Rayner Family Tree    (EDIT)

Created, written & researched by Philip Rayner

RAYNER – Origin of the name

Apart from the landed gentry, hereditary surnames came into general use in the south of England in the 14th century and in the north in the 15th century. They were originally required because of the wider use of legal documents, such as leases, which could be passed from father to son. The 3 most common types of surname were based on trades (eg Smith), places (eg York) or a christian name followed by “son” (eg Richardson). Sometimes the “son” would be abbreviated to “s” (eg Richards). The Oxford Book of surnames suggests that Rayner was a christian name of French origin, meaning “Counsel, might, army”. I don’t think that this means that our ancestors were ultimately French in the same way that anyone currently with the christian names George, Albert or William wouldn’t necessarily be of German extraction. An early example of Rayner used as a surname was Ricardus filius Reynarus. Documents in the 14th and 15th centuries were often in Latin and the anglicised version of the name would eventually have been abbreviated to Richard Rayner. Because it was derived from a not uncommon christian name of the time there are likely to have been a number of different sources of the surname. RAYNER – Information from parish records and various birth and marriage certificates and from the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses.

William Rayner.
The only information currently known about him was obtained from his son’s (also William, see below) marriage certificate for his son’s second marriage in 1846. His occupation is given as “Comber”. He will have been born about 1770 or earlier and he presumably lived in Norwich in 1792/3 when his son was born. The fact that he became a “Comber” would suggest that he moved to Yorkshire to work in the wool trade. This is likely to have been before 1817 when his unmarried son, William, was married at Silkstone. There may have been some connection with Fewston in Yorkshire. It is a small place, which seems to have had a Rayner presence since bound parish records were first kept. The earliest event I have so far traced is the marriage of an Agnes Rayner in 1604. William (b 1792) and all William’s (b1792) family moved to Fewston in the 1830s and 1840s from Barnsley. There may be some family link with the earlier Rayners recorded there. Also there was a Thomas Rayner, born in Yorkshire about 1815, living with his wife Mary and son William in Barnsley in 1841. Rayner was not a common name in Barnsley. Thomas was a name chosen by both William (b1792) and George (b1818) for their sons, which may indicate a connection. He could have been a younger son of this William. Thomas’s eldest son was also called William.

William Rayner
Born in Norwich, Norfolk in 1792 or early 1793. Had moved to the Barnsley area sometime before 1817 when he was married. He still lived in Barnsley in 1829, when his son James was born. His first wife was Ann Tinker (Ann (per her burial details) or Anne per the baptismal records of her children, William and Sarah. William seems to have been a  “White Smith” (a worker in tinned or white iron) in 1821. The marriage was on 24 October 1817 at Silkstone (about 6 miles east of Barnsley).
The Thomas Rayner referred to above would not have been this William’s son because he was born before the marriage and there was a subsequent child of that name who died shortly after birth in 1838, but it is a possible that he was a younger brother of this William. The Parish record shows that William was a bachelor and Ann was a spinster at the time of their marriage and they were both of the Silkstone Parish. They were married by banns with no impediment alleged in the presence of Job(?) Collins(?) and Michael Taylor (the latter seems to have witnessed a number of marriages). It appears that William may have signed his name but Ann made her mark.

The family moved to Fewston before March 1838 and in the 1841 census William is shown as a weaver and still lived at Fewston with his children Sarah, then aged 16 (also a weaver), William, then aged 14 and employed as a Bobbin Winder and James then aged about 11 who was employed as a Doffer, His wife Ann had died in 1840. I am told that the main employer in Fewston was a flax mill.

On 16 November 1846 William remarried a Martha Crook. He is shown on that certificate as a Widower, his occupation was “Weaver” and he did not sign his name.  In 1851 he and Martha lived at 63 Grace Church Street in Manningham, Bradford, with what is described as their daughter, Hannah Rayner. At that time his occupation was Stuff Weaver. In 1861 they lived at 57 Grace Church Street and Hannah is given the surname Crook and described as William’s daughter in Law, although stepdaughter may have been more accurate. There was a television programme in 2006 on Jeremy Paxman’s roots (“Who do you think you are”) and his family were moved from Suffolk to Yorkshire in the 1820s. They had been claiming poor relief and instead of claiming this they were offered free passage (by canal) to work in the mills in Yorkshire. Apparently people in Norfolk claiming poor relief were also offered similar passage and work. It could be that our William was moved to Yorkshire on this basis.

Ann (or Anne) Tinker

First wife of William. Married him on 24 October 1817 at Silkstone, near Barnsley. She was baptised on 1 September 1798 at All Saints church in Wakefield and was buried at St Michael & St Lawrence church in Fewston on 3 December 1840 aged 42. Her parents were William and Sarah Tinker who were married at All Saints in Wakefield on 30 October 1791. She had an older brother James who was baptised at All Saints, Wakefield on 6 May 1795. Her older brother’s second wife was Elizabeth Lonsdale (nee Crook), a younger sister of Martha Crook (see below) who he married in Bradford in 1857. In 1851 Elizabeth Lonsdale and her first husband, Benjamin, and their daughter, Emma lived near William and Martha on Grace Church Street in Manningham, whereas at that time James Tinker was a widower living in Wakefield. William’s brother in law from his first marriage married his much younger sister in law from his second marriage.

Martha Crook
Second wife of William. Born in Otley or Guiseley in 1815. She was baptised in Guiseley on 18 June 1815. Her parents were Thomas Cook and his wife Hannah (nee Sutclief). Her surname was changed from Cook to Crook at birth (reason not known). Thomas Cook and Hannah Sutclief were married on 24 March 1815 in Otley. Thomas Cook died on 27 May 1821 in Guiseley. His widow Hannah then married Joseph Middleton on 5 November 1822. Joseph Middleton must have died by 1833 because Hannah then married Benjamin Holmes on 9 November 1833. Martha had at least two full sisters, Elizabeth, christened 3 September 1820 at the Parish Church, Bradford and Mary, christened at St Oswald’s, Guiseley on 9 February 1817, she was also half sister to Sarah Holmes. It appears Mary died in 1828. Elizabeth married Ann Tinker’s brother in 1857 (see above). In 1841 Martha lived at Esholt near Otley with a Thos Sutcliffe (then aged 80 and presumably Martha’s maternal grandfather) and her half sister, Sarah Holmes (then aged 5) (subsequently wife of James). Martha had an illegitimate daughter in 1845 who is shown on the birth registration as Hannah Holmes Crook. Martha became William’s wife on 16 November 1846. She is shown as a spinster, her occupation was weaver and her father is shown as Thomas Cook. She could not sign her name.

Known Children of William and Ann

Born 1818 or early 1819 in Barnsley.  He was married to Charlotte, who was the same age and was born in Newark, Nottinghamshire. He lived at Hardisty Hill in Fewston with his parents in 1838 presumably before marrying. In 1841 he and his wife and 2 children lived in Barnsley, but then moved back to Fewston where their son Thomas was born in about 1843 (per 1851 and 1861 censuses). The family later moved to Tong, then Hunslet and Leeds. Charlotte had died by 1871 and by 1881 George was remarried to Sarah. He worked as a Stuff or Linen weaver. George and Charlotte’s known children were William, John (died in infancy), Thomas, George, John, Edwin (died in childhood) and Ann.

Buried 1821 aged 1 at St. Mary’s Barnsley. Possibly a child of William and Ann.


Baptised on 25 November 1821 at St Mary’s church in Barnsley. I assume  that he died in infancy in view of the subsequent child also called William.

Baptised on 22 August 1824 in Barnsley. She was living with her father and brothers at Fewston in 1841. Nothing further is known about her.

Born 1826 or early 1827 in Barnsley, married Elizabeth (Betsy). They had at least 6 children, James, Walter, Lavinia, Emily (who died in childhood before 1871), Annie and Arthur. William was alive in 1861 but had died by 1871 when Elizabeth is shown as a Widow.

Born 1829 per marriage certificate and 1861 census, but at a later date per subsequent censuses. Was born in Barnsley. In Bradford he was a weaver in 1850 but later an Overlooker. While in Bradford his family lived in Low Moor / Oakenshaw, Bradford, Wibsey and Drighlington. In 1851 he and his wife Sarah lived in Low Moor and next door lived his older brother, William and William’s wife, Betsy (shown as Elizabeth in the 1861 census). In 1861 James’ family lived at 14 Rebecca St which is near Westgate. In 1881 the family had moved to Whitehall Rd, Drighlington. He married Sarah Holmes, on 25 August 1850 at the Parish Church (C of E), Bradford. Catholic males only received the vote in the 1830s and it wasn’t until 1837 that marriages in the Catholic church were recognised. Before 1837 Catholics would marry in an Anglican church and sometimes have a ceremony in a Catholic Church afterwards. I don’t think therefore that the fact that he married in an Anglican Church means that he was not a Catholic. He could not sign his name on the marriage certificate. He was still alive and working in 1901 aged 71 living at 17 Chellow Street, Bankfoot with his unmarried daughter, Emily and a lodger, Charlotte Farmer. He died in 1902 aged 72. Thomas Born on 10 March 1838 at Hardisty Hill, Fewston. Christened on 11 March 1838 at St Michael & St Lawrence church in Fewston and was buried at the same church on 15 March 1838. His brother George registered the birth.

Sarah Holmes
James’ wife. She was christened Sarah Lavis Holmes on 5 July 1835 in Bradford. Her parents were Benjamin Holmes, a weaver, and his wife Hannah (previously Middleton, nee Sutclief). Benjamin Holmes married Hannah Middleton on 9 November 1833 in Bradford. In 1841 Sarah then aged 5 was living with her half sister, Martha Crook (see above) and what appears to be her maternal grandfather, Thomas Sutcliffe (born about 1761) . In 1861 she was a Worsted Weaver. She could not sign her name at the time of her marriage to James in 1850. She died in 1896 aged 61.

James and Sarah’s known children

Ann Rayner
Born 1851 (per 1861 census) or 1853 (per 1881 census).
Born in Low Moor per 1861 census or Oakenshaw per 1881 census. She was a Worsted Weaver. She was not living with her parents in 1891

Born early 1853 in Bradford. He married Sarah Ann Hullah in early 1878. Worked in a woollen mill. His children were Alice, Willie, Amy & George. They moved from Drighlington where they lived in 1881 to Pudsey where they were in 1891 to Tong where they lived in 1901.

Born 1858 in Bradford. She married John William Elstub, a coal miner,  in early 1878. Their daughter Ann Elstub
(b. 1879/80 was living with her grandparents, James and Sarah Rayner, in 1891). Their other children were James, Margaret, William, Rayner (?), George and Mary Ann. They lived in Drighlington, then Morley and then Bramley. Her husband died late 1896 aged 37. In late 1898 she remarried William Thomas Tate, a widower, in Bradford.

Hannah Maria
Born in 1859 in Bradford. In early 1881 she married William Henry Shepherd, an iron labourer, but she lived with her parents immediately after the marriage, while her husband lived as a boarder with Samuel Crabtree and his family. They moved to Armley their children were William Holmes, Arthur, Ada, Lavinia, Mary, Emily and Frederick.


Born in 1863 in Bradford. In 1881 she was a Worsted Weaver. She was still unmarried in 1901 living with her father and her occupation was stuff worsted weaver.

Sarah Jane
Born late 1865 in Wibsey. In 1881 she was a Worsted Weaver. She married Henry Hallam, a plumber, in early 1890 and they lived at Little Horton. Her only known children were Fred and Charles. Ada Born early 1871 in Wibsey. She married Henry Emmet, a signal fitter on the railways, in late 1892. They lived in North Bierley and their known children were Arthur, Elsie, Herman and Emily.

Born 25 September 1874 in Drighlington. Died in 1923. In 1897 he was a Warp Twister, and lived at 29 Chellow St, Bowling, but by 1922 he was a Club Curator (Manager) (Dennis thinks that the club in question could well be the one currently known as Clayton Lane Club). He married Catherine Lyons on 31 July 1897 at St Joseph’s Catholic church. In 1900 the family lived at 69 Marshall St, Horton. Both Paul and Francis have photos of James and Catherine. In 1901 the family lived at 96 Osborne Street. There is a transcription error in the online version of the 1901 census where the family surname is shown under “Raquet”. They had 3 boarders in 1901, Catherine Lyons Harriet Lyons (presumably an aunt) and Patrick Egan (presumably an uncle).
(mother of wife),

Catherine Lyons
James’ wife. Born 7 July 1875 at 17 Temperance St, Bradford. Her father was John Lyons, a Mason’s Labourer. He could not sign his own name and he had died by July 1897. In fact he may have died by 1881 because the household at that date was at 43 Hannah Gate, Horton and just consisted of mother and daughter and a Polly Egan (aged 44 and born in Mayo, Ireland). Her mother was Catherine Lyons (nee Egan) who was born in Mayo, Ireland in 1840. Catherine’s occupation in 1897 was Wool Comber. She lived at 38 Hannah Gate, Horton prior to her marriage.

James and Catherine’s children.

Twin Boys
Died when they were very young. One is believed to have been called James Francis or Francis James (source Josephine (nee Dilger)).

According to the 1901 census she was then 2 years old (a year older than James Francis). She died when she was about 6 years old. She is not shown on the 1911 census.

James Francis (Known as Frank)
Born 30 January 1900 at 69 Marshall St, Horton. Died 7 August 1960. He served in WW1, he joined up at the age of 16 by lying about his age and is thought to have served with the “Bradford Pals” he was gassed and returned to England. The Bradford Pals were the 16th  and 18th (Service) Battalions (1st and 2nd Bradford) of the Prince of Wales Own (West Yorkshire Regiment). They embarked for France in March 1916. I can find no entitlement to medals in the Public Records Office, which suggests that he was not involved in any major battles. I have visited the site on the Somme (Serre Road) where the Bradford Pals were stationed when the Somme offensive was launched on 1 July 1916. They faced an incline of about 1000m on top of which were the German trenches and machine guns. Throughout the offensive which ended in November 1916 not one yard of ground was taken (unlike most of the rest of the front where modest advances were made). In later life Frank had health problems, particularly of the stomach, which were thought to be a result of the gassing. He married Minnie Dwyer at St Joseph’s Catholic church on 5 August 1922 when his occupation was Hotel Porter. At the time of his marriage he lived at 13 Paisley Street. The family later lived at Nene Street. He is buried at Bowling cemetery. He was an extra in the film “Room at the Top” for a scene in the Victoria Hotel where he worked, but his performance was left on the cutting room floor.

Married Herbert Hainsworth, had a son called John.


Prison Warder in Armley Jail. Married Dorothy. Dorothy had 6 children in total, 3 of them in her 40s. The children included Patricia, Madeline, Peter, Hillary, Andrew and another girl.

Married name Hardaker. Her husband died young. Children were Gerald, Irene, Mary, Derek, Maurice, Keith and Kevin. All the sons and one of the sons in law are now deceased and none lived to a ripe old age

Born 14 September 1914, died 7 November 1984. Married John Dilger. Had 2 daughters, Josephine and Dorothy. John was quite shy and my father made the speech at Josephine’s wedding

Minnie Dwyer
Frank’s (James Francis) wife. Born 5 October 1902 at 85 Adolphus St, Bradford. Died on 1 February 1966. Had 8 children. She was a Worsted Twister at the time of her marriage. She is buried with her husband at Bowling cemetery. In 1922 before marriage she lived at 61 College Road, Bradford.

Minnie Dwyer’s family

Thomas Dwyer, Minnie’s father, born in Middlesborough in 1869. His father was Alexander Dwyer and his mother was called Mary (nee Prior) and both his parents were born in Ireland in about 1830 (according to Paul in the town of Dunmore). His father was an ironwork labourer and his mother took in lodgers. His parents probably came to England after the Irish potato famine in 1845. They had a son who was born in Luddenden in 1856. Thomas had at least 6 brothers (John, Daniel, Michael, Alexander, Patrick and Denis). He was a Greengrocery Hawker. He had died by August 1922. His first wife was Catherine Brennan and they had a son, Alexander and a daughter Mary Elizabeth Dwyer who were half brother and sister to Minnie. His second wife was Hannah Mary Waddington (nee Pownall). In 1901 he was a widower and lived at 44 George Street, Bradford with his 2 children. In 1911 he is also shown as a widower, so presumably his second wife had also died. In 1911 he lived at 14 Egbert Street, Bradford (central) and employed a housekeeper, Sarah Ann Boocock who was aged 31.

Alexander Dwyer, Minnie’s half brother, born in Bradford in 1890. In the 1911 census he is shown as a Drayman. I have an Aunt on my mother’s side (Aunty Rita (nee Padgett)) who advises me that a relative of hers married a Mick Dwyer probably in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s and she remembers my father being at the wedding. It seems likely that the bridegroom may have been a son of Alexander and Alexander would have been inviting his half sister and her family to his son’s wedding.

Mary Elizabeth Dwyer, Minnie’s half sister, was born on 29 March 1895 at 43 Frederick Street, Bradford. In 1911 she was single and worked as a spinner. Married Arthur Bentley, had 2 daughters, Mary and Minnie. Her daughter Mary married Gerard Robinson, a Policeman and Minnie was the mother of Mary Edmondson (now Broome).

Hannah Mary, Minnie’s mother, was born in Bradford 1871 with the surname Pownall and her father was Joseph Pownall who was born in Macclesfield in 1845 and became a mechanic (iron tuner). He seems to have had a sister who in 1881 was in the Macclesfield workhouse and was described as an imbecile (possibly because she seems to have had 2 illegitimate children). Joseph Pownall was the son of George Pownall and his wife Hannah (nee Sutton). George was born in Macclesfield in about 1821 and was the son of Thomas Pownall. Hannah’s mother was Mary Ann Pownall born in Bradford in 1850. In 1901 Hannah was a widow with the surname Waddington and was living with her in-laws at 18 Kelvin Street in Bradford. A younger brother, George Pownall, was also living at the same address as a lodger. She seems to have had 2 children, William (born c1893) and Sarah(born c1895) who would have been half brother and sister to Minnie. In 1901 her occupation was described as “kitchen maid domestic”. When she had Minnie (Frank’s wife) in 1902 the family lived at 85 Adolphus St, near the wholesale vegetable market. She is not shown on the 1911 census and her husband, Thomas, is again shown as a widower. Her apparent children, William and Sarah, are not living with Thomas Dwyer in 1911.

Frank and Minnie’s Children

James Thomas
Born 10 May 1923. Married Gladys Heptinstall on 6 October 1945 (I also have a Heptinstall family history if anyone is interested). Became a head teacher in a primary school. Children are Peter, Philip (me) and Susan (died in a tragic accident on 28 August 2006).

Born 11 September 1924, died 1987. Married Jack Amys, a butcher (died 1977(?)), Children are Mick (died 2001), Terry and Carol. She was my Godmother.

Born 23 October 1925. Married Jack Allen, an accountant. Children are Michael, Tony, Mary and John.

Born 19 July 1930, died 9 April 2003. Married Betty. Children Timothy and Fiona. Divorced and remarried Sheila (died 2005).


Born 16 December 1931. Became a tailor. Married May Wright. Children Stephen, Christopher, Denise, Mark, Patricia and Jonathan.


Born 20 June 1935. Died October 2009. Married Ronnie Wilkinson. Children Dawn, Paula, Helen and David


Born 16 September 1941. Married Basil Gratton, painter and decorator. Children Debora, Lisa and Claire.


Born 24 July 1946. Became a stock controller and buyer. Unmarried but with long term girlfriend, Christine.


View Paul Rayner's Birthdates chart from 1900-present