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Cousin Joseph Oldham
and the Dorning family

A supplement to the Oldham Family Part 2 , Family of Joseph Oldham and Mary [Wood]

Joseph's descent:

Grandparents - Joseph Oldham of Melton, Suffolk and Mary Wood of Melton Hall, married in Melton on Thurs 14 Jan 1779

Parents - Richard Wood Oldham chr. Melton 24 Nov 1779,
eldest of the 15 children of Joseph and Mary, brother of John (main line)
m. (1) 27 Nov 1810 in Melton, Elizabeth Johnstone - no issue
m. (2) 28 Nov 1822 in Barham, Suffolk, Maria Watson. They had 5 children.

Joseph Oldham b. abt 1824 in Melton,
(1) m. Julia Ann Dorning (1827-1856) on 13 Jun 1855 at St Mary's, Edge Hill, Liverpool.
Julia died, cause unknown, in 1856 (listed online in Cheshire)
(2) Fanny Louisa Dorning (no marriage found in BMD index)

The Dorning Family - John Dorning and Sarah (née Brundrit, Brundrett...)

John and Sarah were born around the turn of the 18th-19th century, probably in Manchester. By 1841 they were living with their family at Sandown Cottage, Childwall, Wavertree in Liverpool. All their children, except Elizabeth, were born in Wavertree.

  1. Henry Brundrit Dorning chr. 12 Aug 1821 Stretford, Manchester
  2. Elizabeth, b. abt 1823 (in Stretford?) Manchester
  3. Emma b. abt 1825
  4. Sarah, b. abt 1826 in (Stretford?) Manchester, 'annuitant' in 1871
  5. Julia Anne Dorning chr. 7 Oct 1827 in Stretford, Manchester
  6. John chr. 16 Jun 1831 Holy Trinity, Wavertree, Liverpool
  7. Mary b. 17 Mar 1833 chr. 2 Jun 1833 Holy Trinity, Wavertree, Liverpool [IGI-C161001 ]
  8. Fanny Louisa b. 16 Apr 1835 chr.7 Jul 1859 Holy Trinity, Wavertree, Liverpool [FreeBMD; BVRI - BT's]
  9. Joseph Sydney Dorning b. 16 Mar 1837 chr.7 Jul 1859 Holy Trinity, Wavertree, Liverpool [FreeBMD; BVRI - BT's]
  10. Thomas Dorning b. abt 1839 Holy Trinity, Wavertree, Liverpool
  11. John Dorning chr.12 Jun 1841 Holy Trinity, Wavertree, Liverpool

They also appear to have had two servants (or possibly lodgers), Sarah Evans aged 35 and James Darbyshire, 16
[RG number:HO107 Piece:511 Book/Folio:9/40 Page:30 Registration District:West Derby]

.Fanny and Joseph Sydney were baptised together on 7 Jul 1859, she was 24 and he was 22! It is possible that they had become Baptists after the birth of Mary, which would explain the adult baptisms and might explain some of the difficulties of finding baptismal records as certainly happened in the case Joseph's uncle, John Oldham and his Stockwell descendants. See also the note on Baptism and Christening on the Stockwell page.
BMDs for Cheshire are all on line and free to look up.

All the children except Henry (given by the IGI but not found on the 1841 census) were living with their parents in Wavertree in 1841, so the family must have moved from Stretford, Manchester between 1827 and 1831, possibly because it was it suddenly became so much easier in 1830 to travel from Manchester to Liverpool with the completion of the railway line between them!

Birth dates are given on the IGI by 'an LDS member', which usually just means an informant, i.e. it is not from a parish record or a BT (Bishop's Transcript). A Henry Dorning with wife Elizabeth and a one-year old daughter, Elizabeth, appear on the 1841 census for Pendlebury but this Henry's age is given as 25. In the 1841 census no other candidate of the right age has been found so it is more likely that the relevant Henry died in infancy. Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph and Thomas have also not been traced beyond 1841.


Joseph Oldham, son of Richard

Joseph was born about 1824. He provides some interesting puzzles. He was born in Melton and must have spent his first few years in Newington, not far from Richard's younger brother William. But where was Joseph in 1841? This at present is a mystery as he was not with his family in June 1841 when the census was taken.and has not been found on any English or Welsh census. It is possible that he was abroad - some of the boys of the Wood family were sent away to school and then went abroad as part of 'finishing' their education - or, since he had become stationmaster in Bangor by 1851 he could simply have been missed off the 1841 census by being somewhere on a train at the time!

The rest of the family were easy to find in 1841. Richard, a sailmaker, was in Liverpool living on Upper Bean St, Walton on the Hill, across the city from his brother Searles and his family at 33 Hope St.(though Searles was temporarily away in Leicester at the census time - the other big Oldham puzzle) Only Joseph's two sisters, Maria, 20, and Elizabeth, 13, were at home with their father.

In 1851 Joseph was living in Bangor with his sister Elizabeth as his housekeeper. Just a year or so later, 18 Mar 1852 Elizabeth married a Scotsman, Archibald Arnott MacMillan (b. Scotland1825) who was an engineer working on the Menai Bridgeand they settled down in Conway, eventually with 9 children. Richard Wood Oldham, was at this time in Wallingford in Berkshire, presumably visiting his brother John who was a draper and tailor there (and also is later described as a hatter too). Richard had lived in Newington, Surrey (on the south side of the Thames) for a few years before moving to Liverpool and it's possible that his 'trade' was more in the nature of investment than the day to day running of it. Their brother William was also still living and working in London or that part of Surrey over those years.

Joseph Oldham and Julia Ann(e) Dorning

Joseph and Julia married on 13 Jun 1855 at St Mary's, Edge Hill, Liverpool. Julia's birth record is listed by the IGI in Stretford, Manchester, her parents being John and Sarah and Joseph is identified as 'son of Richard Wood Oldham'.. Julia had no children, or if she died in 1856 in childbirth (a very common cause of early female death) none is recorded. (Death date online in Cheshire records) She was buried at Chester Cathedral.


Joseph Oldham and Fanny Louisa

No other matching person has been found for Fanny Louisa and this one, listed by FreeBMD as born in the Jun Q 1846 and also by the BVRI, sister to Julia, is a perfect match. She appears on censuses as Joseph's wife, from 1861 aged 25, 1871 as aged 36, and as 45 in 1881, 55 in 1891 and 65 in 1901, although no marriage has yet been found in any record including the PRO index of births (via FindMyPast). A search of deaths up to 1909 as Fanny Oldham and a more limited search as Fanny Dorning has so far failed to find her. The only possible clue is the BVRI recorded baptism in 1859 which would be essential if she wished to marry in church. (A possible impediment according to church law at that time might have been that Joseph had been married to her sister.) Joseph and Fanny had 5 children.

  1. Ada Louise Oldham b.Dec Q 1861 'Chester Castle' [Grt Boughton Vol 8a p.303]
  2. Fanny May Oldham b. Jun Q 1862 Rock Ferry [Wirral 8a 435]
  3. Walter Dorning Oldham b.Mar Q 1864 Rock Ferry [Wirral 8a p.42
  4. Inez b. Lima, Peru1868.
  5. Joseph R. D. Oldham b. Mar Q 1875 Handsworth [W.Bromwich 6b 762]

In 1861 Joseph, now living in Cheshire was a Railway Managing Clerk. His eldest daughter Ada was born in Chester in 1860. Staying with him in 1861 was his sister-in-law Mary Lloyd, sister to Fanny Louisa. She married John Lloyd and they had two children, Grace Bertha Lloyd who was with her mother staying with Joseph in 1861, and Ernest (Richard?) Dorning Lloyd. (This is a good example of the need to check original documents when possible as, though quite obvious when enlarged, 'sister in law' had been transcribed as 'daughter in law'. It was also rather unlikely with Joseph aged 36 when she was 28!)

By 1864 Joseph and family had moved from Chester to Rock Ferry where Walter Dorning Oldham was born and before 1871 they had been in Peru for an unknown period as Inez D. Oldham (Dorning again as found on a document later) was born there in 1868, a name which makes her instantly recognizable. They were back in England for the census, and living in Handsworth, Staffordshire. Joseph was now Secretary and Manager of an Omnibus Co. The first word giving the name of the Omnibus Company appears to be an abbreviation for 'Birmingham', written Bir'ham but it has been written over the top with writing too small for the thickness of the pen nib so that it's not clear and needs to be checked from some other source.

1. Ada married Jens Gottlieb V.Jenson Sep Q 1884 [Handsworth Vol 6b p.1031]. Jens Jenson was a Danish leather agent. In 1891 they were living in Northampton with one child, Carl aged 3, and Ada's brother Walter and sister Inez were visiting. The shoe trade seems to have interested Joseph senior and Inez - see no 4. below m. Jens Gottlob V.Jenson in Sep Q 1884 (FreeBMD, Vol.6b p.1031)
2. Fanny May was a governess in Handsworth in 1881 and married Alfred Osborne in the Jun Q 1883. [Handsworth Vol.6b p,1006] In1891 she and Alfred were living at 91 Lodge Road, Birmingham
3. Walter Rec Clerk in Coal Car & Wagon Manuf, Stafford 1881. He doesn't seem to have married.
4. Inez Dorning Oldham is listed (with her full name) as a shareholder, along with her father, in 1897 with the 'Public Benefit Boot Co.' They were then living in Eastnor, Station Rd, Yardley, Worcestershire, near the centre of Birmingham. The relevant website regards all its information as copyright but there is in any case too much to add here. It is an interesting company in that it endeavoured to produce boots and shoes affordable by the less well-off and was one of the first, if not the first, in the rise of 'big business', the mass production market. The company was so successful that it eventually had branches in most towns and cities. (Of particular interest for its history to students in Business Studies!)
5. Joseph Richard D. was living with his parents in Washwood Heath in the Birmingham area in 1891. He married in the March Q 1901 in Solihull his wife being either Ann Roberts or Kate Hill (Free BMD) but has not been traced further.

In 1881 also living with Joseph and Fanny were Fanny's sister Sarah, 55, born in Manchester and a servant Margaret Thomas aged 19 born in Bangor. It may be pure coincidence as Thomas is such a common surname but John Oldham's wife (and Joseph's aunt) was Martha, formerly Thomas. Joseph is listed as 'Secretary & Accountant'. They were by then living in Stafford at 'The Limes, Hampstead Road, Handsworth'.

Joseph senior and Fanny Louisa were living in Yardley, Worcestershire (still Birmingham) in 1901, Joseph then aged 76 and Fanny 65. It is not known for sure when either of them died, but a Joseph Oldham aged 85, the 'right' age, died in 1909 in Northampton which could have been at Ada's home. [Vol 3b p.25].

By 1891 Joseph and Fanny had moved yet again, though still around Birmingham, this time to Washwood Heath Rd Aston, Warwickshire. Joseph is described as 'Secretary To Public Co (Emp'ee)' i.e. as an employee. This could still have been the Omnibus Company but may have been the 'Public Benefit Boot Co.' as in 1897 the company published a list of investors which includes Joseph as well as Inez. By 1901 they were living in Yardley which is in Worcestershire but still not far away. Joseph was still Secretary at the age of 76, Fanny was 65 and Inez 33. Mary Oldham, born in Worcester and aged 24 was 'Help Dom.' i.e. domestic help and Sarah Oldham aged 19 was 'Domestic General'.. Another mystery - they might no thave been sisters but were they relationsof Joseph's - or was it just another coincidence? Neither of them have been found on earlier censuses as yet, though Mary was said to have been born in Worcester, and Sarah in Dudley in Worcestershire.


Oldham Part 1
Oldham Part 2
Joseph & Mary
Oldham Part 3
Oldham Part 4

Oldham Part 5
John & Martha