The history of this family takes them from Alfreton
in Derbyshire, to Trimdon in Durham county then Northumberland and finally
Sherburn and Pittington near Durham City. One member emigrated to USA
in the late 19th century to found a family of Wignalls.
The family were staunch Methodists with many of the male line teaching themselves to read then becoming local preachers.
Birchwood is in Alfreton Parish in Derbyshire.
It is part of the hamlet of Somercotes.
George Smith, a coal miner and his wife Ann lived in this area until the 1850's.
In the Victorian age, people came from all over Britain to Somercotes and Birchwood as there was plenty of work in the Oakes & Butterley Company in Codnor Park and at the Swanwick Collierys. In the 1800's there was a railway from Birchwood to a wharf on the Cromford Canal which provided additional work.
In the 1881 census, Emily Gillhespy and Elizabeth Wignall both show their birthplace as Golden Valley which must have been a term for the area in the 1850's. Today there is a railway museum at Golden Valley.
Birchwood Methodist Chapel was built by John Smedley in 1853, just when the Wignall and Smith families were thinking about moving to the North East.
George and Ann Smith lived in Codnor Park from the 1830's to the 1850's.
George was born in 1807 in Ripley and Ann (nee Tomlinson) in 1815 in nearby Alfreton. I have not yet found his christening in church records.
They were married in 1831 in Alfreton.
On the 1871 census for Trimdon, George and Ann are shown at Bainbridge Street
I have a copy of page 21 the 1851
census for Codnor Park in the Parish of Ironville.
Mary Smith married George Buxton, my great grandfather
Wignall, the son of John Wignall and Ann,
On 26 November 1854 William Wignall and Elizabeth Smith married in the Parish Church of Selston, Nottingham. They gave their residence as Selston.
On the 1861 Census for Trimdon I found George Smith (record 148) with all his children except for Elizabeth. Eliza and Emily's names are quite clear on this record.
On the 1861 Census for Trimdon I found Elizabeth Smith, her husband William Wignall and their family in Trimdon Colliery Village
There are two more children, John born 1852 and Sarah born 1854, both in Derbyshire.
The youngest children are no longer there by 1871. They must have died in the overcrowded mining village.
I found Elizabeth on the 1871 census for Newnsham, Northumberland.
I have found details of the other Smith family
but have yet to find some of
I found most of the family in the 1881 census. I have not yet found young Ann or Mary, It was by chance that I found Eliza's marriage.
Surgery Row, Trimdon
|Ann Smith||Annuitant (Widow)||Age 66||Derby|
27 Engine Row, Sherburn
|William Wignall||Coal Miner||Age 49||Golden Valley, Derby|
|Elizabeth Wignall||Wife||44||Golden Valley, Derby|
|Sarah Ann Wignall||Daughter||18||Trimdon|
|Eliza Wignall||Daughter||17||Hartley, Northumberland|
|Elizabeth Wignall||Daughter||15||Hartley, Northumberland|
|William Wignall||Driver in Coal Mine||14||Newsham, Northumberland|
|James Wignall||Pointsman in Coal Mine||12||Newsham, Northumberland|
|George Wignall||Son||9||Newsham, Northumberland|
|David Wignall||Son||8||Dinnington, Northumberland|
|Walter Wignall||Son||6||Dinnington, Northumberland|
|This is a younger Walter, his older brother must have died|
|Joseph Smith||Coal Miner||Age 46||Normanton, Derby|
|Margaret Smith||Wife||40||Kelloe, Durham|
|Emily Smith||Daughter||13||Newsham, Northumberland|
|George Robert Smith||Son||7||Trimdon|
|George Smith||Miner||Age 42||Derby|
|Mary Lawson||Niece, Visitor||15||Whitley, Northumberland|
Walts Street, Trimdon
|Robert Makepeace||Gen Draper||Age 30||Wingate|
|Eliza Makepeace||Wife||35||Golden Valley|
|George William Makepeace||Son||9||Trimdon Colliery|
|Emily Makepeace||Daughter||8||Trimdon Colliery|
|Mary Makepeace||Daughter||6||Trimdon Colliery|
|Robert H. Makepeace||Son||4||Trimdon|
Eliza Makepeace nee Smith) died during 1881 and Robert remarried and his descendants move to Lancashire. This information was provided by Stephen Cook who was researching this part of the family.
Emily Smith married William Gillespie / Gillespy at Newcastle Register Office on 28th November 1874. Emily is a widow by 1881. The name is spelt differently on two places on the certificate and an L is changed to an H by 1881.
122 Thornborough St, Byker, Northumberland
|Emily Gilhespy||Head (Widow)||Age 33||Golden Valley, Derby|
|Elizabeth A. Gilhespy||Daughter||5||Newcastle on Tyne, Byker|
|George T. Gilhespy||Son||4||Newcastle on Tyne, Byker|
|Joseph Gilhespy||Son||1||Newcastle on Tyne, Byker|
|George Patterson||Lodger, Platelayer||32||Morpeth|
By 1991, Emily's family are living with Elizabeth and William Wignall. Emily and George Patterson married in Newcastle at the end of 1883.
On the 1991 census, I found the Wignall family in Sherburn Hill but have not yet found the Smith's
I did find the following entry while researching my father's family.
John Smith was probably a younger brother born after the 1851 census.
|John Smith||Coal Miner (Widower)||Age 39||Golden Valley|
|George F. Smith||Coal Miner||17||Trimdon|
|Mary A. Smith||Daughter||16||Trimdon|
|John Smith||Son||12||Sherburn Hill|
|James Smith||Son||10||Sherburn Hill|
|Joseph Smith||Son||7||Sherburn Hill|
My mother always claimed she was related to the Pittington Smiths but did not know how.
Last updated August 2006