Grave spotting in Rothwell, more tales of family tree searching

Another weekend, another visit to a church to look for ancient relatives. Looking through my grandfathers’ maternal line there’s over 100 years of people being baptised, married and buried at Rothwell Holy Trinity church. To me that’s fascinating and surely a trip to the church will reveal lots of information. Surely??

Sadly not. The graveyard has not been in use since 1920 and I think that was probably the last time the council did any up-keep of it. The cemetery is in bad shape and I’ve included some pics in this blog. I can understand that old closed graveyards are way down on the priority list of things that need looking after however it’s no good to the budding genealogist when they have to chop through undergrowth like Indiana Jones cutting his way through the jungle. In some areas the reed-like weeds were shoulder high and many of the stones had been broken.

Should I ever win the lottery I’d pay to have the area cleaned up. Perhaps that way I’ll finally be able to see where my 7th great grandfather is buried. I actually quite enjoyed wandering around the cemetery despite ending cup covered in buds from the weeds. I lost count of the times I ended up apologising to long dead people for accidentally trampling on their graves. Even amongst all the weeds and broken larger graves there were smaller ones dotted about.

We had a little look around the church but unlike last week we were unable to find anyone with local knowledge although we were told the parish records were available for a few short hours per week. So it looks like a day off work to go back for a second visit.

In more positive news I’ve managed to trace this line all the way back to 1409 and my 16th great grandfather. Henry IV was on the throne and kick-starting the War of the Roses between the York’s & Lancaster’s. Could this grandfather have been a peasant struggling to work his landlords’ farm? Did he have a trade in the village or as he came from Wakefield; did he have a stall in the market town as it was? One of the things I’d like to do is find out more about the times of the people I’m finding although sometimes it’s easy to get sidetracked by the things we find.

For now I’m going back to basics. I think I’ve found enough as I can online. The other 3 lines of my grandparents are proving difficult to get started with so I’ve ordered a few birth certificates to see if that can help. There’s confusion as two great grandfathers were related but trying to search for them as brothers as we originally thought isn’t working. Hopefully the birth certificates will open this line up a little. That’s the next step so until they arrive the search is on hold for the minute. But I feel like a detective desperately trying to find solutions. It’s like trying to solve a difficult puzzle, moving all the pieces around until it finally starts making sense.

Until next time…







3 thoughts on “Grave spotting in Rothwell, more tales of family tree searching

  1. What a shame Kirsty – it does look a bit of a jungle at the back, unlike the nicely tended green manicured grass at the front. It’s lucky actually that many gravestones are in situ – in many places now they remove the stones, place them against a wall or stack them, and then strim the grass to make it easier for maintenance. The fact it hasn’t been done at all is a poor do.
    With regard to PRs and Monumental Inscriptions (gravestones), Rothwell library have a few details, more held at Leeds library, also have a look at Morley & District FHS which has done some work on Rothwell as well to provide transcriptions.
    Ancestry also has West Yorkshire parishes online (go to library to use free)
    If you have ancestors there before 1812, also check out another website, an American one – digitalised many transcriptions that were published several years ago by the YPRS
    Lovely old church. Nice to walk in the ancestor’s footsteps. You might want to start looking at wills, trade directories and apprenticeship indentures to find out how they lived and occupations. It will certainly give you a fuller picture.

  2. That’s so sad regarding them being taken away. I wish it wasn’t the case. Thanks for the links. I will have a look at Rothwell library and Leeds as well. I’m lucky in that I have a yearly subscription to Ancestry (thanks to my mum – she is the financier of this project and I’m the labourer lol). Rothwell parish also had some interesting information online which helped solidify a few links to ancestors. I can;t believe how much information we have already, it just fascinates me. I started with the idea of a book of short stories based on findings and I’m not disappointed with the bits and pieces I’ve found so far

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