Category Archives: Cumberland

A new family tree?

When is a family part of a one name study and when is it not? I have collected quite a lot of data from the 1939 Register relating to Sarginson’s, and their many variant surnames. I came across a family of four living in Gateshead, County Durham who I couldn’t immediately place into another family group. Tracing their line back in time led me to a couple, David Sargent (1905-1850) and Catherine Allan (1808-1868), living in Cummersdale, Cumberland, over 50 miles away from Gateshead. The following chart outlines what is known about them and three generations of their descendants:

Descendant chart for Thomas and Catherine

In the 1841 census Thomas Sargent, a flax spinner, was living with his wife Catherine and five sons in Dalston Lane, Buckabank West, in the parish of Dalston. There were several mills in Dalston and it was known for cotton manufacturing as the following extract from Lewis’ topographical directory of 1848 explains:

Dalston from Lewis’ Topographical Directory of 1848

Thomas died in 1850. By 30 March 1851 Catherine, with her children James (born about 1831), Moses (born about 1834), Margaret (born about 1842) and David (1846-1890), had moved to Cummersdale. Their surname was recorded as Sargenson, living at High Cummersdale (marked on the following map in blue); Buckabank Mill is circled in green. Moses and James were working as agricultural labourers.

OS Cumberland XIII dated 1868

Catherine married her second husband Edward Roberts (1824-1871) in 1855, and in the 1861 census they were living at 24 Trinity Buildings, Caldewgate, Carlisle. Edward was an overlooker in a cotton mill, son David a power loom weaver and daughter Margaret a cotton winder. Catherine died in Carlisle in 1868, followed by Edward in 1871.

Other members of the family have so far been difficult to trace; this could be partly attributed to whichever surname they were using, either variants of Sargent/Sarjeant or variants of Sargenson.

Thomas and Catherine’s youngest son David, married Elizabeth Rea (1853-1930) on 17 September 1871 in the Carlisle Registry Office. David was a core maker and Elizabeth a cotton winder. They both gave their address as Bread St, Carlisle. Neither of the witnesses were members of David’s family.

By the time David and Elizabeth’s son James (1873-1951) was born, the family had moved to Gateshead in County Durham. In the 1881 census David was a hammerman (iron) and the family were at 103 Abbotts St. David died in 1890 and Elizabeth married John Fitzpatrick (born about 1869) not long afterwards.

It was David and Elizabeth’s great grandson David (1898-1951), who I originally found in the 1939 Register. He was a builder’s labourer living with his second wife Mary (1913-1978) and sons Sidney (1922-1976) and David (1939-1942) at 26 Hubert Terrace, Gateshead. David had followed his father James (1873-1951) into the building trade, although in the 1921 census he was recorded as being out of work. At that point he was living his parents James and Margaret and sister Margaret in two rooms at 65 Clasper St, Gateshead.

I am interested in knowing more about this family and specifically those I’ve so far been unable to trace. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence and sourced from the NLS maps site


1921 Census. : accessed January 2022.

1939 Register.  : accessed January 2022.

Births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials.  : accessed January 2022.

Census records.  : accessed January 2022.

Cummersdale/Carlisle St Mary. : accessed January 2022.

Lewis, Samuel ed. (1848) A Topological Directory of England. London: Lewis. : accessed January 2022.

Thomas Sarginson (1835-1869) and his wife Mary Beaty (1840-1892)

Whilst I was researching Thomas and his family, I found a record for Mary and their two sons that showed they were living with her father in the 1871 census in Longtown, Cumberland. Both Mary and her father Robert (born about 1814) described themselves as widowed.  My next step was to find out more about Thomas. I found a death record for him and a number of newspaper articles which described how he had committed suicide in Longtown in 1869. 

Thomas had been baptised on 9 October 1835 in the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Appleby, Westmorland. His parents were Thomas Sarginson (born about 1808) and his first wife Mary Richardson (1805-1838). The register records his father’s occupation as a veterinary surgeon. After his mother died Thomas’ father married Ann Rockliff (1808-1871) with whom he had another son William (born 1843). The following descendant chart shows the family relationships:

Descendant Chart for Thomas Sarginson

By 1851 the family had moved to Newcastle upon Tyne in Northumberland when Thomas senior gave his occupation as a chemist. They had moved back to Westmorland by the 1861 census and by that time Thomas junior had met and married Mary Beaty. The household census entry reads as follows:

AddressNameRelation to Head of FamilyConditionAge MAge FRank, Profession or OccupationWhere born
ColbyThomas SarginsonHeadMarried52 Veterinary practitionerNewbiggin Cumberland
 Ann SarginsonWifeMarried 53 Penrith Cumberland
 William SarginsonSonUnmarried 18ScholarAppleby Westmorland
 Thomas SarginsonLodgerMarried25 Student Royal Veterinary College EdinburghAppleby Westmorland
 Mary SarginsonWifeMarried 24 Scotland
1861 Census for Thomas and family

Interestingly, Thomas the younger’s entry listed him as a lodger, not a son, and it was annotated with the words “practising as a veterinary surgeon”. Thomas and Mary went on to have two sons:

  • William Robert Sarginson (1861-1931) – his birth was registered in Longtown but he did not consistently use this information on later census records.
  • Frederick Arthur Sarginson (1864-1877) – his birth was registered in Longtown and his death on 26 September 1877 in Barrow in Furness, Lancashire.  His mother Mary registered his death and their address was given as 29 Napier Street, Barrow.

Thomas committed suicide, at the age of 34, on 11 October 1869 in Longtown, Cumberland. He had obtained prussic acid from a local surgeon, Dr Francis Graham, citing his need for it professionally as a veterinary surgeon (Carlisle Patriot, 15 October 1869, page 4). An inquest was held into his death presided over by the coroner, Mr Carrick, and a jury was appointed (Cumberland and Westmorland Advertiser and Literary Chronicle, 19 October 1869, page 4).

Although he was said to have a good business, initially practicing in Westmorland and then Penrith, he was reported to have taken to drinking and been unkind to his wife Mary. In her evidence to the inquest Mary said that they had been married for nine years and had two children. She had left him four years ago and retuned to Longtown to live with her father. Three months ago, Thomas had persuaded Mary to return to him but a week before his death had left saying that he was going to collect money but he didn’t return. She had been left without money for food and all the furniture in the house, except the children’s bed, had been removed by her husband’s aunt and uncle. The only food they had had been provided by the neighbours. Mary had written to Thomas advising him of their plight but he hadn’t come home so she retuned to her father Robert Beaty’s house in Longtown (Cumberland and Westmorland Advertiser and Literary Chronicle, 19 October 1869, page 4). Robert was the gateman at Longtown railway station. Mary described her husband as:

Deceased looked very wild when he got drink, and was very passionate. He was much reduced in circumstances. She had always done her duty as a wife to him, the quarrels taking place through his drinking.” (Cumberland and Westmorland Advertiser and Literary Chronicle, 19 October 1869, page 4).

When Thomas returned to the home he shared with Mary and his children on 11 October he found that it was deserted; he then made his way to Longtown where he bought the prussic acid, half an ounce in a small phial. Dr Graham described Thomas as being sober and cleanly dressed (Cumberland and Westmorland Advertiser and Literary Chronicle, 19 October 1869, page 4).

After buying the acid Thomas went to his father-in-law’s house to see his wife. He was refused access, took the acid and fell down. What happened next was described as follows:

He was carried at once to the waiting room of the station and medical assistance brought, but it was of no avail, he died about an hour later, apparently without pain.”  (Carlisle Patriot, 15 October 1869, page 4)

The jury found that the “deceased had committed suicide by poison while insane”.

OS Cumberland X 1868 – extract showing Longtown and the railway station

 There is a postscript to this story as regards Dr Francis Graham. He was fined 5s at the Longtown Petty Sessions for “unlawfully selling a quantity of prussic acid without labelling the bottle with the word poison” (Christchurch Times, 30 October 1869, page 7).

After the death of Thomas, Mary continued to live in Longtown with her father and sons until at least the 1871 census:

AddressNameRelation to Head of FamilyConditionAge MAge FRank, Profession or OccupationWhere born
Longtown CottageRobert BattieHeadWidower56 GatekeeperLongtown, Cumberland
 Mary SargensonDaughterWidow 30DomesticLongtown, Cumberland
 William SargensonSon 9 ScholarLongtown, Cumberland
 Frederick SargensonSon 6 ScholarLongtown, Cumberland
1871 Census for Robert, Mary and her sons

The family left Longtown sometime before Robert Beaty’s death on 9 September 1892. His death certificate records that he died at 43 Napier Street, Hindpool, Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. Robert was described as a general labourer and his daughter Mary was the informant for his death. Mary was also the informant for her son Frederick’s death on 28 September 1877 when they were living at 29 Napier Street.

Thomas and Mary’s oldest son, William (1861-1931) was boarding with the Abbott family at 29 Napier Street, in the 1881 census. He was described as a fitter born in Appleby, Westmorland. The head of the household was Victor Abbott, a railway guard.

Mary continued to live in Barrow-in-Furness and in 1891 she was living in James Street with her occupation given as a monthly nurse. Mary died on 12 March 1892 at 18 James Street. Her son William was the informant when her death was registered. By then he was living at 16 Oxford Street, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham.   William met and married Eliza Dunning (1865-1932) and together they had six children. In the 1911 census he was described as an engine fitter.

I am interested in knowing more about all the people mentioned in this blog post. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share.

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence and sourced from the NLS maps site


Appleby, Westmorland. : accessed March 2021.

Baptisms, marriages and burials. : accessed March 2021.

Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. : accessed March 2021.

Census records. : accessed March 2021.

Longtown, Cumberland. : accessed March 2021.

Newspapers. Collection: British Newspaper Collection. : accessed March 2021.

OS Maps. : March 2021.

Richard Sargeson (died 1890) blacksmith and Glengarry County resident

I was alerted to the existence of Richard Sargeson, a resident in Ontario, Canada in the nineteenth century some while ago. I developed a tree for those of his descendants I could find using existing online resources and then set aside the issue of where he had come from in England. His burial record in the MacMillan pioneer cemetery in the Lancaster township in the historic county of Glengarry in Ontario Canada provides the following intriguing information about him:

“Richard Sargeson born May the 24, 1789 departed his life April the 16 1890 aged 101 years 11 months & 8 days native of Cumberland England” (The source for this information is the Lonely Stones website mentioned in the bibliography.)

Some members of Richard’s family are buried in the cemetery, including his son Isaac (1840-1903) and both of Isaac’s wives: Catherine Ann McMillan (1841-1879) and Virginia Sayeau/Seguin (1854-1943). The cemetery itself is situated on Concession 7, lot 24 on the north side of Lancaster township. It seems to have been built on land originally settled by the McMillan family and contains burials for mainly members of the McMillan and McKay families. Concession 7 lot 24 was originally settled by Donald McMillan. Members of the McMillan clan were some of the original Scottish settlers in the county of Glengarry.  A plan of the Lancaster township from 1862 show that Concession 7 lot 24 was at that time held by William McMillan (1799-1871). 

There are two specific issues which I have been trying to resolve with regards to Richard and his descendants:  where in Cumberland did Richard come from and was his son Isaac’s first wife, Catherine Ann McMillan, related to the other members of the McMillan family buried in the cemetery?

Richard and his Cumberland origins

In order to search for Richard in the Cumberland baptism records I needed some idea of his date of birth. According to the burial record found in the MacMillan pioneer cemetery he died on 16 April 1890 aged 101 years, 11 months and 8 days old. The record of his death in the Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas (1869-1948) collection on Ancestry also gives his date of death as 16 April 1890 and his age as 101 years and 11 months. It records that he was born in Cumberland, England, his occupation as a blacksmith and that he died of old age. The informant was probably his son Richard Surgeson (1855-1915). Based on these two records his suggested birth date is 1788/89. However, his age in earlier records do vary somewhat as follows:

1851 Census Lancaster, Glengarry County – Richard gave his age as 58 implying his birth was about 1793. He was a blacksmith and occupying Concession 6 lot 24 with his wife Fanny (Roman Catholic) and six children who, together with Richard, were all described as Church of England.

1861 Census Lochiel, Glengarry County – Richard gave his age at next birthday as 71 implying a birth date of around 1790. The family were living in a two-storey log house built in 1820. Richard was described as a blacksmith and farmer and two of his son’s occupations were also recorded: George was a blacksmith and Isaac a labourer. Richard and Fanny had eight children in their household and their daughter Elizabeth’s name was now recorded as Escet. The family all gave their religion as Church of England, except their mother Fanny, who was Roman Catholic. Neither Richard nor Fanny could read or write.

1871 Census Lochiel (Division No. 2), Glengarry County – in this record Richard age was 77, implying he was born about 1794. His wife Frances, daughter Jane and son Richard were living with him as well as his son Isaac, Isaac’s wife Catherine and their three children. Richard and his children’s religion were given as Church of England, Frances as Catholic and Isaac’s wife Catherine’s as Church of Scotland. Richard was a farmer and neither he nor his wife Frances were able to read or write.

1881 Census Lancaster (Division No. 2), Glengarry County – in this census Richard gave his age as 85, implying he was born about 1796. He was a farmer living with his wife Frances with his religion as Church of England and hers as Catholic.  They also had two children living with them: Fanny Porter aged 10 and Richard Porter aged 8, both of whom had been born in the USA. Perhaps they were their grandchildren?

Just nine years after this census was taken Richard’s age at death in 1890 was recorded as 101 years 11 months implying his birth about 1788/9. However, as can be seen from the varied ages given in his census records, he did not age from census to census in 10-year increments. Based on his age in 1881, when he died in 1890, he could have been 94 years old suggesting a birth age of 1796. The censuses of 1871 and 1881 also recorded that he couldn’t read or write.

A search for a possible baptism in the online baptism records for Cumberland based on a possible birth date of 1796 did not initially find a possible baptism for him. Widening the search to look for records of baptisms for 1796 plus or minus 10 years identified a possible baptism: Richard Sargison baptised on 30 November 1806 to parents George Sargison (1776-1862), a blacksmith, and Ezat/Ezed Wright (1771-1843,) in Cumwhitton, Cumberland, England. Whilst at first glance this looks too late a date to be a record for Richard, there are a couple of things which make it worth considering. First of all, the family of George and Ezat in Cumberland had a son called Isaac (181-1893) who went onto become a blacksmith.

Secondly his potential mother’s first name is unusual: Ezat/Ezed. It does look like Richard and Fanny named one of their children after her: Escet/Elizabeth born about 1842 and then two of their children named a daughter in a similar fashion. Their son Isaac and his first wife Catherine named one of their daughters Essette (Elizabeth) Sargeson who was baptised a Catholic on 14 August 1870 in Lochiel, Glengarry County. Her birth date was recorded as 17 June 1869 and her parents were Isaac Sargeson and Catherine Ann McMillan. Her sister Margaret was baptised on the same day and her birth date given as 14 May 1867. In addition, Richard and Fanny’s daughter Jane named her first child Essette Annie Hope (1874-1956).

It does seem possible therefore that Richard’s origin could have been Cumwhitton in Cumberland, however more information about his origins would be helpful. The following chart outlines what I’ve been able to find out so far for him and his immediate descendants.

Descendant chart for Richard Sargeson

Catherine Ann McMillan (1841-1879)

 Catherine was Isaac Sargeson’s first wife; she was buried in the MacMilllan pioneer cemetery where her age was given as 35 years old, implying a birth around 1844. In the 1871 census her religion is recorded as Church of Scotland, however at least two of her children were baptised as Catholic’s. Unfortunately, a record for Isaac and Catherine’s marriage has not yet been found. In addition, the FamilySearch tree suggests her birth date was 1841 and that her parents were Allan McMillan (1807-1844) and Mary Campbell (b 1812). So far, I’ve not been able to clarify Catherine’s link to the McMillan family buried in the cemetery.


While I have found some evidence, which suggests that Richard Sargeson can be linked into George and Ezat’s family in Cumwhitton, Cumberland, I would like to see what other information can be found. So far, I have been unable to find a copy of the Glengarry News for 1890 online to see if there was an obituary for Richard in it. Nor have I found any marriage records for him or his son Isaac. I would like to find out more about the family. If you have information that you would be willing to share with me do please contact me. 


Glengarry County Archives. : accessed November 2020. (Includes copies of Glengarry News and the Glengarrian.

Glengarry County. : accessed November 2020.

Glengarry County, Ontario Genealogy. : accessed November 2020.

Glengarry History Society. accessed November 2020.

Lancaster Township. : accessed November 2020.

Lonely Stones. : accessed November 2020.

Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas (1869-1948) and census records. : accessed November 2020.

Tom Sarginson 1870-1951

While I was working on the records for the Sarginson Cumberland/Westmorland tree I came across Tom. He gave his occupation as a journalist in the 1911 census. Tom was one of four children born on 4 June 1870 in Penrith, Cumberland to Timothy Sarginson (1821-1895) and Mary Innes (1832-died after 1911). Timothy was a tailor and with Mary they had three other children:

  • William Simpson Sarginson (1860-1921) was also a tailor and married Jeanne Tirefort (died 1931) in France; he died in Belgium.
  • Elizabeth Sarginson (1863-1951), a dressmaker before her marriage to Edward Stephenson (1873-1943). She remained in Penrith until her death.
  • James Sarginson (1873-1945) worked as a joiner, married Elizabeth Ann Hill (1880-1960) and also lived in Penrith until his death.

Tom married Isabel Wood (1869-1926) in Penrith in 1889 and, at the time of the 1911 census, they recorded that they had had no children. Tom was still working as a newspaper editor for the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald in 1939 and living in Penrith. He was known by his pen name “SilverPpen” and edited the paper for 38 years from 1913 until his death in 1951. He wrote his “notes and comments” column, covering the news of the week for over 50 years and was known for his wit and humour.

Tom was considered a cultured journalist and was one of five from the provincial press invited to cover the coronation of King George VI in 1937. His descriptive piece on the ceremony in Westminster Abbey was considered to be one of the finest pieces of writing about this historic occasion. The Penrith Observer headlined his death on 20 April 1951 as “Silverpen passes” and noted that “journalism in the North of England” was poorer for his passing. Certainly, quite a different career path to those of his siblings and it seems that his legacy was the opportunities he gave to others to work in the newspaper industry, as remembered in a piece in the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, written 50 years after his death.

Whilst I make every effort to ensure that the information, I include in my blog posts are accurate mistakes can creep in. Do please contact me if you have any further information.

Note: the Penrith map comes from:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Penrith, in Eden and Cumberland | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time. URL:   Date accessed: 27th September 2019

Richard Sargeson 1789-1890

I recently received a query about a Richard Sargeson who died in 1890 and is buried in the MacMillan Pioneer Cemetery, Lancaster Township, Ontario, Canada. Details from the cemetery give his birth date as 24 May 1789, died 16 April 1890 and that he was a “native of Cumberland England”.  The question was: did he fit into any of my trees?  Well ever one to accept a request I set about trying to find him. I have two trees which feature Sargeson/Sarginsons and other variant surnames: Sarginsons in Cumberland and Westmorland and Serginsons of Cumberland and Derbyshire.

An initial search of both trees didn’t find a Richard Sargeson baptised in 1789, or thereabouts, in Cumberland. However, I did find a Richard Sargison baptised 30 March 1806 in Cumwhitton, Cumberland. His father George (1776-1862) was listed as a blacksmith in a number of records and at least two of George’s sons: George (1796-1885) and Isaac (1810-1893), were also blacksmiths. George is included in the Sarginson Cumberland and Westmorland tree. However, he did not marry his wife Ezat Wright (1771-1843) until 1797 although their first son George (1796-1885) was baptised before their marriage. It seems unlikely though that their son Richard is the one in question, although the Richard in Canada variously recorded his occupation on Canadian censuses as blacksmith and/or farmer.

I then set about collecting as much information as I could about Richard. His cemetery records said that he was aged 101 years, 11 months and 8 days when he died so I wondered if his death had been featured in a local newspaper. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a digitised copy of The Glengarrian or Glengarry Times on the web, although it looks like the Ontario archives might have copies of these. I live in the UK so visiting the archive isn’t a practical proposition for me. Richard was also not consistent when he reported his age on a number of the documents, I found for him:

  • 1851 Canadian census his age was given as 58 suggesting a birth about 1793.
  • 1861 Canadian census his age was given as 71 suggesting a birth about 1790.
  • 1871 Canadian census his age was given as 77 suggesting a birth about 1794.
  • 1881 Canadian census his age was given as 858 suggesting a birth about 1796.
  • Memorial inscription his age was given as 101 years, 11 months and 8 days.

Using primarily census records I constructed the following family tree for him and it is interesting to note that the first names George and Isaac appear in his descendants and also that in some of the later generations the surname changes to Surgeson.

Horizontal Hourglass Chart for Richard Sargeson

So, if you are able to shed any light on this mystery do please contact me.

Sarginson surname variants and deviants

Over the last year or so I have collected quite a lot of data for my one name study. Since then I have been working on a number of family trees centred on the North Riding of Yorkshire, Cumberland, Westmorland and Lincolnshire. The surname Sarginson and its variants does not seem to have a single point of origin although there are some similarities between the variants for different parts of the country. For example, in Lincolnshire Sarjantson and Serjantson seem to dominate while in Yorkshire Sarginson is more common.

This summer I decided that the pile of data on my desk was getting too large and was preventing me from undertaking a number of interesting projects related to specific family groups which I would like to spend time working on. So I embarked on a complete review of the data I already have. While I was going through it I found that there were many more ways to spell the Sarginson surname than I had previously encountered, including some rather strange deviant spellings. The following table gives a flavour of these.

Variants Aliases Deviants More deviants
Sargeantson Saigeon Anjantson Sarjainson
Sargeanson Sargieson Fargiantson Sarjansson
Sargenson Sardison Fargieson Sarkantson
Sargentson Sargmson Fayantson Sayabtson
Sargeson Sarjinson Gorginson Sayantson
Sargenson Sergiantson Jarginson Sayanton
Sargerson Serjauntson Jarquison Sercantson
Sargesson Sirjentson Largeson Serjsantson
Sarginson Serjeantsoner Larginsson Seteantson
Sargison Surgenson Largyson Seyeantson
Sargisson   Loycantson Sylvester
Sarjeantson   Pargentson Targeantson
Sarjantson   Sangautson Targifson
Sarjanton   Sargarttson Targinson
Sergasson   Sargawson Tayentson
Sergeantson   Sargemson Tergantson
Serginson   Sargimson Terjeantson
Sergison   Sarginsan  
Sergisone   Sargisser  
Serjeantson   Sargofson  
Surginson   Sargusow  
Surgison   Saiyison  
Surgisson   Sarjian  

I too have some difficulties with old handwriting, however some of the deviant spellings do seem to have come about as a result of difficulties identifying between  s, t and f. Others are rather more surprising like Sylvester and Anjantson. Oh well time to go back to the data. Much of it is for people in Lincolnshire, a county I’m not very familiar with.