This blog is designed to record the findings of our family history, mainly for the benefit of the family, and to document the dead ends, the breakthroughs and the journey.
I’ll post the family stories as I’ve written them to now, and I’ll be grateful to anyone who can add further information or pictures, or point out errors.
Particular thanks to my sister Julia and my cousin Mandy who between them have done much more of the work than I have.

Friday, 18 May 2012

The Cotterill family

Sarah Cotterill married James Timmins in 1872, at which point she joins our family line. She was 24 at the time, and did not have an occupation listed on the marriage certificate. She was illiterate and made her mark while James, the master whitesmith could read and write. Sarah was of course born too early to have benefitted from universal education which began in 1871, and families which could afford to send any of their children to school preferred the boys.

Sarah was born 14th march 1849, and the address is given as Lyndon, West Bromwich. Her birth certificate also gives her mother’s maiden name as Tompkins, so we have another definite name to add to our story.

According to the 1871 census (Sarah’s last as a single woman) she lived at no 8 Stoney Lane West Bromwich with her parents Thomas, born 1811 and Hannah, born 1817. Thomas was a coal miner. It was a large family and Sarah had 9 siblings, although William Thomas Hannah and Rachael were not at home for the 1871 census.

Isaiah                    born 1838
William                 born 1839
Thomas                                born 1841
Hannah                                born 1844
Rachael                                born 1852
Enoch                    born 1853
James                   born 1855
Maria                    born1857
Job                         born 1858
Ann                        born 1861

Also on the 1871 census is Thomas Cotterill aged 3, described as Thomas Cotterill’s grandson. We know from the work that Mandy did on the Timmins family that this is Sarah’s son by James Timmins, who was born before their marriage on 28th October 1867. His birth certificate states his father as James Timmins, a whitesmith. By the census of 1881 Sarah and James have married and Thomas is living with them. Mandy has been in touch with one of Thomas’ descendants who assured her that James was Thomas’ father and his early years were spent with the Timmins family. Thomas died on 13th February 1948 and is buried in West Bromwich. Interestingly Dad has no recollection of him as one of his uncles.

For Sarah’s later story refer to the Timmins family history.

There are several variations on the spelling name Cotterill throughout the original documents, and I have stabilised on this one. Like so many in our story Cotterill is a name almost entirely confined to the Black Country in 1881, according to the National  Trust surnames database . By 1981 it had spread to the East Midlands with small pockets in Yorkshire , Wales and Cornwall. It is very uncommon still in the south and north. The name derives from the Saxon word cotter which was a serf who held his cottage by labour service rather than by paying rent. There have been some prominent Cotterills in West Bromwich history including two mayors and the founder of the West Bromwich Building Society, but I can’t see a link between them and our Cotterills. There is also a Cotterill Street in West Bromwich.

At the time of the 1861 census Thomas was listed as a coal miner and the family was already living in Stoney Lane, where they stayed for the rest of Thomas’s life. At this time there was another Cotterill family living next door  - William, a miner, Susannah his wife, and their children Mary Ann, John Henry and Isaiah. This is in all probability Thomas and Hannah’s son William, who is not shown on the census with the rest of the family

In 1851 the family is living in Hargate Lane West Bromwich

I can’t find the family in the 1841 census  but this is not unusual. On later censuses Thomas, his wife Hannah and their eldest son Isaiah were all born in Darlaston, while the rest of the children were born in West Bromwich. This suggests that the family moved to West Bromwich between 1838 when Isaiah was born and 1841 when Thomas Jnr was born.

After Sarah’s marriage the rest of the family continued to live in Stoney Lane. By 1881 only Hannah, Job and Maria are at home and also there is their grandson George who is 2. He remains there in 1891, and by then Hannah has died.  Hannah died in 1886 of bronchitis aged 70. Also living with Thomas is his son Thomas, also described as a widower and Rachael who is a widow. Her married name is Lunn,

Thomas was still alive at the time of the 1901 census and at the age of 88 was still describing himself as a coal miner. Living with him, still at No 8 Stoney Lane, were his married daughter Maria and her husband John Whitehouse. Thomas’ grandson George, now 22 is also still living with them. Thomas Snr died in 1902, at home in Stoney Lane at the age of 91. By 1911 after Thomas Snr’s death another family is living at no 8 Stoney Lane and Maria and John Whitehouse are living next door at no 10

For the earlier lives of Thomas and Hannah, Going backwards to before registration, according to IGI Thomas Cotterill married Hannah Tompkinson on 13th March 1836 in Walsall. The censuses have them both originating in Darlaston, but the dates and the names fit, (Tomkinson is near enough to Tompkinson for this to be a fit, I think).as again from IGI Thomas Cotterill was born on 25th May 1813 and christened on 24th November 1813 at St Lawrence Darlaston, while Hannah Tompkinson (or Tonkinson) was christened on 10th May 1818 at St Lawrence Darlaston.

Thomas father was also Thomas Cotterill and his mother was Mary. Hannah’s parents were Joseph Tompkinson and Sarah. And the rest will have to wait until I can get to the records office.

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