 5143; Folio: 60; Page: 14; GSU roll: 1342241.
  • Source Title: England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
    Repository: Ancestry
    Citation: England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995, Ancestry, James Cooper Lamb – 20 Apr 1898.
  • Source Title: England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957
    Repository: Family Search
    Citation: England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957, Family Search, LAMB, Edward of Sanford. Citing this Record. “England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957,” database, FamilySearch ( : 27 August 2019), James Cooper Lamb in entry for Edward Lamb, 10 Jul 1894; citing Probate, Westmorland, England, United Kingdom, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, Great Britain.
  • Source Title: England Births and Christenings, 1538-­1975
    Repository: Family Search
    Citation: England Births and Christenings, 1538-­1975, Family Search, James Cooper Lamb – Warcop, Westmorland, England. “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch ( : 11 February 2018, James Cooper Lamb, 18 May 1862); citing , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 97,420.
  • Source Title: Letters
    Repository: Personal Files
    Citation: Letters, Letter – Betty Darling Kemon to Jerome Howell 30 Dec 1978.
  • Source Title: London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764-1930
    Repository: Ancestry
    Citation: London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764-1930 (London Metropolitan Archives), Ancestry, Lamb, James born 1862 – Page 284. London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: HOBG/542/13.
  • Source Title: London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764-1930
    Repository: Ancestry
    Citation: London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764-1930 (London Metropolitan Archives), Ancestry, Lamb, James born 1862 – Page 285 . London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: HOBG/542/13
    City Road Workhouse (St Luke´s and Other Workhouses) Register, 1885-1886.


[1] I am not positive this event related to James Cooper Lamb, the son of Edward and Isabella Lamb, however, I have accepted it tentatively and have entered it here.

James Lamb and the Workhouse

By Don Taylor

It is easy to forget that words often have different meanings in the US than they do in the UK. For example, being “stuck in the bog” could mean being stuck in the bathroom in England, while in the US, it would definitely mean being stuck in a wet spongy ground (a swampy place). So, when I learned James Lamb spent time in the workhouse, I had an American vision of a workhouse in my mind, not the English version. To me, a “workhouse” usually meant the place where a criminal spent time “at labor” for a crime.  Occasionally, a workhouse might also be a place where the destitute poor would live, and hopefully, work their way out of poverty.

I learned that James Lamb was admitted to the “City Road” workhouse on 5 August 1886.[i] He was then transferred to Highgate workhouse in Holborn, Middlesex, England, on 6 August and was discharged on 4 September 1886.[ii] It sounded like a 30-day sentence to me. Consequently, I wondered what the 24-year-old did to end up in the workhouse.

After further research, I learned that Highgate was an infirmary where the poor would receive medical treatment.[iii] In 1881, James was a servant and would have little support if he was sick. A such, he could have been ill and went to Highgate for care. So, I guess James may not have done anything wrong other than being poor and sick.  If this were the case, he didn’t enlist in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers until 1886. (See: Family Oral History & James Cooper Lamb).

On a final note, I’m not convinced that this 24-year-old James Lamb is my 24-year-old James Cooper Lamb. I have tentatively ascribed this event (time at Highgate) to my wife’s 4th great-uncle, James Cooper Lamb (1862-1898) but I’m ready to remove it if I find anything to conflict with it.


[i] London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764-1930 (London Metropolitan Archives), Ancestry, Lamb, James born 1862 – Page 284. London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: HOBG/542/13.

[ii] London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764-1930 (London Metropolitan Archives), Ancestry, Lamb, James born 1862 – Page 285. London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: HOBG/542/13 City Road Workhouse (St Luke´s and Other Workhouses) Register, 1885-1886.

[iii] Internet: The Workhouse: The story of an institution – Holborn, Middlesex, London.


Family Oral History & James Cooper Lamb

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I often find family oral history fascinating. I’ve found there are usually grains of truth in the oral story; invariably, some details aren’t quite right. I think I may have found the basis for an oral history from my wife’s second great-grandmother, Margaret Lamb

The oral history said that Margaret Lamb had a “brother who was an officer in the Indian Army, British Service.” Not a lot to go on.

First, I found a probate record for Margaret’s father, Edward Lamb, which said that Edward Lamb of Sandford, Warcop, Westmorland, died 1 November 1893. Probate was in 1894 in a Carlisle court. James Cooper Lamb was a Sergeant in the 4th Royal Dublin Fusiliers at that time.

Second, I found another probate record, this time 1898, for James Cooper Lamb, who was a “Colour-Sergeant,” 4th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Isabell Lamb widow inherited.

I had never heard of a “Colour-Sergeant.” Still, thanks to Wikipedia, I learned that a colour-sergeant is a non-commissioned title ranking above Sergeant and below a warrant officer.

Cap Badge for the Royal Dublin Fusiliers – Image by Dormskirk, CC BY-SA 3.0 – via Wikimedia Commons.

Also thanks to Wikipedia, I learned that the Royal Dublin Fusiliers was created in 1881 from two regiments in India, the Royal Bombay Fusiliers and the Royal Madras Fusiliers.

During the 1881 Census, James appears to be a servant in the house of John Lancaster. He must have joined up shortly after that. It would have been quite an accomplishment to have made Sergeant by 1894 and Colour-Sergeant by 1898.

It seems that James may have joined either the Bombay or Madras units and was then transferred to Dublin. If he ever went to India to be part of either of those units, it would be easy to see how the oral history of his being in the Indian Army, British Service could occur. Likewise, a “Non-Commissioned Officer” is often thought of as an officer by those who haven’t served. So, his being an officer in the oral history also makes sense.

I hope I can find a source for his military record to understand his military service much better.

Margaret had another brother, Edward Lamb (1864-___). It is also possible that Edward is the brother who was “an officer in the Indian Army, British Service.” He’ll be my next Lamb after finish researching James, to research.[i]

By the way, James may not have joined the Royal Fusiliers until 1886, but more on that later.


[i] I need to keep focused that my purpose in examining the lives of Margaret’s siblings is to learn of the whereabouts of Margaret’s mother, Isabella Atkinson.

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.

Darling DNA – ThruLines – Part 1

ThruLines Thursday

My Wife’s Darling-Swayze-McAllister-Lamb Line


DNA image by Caroline Davis2010 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

My wife’s mother has had her DNA tested, so rather than using my wife’s matches, I’m going to use her mother’s matches to focus on my wife’s maternal line. It will provide closer and better matches on that like. Consequently, I’m starting with my wife’s great-great-grandparents, my mother-in-law’s great-grandparents.

One of the problems with ThruLines is that it only considers individuals that match genetically AND have a tree at Ancestry where the individual had identified which person is them. So, my wife’s half-aunt who did test with Ancestry doesn’t show up at all because she doesn’t have a tree. Because of that, there were no matches with my wife’s four maternal great-grandparents (other than my wife’s mother).

DNA Relationships

Likewise, there were no ThruLines matches with my wife’s Darling or Swayze 2nd great-grandparents. However, there were three matches on the McAllister/Lamb lines.

There is “CM,” who is a 2nd cousin of my wife’s mother and is well known to us. The 101 cM of DNA shared between them is well within the expected range for 2nd cousins.  No surprise there.

The other two are descendants of my mother-in-law’s great-uncle Joseph McAllister.  “CK” and my mother-in-law share 176 cM of DNA across 11 segments and “IG” and my mother-in-law share 99 cM of DNA across 4 segments. Both within the range expected for second cousins to share. Both “CK” and “IG” were unknown cousins before the DNA test match results, however, both their parents were known.


If you are a descendant of Rufus Holton Darling (1815-1857), Elizabeth Jane Swayze (1818-1896), Peter McAllister (1852-1941), or Margaret Mary Lamb (1850-1929),  please consider testing with Ancestry DNA; it is an excellent genealogical resource and can help you broaden your tree too. I’d love to learn how you and my wife are related.


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All of my ThruLines posts are listed under the ThruLines Thursday category