Stephen Blackhurst (c. 1779-1847)

By Don Taylor

UPDATED 25 April 2019

During the NERGC conference in Manchester, NH, one of the speakers talked about “Circles in Family Tree Citations.” That is to say, a fact in a person’s tree is based upon another tree, and that tree is based upon another tree, and that tree is based upon another tree and so forth until that first tree is the source for the last tree. I find it even more disturbing when several of the trees cite another record as a second source and that record conflicts with the cited fact.

According to over a dozen trees I found on Ancestry and elsewhere, Stephen Blackhurst was born 26 December 1775 in Derbyshire, England. All of these trees cite another Ancestry Family Tree as their source. Several of those trees do cite the 1841 England Census which indicates that Stephen Blackhurst was 60 years old in 1841, suggesting his birth in 1781; however they still cling to the 1775 birthdate.  Even Family Search’s Family Tree indicates the 1775 date and cites the 1841 Census as the source and a person’s Ancestry Tree as the as a reason for the I’ve emailed a couple of the individuals to see if they might have a more definitive source but all have either responded with “don’t know, it’s from another person’s tree” or had no response.

Brown Research 2019 – Ancestor #124

List of Grandparents


The 1841 England Census indicates that Stephen Blackhurst was 60-years-old at census time.  That suggests his birth year was 1780 or 1781. It appears he was born in Derby in Derbyshire as it was the location for his marriage and the christening of several of his children. Also, the 1841 census indicates he was not born in Yorkshire.

His death register entry indicates that he was 70 years old when he died on 8 March 1847 suggesting a birth of 1776 or 1777.  So, I really don’t know when he was born but am confident it was between 1776 and 1781, so I’ll use “circa. 1779” until I find a better record. 

I know nothing about his childhood, but across the Atlantic in 1781, Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown and England had a period of relative peace. It wasn’t until after his marriage that the Napoleonic Wars kicked into full gear.


Image of St. Peter's Church
St. Peter’s Church, Derby, where Stephen and Lydia were married in 1802. (Photo by Jerry Evans)

On 14 June 1802, Stephen married Lydia Ellen Cockram at the Church of St. Peter in Derby, Derbyshire by N Baylor, the vicar of Saint Michaels, Derby. The witnesses were Geo Tunnecht and Rebecca Bull. St. Peter is still standing. The church building dates back to the 11th century and is now over 950 years old.

Marriage Registration: Stephen Blackhurst & Lydia Cockram – Source: Derbyshire England, Church of England Marriages and Banns 1754-1932 – (Via Ancestry)


Stephen and Lydia had nine children.

Name Birth Death
Stephen 1803 in Derby 1869
Eliza 1805 in Derby 1806*[1]
Mary 1806 in Sheffield 1877*
Matthew 1811 1846
Francis 1812 1820*
William 1816 1880*
John 1817 1844*
Adamson 1819 1901*
Lydia Ellen 1921 1894*

In July 1806, the first daughter of Stephen and Lydia died.

In 1820*, their 8-year-old son, Francis died.

On 5 May 1827*, Stephen’s wife Lydia Ellen (Cockram) Blackhurst died in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England.

In 1833, Stephen had a shoe maker’s shop at the Old Workhouse in Pitsmoor (Sheffield).

In 1839, Stephen was a boot and shoemaker at 57 Pye Bank in Sheffield.

The 1841 Census indicates that Stephen is a 60-year-old shoemaker living at Pye Bank in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. The Census notes that he was not born in the county, but all the others in the household were.[2] Living with him are:

  •       Matthew – Age 30     Shoemaker
  •       Mary – Age 30            Dressmaker[3]
  •       William – Age 25       Shoemaker[4]
  •       Ellen – Age 20
  •       John – Age 21             (Table? ????? Maker?)[5]
1841 England Census showing the household of Stephen Blackhurst (Via Ancestry.Com)

In 1844*, Stephen’s son John died at the age of 27.

In 1846*, Stephen’s son Matthew died at the age of 35.

In 1847 Stephen was a shoemaker at 24 Chapel St., Bridge houses.


Stephen Blackhurst died on the 8th of March 1847. in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England.[6] About five days before his death, he was mortally injured when a cart ran over him. He was 70 years old. 

Crop (portion) of Stephen Blackhurst’s Death Register entry.


Stephen Blackhurst was born about 1780, probably in Derby, Derbyshire, England. He was preceded in death by his wife, the former Lydia Ellen Cockram, three sons, and a daughter. He was survived by three sons; Stephen, William, and Adamson and two daughters, Mary and Lydia Ellen.

Events by Location

Derby, Derbyshire, England       1780-1805     Birth, Marriage, Birth of two children – 25 years.

Sheffield, Yorkshire, England     1806-1847     Birth of seven children, Death – 41 years.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Confirm Birth, Marriage, and Death information for Stephen’s wife Lydia and all of his children.


  • 1841 England Census,, Stephen Blackhurst (Sr.) – Sheffield Parish, Stattforth & Tickhill, Yorkshire, England. Class: HO107; Piece: 1329; Book: 3; Civil Parish: Sheffield; County: Yorkshire; Enumeration District: 9; Folio: 40; Page: 4; Line: 8; GSU roll: 46427
  • City Directory (A),, 1841 – Sheffield, England – Page 324 – Blackhurst – 57 Pye Bank. 1841 Pigot & Co’s Royal National and Commercial Directory; Publisher: J. Pigot & Co.
  • City Directory (A),, 1847 – Sheffield, England – Sheffield and its Vicinity, Page 3 – Boot and Shoe Makers – Blackhurst – 24 Chapel St, Bridge-houses. 1847 Slater’s Directories of Important English Towns; Publisher: Isaac Slater.
  • City Directory (UL) (Various), University of Leicester,, 1839 – Birmingham and Sheffield
    • Page 28 – Blackhurst, Eliza
    • Page 210 – Blackhurst, Eliza
    • Page 219 – Blackhurst, Eliza
    • Page 721 – Blackhurst, Steph
    • Page 772 – Blackhurst, Stephen
  • England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007, Family Search, Stephen Blackhurst – 1847. “England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007,” database, FamilySearch ( : 31 December 2014), citing Death, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.
  • England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, Family Search, Eliza Blackhurst. “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch ( : 11 February 2018, Stephen Blackhurst in an entry for Eliza Blackhurst, 09 Mar 1805); citing , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 422,207, 422,208, 498,068, 498,069.
  • England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, Family Search, Francis Blackhurst. “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch ( : 11 February 2018, Stephen Blackhurst in an entry for Francis Blackhurst, 06 Jan 1812); citing , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 919,327.
  • England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, Family Search, John Blackhurst. “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch ( : 11 February 2018, Stephen Blackhurst in entry for John Blackhurst, 26 Oct 1817); citing , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 919,328, 919,329, 919,360, 919,361, 919,362.
  • England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, Family Search, Mary Blackhurst. “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch ( : 11 February 2018, Stephen Blackhurst in an entry for Mary Blackhurst, 06 Oct 1806); citing , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 919,327.
  • England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, Family Search, Stephen Blackhurst. “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch ( : 11 February 2018, Stephen Blackhurst in an entry for Stephen Blackhurst, 13 Jul); citing yr 1662-1810, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 422,208.
  • England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1537-1918, Family Search, Stephen Blackhurst & Lydia Cockran – 14 Jun 1802.
  • White, 1833 History & Directory of Sheffield, Rotherham (Publisher: R. Leader), Ancestry.Com, Stephen Blackhurst – Yorkshire, England – Shoe Maker, Old workhouse, Pitsmoor. 1833 History & Directory of Sheffield, Rotherham; Publisher: R. Leader for W. White.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–


[1] All dates marked with “*” are speculative dates based upon the information from others.  I have NOT confirmed these dates with personal research. Instead, I consider them clues for further investigation.

[2] The 1841 Census refutes claims that Stephen was born in Yorkshire and confirmed that all of the children in this census were born in Yorkshire County.

[3] The 1849 Sheffield City Directory lists Mary as a dressmaker at 19 Chapel street.

[4] The 1852 Sheffield City Directory lists William as a shoemaker at 24 Chapel St., confirming the 1841 Census occupation for William.

[5] The occupation of Jno (John) is close to illegible. The

[6] It appears that Stephen died on 8 March 1847. I have ordered a copy of his death registry entry.

University of Leicester Special Collections

I love it when I find a new website that really helps my genealogical research. I was researching my 4th Great-grandfather, Stephen Blackhurst, Sr. (c. 1779-1847) and found “Historical Directories of England & Wales,” on the University of Leicester, “Special Collections” webpages.  They have multiple directories from 40 county’s in England and Wales.  In my case I searched for Blackhurst and found over 100 returned items.  I then added “Yorkshire” to my listing and found 15 records.  Stephen died in 1847, so eliminated directories 1850 and newer. I looked closely at the Directories for 1833, 1841, 1847, and 1849 (he should have been gone for that one).

Stephen Blackwell in the 1833 Sheffield City Directory

Sure enough, there he was; a shoe maker at the Old Workhouse in Pitsmoor and he’s a shoemaker at 57 Pye bank in the 1839 and 1841 directories as well. He was not listed in the 1849 directory (he died in 1847), but two of his children, Adamson and Mary were listed.  Adamson was a shoe and butcher knife maker, at 102 Matilda St., and Mary was a dressmaker at 19 Chapel Street. I’m not 100% positive that this Mary Blackhurst is the right Mary Blackhurst (some of Mary’s siblings could have had a daughter Mary who could be this Mary), but it is likely enough to add it as a tentative entry.

To find the city directories, visit the University of Leicester Special Collections, then select Historical Directories of England & Wales. You can then browse or search the collection by county.  For those of you with Leicestershire ancestors, they have an additional 50 directories at Historical Directories of Leicestershire.

I can hardly wait to apply these city directories to my wife’s line in Workington and Cumberland County, England.

Two New Fourth Greats – McAllister and Bell


It is always a good day when you receive an envelope with new information. A few weeks ago, I ordered a copy of a marriage register entry for my wife’s third-great-grandparents on her Darling-McAllister line. I had found them in the GRO (General Register Office) index, which indicated her third-greats were married in October, November, or December in 1845.  I was pretty sure that the registry entry would provide an exact date and might provide other bits of information. And sure enough, it did. Although many other records are available electronically, the marriage records from the 1840s are still “they’ll send you a copy via mail.”

Marriage Registry Entry – Joseph McAlister and Hannah Bell – Married 8 November 1845 in Cockermouth, Cumberland, England

After a number of weeks, the registry entry arrived, and I learned that Joseph McAllister and Hannah Bell were married on the “Eighth of November 1845.” There were married in the Register’s Office with William Scott and Arin Bell as witnesses. I’ll bet Arin Bell was probably related to Hannah. The registry entry shows Joseph was a “Mariner” (I knew he was a sailor before). But most interesting I learned that Joseph’s father was Peter McAlister, a miller, and Hannah’s father was Jonathan Bell, also a mariner.

The registry document provided the exact date for the marriage of her 3rd-great-grandparents and the names for two of my wife’s 4th-great grandparents, Peter McAllister and Johnathan Bell. Definitely a good day (And clues for further research.)

Surname Saturday – Beardsley

Darling Line
By Don Taylor

Name Origin

According to Forebears, the surname “Beardsley” is a derivation of “Bardsley,” which was derived from being from a place, ‘of Bardsley.’ Bardsley is a parish between Ashton and Oldham, near Manchester. The American Bardsleys, and all the North English Bardsleys, and perhaps all the Beardsleys, hail from the Lancashire parish[i].

Ancestry suggests the name may be based upon an unidentified place, possibly in Nottinghamshire, where the surname is particularly common[ii].

Of course, I need to see things in order to understand the relationships of locations in England. Using Google Maps, I learned that Forebears puts the Beardsleys up near Manchester and Ancestry suggests a location 60 miles southeast of Manchester.  Oddly enouth, my Beardsley are from Ilkeston and Stratford-upon-Avon (50 and 90 miles from Manchester).

Locations of Beardsleys based on Forebears and Ancestry are in Gray and the locations of my wife’s Beardsley ancestors births. 

It seems odd to me that William and his son were born so far apart. It makes me wonder if my data regarding their birthplaces is incorrect.  Additionally, I’m relying mostly upon the research of others for those specific locations (sources I’ve found only say they were born in England). In any event, I haven’t had a chance to research these individuals in depth yet. However, the Interregnum may explain the relocation.


Worldwide there are approximately 12,390 people who bear the Beardsley surname.

It is most prevalent in the United State where over three-quarters of the people with the Beardsley surname live. Little Montserrat (a small island in the Lesser Antilles has the highest density of Beardsleys with 1 in 1,220 people having the surname.

Earliest Beardsley Ancestors

My wife’s ninth-great-grandfather, William Beardsley was born about 1604 in Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England. I, of course, like to imagine that young William Beardsley was named for William Shakespheare, a contemporary of the town of Stratford on Avon. Likewise, little William was about 12-years-old when Shakespeare died, so I speculate that William had seen, or at least knew of Shakespeare. William moved to Ilkeston, Darbyshire, England sometime before 1630 where he married Marie Harvie.

There, he had a son, Joseph Beardsley, who was born in Ilkeston, Darbyshire, England in 1635.

It was sometime before 1665 that William, Marie, and Joseph located to the Colonies and settled in Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Flag of the United Kingdom
Immigrant Ancestor

The Interregnum of England took place from 1649 to 1660. (The between the execution of Charles I and the arrival of Charles II and the start of the Restoration[iii]. It was the time of Oliver Cromwell. More research is needed to know if they arrived in the Colonies before during, or after the Interregnum. In any event, it was a time of great upheaval in England and that chaos might have been the cause for leaving England for the new world.

So, both William and Joseph were immigrant ancestors from England.

Joseph married Abigail Phebe Dayton in Connecticut in 1665. They had a daughter, Hannah Beardsley, who is my wife’s seventh-great-grandmother.

My wife’s direct Beardsley ancestors:

  • Grandfather: Robert Harry Darling (1905-1969)
  • Great-grandfather: Rufus Harry Darling (1857-1917)
  • 3nd Great-grandmother: Elizabeth Jane Swayze (1818-1896)
  • 3rd Great-grandfather: David Swayze (1796-1850)
  • 4rd Great-grandfather: David Swayze (1762-1838)
  • 5th Great-grandfather: Amos Swayze (1739-1813)
  • 6th Great-grandfather: Mathias Swayze (1699-1728)
  • 7th Great-Grandmother: Hannah Beardsley (1671-1742)
  • 8th Great-Grandfather: Joseph Beardsley (1634-1712)
  • 9th Great-Grandfather: William Beardsley (1602-1661)

Known relatives.

Although I only have 11 Beardsley in my data, my records have identified 271 direct-line descendants of William Beardsley.



Ancestor Biography – Stephen Blackhurst (1801-1869)

 [Brown]/Montran/Barber/Blackhurst Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.As I have begun to get to know my Blackhurst heritage, I am amazed. It is an incredible group of people descended from 19th century English immigrants, Stephen and Fannie (Taylor) Blackhurst. Fifty years after Stephen’s death family reunions began. Their descendants include many community leaders including a superintendent of schools for St. Charles, Missouri. It is more amazing because until I began investigating this family line I had not hear of any Blackhurst ancestors.  It was a name neither my mother nor her brother recalled ever hearing. They both remembered hearing about their great-grandmother Sarah Barber, who died when my uncle was only one year old, but neither recalled hearing Sarah’s maiden name.

Of course, I wonder what caused my line to appear to have become estranged from the remainder of Blackhursts.  I have my suspicions, but need to do a lot more research to prove them. In any event, in introduce you to my third great-grandfather, Stephen Blackhurst.

Roberts-Brown-2017 – Ancestor #62

List of Grandparents

  1. Grand Parent: Madonna Montran
  2. 1st Great: Ida Barber
  3. 2nd Great: Sarah H Blackhurst
  4. 3rd Great: Stephen Blackhurst
  5. 4th Great: Stephen Blackhurst

Stephen Blackhurst (1801-1869)


Birth years are often contentious and Stephen’s birth year is no exception. He was certainly born sometime between 1799 and 1804.

  • 1799 – His death in 1869 at the age of 70 suggests that he was born in 1799.
  • 1800 – The 1860 Census indicates his age as 60, suggesting a birth year of 1800.
  • 1801 – His marker displays 1801. Because there is no definitive source for his birth year, 1801 is the year I prefer to use.
  • 1802 – The 1841 England Census indicates his age of 39, suggesting a birth year of 1802.
  • 1804 – The 1850 US Census indicates his age as 46, suggesting a birth year of 1804.

Other records indicate he was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.


I believe Stephen was the child of Stephen Blackhurst and Lydia Ellen Cochran. I know nothing of Stephen’s childhood nor of his siblings.


Relationship of Sheffield and Rotherham in South Yorkshire

Stephen and Fanny Taylor married on 26 Dec 1825 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England. Rotherham is the district immediately east of Sheffield.


It appears that the couple may have moved between Sheffield and Kingston upon Hull. Records indicate that their first child, Ellen, was born in Kingston upon Hull and five of the other children were born in Sheffield. There are two children that I don’t have any details on their birth locations and, of course, Ellen’s birth location is single sourced and may be incorrect.

In any event, by 1841 the Blackhursts had located to Kingston upon Hull (known as Hull today), Yorkshire, England.

Coming to America

The 1855 New York Census indicates that Stephen had come to America seven years earlier (1848) while his wife and three of his children had come to America five years earlier (1850). The family, Stephen and Fannie, with six of the children (Elizabeth, Mary, William, Eleazer, Ann, and Sarah) were settled in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York during the 1850 Census. Their oldest daughter, Ellen, married on 4 July 1850 and the census enumeration occurred on the 8th of August. The 1855 New York Census still shows the family in Auburn.

Move to Michigan

It appears that the Blackhursts came to Michigan in 1859. The 1860 Census shows Stephen and  Fanny along with the three youngest children, William, Louise, and Sarah living in Sheridan Township, Calhoun County, Michigan. The Blackhurst farm appears to be about four miles north of Albion. So, over the ensuing years various documents indicate they live in Albion and Sheridan (Township).  There were some apparent conflicts in the 1860 Census that I addressed here.


Marker = Stephen Blackhurst

Stephen Blackhurst died on 24 December 1869 of “Dropsy of the Bowels” (Ascites) in Albion, Calhoun County, Michigan. He is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Albion.


54 years after Stephen Blackhurst’s death, his descendants got together for a family reunion at a park in nearby Jackson, Michigan. See: Blackhurst Family Reunion – 1923 for details.


Stephen Blackhurst and Fanny Taylor had the following children:

  1. Ellen Blackhurst was born on 19 Oct 1829 in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, England. She died on 17 Feb 1905 in Sheridan Township, Calhoun County, Michigan. She married Henry Clough on 04 Jul 1850 in Auburn, Cayuga, New York.
  2. Elizabeth Blackhurst was born on 21 Oct 1831 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. She died on 14 Feb 1915 in Calhoun, Michigan.
  3. Mary Blackhurst was born on 20 Dec 1833 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. She died on 14 Feb 1900 in Springport, Jackson, Michigan. She married Royal Baldwin on 11 Jan 1857 in Calhoun County, Michigan.
  4. William Stephen Blackhurst was born on 13 May 1835 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. He died on 10 Mar 1914 in Avalon, Livingston, Missouri. He married Emily M Vase on 05 Sep 186417 in Calhoun County, Michigan,Usa. He married Sarah Elizabeth Hinkley sometime between 1875-1886.
  5. Louise Blackhurst (aka “Eleazer” and possibly “Louisa”) was born on 14 Aug 1840 in England. She died on 17 Mar 1927 in Albion, Calhoun, Michigan at the age of 88 Years, 7 Months, 3 Days.
    1. She married Samuel Sanders about 1862.
    2. She married Champion Eslow on 03 Sep 1872 in Albion, Calhoun, Michigan.
    3. She married Francis Magennis on 15 Aug 1882 in Albion, Calhoun, Michigan.
    4. She married Charles Henry Peck19 on 21 Dec 1898 in Albion, Calhoun, Michigan. It was the 4th marriage for Louise and the 2nd marriage for Charles.
  6. Phoebe Anna Blackhurst was born on 15 May 1842 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. She died on 17 Aug 1929 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.
  7. Sarah H Blackhurst was born on 29 Dec 1847 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. She died on 08 Aug 1928 at home at 1456 Lawndale, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. Stephen White, Justice of the Peace, performed the marriage ceremony for Sarah and Franklin E Barber on 08 Nov 1869 in Sheridan Township, Calhoun County, Michigan.


Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Trace Stephen Blackhurst’s life in England before his coming to the United States.