ROSANNAH DORBER (born c1839 – died 21st June 1901)

John Dorber (my Great Great Grandfather) was born about 1812 in Warrington – he was the oldest son of Richard Dorber and his first wife, Rosannah Hamblett.

John married Ann Stanley by Banns on the 22nd May in Prescot, Lancashire 1831.  Following the birth of two children in Warrington: Richard (1832) and Rosanna – whose birth year in unknown but she died in August 1833, the family moved to Manchester.  By 1834, a daughter Mary Ann was born, and in 1839, Ann Dorber gave birth to another daughter – Rosannah.

By the time of the 1851 Census, the family were living at 7 Lower James Street, Salford.  John was aged 37 and described as a Blacksmith – Ann, his wife, was 36.  Of their children still at home, there was Richard (aged 19) employed as a Blacksmith’s Apprentice,  Mary Ann (aged 17) and described as a House Servant.  Rosanna(h) is aged 12 and is described as a Scholar.  Also mentioned arte John (aged 10), Samuel Edward (aged 5), Joseph (aged 3) and Frederick (aged 4 months).

By the 1861 Census, John and Ann are living at 12 Hathuton Street, Salford.  John is 49 and described as a Shoeing Smith.  Ann is also said to be 49 years old.  Rosannah (aged 22) is described as a Cotton Weaver.  Samuel Edward is 15 years old but there is no indication of any employment.  Joseph is 12 and Frederick is 10 – they are both at school.  

Since the 1851 Census, John and Ann Dorber had had a further three children:  Agnes (born 3rd November 1852), James Stanley (born 22nd November 1854 and subsequently died in 1855) and Martha – who  is only 3 years of age at the time of the 1861 Census.

By the 1871 Census, John and Ann had moved again and were living at 35 Borough Street, Pendleton.  Rosannah had already left home.

Rosannah Dorber does feature on the 1871 Census though her first name is given as Annie – not Rosannah.  She is described as a Domestic Servant in the employ of the Bourdman Family at 238 Lower Broughton Road, Broughton, Salford.  Her age is given as 29.

On the 1881 Census, Rosannah’s name is again given as Annie – though she is now living with an Irish labourer called John Johnson at 18 Back Greenwood Street, Hunslet, in Leeds.  They have two children:  Ann (aged 6) and Eleanor (aged 4) – both born in Hunslet.  Annie’s age is given as 40.  There is no evidence that she was ever married to John Johnson – and it is possible that he already had a wife back in Ireland.

On Ann Johnson’s birth certificate, her mother’s name is given as Rose Ann Johnson (formerly Dorber).  On Eleanor’s birth certificate, her mother’s name is given as Rose Hannah Johnson (formerly Dorber).  On both certificates, she has “made her mark” – indicating that she was unable to write her name.

On the 1891 Census, the family have returned to Salford and are living in a cellar beneath 32 Albion Street.  Her name is now stated to be Rose Ann Johns(t)on, and she’s described as a 51 year old widow – though I can find no evidence of a death. Her daughter Ann is aged 15, and works as a Cotton Reeler.  her other daughter Eleanor (aged 13) is employed as a Bobbin Sorter.

The 1901 Census shows the family now living at 17 Thomas Turner Street, Salford. Her name is given as Rose Ann Johnson – she’s stated as being a 62 year old widow.  Ann is 25 years old and Eleanor is 23 – they are both employed as Flax Reelers – all three of them are described as being “Boarders.”

Rose Ann died on the 21st June 1901 at 17 Thomas Turner Street.  her name on the death certificate is given as Rose Hannah Dorber.  The death was registered by her daughter Ann – who gave her own name as Ann Dorber.  The husband’s name was given as “John Dorber, Shoemaker” – one wonders if Ann got confused with her mother’s father (John Dorber) who was a Shoeing Smith.  The fact that Ann gave her mother’s surname as Dorber, would strongly suggest that Rosannah and John Johnson were never married.

Ann Johnson, known as “Grandma Johnson” apparently lived until 1959 – she was 83 years old when she died.



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