Widdup Hodgson and Bracewell connection updated

One of the positive things about internet genealogy is the capacity to make connections with relatives or other family historians around the globe.

A couple of years ago I posted my research on the connection between the John Widdup family from Urana and his cousins John Bracewell (UK) and Jesse, Jonathan, and Joseph Hodgson from near Bendigo. This posting was on the One Guy from Barlick website which is great resource for people from that area of England. http://oneguyfrombarlick.co.uk/ It has become clear too in the course of the research that Jesse Hodgson who emigrated with his brothers Joseph & Jonathan was not a bachelor but had married prior to emigrating, leaving his wife and two sons behind.

A personal message from Anne in Yorkshire has now helped to confirm that the parents of John Widdup were James and Mary Widdup and that Mary was originally Mary Wright, sister to Amy Wright who first married Henry Bracewell and after his death, Daniel Hodgson. (thanks Anne for additional information on this family). The Hodgson family went to Glossop, Derbyshire with Mary’s brother, John Wright, where they set up as cotton spinners in a factory. Their involvement in the cotton industry was unsuccessful and they filed for bankruptcy.  They later moved to Bugsworth (aka Buxworth) where they took up running the Navigation Inn (1851 census) and later the Dog & Partridge Inn (1861 census).

John Widdup’s parents lived at Sand Holes a farm in Foulridge, Lancashire. This farm had previously been owned by Mary’s grandfather, Jonathan Wright, a yeoman from Oakworth near Keighley whose will required that it be sold after his death. John & Mary Widdup lived at Sand Holes over several decades. Thanks Anne for providing additional information on this family.

I also believe that John Widdup was probably the John Widdup a merchant seaman who was documented on the 1851 census living as a boarder in Hull and stating his place of birth as Salterforth (spelt slightly differently on the record).  The Widdup family anecdote is that he was a sailor from Denmark but educated in England. This seems highly likely to be one of those stories that become changed over time -perhaps he sailed to Denmark as part of his job, but as the Widdup name is heavily concentrated in the Yorkshire-Lancashire area and there are no indications of it in the Danish IGI records it seems highly probable it is a red herring.

My original purpose in pursuing John Widdup was to try to see if it led back to his wife’s (Bridget O’Brien) arrival in Australia which unfortunately it hasn’t done, but at least it appears to have expanded our knowledge of John’s own ancestry. It may be this John who arrives in Australia on 19 June 1853: Mr J Widdup, 23, sailor (but not crew), English is on the list of intermediate pax on board barque “Jane” from San Francisco via Auckland to Melbourne.

One day a photo of Bridget Widdup may turn up which will let us see whether she looks like her sister Mary O’Brien Kunkel who lived in Queensland and her sister Honora O’Brien Garvey who lived near Bodyke in Ireland.

Meanwhile it seems the puzzle of the pioneers Hodgson brothers from Eaglehawk near Bendigo and John Widdup a pioneer from Urana in southern New South Wales seems to have been solved.

Some mystery remains as to which John Bracewell we’re looking at in the English census and whether indeed he remained in England rather than emigrating perhaps to north America. However that puzzle remains for another day.

5 thoughts on “Widdup Hodgson and Bracewell connection updated

  1. Hi Pauline
    Hope you’re still on this site – if not I’ll contact you on genes reunited.
    Just been looking through some papers my uncle (John Wright Hodgson, 1912- ) sent and I’ve found a letter from my grandfather, James Hodgson, dated Jan 4th /87 from Woodson, Morgan County, Illinois. It’s written to ‘Friend Tom’ and includes the following: “Uncle John Bracewell owns about 600 acres of land around here.” It also says that James was living with Tom Irlam “between two small towns, that we should call villages, Woodson and Murrayville, about 6 miles distant. There is a large town about 8 miles north of Woodson called Jacksonville.”
    I’ll copy this and put it on genes reunited, but if you would like aa photocopy of the original letter, please let me know and I’ll send you one. I’ll keep digging in the meantime and may go and visit Uncle John for more before too long (he’s 98 this year and has a great memory for detail!)
    Best wishes


    1. hi Roger

      Thanks for this -it’s intriguing isn’t it with this family scattered around the globe. I’d love to see a scanned copy of the letter or a photocopy, whichever’s easier. I”ll send a message with details via genes reunited.

      Thanks for keeping me in mind during this search.



  2. Hi Roger and Pauleen

    This comment rang a few bells in my memory.
    If I have the right man, James Hodgson may well be the son of Wright Hodgson and his wife Martha (Widdup or Howarth).
    Births Mar 1867 HODGSON James Macclesfield 8a102
    You can follow him in the UK census until 1901 so I would never have thought he might have emigrated.

    Wright was one of the sons of Amy Wright and Daniel Hodgson who remained in England.
    As Amy was a widow with children from her first marriage, John Bracewell was Wright’s half brother and James might well call him Uncle. Tom Irlam is probably Matthew Thomas Irlam, son of John Bracewell’s sister Jane.

    If so there must be a whole clutch of descendents of Amy and Daniel in this small area as I already know that Martha Hodgson Bennett died in Murrayville Ill and is buried in Roberts Cemetery, Woodson Twp, Morgan County Illinois. One of her daughters definitely married and settled there. Now looking for the rest of the family.

    If interested, I can fill in detail about Jane Bracewell and Amy Wright’s ancestry.



    1. hi Anne

      Thanks for getting in touch via the blog. As you know since then we’ve progressed the research on this family and hopefully the other family connection we linked up as helped further since we last “spoke”.




  3. I am following up your links regarding John Widdup, who settled in Urana. I am wanting help with the three boys, the eldest 3 of the family mentioned here. My great grandfather is Thomas Heath Widdup, born 1832. His three younger brothers were (as I have it: Wright b 1826, John, b 1827 and James b 1830, death unknown). Thomas travelled on the West POint , arriving in New York 12 July, 1858. The family story is that he promptly joined the American civil /war. by 1 Jan 1862 he marries Martha Lumsden in Morgan, Illinois. In my records,His sister Martha, b 1836 Foulridge marries Wright Hodgson. However, this marriage certificate states the brides name as Martha Howarth.Have I linked this Marriage Certificate to the right person?
    This linking coincides with the comments from Anne Harley.


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