~ Families & People ~
Family and Forenames from the Lower Gornal Parish in 1891
The following facts have been compiled from the 1891 Census which recorded every living soul in the Parish, some 6500 individuals including children and infants.

This list indicates the family names that populated the district with the number of individuals of that name:-

Marsh: 369 Jones: 364 Hickman: 217 Bradley: 213
Hale: 187 Flavell: 159 Green(a)way: 151 Westwood: 139
Guest: 133 Bea(r)dsmore: 129 Smith: 127 Timmins: 124
Bate: 118 Oakley: 115 Bennett: 109 Southall: 100
Turner: 92 Fellowes: 92 Raybould: 85 Parkes: 68
As you can see the surnames Marsh and Jones were everywhere at this time!
Hickman, Bradley and Hale also. Beadsmore/Beardsmore and Greenway/Greenaway which appear to have alternative spellings.
Of course, some of these families may not have been related directly or may have no connection at all.
There were many favoured forenames, among both male and female, below is a small list of the most frequent, during this period names were quite conventional and traditional, a great deal obviously had biblical connections, there were very few 'fashionable' names.
Joseph, Joshua, Isaac, Mary were typical, a bit less frequent like Hezekiah, Noah and Ruth, and some really unusual.
Many forenames were preserved though families or immediate relatives, this coupled with so many common family names, this can make serching for an individual challenging if looking for "William Jones" or "Mary Hickman".
This list compiled from the 1891 Census of the Lower Gornal Parish, reveals the most popular forenames with the number of individuals who were so named:-


Mary: 513 Sarah: 439 Elizabeth: 213 Ann: 196
Hannah: 140 Alice: 103 Jane: 81 Martha: 76
Emma: 65 Rachael: 65 Phoebe: 60 Emily: 47
As this list shows, "Mary" and "Sarah" were the most popular female choices, and those numbers includes varients like "Mary Ann", "Sarah Jane", the variations of 'Elizabeth' like "Lizzy" and "Eliza" and "Ann" like "Anne" and "Annie".
Other very popular female names were Louisa, Esther, Florence, Maude, Matilda, Rebecca, Leah, Fanny, Harriett and Lydia.
Unusual were Pathena, Sylvanus, Tryphenia and Happy.


John: 437 William 379 Joseph: 378 Thomas: 267
James: 205 Samuel: 164 Benjamin: 139 Edward: 72
Isaac: 68 George: 64 Henry: 62 Daniel: 57
John, William and Joseph were way ahead in popularity as first name choices.
Other popular male names were Alfred, Charles, Enoch, Richard and in smaller numbers Emmanuel, Eli, Reuben, Josiah - many from the Old Testement like Moses and Noah.
It was and still is usual for John to be called 'Jack', William, 'Bill' and Joseph, 'Joe', as it is elsewhere.
In 1891, the male population of Lower Gornal were predominately engaged in mining, mainly for coal, bricklaying and a small number of other trades.
Womenfolk, those that worked - mostly the single women were working in the brickyards or at home as a tailoress, dressmaker or domestic, and much less engaged in the nail trade which had dominated the earlier part of the 19th Century.