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William Dickinson's birth and baptism 1791

William Dickinson was my maternal 4th great-grandfather. He never came to America, but his wife and two grown sons, Joseph and John, emigrated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the mid to late 1800s. Pittsburgh was the steel capitol of America and William spent his whole life in and around Sheffield, Yorkshire, England - the steel capitol of England.

On the censuses of 1841 and 1851, his birthplace was given as Walkley. Walkley is a suburb of Sheffield, located 2-3 miles from Sheffield's city center. Walkley dates back to early Anglo-Saxon times, when it was mostly thick woodlands with only a few buildings "Walkley was mentioned in several documents in the centuries after the Norman Conquest, in 1554 it was described as having several cottages and smallholdings worked by tenants of the Lord of the Manor of Sheffield. By this time the population of Walkley was around 200." [Wikipedia]

In the 17th century Walkley was connected to the village of Owlerton by the pack horse track which ascended Walkley Lane and continued to Crookes, it became a turnpike road and a heavy gate was placed across the road where tolls were collected. The Old Heavygate Inn was constructed at this point in 1696 and still stands today, it has walls two feet thick.

I bought the old photo above on Ebay so I could frame it and hang it on my wall as a reminder of where my ancestors lived back in 1791. (I've modified the above image, obviously). The seller offers many antique images of Walkley, Sheffield and England, so if you're looking to add a piece of your family history to your décor or just want to see more images of what the area looked like a couple hundred years ago, visit the seller's store here. (Non-commission referral).

William was baptized at the Cathedral Church of St Peter & St Paul in Sheffield, on March 23, 1791. The church, also known as Sheffield Cathedral, is about 2-3 miles from Walkley and it appears that all of William's brothers and sisters were baptized there as well. See my next blog (released 8/25/2022) here.

Prior to 1873, the only way to travel from Walkley to Sheffield's city centre was on foot or by horse. Hopefully William's family had a horse and buggy to transport their family to Sheffield Cathedral. Later, in 1873, privately owned horse-drawn buses were introduced, and in the 1890s the electric Sheffield Tramway was up and running. [Source: Wikipedia]

So far I have found no indication of how old William was at the time of his baptism, or any documentation pertaining to his actual birth, but with the help of my new Birth Date Range Estimator, and the census, I narrowed his birth date down to sometime between June 10, 1790 and March 30, 1791, so this baptism, which took place on March 23, 1791, fits perfectly. We also know from his marriage record, that his father's name was William Dickinson, the Tilter.

William's entry in the Baptismal registry simply states:

Baptisms 1791.... March... 23 William Son of William & Ann Dickinson - Tilter

Again, the one major clue that tells me this records pertains to the right William Dickinson is his father's occupation of "Tilter", a trade passed from father to son four at least four generations and probably more. They operated giant "Tilt-Hammers" in steel mills, hammering steel into flat sheets. To learn more about this trade, see my previous article here.

Stay tuned for more family history! In the meantime, learn more about this branch of my tree here.


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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