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Elizabeth Sampson was my husband's grandmother and in researching his family history I have found someone with the same name on the 1901 census who was resident at a childrens' home at Brightside Bierlow. The only information we have about Elizabeth Sampson is a dob of 6.09.1889 which may or may not be accurate and that her father's name was Harry. We do believe she was born in Yorkshire but would love to find out any further information about this side of the family. By 1911 she had moved to Norwich, Norfolk but we have no other information about her early life.
Would love to hear from anyone who may be able to help us find further information about her.
Following up on the Elizabeth in the 1891 census;
If you use the menu over to the left and select School Records and search for Elizabeth - theres a record with a DOB of 06.09.1888. As being admitted to the childrens home in 1895. Parent or Guardians name of Mary West (dont know if that name means anything to you). She then moves to Lincoln.
Theres another similar record above for 1894-1895 with a DOB as 1889. So could both be her.
Both records say 'illegitimate'
Dont know if that helps rule this Elizabeth in or out of your search!!
The 1911 census for Elizabeth in Norwich says she was born in 'Millhouses, Yorkshire' - so could be Millhouses in Sheffield.
If you use the menu over to the left - School records and search for Elizabeth Sampson you'll get 2 entries
One for DOB 1889 and one for DOB 06.09.1888 (probably both the same person). Both record Elizabeth in Childrens homes, with the 2nd record mentioning Parent/Guardian as Mary West. And saying Elizabeth was discharged to a Girls Friendly Society in Lincoln.
Both records mention 'illegitimate'
The 1911 census for Elizabeth in Norwich says she was born in Millhouses,Yorkshire. Which is probably Millhouses in Sheffield.
Sorry about the double post - thought I'd managed to cancel the first one before it posted as I'd put the wrong Census year in - 1891 instead of 1901!!
The Elizabeth Sampson Denise found in Sheffield went to a girls home in Lincoln in 1900. She would only be there for a few months, training for domestic service, so is probably the same one as in the 1901 census back in Sheffield.
You can find about the home here:
It may be worth contacting their archives.
There is only one birth registration in the 9c reg district which satisfies anything like Elizabeth Sampson , illegitimate in the years 1888 to 1890.
That is, from GRO Index, Elizabeth SANSOM Q3 1889, MMN Blank.
Cannot find any further trace of her under that name. Could that be her?
Yes I do think it could be. Could you please explain GRO and also what does ABG on the Elizabeth Sampson school record mean. Thank you
The Gro index stands for General Registry Office Index
It is available, free to use at the Gen Reg Office, the same place you order certificates. You have to sign up, but there is no charge.
There you can buy the cert as Pdf format by email for £7 or as paper copy for £11 by snail mail. Normally the pdf takes about a week, but covid may extend that.
I do not know what the ABG means. A total guess would be Brightside for the B and Girls for the G. That is simply because you said she was in Brightside in 1901.
My total guess on the meaning of ABG was completely wrong. I now have a lot of evidence that Elizabeth Sampson and many other children in the workhouse in that period and had ABG in their record, were all children with no parent to whom they could be discharged. This leads me to believe that the AB is Applications Book, the book in which the Relieving Officer recorded all his monetary outgoings to the poor for the Workhouse. At a guess the G is Grant, ie the Officer would grant a sum of money to move on from the Workhouse a child who had no parent available. This seems to have been about 10% of the children on average.
In the case of Elizabeth Sampson there is no indication her mother died or had deserted (this was the case in many other of the ABG containing records) but within the law she could have remained around and got on with her life without having to take Elizabeth back, provided she paid towards her upkeep in the workhouse.
To take it further we would need the name of Elizabeth's mother on her birth cert. It is a long shot.
Oh dear. Just realised that of course if a child had to be removed from the system in the absence of a qualifying relative it would need ABG, Approved by Board of Governers.
Dave thank you for all this helpful information. I will be applying for a birth certificate to see if we can glean any more pointers as to her parents.
In q3 1892 there is a marriage in Sheffield of Emily SAMPSON to John WEST. Checking GRO index for children the had 5 between 1892 and 1899. But a year before the marriage, in q3 1891 in Sheffield, they had a daughter Alice West mmn Sampson. The 1891 Census shows John West (49) with “wife” Emily (23). So she was already known as WEST in early 1891, more than ayear before their marriage.
The Elizabeth Sampson you are looking (born 1888/9) had Parent/Guardian MARY WEST recorded on the Fir Vale Children’s register.
I wonder if Emily West nee SAMPSON may have been Elizabeth’s mother. She would have been 22/3 when Elizabeth was born illegitimate. Is Mary a mis transcription?
Emily’s husband John died in q3 1899 a few months before their son John was born. Emily West, widow 33, remarried very quickly in July 1900 to George Jennett. That marriage is on this website under Parish Registers. Emily gives father name William Sampson, Scissor Cutler. This second marriage produced a further 6 children.
Please let us know when you get that birth cert.
Hi Lesley et al,
I tend to agree with Dave T. on the birth of Elizabeth.
The GRO record is: ELIZABETH WALKER SANSOM B.1889 Sept.qtr SHEFFIELD no mmn.
Then I tried a different tack, following the WALKER & HARRY(father) connection.
There is a marriage on this site between Isabella Sansom (18 yrs) and Henry Walker (age 26) in 1889. Henry's were often nicknamed Harry and visa versa.
Census info on Family Search website shows:
1891 Census-West John Street, Sheffield.
William H. Walker age 27 born S.Africa(Brit.Subject)
File cutter, Married
Isabella Walker age 19 wife. Yks.
Elizabeth Walker age 1 dau. Yks.
1901 Census Brightmore St. N.Sheffield
Fredk.Wm. Gomersall 43 Widow birth Kirkby Maltham
Isabella Walker 29 Married Housekeeper/dom.servant)
1911 Sharrow, Ecclesall Bierlow
Isabella Walker 39 Head married Charwoman birth Sheffield
Fred Walker 3 grandson birth Sheffield
the GRO for Fred is FREDERICK SAMSON WALKER B/1907 Sept.qtr.Ecc.Bierlow. no MMN (is this a son of Elizabeth..???)
Wendy's research confirms that the Elizabeth Walker Sansom is not the same child as the Elizabeth Sampson we have in our records of Fir Vale Childrens register. Which of the two is the right one remains to be seen.
Lesley, can you please tell us what you know of your Elizabeth's later life? That should help
I have just received photograph copies of the original Fir Vale records (thank you Terry) and there are some interesting features. These are our records as they currently stand:
SAMPSON, Elizabeth (Student, 1889).
Parent or guardian name(s): ~ (~), of Workhouse.
Admitted to Sheffield Childrens Homes Register, Fir Vale, as of 1894-11-28, ~
until 1894-12-22, reason for leaving: Discharged to hospital. Previously attended ~. Remarks: Illegitimate.
SAMPSON, Elizabeth (Student, 1888-09-06).
Parent or guardian name(s): Mary West (~), of Workhouse.
Admitted to Sheffield Childrens Homes Register, Fir Vale, as of 1895-05-20, ~
until 0000-04-24, reason for leaving: Discharged to Lincoln. Previously attended ~.
Remarks: Illegitimate.Girls Friendly Society House Newland Lincoln. ABG Apr 5 1900.
The second one definitely has 2 errors. It should read MARY WEST (MOTHER) of (single word which I believe is "UNKNOWN")
We are still working on deciphering a lot of words in the second one. It does seem to imply that that her FATHER is named (but the name is indecipherable), despite it saying she was illegitimate.
Your thanks are due to Terry Ford for providing us with close up photos of the previously indecipherable areas in our two Fir Vale records. Denise will correct, update and enhance the records.
The upshot of it is that the earlier of the 2 records now has a lot more info.
1. The record states that Elizabeth was "Not to be given up to the mother who is outside and a bad character " (outside means not in the Workhouse)
2. Mother name is given as "Millie? called Mary West"
The second, later record has Birthdate of just 1888 crossed out and 6th Sept 1889 written above it. It also has "Not Known" for Parent address.
The the 6th Sept birthdate clearly identifies her as the Elizabeth you are looking for (the same birthdate as quoted on her death registration and on the 1939 register).
It looks like the bad character Millie (Emily)Sampson did not register Elizabeth's birth. and she married John West in 1892. Her later life and her childhood are all clearly shown in BMD and Census records
Note that our Fir Vale records begin in late 1894 so we cannot indicate if there were earlier entries to the Workhouse. However you can be reasonably sure that Elizabeth was not born in the Workhouse (If she was she would have had a birth registration). You can also be reasonably sure that Elizabeth had no idea who her father was, so the Harry was almost certainly an invention to cover her illegitimacy.
Thank you again Terry
I am overwhelmed by the amount of information you have all helped to find for my family. Thank you to you all particularly Dave T, Terry and Wendy.
I am a novice researcher particularly in looking further than the research sites. Our first information about Elizabeth before I started any research was that she lived and worked in Norwich, Norfolk as a laundress. There she met her 1st husband George Herbert Elwin who was a postman and they married in 1912. She had 2 daughters and then sadly George was killed near Ypres on 1st March 1916. She later remarried and had another daughter. Because she stayed in Norfolk for most of her life she was always known as Nana Norfolk. My husband has very happy memories of his summer holidays spent with her and Pops. As you have located her death certificate you will know that she lived until her late nineties which is wonderful considering her early years.
Once again thank you all
Just to complete the picture on Elizabeth, she is on the recently published 1921 census in Norwich. She declares her birthplace as SHEFFIELD. Coupling that with her birthday of 6TH September as quoted on the 1939 Register and on her Death cert, we can be certain that she was the girl in Fir Vale in the 1890s and who was sent to Lincoln for training in Domestic Service in 1901,
Because you say you are a novice at this may I offer some guidance.
We have certainly confirmed your Elizabeth Sampson as the girl in our records at Fir Vale and we have a very strong indication that her mother was Emily Sampson. Emily can be easily found using Free BMD, GRO Index and Censuses (Amcestry or FMP). If you wish to follow her please just ask here if you need help.
There is a way that you may get absolute proof of Emily as Elizabeth's mother. Emily came from a large family and herself had 12 more children to two husbands. 11 of those children had offspring, a total of at least 34. So if the ID is correct your husbands mother had 34 first cousins in Sheffield. That means he has probably 60 to 100 second cousins. On Ancestry there are 30 public member trees containing the correct Emily Sampson. If your husband pays to do a DNA profile there is a very good chance that some of those potential second cousins will show up as matches.
There is an article in Sheffield Daily Telegraph 14 August 1890
'Cruelty to Children in Sheffield' where the first para deals with John West being summoned at the Second Court of Sheffield Town Hall for 'having cruelly illtreated Emily West aged 8 and Henry Samson aged 4 in such a manner as to cause them unnecessary suffering'. The address, occupation, clearly indicate this is the same John West
Wow Linda, great find
You have really opened a new can of worms there. I cannot find a matching birth for Henry Sam(p)son, but there is one for Emily West in Sheffield 1882 MMN Biggin. BUT there is no matching John West- Biggin marriage and there is no other birth for West with mmn Biggin.
Did Emily Sampson b 1868 have another illegit (Henry), unregistered, in 1886?
What a family
I have found 2 other children of John West and Ann Biggin(s) John William b 1864 and Frank b 1872. I think Ann West (nee Biggin(s)) may have died 1887. I am trying to find where Henry Sam(p)son b ~1886 is in 1891 as he doesn't appear with John West and Emily in Hoyle Street. Elizabeth is missing too - maybe they are together somewhere.
Linda, I too cannot find them in 1891. They are not with Emily's parents, but surely they must have been with one of her relatives. Emily's Grandmother Harriet Sampson died in Fir Vale and was buried 28th Jan 1892 aged 83. I cannot find her in 1891 census, so she was not in Fir Vale then. I wonder if all 3 were together and avoided the census.
Just a bit more info on Elizabeths brother (half brother?) Henry.
There were 2 newspaper articles in 1890 regarding the neglect/cruelty of Emily West and Henry Sampson - which I think you already know about.
In one of the articles it gave Henrys surname as 'Harrison', not Sampson. Thought that might have just been a reporting error, but searching for info on Henry Sampson came up zero so I went down the Henry Harrison route, and;
Henry Harrison aged 22 (soldier) married Emily Sampson (father William Sampson, Forger) aged 19 in March 1885 at St Philips.
4th Quarter 1885 a birth for Henry Harrison, mothers maiden name SAMPSON.
A corresponding baptism for Henry in Nov 1885, naming the parents as Henry (soldier) and Emily.
At some point after this (1888/1889) Emily has Elizabeth!
We know Emily Sampson and young Henry are living with John West in Hoyle Street in July/August 1890 when the reported cruelty case took place (and it was reported that they moved in with a baby, who then was no longer with them - which would be Elizabeth).
No obvious trace of Elizabeth or Henry on the 1891 census.
But have found a burial 5 Nov 1890 for Henry Harrison, son of Henry Harrison,aged 5, address Hoyle Street.
So it looks as if little Henry died not long after the cruelty incidents.
Not traced what happened to Henry Harrison (senior). He could have died in the Sudan Campaign (thanks DaveT) or later
Interestingly, when Emily Sampson subsequently married John West in 1892 she declared herself as a Spinster (who knows why, maybe, as little Henry had died and Elizabeth was 'out of the way', or if Henry Harrison had died she thought Spinster was the appropriate term - or maybe Henry Harrison was still alive...)
You have just taught me a valuable lesson - read all the articles you find rather than just the one! I had noticed there were more articles and I foolishly assumed they were just repeats of the first one I read as they seemed to start the same. I had seen the marriage of Emily to Henry Harrison and was trying to work out whether it was the same Emily Sampson. I will go back and read the other articles! Also your finding Henry Harrison aged 5 being buried helps solve the inability to find him on the 1891 Census. Thanks
I think we're all learning all the time - doesn't matter how long you've been researching!
Just goes to show that something seemingly insignificant can lead somewhere - especially when you've exhausted the obvious!
Thank you for all this info, I too saw he was called Harrison and thought maybe he was a neighbour's son but then the next article called him Sampson so thought it was a typo. I am learning lots of lessons from you all, thank you all once again.