My Family

This website is dedicated to my great great grandmother Anne Cowell.

I have spent approximately six/seven years looking for Anne, spending hours going through microfilms of St Catherine's Index records at my local library, searching on the Internet, looking through Census Returns, to find no trace of her.  I did find an Anne Cowell born 1849 listed on the St Catherine's Index (I found this record early on in my research), I sent for the certificate, on the certificate Anne's mother was down as Mary Cowell, her father's details were blank.

The first place I found Anne was on the 1881 Census living at Pinfold Farm, Woodplumpton, she was a servant, the head of the house was Robert McClellan (who she later married in 1882), her place of birth was Bispham. I then found her marriage certificate, on this she named her father as James Cowell. I then found her death certificate and her grave, she is buried with Robert McClellan and Maria Jean Tuson (her granddaughter who died at 15 months), in St Bede's Churchyard, Clayton le woods. From these details I worked out that she was born circa 1849.

I then purchased the 1861 and 1871 Census Returns for Lancashire, but couldn't find any trace of Anne, but I did find on the 1871 Census Returns who I thought was her parents James Cowell and Isabelle, living in Bispham

I checked through all my records, the St Catherine's Index records, searched the Internet and checked through the 1861 and 1871 Census Returns again just in case I had missed her, but to no avail, I still couldn't find her. I began to wonder if Anne had been telling lies on her marriage certificate and the Anne who's mother was listed as Mary was in fact my Anne, this Anne's date of birth was 29th October 1849. James Cowell did have a daughter called Mary in 1833, so I thought perhaps Mary had had a daughter at 16 and James and Isabelle had brought her up as theirs? Perhaps this is the case??

I checked through all my records, the St Catherine's Index records, searched the Internet and checked through the 1861 and 1871 Census Returns again just in case I had missed her, but to no avail, I still couldn't find her. I began to wonder if Anne had been telling lies on her marriage certificate and the Anne who's mother was listed as Mary was in fact my Anne, this Anne's date of birth was 29th October 1849.  James Cowell did have a daughter called Mary in 1833, so I thought perhaps Mary had had a daughter at 16 and James and Isabelle had brought her up as theirs? Perhaps this is the case??

What I can't understand is how she was missing from so many records, the 1861 and 1871 Census Returns, the St Catherine's Index and the Internet (her brothers and sisters are listed on the Internet), it is like she didn't want to be found until she was ready to be.

I am now trying to find her husband, my great great grandfather, Robert McClellan, there is no trace of him on the 1851, 1861 and 1871 Censuses, the St Catherine's Index or the Internet. Perhaps he will turn up when he is good and ready.

September 2005 - I have found James Cowell and his family including Anne, on the 1861 Census Returns living in Bispham using the surname Hornby.  I have also managed to find Anne on the 1871 Census Returns using the surname Hornby, on all the other Census Returns they used the surname Cowell.

28th October 2005 - Well some more good news I have found Robert McClellan on the 1851 Census Returns living with his parents at School Lane, Walton-le-Dale, Preston.  Their surname is spelt "McLarn".

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