Much of the research on this family has been undertaken by Mike Morris, formerly of Manchester but now resident in Canada. It is based in part on census data gleaned from genealogy sites and in part on the records shown on my Thornber archive section. So far there are few birth, marriage and death certificates. Much of the genealogy on Thornber families on other pages of this site was assembled prior to the availability of data on the Internet by combing through microfilms of census records and parish registers in Lancashire libraries. The research shown on this page illustrates the problems of using on-line methods because of the frequent errors in transcription that have occured. The name Thornber, readily recognised on the original record by a practised eye, is sometimes transcribed as Thomber or even Shomber. Names like Manasseh gave the original clerks problems as well as the transcribers and in some cases simple mistakes such as writing Vrigil for Virgil make the on-line search more difficult. In some cases records have come to light by looking for Christian names only or by using wild cards in the search terms such as Tho* for Thornber.
As always in genealogy, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. People not so far found in some census returns may still turn up with surprisingly mistranscribed names.
The tree begins with Richard, who may be Richard son of George & Hannah baptised 3 April 1791 at Blackburn. The age given in the 1841 census does not fit for this assignment but further age information may be forthcoming from a death certificate or burial record.
Source Citation: Class HO107; Piece 509; Book: 16; Civil Parish: Whalley; County: Lancashire; Enumeration District: 1; Folio: 17; Page: 27; Line: 1; GSU roll: 306898.
Printer probably relates to the process of cotton or calico printing. The surname was mistranscribed as Thomber in ancestry.co.uk
|Name||Age||Occupation||Born in County|
Richard does not appear in the 1851 census and his wife is said to be a widow. Moreover, when the eldest son George marries in March 1845 his father is said to be deceased so Richard must have died between June 1841, when the census was taken and Marach 1845. There is a GRO index record for the death of Richard Thornber in the Clitheroe District in the March Quarter of 1844 with reference 21 291.
The ages of adults were usually rounded down to the nearest five in the 1841 census putting Richard born between 1782 and 1786. Ann appears in the 1851 census below and this fixes her year of birth about 1793. Given the gaps between Giles and Manasseh, there may be other children not recorded or who were still births or died in infancy.
Manaseth (Manasseh) and Ephraim must be twins.
Source Citation: HO107; Piece: 2256; Folio: 351; Page: 3; GSU roll: 87279.
|Anne Thornber||head, widow, 58||House-keeper||Huncote Lancashire|
|Giles Thornber||son, unmarried, 36||Washer (Dye House)||Pendleton, Lancashire|
|Alice Thornber||dau, unmarried 19||Assist to hd. of famy:||Ditto|
|Cornelius Thornber||son, unmarried 16||Carder (Cotn: Mill||Ditto|
Source Citation: Class: RG9; Piece: 3088; Folio: 28; Page: 2; GSU roll: 54076
|Ann Thornber||head, widow, 70||House-keeper||Huncoat|
|Giles Thornber||son, unmarried, 46||labourer||Heyhouses|
|Cornelius Thornber||lodger, married 26||Tackler, Power Loom||Pendleton|
|Ellen||wife, married, 23||Padiham|
|Richard||son, 3 months||Pendleton|
By this stage we see Giles still at home with his mother. Cornelius has married and started a family. Moreover he is moving up in the world in that a tackler is a more skilled job than a power loom weaver. There is a GRO index entry for the marriage of a Cornelius Thornber in the 3rd Q of 1860 in the Clitheroe Registration District with ref; 8e 351
Source Citation: Class: RG10; Piece: 4153; Folio: 51; Page: 27; GSU roll: 846735
|Cornelius Thornber||head, married, 35||Cotton Power Loom Tackler||Sabden|
|Ellen Thornber||wife, 33||Sabden|
|Clara Thornber||dau, 11||Scholar||Sabden|
|Alice Ann||dau, 7||Scholar||Padiham|
|Elinor (sic)||dau, 2 months||Padiham|
Source Citation: Class RG11; Piece 4157; Folio 31; Page 15; GSU roll 1341996
|Cornelius Thornber||head, married, 46||Overlooker||Sabden|
|Clara||dau, unmarried 21||Cotton weaver||Sabden|
|Richard||son, unamarried 20||Cotton weaver||Sabden|
|Emily||dau, 17||Cotton weaver||Sabden|
|Alice||dau, 15||Cotton weaver||Padiham|
|Rhoda||dau, 13||Cotton weaver||Padiham|
Alice Ann who should be 17 is not shown but there is an Alice aged 15. I think Alice and Emily must have been mixed up in either 1871 or 1881. By 1891 Cornelius has died
Source Citation: Class: RG12; Piece: 3373; Folio 10; Page 11; GSU Roll: 6098483
|Ellen Thornber||head, widow, 53||Hello||Sabden|
|Emily Thornber||dau, single, 25||Cotton weaver||Padiham|
|Rhoda Thornber||single, 23||Cotton weaver||Padiham|
|Eleanor Thornber||dau, single 20||Cotton weaver||Padiham|
|Virgil Thornber||son, 16||Cotton weaver||Padiham|
|Willie Thornber||son, 14||Cotton weaver||Padiham|
There is an GRO index record in the first quarter of 1890 for a Cornelius who died aged 55 in the Burnley District which fits the Probate Index Record of:
1890. Cornelius Thornber. Administration of the personal estate of Cornelius Thornber, late of Eyes Barn, Hapton, near Burnley in the County of Lancaster, power loom overlooker, who died 23 February 1890 at Eyes Barn, was granted to Ellen Thornber of Eyes Barn, widow the relict on 27 March 1890. Personal estate of £230.
Source Citation: Class RG13; Piece 3878; Folio 55; Page 25.
|Ellen Thornber||head, widow, 63||Sabden|
|Emily||dau, single, 34||(none given)||Padiham|
|William||son, single, 23||Carter, Corn||Padiham|
By 1901, Ellen's son Richard has married and is in Hapton. Virgil has not been found in 1901.
Source Citation: Class RG13; Piece 3876; Folio 32; Page 4.
|Richard Thornber||head, married, 40||Farmer, employer||Sabden|
|Jane Thornber||wife, 40||Stone, Staffordshire|
|Fred Thornber||son, 8||Hapton|
We have two marriages for George Thornber and significanlty the record of the second marriage notes he is a widower and his father was Richard Thornber. His age is consistent with his birth in 1813 in each of the census records in which he appears. There are some inconsistencies in his place of birth between census returns. However, there are no other records so far for George Thornbers born in the period around 1813 and so it is fairly safe to assume that we are dealing with only one George, who was son of Richard Thornber and Ann Ramsbottom.
Georges first marriage was at Newchurch in Pendle to Fanny Smith on 18 November 1832 and in the 1841 census he is found at Twiston near Downham in Lancashire.
Source Citation: Class HO 107/510; Piece 510; Book 4; Civil Parish of Whalley; Enumeration District 21; Folio 21; Page 8; GSU Roll 306899.
|Name||Status||Occupation||Born in County|
|George||aged 25||Printer (probably calico)||Yes|
Ages of adults were rounded down to the nearest five so this fits with George, born in March 1813, being 28 by June 1841. A further child, Rebecca d of George & Fanny, was baptised on 16 Feb 1842 at St. Leonard's, Downham. An earlier child William s. George & Fanny Thornber baptised 1 Nov 1835 at St. Chad's, Rochdale probably died in infancy. Oddly, the baptism record for Cornelius at Downham puts the mother's name as Nancey.
By 1851 there is no sign of George in the Clitheroe District but one for a George in Preston. Meanwhile, Cornelius can be identifed in a record in Clitheroe
Source Citation: Class HO107; Piece 2256; Folio 351; Page 3; GSU roll 87279
|Amelia Smith||head, unmarried, 37||Cotton Carder||Newkirk (Newchurch)|
|Parthenia Thornber||sister, widow, aged 39||Cotton Twister||Newkirk|
|Cornelius Thornber||nephew, aged 11||Cotton fluter||Twiston|
Cornelius is living with his maternal aunt, but there is also a Parthenia Thornber who is a mystery. Relationships are always given to the head of household. It would be natural to consider the possibility that Parthenia was the mother of Cornelius but given the other evidence from marriage and baptism records we believe that his mother was Fanny, or as given at his baptism, Nancey. Parthenia remains a mystery as no references to Parthenia Thornber or Parthenia Smith have been found in the 1841 census. Similarly, Parthenia Thornber and Amelia Smith have not been found in the 1861 census. However, Cornelius can now be identified as the one who in 1861 is aged 21 and lodging with his Uncle Manasseh. He emigrated to the USA. (Given the uncommon use of the name Priscilla, other connections with this family may be the births of two Parthenia Thornbers recorded in General Registration - one in Burnley for the March Quarter of 1855 with reference 8e 149 and one in Burnley for the December Quarter of 1855 with reference 8e 405)
To tidy up this part of the investigation, it would be useful to find the death of the Fanny Thornber in the period between the baptism of her last child in February 1842 and the 1851 census. There are GRO index records for Fanny Thornber in the March quarter of 1842 in the Clitheroe District with reference 21 311, which could be consistent with Fanny dying in childbirth or shortly afterwards. It is likely that the burial took place at Downham if the family were in Twiston in the previous year. The child Rebecca has not been found in the 1851 census.
We now move on to look into what happened to George, the father, who is clearly not with what appears to be his sole surviving child Cornelius. There is a George who turns up in Preston in 1851 but who states that he was born in Preston whereas the information we have so far is that he was born and baptised in Padiham. He was a lodger
Source Citation: Class HO107; Piece 2266; Folio 341 Page 42; GSU Roll 87291
|George Thornber||lodger, married, 38||Cotton Weaver||Preston|
|Ann Thornber||married, 31||Winder||Preston|
The age given for George is perfect for birth in 1813 but the occupation and place of birth are different to the 1841 census and the baptism record for Downham. In 1861, George Thornber is in Goldborne and saying he was born in Freckleton.
Source Citation: Class RG9; Piece 2799; Folio 31; Page 12; GSU Roll 543030
|George Thornber||head, married, 48||County Police Constable||Freckleton|
|Ann Thornber||wife, 43||House-keeper||Preston|
|Ruth Thornber||dau 9||Scholar||Preston|
|Richard Thornber||son 5||Newton in the Willows|
|George||son, 2 months||Golborne|
By 1871 there is no trace of George but his daughter Ruth aged 20 is a cotton spinner and a lodger with a family called Anderton in Golborne. Source Citation: Class RG10; Piece 3910; Folio 80; Page 23; GSU roll 842048
A George Thornber aged 11, said to be born in Golborne, is an inmate of a Workhouse in Leigh. This probably indicates that he is an orphan. Source Citation: Class RG10 Piece 3915; Folio 36; Page 25; GSU Roll 8420
Source Citation: Class HO107; Piece 2253; Folio 104; Page 27; GSU Roll 87276
|Elizabeth Sherburn||head, widow, 51||Padiham|
|Alice Sherburn||dau, unmarried 30||Maid Servant||Padiham|
|Ester Sherburn||dau, unmarried 24||Power Loom Weaver, cotton||Simonstone|
|Henry Sherburn||grandson, 8||Scholar||Simonstone|
|John Thomas Sherburn||grandson, 3||Padiham|
|Manasseh Thornber||son-in-law, married 28||Calico Printer||Sabden|
|Ellizabeth Thornber||dau, married, 26||Power Loom Weaver, cotton||Simonstone|
|John Thomas Thornber||grandson, aged 5||Scholar||Simonston|
|Elizabeth Ann||granddaughter, 8 months||Infant||Padiham|
The Ancestry.co.uk transcription of this item has Sherburn mistranscribed as Pherburn and Thornber mistranscribed as Thomeber. This record shows that Manasseh married Elizabeth Sherburn. The baby Elizabeth Ann does not seem to have survived until 1861.
Source Citation: Class RG9; Piece 3075; Folio 23; Page 9; GSU roll 543074
|Manasseh Thornber||head, married, 38||Gas Stoker||Sabden|
|John Thomas||son, 15||Cotton Power Loom Weaver||Simonstone|
|Mary Jane||dau, 8||Scholar||Padiham|
|Cornelius Thornber||visitor, 21||Cotton Spinner||Clitheroe|
This new Cornelius is a visitor and is five years younger than the previous one encountered, moreover his is a spinner rather than a weaver. It is likely that he is Manasseh's nephew. In the adjacent property, numbered 56, we find Manasseh's mother-in-law, now listed as Betty Sherburn, aged 61, with daughter Ester Sherburn, aged 32 and unmarried. Also in the house are grandson Henry Sherburn, 18, an engine stoker at a cotton mill, grandson Samuel Sherburn aged 8 and granddaughter Jane Sherburn aged 4. Manasseh must have died between 1861 and 1871 as his wife is in the 1871 census a widow.
Source Citation: Class RG10; Piece 4154; Folio 28; Page 11; GSU Roll 846735
|Betty Thornber||head, widow, 46||Cotton Weaver||Simonstone|
|John T Thornber||son, unmarried 26||Cotton Weaver||Simonstone|
|Mary Jane Thornber||dau, unmarried, 18||Cotton Weaver||Padiham|
By 1881, John T. Thornber aged 35 was an unmarried border at 3 Ryecliffe Street, Padiham with a family called Law. He was a cotton weaver. (Source Citation: Class RG11; Piece 4158; Folio 57; Page 2; GSU Roll 1341996. Mary Jane and Elizabeth/Betty Thornber have not been identified in the 1881 census.
Source Citation: Class HO107; Piece 2253; Folio 106; Page 30; GSU Roll 87276
|John Thornber||head, marr, 25||Power Loom Weaver, Cotton||Sabden|
|Isabella Thornber||wife, 28||Power Loom Weaver, Cotton||Simonstone|
|Alice Thornber||dau, 1||Infant||Padiham|
The record in Ancestry.co.uk has been mistranscribed with Thornber read as Shomber
Source Citation: Class RG9; Piece 3975; Folio 50; Page 31; GSU Roll 543074
|John Thornber||head, 35||Cotton Weaver||Sabden|
|Isabella Thornber||wife, 38||Cotton Weaver||Simonstone|
|Alice Thornber||dau, 11||Scholar||Padiham|
|Rachel Thornber||dau, 8||Scholar||Padiham|
|Ephraim Thornber||son, 6||Scholar||Padiham|
|Charles Thornber||son, 2||Padiham|
|Cornelius Thornber||30, Male, White||Working in Cotton Mill||England|
|Margaret Thornber||28, Female, White||Working in Cotton Mill||England|
|Emma Thornber||2, Female, White||At home||Massachusetts|
|Cornelius Thornber (Thornaby)||White Male, 36||Works in Cotton Mill||England|
|Margaret Thornber||White Female 35||Works in Cotton Mill||England|
|Emma Thornber||White Female 12, daughter||At school||Massachusetts|
|Sarah Ellen Thornber||White Female 10, daughter||At school||Massachusetts|
|Robert Thornber||White Male 7, son||Massachusetts|