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Dadswell Family History

Generation 7
Sarah Holmes (1829-?) & Thomas Dadswell

Sarah's story

Sarah Holmes (full name Sarah Elizabeth Holmes) married on 29 May 1848 Thomas Dadswell in the chapel of Honley Church, near Huddersfield, Yorkshire, where Thomas worked as a railway labourer, probably on the construction of the district's new railway lines. The marriage certificate describes Sarah as a 19-year-old spinster, daughter of labourer Edward Holmes*. The address of both the bride and groom was given as Gynn Lane, Honley, and the witnesses were a coal miner, James Dyer, and Maria Holmes, a sister of Sarah.

* Sarah's mother could be Elizabeth Weaver. An 1881 census record shows 66-year-old Elizabeth Weaver living with Maria (sister of Sarah Holmes) and her family. She was described as the mother-in-law of Maria's husband James Dyer (presumably this is Maria's mother, and thus Sarah's mother). Her birthplace was given as nearby Pilley in Yorkshire. A note says Formerly Colliery Labr Wife.
Signatures on the 1884 marriage certificate of Thomas Dadswell and Sarah Holmes

Sarah's age (19) suggests she was born around 1829, although no birth or baptism record has yet been located (see later references to her possible birthplace).

Less than two months after the marriage, Thomas Dadswell was a witness when Maria Holmes and James Dyer married at the same church. Maria, from Gynn Lane, gave her father's name as Edward Holmes. Her age was recorded as 19, suggesting that she and Sarah were twin sisters. But later census returns indicate Maria was born about 1831 or 1832, suggesting she was two to three years younger than her stated marriage age.

Thomas and Sarah (Holmes) Dadswell

The 1851 census of England and Wales shows Sarah Holmes and Thomas Dadswell living at 2 Weston Street, Bromley, Kent. The census return gives Sarah's birthplace as Canterbury in Kent (the same census also records Maria as having been born in Kent). Also living in the same Dadswell household was William Stag, a widower, and both he and Thomas were listed as railway labourers.

Thomas and Sarah moved again and in 1852 the couple had a son, James Thomas Dadswell, who was born at the family's home at 4 Robert Street, Mill Hill, Poplar, Middlesex, on December 26. On the birth certificate Thomas described himself as a labourer.

Thomas Dadswell may well have been moving frequently to work on railway projects which were increasing in number around England and in Europe. Certainly he (and probably Sarah) ended up living in Berlin, then part of the Prussian empire. In 1855, the then 2-year-old James Dadswell is recorded as dying on March 31 with his burial in Berlin on April 3. Thomas is recorded as the father but there is no mention of his mother.

No trace has been found of Sarah Dadswell living in Berlin, or of her fate, but Thomas Dadswell (based on Australian records) married a second time (in Berlin in 1856, a year after his child James died) to a Prussian woman Helena Mariane Aurora Scheer. Later in his Australian life, he adopted a second name and identified himself as Thomas William Dadswell.

Do you recognise Sarah Elizabeth Holmes?
If so, please email any information about the Holmes family to Harley Dadswell at .

James and Maria (Holmes) Dyer

Sarah's sister Maria remained in Yorkshire where her husband was a coal miner. She is shown in census returns from 1851 until the last currently-available census of 1911 by which time she was an 80-year-old widow (James Dyer had died in 1899). Despite her age, Maria was working as a draper, grocer and confectioner at Worsbrough, Yorkshire. Census returns show her son Henry as a grocer and daughter Amy as a confectioner, so perhaps this was a family business in the village.

Maria and James had 12 known children and in 1911 Maria was sharing her house with two of her unmarried children and a widowed daughter, plus two grandchildren. Maria died in the second half of 1911.

Interestingly, she also gave Canterbury as her birthplace on one census return but more often her birthplace is listed as Herne Bay, Kent, which is about 11km north of Canterbury.

Key family dates for Holmes family sisters

Abbreviations: b = born; d = died; ca = about.

Sarah Elizabeth Holmes
b Kent ca1829 -
d Berlin?
Yorkshire, England
29 May 1848
Thomas Dadswell
b Sussex 25 Nov 1828 -
d Australia 5 Oct 1908
Child -

1. James Thomas Dadswell b 26 December 1852 England - d 31 Mar 1855 Berlin, Prussia

Maria Holmes
b Kent ca1831 -
d Yorkshire 1911
Yorkshire, England
17 July 1848
James Dyer
b Wiltshire ca1824 -
d Yorkshire 1899
Children (all born Yorkshire)-

1. James Dyer b ca1852

2. Charles Dyer b ca1854

3. Henry Dyer b ca1856

4. William Dyer b ca1858

5. Sarah Dyer b ca1859

6. Frederick Dyer b ca1861

7. Amy Dyer b ca1863

8. Elizabeth Dyer b ca1865

9. Joseph Dyer b ca1866

10. Herbert Dyer b ca1870

11. Annie Dyer b ca1872

12. Frances Dyer b ca1875

Further information

Thomas Dadswell's story

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