Thirkill Family Brickwall

I have been researching my partner Neil’s paternal grandmother’s family – the Thirkills – for a couple of years now, and would really love some fresh eyes to look at it and see if they can find any new clues to help me break down my research brick walls.

Neil’s 3 x great grandmother, Mary Worby (nee Thirkill) and her husband George appear in the records for 1865 when they got married, however I can find no other record of their existence until they turn up again in the 1901 Census.

I have tried searching the 1871, 1881 and 1891 Census using all sorts of variations of Worby, searched via the places they had previously lived in, occupation, etc to no avail.

I am hoping somebody else out there may be able to find what happened to them/where they went during the period 1865 to 1901.


Byland Abbey, Yorkshire

Byland Abbey, Yorkshire


I am more than happy to make a donation to CDFHS if anyone can find any information or provides a clue that leads to my discovering their whereabouts.


Below is a timeline of my findings so far:

Mary Thirkill is born to Charles and Hannah Thirkill in the village of Byland Abbey, Yorkshire North Riding.

1841 England, Wales & Scotland Census – Mary is living with her farming parents, and 2 brothers in the village of Wass, not far from the Village of Byland Abbey where she was born.

1851 England, Wales & Scotland Census, – the family are still living in the village of Wass. Mary is now 19, unmarried and listed as Dressmaker.

1861 England, Wales & Scotland Census, – Mary is now 28 and still an unmarried Dressmaker. She is still living with her parents in the Village of Byland Abbey. Her brothers have moved out but there is another addition to the family in George Thirkill, Aged 9. I later find out that George is her son, there is no fathers name on his birth certificate.


1861 census Thirkill

1861 census – Thirkill family at Byland Abbey, Yorkshire


1861 census Warby

1861 census – George Warby in Osbournby


The next record of Mary is a marriage to George Worby on 26th August 1865 in the Parish Church of St Michaels in Coxwold (not far from Byland & Wass), the same church all the Thirkill family have attended for several generations. On the marriage certificate Mary is noted as being 28 and residing in Byland. Her father is Charles Thirkill, Farmer. George Worby is listed as being 30 and a Gamekeeper residing in the village of Wass. His father is listed as John Worby, Gamekeeper which corresponds to other records. Mary’s son George is now approx. 13 years old.

I found a census records in 1841 and 1851 for Tottington, Norfolk for a John Worby, Ag labourer with a son George. In the 1861 Census transcription for Osbournby, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, I found a George Warby, Age 26, single gamekeeper, who was lodging with a Mr & Mrs Beal. The transcription describes him as being born in Attington however when the original census page is viewed it is clear he was born in Tottington, Norfolk. So sometime between 1861 and 1865 George Worby has moved from Osbournby to Wass in Yorkshire.

1871 – Cannot find George and Mary Worby in the Census anyhwere. However Mary’s son George is still living with his Grandparents in the Village of Wass. He is now 18 and an Apprentice Carpenter.

Cannot find George and Mary Worby in the Census anywhere. However Mary’s son George is now 28, a Joiner and married to Eleanor (nee Thompson) the daughter of a friend of his grandparents. George and Eleanor have 2 daughters and are living in the Village of Cold Kirby, Yorkshire.

Still cannot find George and Mary Worby in the Census anywhere. Mary’s son George has now moved to Kingsclere in Hampshire and is working at Highclere Castle for Lord Canarvon as the foreman of Carpenters and Bricklayers. He continues to work at Highclere until his death in early 1910. Interestingly George has a daughter born in 1886 with the name Eva Worby Thirkill.

The next record of George and Mary Worby is on the 1901 England, Wales & Scotland census living in Kiddington Woods, Kiddington, Oxfordshire. Mary Worby is listed being 69, born in 1832 in the village of Byland, Yorkshire. George Worby is listed as being 66 a Domestic Gamekeeper, born in 1835 in Tottington, Norfolk. Further confirmation that this is our Mary and George Worby is that on the night of the Census there is a visitor to their household. This visitor is Mary Thirkill, single, Aged 22, born in 1879 in the village of Cold Kirby, Yorkshire. Young Mary is the oldest daughter of Mary Worby’s son George.

1901 census - thirkill worby

1901 census – Kiddington, Oxfordshire (RG 13/1390p8 sch 46)


England & Wales deaths 1837-2007 records the death of Mary Worby in the town of Market Drayton in Shrophshire.

Probate Calendar, England & Wales 1538 – 1966:


1906 probate notices for Worbys

1906 probate notices for George & Mary Worby


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

My next step is to consider testing Neil’s DNA to see what connections that turns up!





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