This website contains biographical information on some 285 ancestors and descendants of Henry Harold Harrison (Harold). They include Harold’s siblings, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins of all descriptions. Their lives collectively spanned over 300 years from the late 17th century.
Harold’s was a working class family. His earliest known ancestors were mainly farmers and agricultural labourers from Lancashire. As the industrial revolution unfolded their children migrated to Wigan and surrounding villages to take up work in the textile mills and coal mines that were sprouting up throughout the Midlands. Some became shopkeepers. Harold himself apprenticed as a joiner at the beginning of the 20th century and then emigrated to Canada where he worked as a carpenter and builder. His children, for the most part, became middle-class business people.
Most of the ancestors we have traced lived in and around Wigan during the 19th century. Their lives followed the patterns of the society in which they lived. The children frequently received little schooling and some were illiterate as adults. They joined the workforce around the age of 13. They usually lived at home with their parents until they were married. Husbands worked to support the family while wives looked after the home and children. The women bore children more-or-less continuously during their fertile years, however many of the babies died in infancy. The lives of adults were often, although not always, cut short by illness.
Our biographies for most of Harold’s ancestors are a synopsis of the facts recorded in census records and birth, marriage, and death certificates. This information typically includes their places of residence and occupations at various dates. Sadly, we know almost nothing more about who these people really were; their character, personality, talents, friendships, associations, interests, circumstances, health, contributions, trials, and tribulations are, for the most part, no longer knowable.
In addition to Harrison, the family’s surnames include Ball, Barton, Mawdsley and Swarbrick. They married Donahues, Masons and Woods, among others. Their biographies can be accessed through our surname index, or from the partial family tree shown above. The biography for each of Harold’s ancestors and descendents is also linked to his or her parents, siblings and children for your convenience.