One of my Great Great Grandfathers was James NUTTALL. He was born on 12 Sep 1838 at Habergham Eaves, Lancashire, England. When he died on 21 Feb 1915 at his home “Pendle Hill” in Bulimba (Brisbane, Queensland) his occupation was listed as “Gentleman”.
James married Alice BOOTH (daughter of Richard BOOTH and Elizabeth PILKINGTON) on 22 Sep 1860, at St Mary and All Saints, Whalley. They had one son before immigrating to Australia, William Joseph NUTTALL (b. 1862, d. 1926), and nine other children: Mary Jane (b. 1865, d. 1889), Benjamin (b. 1866, d. 1868), George Eli (b. 1869, d. 1955), Elizabeth (b. 1873, d. 1957), James (b. 1876, d. 1959), Alice (b. 1878, d. 1878), Alice (b. 1880), Alcimus Harrison (b. 1882, d. 1963) & one unknown male NUTTALL listed as deceased. The family must have immigrated around 1864, so maybe they lost a child on the way. The Brisbane floods of 1893 destroyed many records for this period.
Most of the Australian family is covered well by online family trees. However, trying to trace James in Lancashire proved to be challenging. The death certificate, contained in James’ will file, is very specific about how old he was when he died: 76 years, 5 months, 9 days. Therefore when I received the record of his birth I was certain I had obtained the correct one. It listed his mother as being Ellen NUTTALL, with no father listed and no alternative maiden name for his mother. Unless this was an error from the early days of registration, it appeared likely that he was illegitimate. I could not however match this to a census record with mother and son. My instincts told me he was the James NUTTALL living with his Grandfather, William NUTTALL, at Dial Row, Pendleton in 1851 – Near the “Pendle Hill” which he so obviously loved. The household also contained a number of unmarried daughters, but not one called Ellen.
When James married his father was listed as William NUTTALL, but I believe this was actually the Grandfather who had raised him. James’ death certificate says his father was another James NUTTALL, but did not list a mother – so I thought this information may not be very reliable. Eventually I found the 1841 census record, and was surprised to see that even at age 2, James was living with his Grandfather and there was still no sign of Ellen.
In desperation to make a breakthrough, I started looking at my Great Great Grandfather’s children in terms of the origin of their Christian names. I noticed there are a lot of Eli NUTTALL’s in Rossendale, but then I started looking at the name Alcimus. Alcimus Harrison NUTTALL in 1882 and Alcimus is a very rare name. I found an Alcimus HARRISON b. 1845, Pendleton, Lancashire and started to look more closely. On the 1851 Census, Alcimus HARRISON had siblings: William (b 1834), Eli (b. 1836), Benjamin (b. 1840), Mary Alice (b. 1849) & Marinda (b. 1851) – Most of these names are represented in the Australian NUTTALL family. In addition the HARRISON family lived a few of houses down at Heyhouses from James NUTTALL and his Grandfather. The NUTTALL family were at number 85 Dial Row, the HARRISIONS at number 79.
The HARRISON parents were a Samuel HARRISON (b. 1810, Accrington) & Ann (b. 1812, Goldshaw). The online parish records for this area of Lancashire are excellent. Much is covered by the IGI records and the Lancashire Online Parish Clerk Project. There is marriage record which fits Samuel and Ann: Samuel HARRISON, Spouse: Ann NUTTALL , Marriage: 25 Sep 1830, Whalley, Lancashire, England; & Ann is likely to be: Ann NUTTALL, Birth: 29 Jan 1812, Christening: 15 Jun 1812, Wesleyan Chapel-Nc, Higham Booth, Lancashire, England. Father: William NUTTALL, Mother: Mary.
There are other records at Higham Booth which match the unmarried daughters with William Nuttall & Grandson, James, on the 1841 and 1851 census records. I believe this record is for James’ mother: Helen NUTTALL, Birth: 26 Apr 1816, Christening: 25 Jun 1816, Wesleyan Chapel-Nc, Higham Booth, Lancashire, England. Father: William NUTTALL, Mother: Mary. It looks like Helen/Ellen died when James was an infant and he was raised by his Grandfather, William. He would have been a similar age to his Aunt Ann’s children & his Aunt died just before he married Alice BOOTH and therefore prior to his immigration to Australia. His cousin Alcimus HARRISON died at age 13 in 1858.
Looking at the dates of birth of William NUTTALL’s children I think it likely this is his marriage: William NUTTAL, Spouse: Mary GREEN, Marriage: 18 Oct 1810, Whalley, Lancashire, England.
James NUTTALL was a fascinating man. On the 1861 census he is newly married and listed as a “Take Sizer” which is a long way from being a “Gentleman”. In Australia, James was involved in local politics and for many years held the license for the Bulimba Ferry. Of course James may have been the son of a James, but we are unlikely to ever know his father’s surname. If you think you hold the answer I would love to hear from you.