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Furness or Fourness - Halifax UK

Query by JBF911

My great grandfather John/James/Smith Furness emigrated to NZ in 1841/42 along with three others (presumably relatives) all recorded under the name Furniss. Previous researcher(s) have identified his parents as William & Hannah Fourness. However the 1841 UK census does not include any of these 6 individuals under any of the names Fourness, Furniss or Furness. How do I solve this riddle? Where do the William/Hannah names come from?

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by JBF911 Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2013-01-27 11:19:03

JBF911 has been a Family Tree Circles member since Mar 2012.

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by noggin on 2013-01-27 12:17:02
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by JBF911 on 2013-01-27 17:03:41

Thank you for the information. As far as I can tell the first reference is to a brother, and the second reference (which I also found) is to his parents. There were three other siblings according to other researchers - Ann b1822, Sarah Jane bap 17 Mar 1829 and William bap 24 May 1831 (1 month after his father William) died 24 Jan 1832.

I have now found a baptism record on Ancestry-UK for Smith Fourness, dated 16 Nov 1824, son of William and Hannah Fourness. This date matches other records, including his reported age when he died in Nelson, New Zealand (buried in Wellington, NZ)

So as I understand it, John Fourness (dob 1827) and Smith Fourness are different people (3 years age difference)

Both Smith and John are mentioned on the passenger list of the Birman, the ship they sailed to NZ on (name misspelt as Furniss). However, there is no further record of that John Furness in NZ. (There are many references to John Furness my great-grandfather.)

Some on-line family trees seem to mix up the names, but I think it is clear now.

John Brian Furness

by noggin on 2013-01-27 18:32:51
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by JBF911 on 2013-01-28 17:34:03

Very impressive. What websites/search tools do you use?

In your first post you reported a John Fourness bap 01Mar 1827 with same parents. This needs to be added your summary above.

by JBF911 on 2013-01-28 17:37:20

Another thing...
I have found records to show William Fourness (the father) died in April 1831, and his widow Hannah remarried in 1836. This may have precipitated the two sons (Smith and John) to seek their fortunes in NZ. On the ship passenger list they are recorded as 17 and 14 years. There are two other family members listed - possibly cousins or uncle/aunt.

by noggin on 2013-01-28 18:09:43
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by cjfnewzealand on 2013-06-24 05:29:46

Hi, my grandfather was Geoffrey Furness, a son of Smith James Furness, who was a son of John/James Smith Furness. I suspect his name was meant to be James but somewhere the name John slipped in which is the name of his apparent younger sibling.You mentioned in an earlier post that your grandfather was Arthur Frederick Furness, born 1878 and that your great grandfather john/james smith furness who died in Australia.My records show that John/James Smith Furness died from drowning in Nelson NZ harbour on 29.2.1884 . I have records of 11 children of John/James Smith Furness with the oldest William born sept 1846 and the youngest Arthur Edward born 1867 so am interested to see that there was a later child ... your grandfather Arthur Frederick born 1878 , however I wonder if maybe he is actually the same person I have recorded as Arthur Edward born 1867 as the mother ( Mary ) was born in 1823 and would have been aged 55 in 1878.According to the scant records I have for Arthur Edward he was married twice, his first wife Miriam died in childbirth of their daughter Miriam Eileen (d.o.b. 22.10.1893)and that Arthur Edward subsequently married Margaret Low in 1896. He died in 1949 aged 82.I don't have any further info on Arthur Edward but have basic similar details of his siblings if you don't already have such. As you have mentioned John/James Smith Furness came to NZ on the Birman with other family. Also on the ship was a Mary Patterson . I understand they had a teenage shipboard romance and were married on 2.2.1846 in wellington.
Please let me know if you require any further info.

by JBF911 on 2013-06-24 15:52:26

Hi cjf

I think the alternative names John and James for Smith Furness (senior) are mistaken. The baptism record for Smith Fourness is clear.
I agree about Smith and Mary's 11 children and that Arthur Edward (b 1867) was the youngest. One of his other sons John Furness(b 17 Nov 1856)was father of Arthur Frederick Furness (my grandfather). The latter was a nephew of Arthur Edward Furness.

I am currently in UK and have been trying (but not too hard) to trace the Fourness family members "left behind" in Halifax, and also the other Furniss passengers on the Birman. Smith's remarried mother Hannah (now Cooper) lived next door to an Ely and Hannah Fourness in Elland near Halifax (1841, 1851, 1861 census) but I have not yet been able to make a connection between Ely and the deceased William Fourness (Smith's father).

If it is of interest, there are some sites that give Smith (snr)'s father's name as William Cornswainer Fourness but this is actually a reference to his occupation Cordswainer (shoemaker) registered on a document I saw (cannot remember which one). All the records I have found refer simply to William Fourness.

We are obviously in the same generation with a common great-great-grandfather. I think that makes us 5th cousins. I have another oblique connection to the Marlborough Express - co-owned by your Grandfather. My godmother was Alison Rose - I think her nephew was Roger Rose who was also at the Express.

If want I can tell you an email address

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