When you’re in the business of genealogy, you sometimes have those cases that really try your research skills. That was definitely the case with William Dickins Cockerill. For many years, William’s paternity was a mystery. He was born in England, but immigrated to England as a young man. All William knew of his family was that his father was “Mr. Dickins” and his mother was “Mary Cockerill.”
With only that small seed of information to feed our search, we were able to locate William’s christening records in Kislingbury, Northamptonshire. According to record, William was christened on April 28 or 1823. Christening records during this time period reflect illegitimacy differently, and the father of the child is only sometimes identified. In the case of William, who was born out of wedlock, only his mother, Mary Cockerill is listened in the records.
Disappointed in the lack of information the christening records presented, we started digging deeper. We combed through documents from the Northamptonshire Country Record Office. These included the Quarter Sessions Record Books, Quarter Sessions Rolls and Kislinbury Charity Account. The charity accounts detailed payments to the poor within the parrish, but unfortunately, there was no mention of a Mary Cockerill or her child. However, we knew that Northampton, less than five miles from Kislingbury, held its own court of Quarter Sessions, and we wondered if perhaps Kislingbury might have fallen under the jurisdiction of Northampton Town Quarter Sessions, although we already knew that fewer records had survived this court than many others.
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