Boothman Line before 1900

Research prior to 1837 is always tentative as there are few online sources. Official certification of births marriages and deaths began in 1837 and the first detailed census was 1841 so more reliable information is available post 1837.

The first official record in the Boothman line is thus the 1840 marriage of William Silverwood Boothman and Betty King. However, some inferences can be made (direct line ancestors shown in yellow).

William Silverwood Boothman Predecessors

The birth record of William Silverwood Boothman (from Family Search) - 9th January 1814 in Kirkby Malham, Yorkshire - records only his mother’s name. This is unusual - more commonly there are no names, both parents’ names or the name of the father only. Also the marriage certificate of William Silverwood and Betty King gives her father’s name and profession (as expected) but there is no entry for the name and profession of his father.

Taken together these two pieces of information suggest that William Silverwood is the illegitimate son of an unmarried Elizabeth Boothman from Kirkby Malham/Gargrave.

According to Family Search there are several Elizabeth and Betty Boothmans in the wider area of the right sort of age (ie born 1790 - 1795) but none specifically from Kirkby Malham or Gargrave so it is not possible to identify her more precisely. She may of course, have married later and thus appear under another name in census records.

It is possible that the middle name 'Silverwood' was the surname of the father. However without any further information it is impossible to verify this.

William Silverwood Boothman - Birth January 1814

Family Search has a christening of William Silverwood Boothman on 9th January 1814 in Kirkby Malham, Yorkshire. This is close to Gargrave, Skipton and Barnoldswick - all places that figure in census and BMD records and we may thus be reasonably confident that this is our ancestor. Kirkby Malham is a tiny hamlet with an Anglican church - St Michael’s, which is presumably where William was christened - see photograph.

The record gives only the date of the christening not the birth which was presumably in early January 1814 or late December 1813. This birth is before the national recoding of BMD certificates so no birth certificate is available and no further information can be found online as of January 2014. There is no mention of the name ‘Silverwood’ in census records but it does appear again in the record of his burial in 1878 and the associated probate index.

Betty King Predecessors

The Family Search record overleaf lists Betty’s parents as John King and Mary. I cannot find any sign of them in the 1841 census. The names are too common for a search to have much chance of success.

However the fact that Betty’s occupation is given as ‘Mule Spinner’ on her marriage certificate in 1840 and yet ‘Grocer’ in the 1841 census does suggest that she may have inherited the shop in the intervening period. There is a John King death in Skipton in 1841, which could fit with this idea. I cannot find a Mary King death but she might well have died before 1837. I can however, find no probate record to support this theory and the MC (for William Silverwood and Betty) does not indicate that John King is deceased so this is rather a long shot.

Betty King - Birth 19th December 1803

Betty King’s birth shows where the Barnoldswick connection arises, as this is where Betty herself was baptised. Bridge Chapel no longer exists but this was a Baptist chapel in Barnoldswick at that time.

In 2013 I located a local history website - - and through discussion with them obtained a transcription of the Bridge Chapel births & burials which is available at Barlick Library and electronically at The birth record gave the names of the parents of Betty King and her 10 siblings (2 of whom died in infancy).

It is interesting that the record of Bridge Chapel births includes 7 Boothmans (not recorded here). These do not include William Silverwood (who was born in Gargrave in 1814) nor is there any obvious connection to him - but perhaps he met Betty when visiting relatives in Barnoldswick.

William Silverwood Boothman & Betty King - Marriage Feb 29th 1840

William Silverwood Boothman and Betty King were married at St Mary-le-Gill church on 29th February 1840. The fact that both parties ‘made their mark’ shows that both were illiterate. It is an interesting choice of wedding date - they would have an anniversary only every 4 years! This information comes from their marriage certificate.

It is interesting that William is recorded as ‘Widower’ although he would only have been 25 years old at the time. His first marriage was very short lived and there seem to have been no surviving children.

The only Boothman death in the area that could have been his first wife was Alice who died at the age of 30. I found her in FreeBMD and sent for a DC, which showed her to have died of ‘consumption’ - ie tuberculosis. The fact that William was the informant confirms that this was his first wife. I cannot find a record of a marriage for William and Alice but this could easily have been before September 1837 when national registration of births marriages and deaths began.

There do not seem to have been any surviving children as there are none with William and Betty in the 1841 census record.

William Silverwood Boothman & Betty - 1841 Census

In 1841 William Boothman and his wife Betty were living in Barnoldswick. The census record gives no more detail of the address than simply ‘Barnoldswick’. (The 1841 census has less information than subsequent census records.)

William is notably 10 years younger than Betty and on this record gives his occupation as Cotton Spinner - a job he has probably been doing since the age of 12. In all future census records, however, he describes himself as ‘Grocer and Ironmonger’, which suggests that he left the cotton mill after his marriage to work with Betty in her shop.

John William Boothman - Birth 1st September 1845

John William Boothman was born on 1st September 1845 in Barnoldswick.

John William seems to have been the only child of William Silverwood and Betty - born when Betty was 42 years old. It is possible that there were other earlier children who did not survive.

William Silverwood Boothman & Betty - 1851 Census

In 1851 William Boothman and his wife Betty were still in Barnoldswick at Gep Hill. Their son, John William Boothman, was now 5 years old.

On the current Barnoldswick map this address is given as Jepp Hill. (I cannot find any Trade Directory references to this Grocery/Ironmonger business.)

William Silverwood Boothman & Betty - 1861 Census

In 1861 the family were living in Church Street. On the current map of Barnoldswick Church Street adjoins Jepp Hill and at this point has numerous shops. It seems probable that they lived above the shop. If it is on the corner of Church Street and Jepp Hill it could even be the same shop as in 1851.

John William Boothman & Rachel Myers - Marriage 29th October 1867

John William Boothman married Rachel Myers in Skipton on 29th October 1867. Ancestry details for Rachel Myers are given in the separate Myers line.

The names of the witnesses are interesting. William Holdsworth was the husband of Rachel’s oldest sister Elizabeth (see Myers line). Kerenhappuch Myers was Rachel’s older sister. This shows that the name ‘Kerenhappuch’ - later used for one of John William and Rachel’s daughters comes from the Myers line.

Before the 1871 census John William and Rachel had three children, Elizabeth and William who appear on the 1871 census record and Sarah Ann who did not survive until census day. Infant deaths were very common at that time.

William Boothman - Birth 8th December 1870

William was the third child of John William and Rachel, born on 8th December 1870.

William Silverwood Boothman & Betty - 1871 Census

In 1871 William & Betty were living at Orchard Cottages, Barnoldswick. Their son, John William and his family are very close neighbours to William Silverwood and Betty - on the same page of the census record.

John William Boothman & Rachel - 1871 Census

In 1871 John William and Rachel were living in Orchard Cottages, Barnoldswick with their 2 children.

Before the next census date John William & Rachel were to complete their family - 4 more boys and one girl.

Note the change of occupation of father from Ironmonger to Farmer between 1874 and 1876.

John William & Rachel’s final daughter, Rachel, born in 1882 did not survive.

Betty Boothman - Death 11th October 1876

An entry from the National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) shows that Betty died at the age of 72 on 11 October 1876. Her husband William Silverwood was granted probate. He is described as ‘Gentleman’ so he had presumably retired.

The address Hague House, Thornton is where a number of John William & Rachel’s children were born and where William Silverwood continued to live until his death 2 years later. He probably moved there on retirement from his Grocer & Ironmonger business when he sold the shop in Church Street. Hague House still stands (see photo) and is perhaps not as grand as it sounds although it certainly looks a substantial enough property. Before the Boothmans lived there Hague House had been a school, Tunnicliffe's Academy - possibly originally built for that purpose. An article in the community magazine the Earby Chronicles in Summer 2003 told of the founder of the school Charles Tunnicliffe who died in 1872. The lease remained in the hands of his wife until she released it four years later.

It seems quite likely that the Boothmans - John William & Rachel and children and also grandparents William Silverwood & Betty - moved into Hague House as soon as the lease was released in 1876. The births of the children (see p 12) show that John William & Rachel were not there in January 1876 when Fred was born but they were there in October 1876 when Betty died and for the birth of their next child Joseph in December 1877.

William Silverwood Boothman - Death 19th January 1878

An entry from the National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) shows that William died at Hague House at the age of 65 on 19 January 1878. His only son, John William was joint executor. The designation of his occupation as ‘Farmer’ is odd though - perhaps an error. The death is confirmed by the record from the Barnoldswick Burials Register 1878 showing that William Silverwood was buried on 22 January 1878.

John William Boothman & Rachel - 1881 Census

In 1881 John & Rachel and their family were still living at Hague House, Thornton in Craven. The adjacent property is the uninhabited High Hague Farm. Rachel’s age seems to have jumped up a year or two - perhaps she just felt this old having had so many children!!!

Elizabeth who would now be 12 years of age is missing from Hague House. She is staying with her aunt (Rachel’s sister) Sarah E Myers who is Inn Keeper at the William IV Inn in Skipton (see Myers line). It appears that Sarah took over this pub after the death of her father Wilkinson Myers in 1871. Wilkinson had been innkeeper there at least since 1841. I cannot find Sarah her anywhere in 1891 but she was presumably still at the William IV as there is apparently an indenture dated 1897 when Sarah sold the inn (see Myers line).

The full family of John William and Rachel is shown below. Nine children were born to them over a period of 14 years. Of these two daughters died within a year of birth.

John William Boothman - Death 29th January 1883

An entry from the National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) shows that John William died in 1883 at the age of only 37.

The death certificate shows that John William died from a ‘fit of apoplexy’ - which today would be describes as a ‘stroke’. One wonders what he was doing in the Duchess of Kent Inn in Bradford that gave him a stroke!!!

If Rachel was not with him in Bradford (unlikely as she had 5 young children at home) he may have been in the town trading cattle. What a shock it must have been to her to be informed of her husband’s death!

Rachel Boothman - 1891 Census

Poor Rachel left with 7 children at such a young age. How could she support them all?

Well, she moved to Todmorden where she ran a pub! According to Edwin this was “The Bird i’ th’ Hand” at Summit - 3-4 miles from Todmorden. (In 2013 when I did a search for the pub an estate agent’s leaflet came up - the pub had clearly been for sale in 2010.)

Having been brought up in the William IV Inn in Skipton, Rachel would have known all about the work of an innkeeper/publican. She also had an unmarried sister in the business at this time as Sarah Myers had taken over at the William IV after their father, Wilkinson Myers, died in 1871.

By 1891 most of the children were old enough to be earning too but there were probably a few hard years after John William’s death. Although she is listed as a ‘Publican’ Rachel and family are clearly not living at the pub itself but at 4 Cambridge Place in Todmorden.

Although 6 of Rachel’s children are still at home, I cannot find Henry Myers Boothman in 1891 but I have located his marriage in 1894.

William Boothman & Sarah Robinson - Marriage January 30th 1894

William Boothman married Sarah Robinson on 30th January 1894.

Ancestry details for Sarah Robinson are given in the separate Robinson line.

William and Sarah wasted no time in starting their family (actually Mary was on the way at the time of their marriage!) and by the 1901 census they had 4 children - Mary, John William (known as Jack), Alice and George Edwin. Edith was born after the census in 1902 and Fred was to come later on 1907. The information below comes from the West Yorkshire Birth and Baptisms records. The children were baptized in batches - Mary & Jack in 1898 and the others in 1902.

Edwin’s full birth certificate is in Edwin's Story.

Rachel Boothman - 1901 Census

In 1901 the 61-year-old Rachel was living in Royton.

Her eldest daughter, Elizabeth was with her with a 3-year-old daughter, Annie Turner, but no husband. There are several deaths of Turners of the right age in the area so it seems that Elizabeth’s husband died between 1895 and 1901. However Elizabeth would remarry, as in 1911 she and her daughter, Annie, can be found with a new husband - William John Price, a Clergyman.

William was now married and living with his own family (see above & below) but John, Fred, Joseph and Kerenhappuch were still at home

William & Sarah Boothman - 1901 Census

In 1901 William & Sarah were living at 6 Swan Place.  There is also a Back Swan Place so the property was presumably a back-to-back terraced house.

For details of this and the continuing story see Edwin's Story - this covers the life of George Edwin Boothman, including 1901 and 1911 census details for him and for William & Sarah and Rachel - also the death of Rachel in 1924.

The full family of William & Sarah is shown below.
See the separate Robinson line for Sarah's ancestry.