Black Sheep Sunday – An Interesting Discovery…


Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on

I’ve been trying to find some of the resources I’ve been missing for my 3x Great Grandparents, Mark Wood and Elizabeth Cope – one of these is the 1851 census return.

After trying some different search techniques and filtering I finally found Mark Wood living on his own, but still noted as married, in Two Gates, Warwickshire. So where were his wife and children? The couple had five children by this time so I tried searching for one of the children and found four of them living with Thomas’s brother Joseph and his wife, Harriett, in Wilnecote, Warwickshire.

I eventually found Elizabeth and her youngest child, Rebecca, in the House of Correction in Warwick – she was in prison! Rebecca, at 10 months of age, was probably deemed to be too young to be separated from her mother and so they were kept together.

The census gives no clue as to how long Elizabeth had to serve or what crime she had committed, so I need to have a look through Ancestry’s criminal databases to see what I can find.

Bridewell building beside old police station (being demolished) in Barrack Street, Warwick, 1972 ———- “Reproduced from the “Our Warwickshire” website © “Warwickshire County Record Office reference PH 143/57”

I also noticed that who I thought was Elizabeth & William’s eldest child, also William, is recorded as William Bush Cope, not Wood. I knew he was born before the couple married but as he’s recorded as Wood and son on subsequent census I assumed (dangerous, I know!) he was the couple’s first child. So I need to try and find a birth record for him to try and settle that.

© Caroline Cox and Caroline’s Chronicles. 2011 – current year

19 thoughts on “Black Sheep Sunday – An Interesting Discovery…

  1. Oh, how interesting! We never know what we might find in our family’s history. My dad is really into genealogy and I love the little things they find out about!


  2. What a mystery! I wonder what she did (or was accused of) in that situation! If you don’t find anything in Ancestry criminal records, you could also try FindMyPast. They have a collection of English and Welsh criminal records (although I’m not sure if there’s any overlap with Ancestry’s collection). I use FindMyPast at my local library which has a subscription. I’d be happy to do a look-up if you need it. Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I remember being so shocked when I discovered my great-great-grandmother in the Irish prison records! She was locked up for being drunk in public. Still, they were a great source of information that I otherwise would never have had. Best of luck with your search.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Poor Elizabeth and Rebecca. I hope you can find why Elizabeth was in prison and I hope it was for some small misdeed. It’s amazing to me some of the reasons why people were in prison during the 1800s in England. (Probably true for the U.S., too, but haven’t seen many articles.)

    Liked by 1 person

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