Ann Codling was my gggg-grandmother but her name was not recorded on my maternal grandfather’s family tree. The furthest back he had traced was Margaret Robson, her daughter, who was noted as ‘born Morpeth’ with ‘? brother’. Well, he wasn’t wrong…. Margaret Robson did have a brother, William, born two years before her in 1827, though he sadly died in 1828 aged 1.
Margaret Robson was baptised 9 August 1829 in Morpeth of William and Ann Robson (Source: NRO EP/28/9 1828-1843):
There were a fair few Robson families in Morpeth at the time, though it is difficult to fathom which ones are connected and which are not. However, William married Ann Robson by Licence in Morpeth on 23 March 1825 (Source: NRO EP/28/21 1813-1837):
Neither could write, both putting their mark on the marriage register, in the presence of John Ord and John Bates.
Without census records earlier, the first time Margaret can be located is in 1841, at Bridge Street, Morpeth (HO107/835/13/18/31) aged 12 with her mother, Ann, aged 35. Her father, William is not at home though his death from cancer is recorded later the same year – on 25 May 1841 – at Bridge Street, Ann being the informant:
Ten years later, in 1851, Margaret Robson is living at Earl Grey Inn, 50 Market Place, Morpeth (HO107/2418/181/11) as niece of the head of the household and his wife, William and Jane Hunter. Another niece, Margaret Arkliss, is also living with the Hunter family, aged 6, though it is unclear the connection to Margaret Robson – was William’s wife, Jane, a Codling or a Robson prior to marriage? And where is Ann Robson?
Ann Codling was baptised 16 January 1803 in Simonburn, Northumberland having been born on 12 January, of Edward Codling and his wife, Margaret nee Heads – as both Ann and William (Robson)’s mothers were named Margaret, you can see why my ggg-grandmother was named Margaret!
A letter written by my gg-grandmother to my g-grandmother details a little more about Margaret Robson and her mother:
‘Miss Margaret Robson …. had cousins in Morpeth, the proprietors of the Morpeth Herald …. they took care of her mother who was over 80 when she died …. they had a draper’s shop as well as a printers …. her mother married a second time, I forget her second name but she had no children after she was thirty….’
All this rings true and I have done significant research into the proprietors of the Morpeth Herald from 1851 to 1881 with little success. Ann Robson was recorded in various 1850s directories (Slater’s and Pigot’s) as a Shopkeeper in Bridge Street. The Mackay family appear to have been the proprietors of the Morpeth Herald and indeed, James Mackay is recorded in Pigot’s Directory as a tailor in the 1850s. But no link is yet to be discovered….. And Ann has not been located after the 1851 census, though she lived to be 80, according to her descendants….!