52 in 52 Challenge: Week 2
I belong to several different genealogy groups on Facebook. A couple of them are groups where research advice and suggestions are freely offered. I posted a question about this couple, and after reading their story one of the group members said, “He’s a bit of a rogue, isn’t he?” That’s an apt description.
There’s not a lot of documentation to follow on these two, my great-great-great grandparents. Since I don’t know where or when Andrew was born or died, I can’t look for those records. I don’t know Esther’s maiden name, and details on where she was born conflict, so finding her birth or baptismal records is difficult. No marriage records in the right time frame for Andrew and Esther have been found. What little I do know comes from the baptismal records for their children.
On 17 August 1831, Andrew and Esther Malcolm baptized their son, John, at St. Peter’s Church in Liverpool. No further records on John can be found.
A notice published in the “Caution Against Frauds” gives notice of a hearing for Andrew Malcolm on 29 November 1831 in Liverpool. It states, “Andrew Malcolm late of St. James’ Street, Liverpool in the county of Lancashire, staymaker and mariner.” Andrew was imprisoned for 8 months for fraudulently concealing part of his property during bankruptcy proceedings. It is unclear if the referenced hearing is the beginning or end of his sentence, but I suspect it’s the beginning based on an assumption that Andrew was present at his son, John’s, baptism three months before. There is also more than a two-year gap before his next child is christened, so that further supports November 1831 being the beginning of Andrew’s sentence.
Andrew and Esther’s daughter, Mary Ann, is baptized on 10 February 1834 at St. Andrew’s Church. The family was residing on Clarence Street, and Andrew’s occupation is given as “mariner”.
On the 18th of October 1836 back at St. Peter’s in Liverpool, Andrew and Esther baptize two daughters, Mary Ann and Janet Maria. They are residing on Temple Terrace in the Great George Ward of Liverpool. There are two possibilities regarding this Mary Ann. (1) is that the Mary Ann christened in 1834 is unrelated and is the child of a different Andrew and Esther Malcolm. Since she is christened in a different church, this is a strong possibility. (2) The Mary Ann baptized in 1834 had died by 1836 and a subsequent daughter was named after her.
A son, my great-great grandfather, Andrew Archibald is baptized on 16 Sep 1838 at St. Peter’s, Liverpool. The family is still residing at Temple Terrace, and Andrew’s occupation is now Master Mariner.
A final son, Adam, is born on 17 September 1844 in Liverpool. No baptism records have been found.
Andrew Senior is not listed on either the 1841 or the 1851 British Census. The 1841 Census was taken on the night of 6 June, and only the people at home on that night were enumerated. There was no provision to enumerate people who were at sea, so this could account for Andrew’s absence from this survey.
In 1841, Esther, age “30”, born in Lancashire, residing at 3 Temple Terrace is enumerated with her daughter Janet, age 5, and her son, Andrew, age 3. Esther’s occupation is given as “staymaker”. (No Andrew Senior, John, or either of the Mary Anns are listed.)
In 1851, Esther Malcolm, age 39 and a widow, is listed in Islington, Liverpool. Her children Mary Ann, age 17, Andrew, age 12, and Adam, age 6, are living with her. Esther’s place of birth is given as Saddleworth, Yorkshire. (Still no John, No Janet, but Mary Ann has turned up.)
At the age of 43, Esther dies on 13 April 1854. She dies at home on Soho Street, Islington, Liverpool. The cause of death is listed as “convulsions from excitement”. She had been diagnosed with Typhoid Fever 3 weeks prior to her death. The death certificate confirms that she was the “widow of Andrew Malcolm, Master Mariner”.
One other curious piece of evidence has been found. In the 1824 Baines City directory, there is a listing for “Esther Malcolm, tea dealer and staymaker, residing 110 St. James Street.” All of the information in this one-line item cross-checks with other sources; however, in 1824, Esther would’ve been 13 years old. Seems young to be married already to Andrew. (Who, by the way, is not listed in this City directory.) If Esther was actually married at this point, it’s seven years before they will have a child. Again, this could be another Esther Malcolm, but all other information given (address, occupation, and spelling of name) is consistent with other sources. Interesting!
That’s all the documentation on this family that can be found. (Andrew Archibald’s and Adam’s families have been traced forward in time, but none of the others have been beyond what is given here.)
Liverpool in the early 1800s was a bleak place. In 1801, there were approximately 77,000 people living there. Twenty years later, that number was 118,000, and by 1851, there 376,000 residents. The majority of people in Liverpool were very poor, and the living conditions were crowded and unsanitary. There were cholera epidemics in 1832, 1849, and again in 1854. During the 1840s, the average age of death for the gentry class in Liverpool was 35 years old. That age dropped to 22 if you were a tradesman, and the life expectancy for common laborers was only 15 years old. It’s no wonder that records are few and far between given the struggle just to survive.
I have been researching for more than 30 years, and this couple is one of my longest standing and sturdiest brick walls. It’s going to take a trip to England, (which I am up for!), a visit to the UK National Archives to access their seamen records (not available anywhere online), and a lot of luck to make a dent in this wall.