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The birth of John Dickinson at Sheffield

Updated: Jul 16, 2022

John Dickinson was my maternal 3rd great-grandfather. He and his son, Harry, are my most recent immigrant ancestors to America. A native of Sheffield, England, John married in Sheffield and brought his wife, daughter, and two sons to America in the late 1870s, living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His mother and younger brother, Joseph, had emigrated to America in 1863 (or more likely 1864), and probably enticed him to join them across the great water. John was a third generation (at least) steel worker, a hammerman working in the steel industry, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's booming steel mills provided opportunities the Dickinsons couldn't resist. His sons were steel workers, too.

John died on May 25, 1889, at Pittsburgh. He is buried there in Allegheny Cemetery. His tombstone gives the dates 1830-1889, which calculates to about 59 years, but his obituary states that he was 56 years of age. Images of both can be seen in my previous blog here. His death certificate reports he was 55. So how old was he?

Until this week, John's actual birth date had not been found, but with the help of Sheffield's parish registers, I was able to solve the mystery. If he died on May 25, 1889, he lived exactly 58 years, 1 month, and 17 days. (Thanks, Time Calculator). A copy of his baptismal record sets the record straight:

As you can see from the record, John was not born in 1830. He was born April 8, 1831. From the census, we know he was born in Masbrough, Kimberworth, Rotherham, on the outskirts of Sheffield. Kimberworth is about five miles from The Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, better known as the Sheffield Cathedral. The family was counted on the census at Woodstock Bower in 1841. See one of my previous blogs for details.

This ancient church had already been in use for 800 years when John was baptized there back in 1831, and it still stands and operates today. You can visit the church's website at

Tour the interior here in this interactive map:

View from street:

Aerial view:

Stay tuned for more as I trace John Dickinson's lineage! There's a lot more to share!

These Dickinson finds wouldn't be possible without the help of FindMyPast! Try a search for one of your brick walls, especially if they're in England! We may receive a small commission for purchases made and we thank you for your support, but the recommendation is made because FindMyPast is a great resource! Give it a try!



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