Jonathan Lee and his wife Sarah came to Canada circa 1843 from Yorkshire. Their family at that point in time included Thomas, Mary and Jonathan (born at sea). Information on Sarah’s maiden name and birthplace found through various other family trees was varied. Her name is listed as either Sarah Holgate or Sarah Holgate Richardson. Her birthplace was listed as two possibilities, either Herfordshire or Haxey in Lincolnshire. So further investigation was required. My investigation was limited to online sources, including but not limited to Find My Past (FMP), Ancestry and Family Search.
The 1841 Yorkshire Census1indicates that there was a Jonathan and Sarah Lee living in Rawcliffe, Yorkshire. Rawcliffe, and specifically Rawcliffe Bridge where they are noted as living, is within the parish of Snaith2. They have a one-year old daughter Mary with them. Several pages later in the Rawcliffe section, living with no one (as indicated by a // showing end of household before his name), is their three-year old son Thomas. It is likely that this is an error by the transcriber of the 1841 census records as those are the enumerators records copied from the original3and that transcriber then needed to include the child at the end. The ages for both Jonathan and Sarah on this census are listed as 20. However, the instructions for that year for adults over 15 was to round down to the nearest multiple of five4. Therefore, it is likely that both Sarah and Jonathan would be between the ages of 20 and 24 at the time of the census. That would put Sarah’s birth year between 1816 and 1821.
On the 1851 Canadian census5the age required to be reported was the age at the next birthday. This would put Sarah’s birth year between 1815 and 1816. Of course, census ages are often incorrect and cannot be relied on, so these years could easily be stretched to 1814 or 1817 as well.
Based on the location in the 1841 census, Jonathan and Sarah were living in Snaith. Confirmation of Jonathan Lee born in Rawcliffe was then very straightforward as there was only one born within the applicable time frame within five miles of Snaith6. There is also only one marriage between 1733 and 1836 in the parish registers within five miles of Snaith. That is the 1836 marriage of Jonathan Lee in Snaith is to Sarah Holgate7,8. A search of FMP found that there were 26 marriages found in England for Jonathan Lee in the 1836/37 time frame. There is no other marriage of Jonathan Lee to anyone with the first name Sarah in England in the that time frame.
Attempting the same radius for Sarah Holgate retrieved no results. Expanding the search area by an additional five miles still yielded no results. As the 1841 census indicated that Sarah was born in Yorkshire, expanding the search area to Yorkshire yielded two results shown below:
|Name||Parents||Where born||When born|
|Sarah Holgate9||James and Ann||Hawksworth, Guiseley, Yorkshire (West Riding)||Mar 21 baptized April 21, 1816|
|Sarah Holgate10||Christopher and Jane||Green Hammerton, Whixley, Yorkshire (West Riding)||Baptized Oct 8, 1816|
However, as indicated above, information indicates that the correct Sarah Holgate is:
|Name||Parents||Where born||When born|
|Sarah Holgate11||Samuel and Mary||Newbigg, Haxey, Licolnshire||Baptized Jan 8, 1817|
A search was done for Sarah Richardson in Yorkshire with no results.
A search was done for Sarah Holgate in Herfordshire. However, no birth record for a Sarah Holgate nor a Sarah Richardson with the relevant birth years was found in Herfordshire records on FMP, Ancestry or Family Search.
The last name of Richardson rather than Holgate shows up in the The Atlas of Wellington County(1906)19. The only one of the Lee family that remained in Minto was Jonathan Lee Jr18and he seems to the main source of the name. Documents reviewed showed that the main surname given for Sarah is Holgate (or some form of Holgate).
|Document||Informant||Last name provided|
|Jonathan Jr. Marriage20||Jonathan (assumed)||Lee|
|Robert Marriage21||Robert (assumed)||Olgate|
|Jane Marriage22||Jane (assumed)||Upgate|
|Jane Death23||Jane’s daughter, Mrs. Alex Donaldson||Oldgate|
|Jonathan Jr. Death24||Jonathan’s son, Ernest Lee||Brown|
|Thomas Lee Death25||Thomas’s son, Thomas||Olegate|
|Mary Death26||Mary’s husband, William Bride||Richardson|
There is a possibility that the name Sarah Holgate Richardson comes from her mother’s remarriage. Mary Holgate, a widow, married William Richardson, a widower in Hatfield parish in 184212. The marriage license indicates her father’s name was Jacob Wells. This is the same parish (Hatfield) where a Mary Bisken Wells married Samuel Holgate in 180513. At that time, one of the witnesses to the marriage was Jacob Wells.
This, then, leads credence to Haxey being the correct place of birth. However, before we can accept that this is the correct Sarah Holgate, we must also eliminate the other two as possibilities.
There are no deaths or burials of a Sarah Holgate with the appropriate birth year in Yorkshire between 1816 and 1843 when Jonathan and Sarah travelled to Canada.
The 1841 Census was searched for evidence of the parents of the two Yorkshire baptisms above. Christopher and Jane and their daughter Sarah were living in Whixley in 184114. The Whixley Sarah Holgate may be eliminated then as she did not marry Jonathan Lee (she married in 1847 to John Bailey of Whixley). James and Ann were still living on the farm on Hawksworth in 184115with a daughter Ann but without a daughter Sarah. Samuel and Mary were found in the Yorkshire census living with children John and Elizabeth, without a Sarah27.
There were two marriages of Sarah Holgate in 1836, one to Jonathan Lee, and one to William Johnston McClellan.
|Name||Parish||Husband||Comments re 1841 census|
|Sarah Holgate16||Bradford, Yorkshire (West Riding)||William Johnston McClellan||On 1841 census children are Alexander James, Margaret Ann and William Johnston17.|
|Sarah Holgate8||Snaith, St. Lawrence, Yorkshire (West Riding)||Jonathan Lee||On 1841 census children are Thomas and Mary1.|
Based on the naming conventions, it could be argued that the Sarah Holgate that married William Johnston McClellan may have had parents James and Ann (the middle names of her two children), while the Sarah Holgate that married Jonathan Lee may have had a mother named Mary (first daughter’s name).
Based on the evidence reviewed, it is reasonable to accept that the birthplace for Sarah Holgate is Haxey, Lincolnshire, England, and that her parents were Samuel Holgate and Mary Bisken Wells.