Part 157c – Smith Robertson Genealogy – Search For GG-Grandfather William Crossley

20 December 2009


And now I back track a bit to Part 149cp to the 1863 Marriage of gg-grandparents William and Elizabeth (née Parker) Crossley. Having spent the past number of Postings on the life of gg-grandmother Elizabeth it’s now time to turn to the life of gg-grandfather William Crossley.

Great-great-grandfather William Crossley’s name appears on the 1871 England Census.
The enumerator wrote his name as “William Croʃsley” age “30” years old. His occupation is recorded as that of “Cotton Loom Overlooker”. Both these cross-check with similar information of “22” years and “Overlooker”, respectively on the 1863 Marriage Entry in Part 149cp.

Page from the 1871 England Census. Sources: The National Archives, London, and

From The Old Occupation Names website the definition of Overlooker given is “Overseer or foreman esp. in textile mills.” And here’s what puzzles me, there are many references to the fixed phrase, as an occupation of “Cotton Loom Overlooker” on the Internet. Many… but I can’t find an actual definition of what the titled occupation is. Does anybody know? I mean, one would think that there may be such a definition, and for sure, I’m not going to make one up. I searched Google, Bing, Cuil, Yahoo, AOL, A9, Ask, even WolframAlpha sent me back to Google… There are references of persons who had the occupation but there are no definitions… that I can find. Anyone?

I did find the following definition regarding an Overlooker – “Where carried out - All areas. Description - Someone whose job is to keep the shop working smoothly. What is known these days as Middle Management.” (From Jobs in the Cotton Industry.)

Following the preceding Censuses, I was able to identify the listings of gg-grandfather William Crossley.

1861 England Census – Walsden, Rochdale –
Age 20; Occupation: Loom Jobber; Born: Walsden, Lancashire
Page from the 1861 England Census.
The National Archives
, London, and

1851 England Census – Square, Walsden, Todmorden & Walsden –
Age 10; Occupation: Scholar; Born: Square, Lancashire
Pages from the 1851 England Census.
The National Archives
, London, and

1841 England Census – Square, Todmorden & Walsden –
Age 5 months; Born: Lancashire
Pages from the 1841 England Census.
The National Archives
, London, and

And the search begins. Stay-tuned.




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