Three of our ancestors – Thomas Barton (b. 1835), Ann Barton (b. 1840), and John Barton (b. 1843) – were born out of wedlock to Ellen Barton. Their surnames were all registered as Barton, their fathers were not recorded in their baptismal entries, and only Ellen Barton knew for sure who the daddies were. Henry Mawdsley, however, is a prime suspect because he lived nearby and later married Ellen.

Here are some historical clues:

  • In 1851 and 1861 Ellen’s daughter Ann was enumerated living with her mother and Henry Mawdsley. Although she was baptized as Ann Barton, her name is consistently given as Ann Mawdsley in the census taking.
  • In the 1861 census both Thomas Barton and John Barton were enumerated in Skelmersdale, working as farmhands, under the name Barton.
  • In 1861 Ann Barton got married. In her marriage register she recorded her name as Ann Barton and identified her father as Henry Mawdsley. (Help!)
  • In 1863 Ann Barton gave birth to her first child, Alice, and the birth was registered by her mother, Ellen. Ellen registered Ann’s maiden name as Mawdsley.
  • Ann Barton registered the births of other children herself, consistently giving her maiden name as Barton. Ann’s husband, Edward, also consistently gave her maiden name as Barton.
  • The 1871 census records a “John Mawdsley, Son” living with Ellen Mawdsley. From his age he is obviously the child baptized John Barton. John retained the surname Mawdsley in 1881 after his mother passed away.

Since Ann was baptized Barton that is clearly her correct maiden name. Whether she was in fact the daughter of Henry Mawdsley we will never know for sure. However it seems highly likely.