Samuel Cooper of Alsager, Cheshire, married Hannah Steele of Alsager on 19 November 1761 at St. Bertoline’s, Barthomley, Cheshire. The two of them would become not just my 6-greats grandparents, but also the ancestors of just about every Cooper in the village of Haslington during the nineteenth century and some distance into the twentieth. And this was despite the influx of railway workers from the town of Crewe just up the road. As the parish registers for Barthomley were published some time ago by the Audley & District FHS, it is no surprise that many trees include those descendants of Samuel and Hannah Cooper who were born in Barthomley parish (which included Haslington). So far as I could see, all of those trees, mine included, had my 5G-GF, William, as their eldest child.
But when I looked at the length of time between their marriage in 1761, and their first appearance in the baptisms of Barthomley, with William, baptised 16 October 1768, it became clear that there must surely be some unknown children born in those seven years. I can now identify at least two, and possibly three, of their children born in that gap.
What we knew before
Samuel Cooper and Hannah Steele married at Barthomley on 19 November 1761, when both were supposedly living in Alsager. They had a number of children baptised in Barthomley, viz:
- Oct 1768, William (7y after the marriage);
- Jan 1772, Moses (3y 3m later)
- Jan 1774, Jane (2y later)
- Dec 1775, Thomas (2y later)
- Sep 1777, Mary (1y 9m later)
- May 1779, Betty (1y 9m later)
- May 1781, Martha (2y later)
- Mar 1783, Rebecca (1y 10m later)
- Apr 1786, Samuel (3y later)
But thinking about it…
Based on the fairly high frequency of births in this family, there was possibly an unknown child born in the 3y 3m gap between William and Moses and it is hugely likely there were other children born to them between November 1761 (their marriage) and October 1768 (William).
Can we find any of them in FamilySearch, which is complete (errors and omissions excepted) for Cheshire?
Search FamilySearch for children baptised in Cheshire from 1761 to 1774 to Samuel and Hannah Cooper – there are none outside the Barthomley ones. Repeat the search for Samuel and Ann(e) Cooper, as I’ve seen Hannah and Ann confused before now. There are some, but they were baptised in Thornton-le-Moors (up near Chester), so are discarded.
Search for baptisms in the same time-frame with a father named Samuel Cooper but no mother’s name at all. In the Cheshire Parish Register collection, we have the following (ignoring the children we already have):
- 3 at Plemstall – discarded as it’s up near Chester;
- 4 at Knutsford – discarded as it’s too far away;
- Sarah, 5 Mar 1762, baptised at Sandbach, resident at Hassall;
- Hannah, 5 June 1763, Sandbach, res. Hassall;
- Anne, 11 Nov 1764, Sandbach, res. Hassall;
- Phebe, 23 Dec 1764, Sandbach, res. Betchton;
- John, 1 Oct 1766, Sandbach, res. Wheelock;
- Samuel, 5 Mar 1767, Sandbach, res. Betchton.
Plainly, if their baptisms were close to their births, we have at least two families in the Sandbach baptisms, as Anne and Phebe are too close to have the same parents. Remember, we don’t have any mothers’ names. The Bishops’ Transcripts add nothing more.
Who could the parents for the Sandbach baptisms be? One possibility is Samuel Cooper and Hannah Steele – they may have married at Barthomley, but that’s not far away.
Also, Samuel Cooper and Margaret Capper, both of Betchton, obtain a licence to marry 21 March 1761 and marry the next day at Sandbach. If we re-order the above list, splitting out the Betchton residences, we get the following list of six baptisms at Sandbach to father(s) named Samuel Cooper:
- Sarah, 5 Mar 1762, Sandbach, res. Hassall (4m after the Barthomley wedding, 1y after the Sandbach wedding);
- Hannah, 5 June 1763, Sandbach, res. Hassall (1y 3m after Sarah);
- Anne, 11 Nov 1764, Sandbach, res. Hassall (1y 5m after Hannah);
- John, 1 Oct 1766, Sandbach, res. Wheelock (2y after Anne, 2y before William of Barthomley);
- Phebe, 23 Dec 1764, Sandbach, res. Betchton (1m after Anne, 1y 6m after Hannah);
- Samuel, 5 Mar 1767, Sandbach, res. Betchton (2y 2m later and 1y 7m before William of Barthomley).
Note also this: on 5 March 1767, the same day as that last baptism, Margaret, wife of Samuel Cooper of Betchton, is buried at Sandbach. Surely, therefore, the Betchton couple are Samuel Cooper and Margaret Capper?
We therefore tentatively suggest the following sequences of events:
- 22 March 1761, Samuel Cooper and Margaret Capper, both of Betchton, marry at Sandbach (definitely true);
- Sarah, 5 Mar 1762, baptised Sandbach, res. Hassall (1y after Sandbach wedding) (tentatively, we suggest, to Samuel & Margaret);
- Phebe, 23 Dec 1764, Sandbach, res. Betchton (2y 9m after Sarah) (probably to Samuel & Margaret);
- Samuel, 5 Mar 1767, Sandbach, res. Betchton (2y 3m later after Phebe) (probably to Samuel & Margaret);
- Also on 5 March 1767 – Margaret, wife of Samuel Cooper of Betchton, is buried at Sandbach.
- 19 November 1761, Samuel Cooper and Hannah Steel, both of Alsager, marry at Barthomley (definitely true)
- Hannah, 5 June 1763, baptised Sandbach, res. Hassall (1y 7m after the Barthomley wedding) (tentatively, we suggest, to Samuel & Hannah);
- Anne, 11 Nov 1764, Sandbach, res. Hassall (1y 5m after Hannah) (tentatively, we suggest, to Samuel & Hannah);
- John, 1 Oct 1766, Sandbach, res. Wheelock (2y after Anne, 2y before William of Barthomley) (probably to Samuel & Hannah);
Could the above sequences belong to anyone other than the two Samuels we mention above? Look for marriages of Samuel Cooper in Cheshire in range 1740-1770. The only others are these three:
- 1743, Over / Whitegate;
- 1756, Whitegate;
- 1756, Mobberley;
We believe that these are too far away to be considered in preference to the two marriages in Sandbach and Barthomley parish. Further, in all of 1700-1767, in FamilySearch, there is only one marriage of a Samuel Cooper to a Margaret in Cheshire (the 1761 marriage of Margaret Capper), so the 1767 burial of Samuel’s wife, Margaret, must be the former Margaret Capper – there is no alternative.
By a lack of other local Samuel marriages apart from the two discussed here, and by match on residence to that burial, we therefore deduce that the two Betchton baptisms belong to Samuel and Margaret’s family. In particular, note that Phebe, baptised 23 Dec 1764 at Sandbach (res. Betchton) is to Samuel & Margaret.
Anne, baptised 11 Nov 1764, is one of the Hassall baptisms and, unless she is a late baptism, is far too close to Phebe (less than 2m before her baptism), to be a member of Phebe’s family. We therefore deduce she must belong to the other local Samuel Cooper family, that of Samuel Cooper and Hannah Steele.
John, baptised Oct 1766, is between the two Betchton residence baptisms of Samuel and Margaret, but he is resident Wheelock, so also must belong to Samuel and Hannah.
This leaves two baptisms, both resident at Hassall, that we are not certain of:
- Sarah, 5 Mar 1762, baptised Sandbach, res. Hassall (1y after Sandbach wedding) (tentatively suggested as Samuel & Margaret’s child, as it seems to fit the calendar better);
- Hannah, 5 June 1763, baptised Sandbach, res. Hassall (1y 7m after Barthomley wedding) (tentatively suggested as Samuel & Hannah’s child).
In summary, my 6G grandparents’ family looks like this:
Samuel COOPER (abt 1740 – d 16 Oct 1798) married 19 Nov 1761, Barthomley,
Hannah STEELE (estimated 1740 – bur 2 Feb 1826?)
Anne COOPER (bap 11 Nov 1764 Sandbach)
John COOPER (bap 1 Oct 1766 Sandbach)
William COOPER (bap 16 Oct 1768 Barthomley – all following ones are at Barthomley as well) (m. Ann Healow / Hele, 6 Jul 1790);
Moses COOPER (bap 12 Jan 1772)
Jane COOPER (bap 9 Jan 1774) (m. Thomas Jones, 22 Dec 1790)
Thomas COOPER (bap 31 Dec 1775)
Mary COOPER (bap 5 Sep 1777) (m. Joseph Skerratt, 27 Aug 1797)
Bettey COOPER (bap 30 May 1779)
Martha COOPER (bap 6 May 1781)
Rebecca COOPER (bap 19 Mar 1783)
Samuel Steele COOPER (bap 16 April 1786)
And Hannah, baptised 5 June 1763 at Sandbach, is possibly theirs as well.
Indexes to parish registers come from FamilySearch collections:
- England, Cheshire Parish Registers, 1538-2000
- England, Cheshire Bishop’s Transcripts, 1598-1900
- England, Cheshire Non-conformist Records, 1671-1900
All register entries have been checked either against microfilms of the actual registers or against images from FindMyPast.