The baptism record of John Wilson and the marriage records of his parents Thomas Wilson and Dorothy indicate that Dorothy’s surname was Goodfellow. However, the statutory death record of Thomas Wilson from 1891 gives his first wife’s name as “Dorathy Elliot”.[1] This matches the burial of a Dorathy Elliot on 19 October 1842 aged 33, when her residence was given as Mumby. The birthplace in Canonbie of John Wilson and the residence of Thomas, Dorothy and John in 1841 was Mumbyhirst. It seems implausible that there were two different Thomas Wilson and Dorothy couples who would match so closely without appearing separately in the records and the deduction is that Dorothy was sometimes known as Dorothy Goodfellow and sometimes as Dorothy Elliot.


Dorothy’s age is listed as the 25-29 age group in the 1841 census returns but as 33 in her burial entry the next year. The 1841 census returns indicated that she was born in England and the parish given as her residence when she married Thomas Wilson in 1839 was Kirkbampton in Cumberland.


A Dorothy Goodfellow was baptised at Raughton Head on 5 February 1817, daughter of Robert and Jane. However, that Dorothy was living with Robert Goodfellow at Craggs in the parish of Westward in 1841 and was buried at Raughton Head on 25 January 1847 when her residence was given as Craggs in Westward.[2] Therefore she could not be the Dorothy who married Thomas Wilson.


A Dorothy Elliot was baptised on 16 September 1807 at St Mary, Carlisle, daughter of John Elliot and Dorothy Lamonby. However, that Dorothy Elliot married Sober Watkin at Carlisle in 1833.[3]


There were a few other Goodfellows in Kirkbampton where Thomas Wilson’s wife Dorothy is said to have been living in 1839. A John Goodfellow and Mary Nieves were married there in 1818. A William Messenger and Bella or Isabella Goodfellow were married there in 1806. Their daughter, Dorothy Messenger, was baptized at Burgh by Sands in 1812, married Joseph Wilson at Burgh by Sands in 1835, and died on 29 July 1836 as reported in The Carlisle Journal of 6 August 1836. No plausible candidate for the wife of Thomas Wilson was found in the parish, but there may have been a connection of some kind with Isabella (Goodfellow) Messenger, as a descendant of Isabella has a DNA match of 15 cM with Ruth Margaret (Daniels) Davies, a descendant of Dorothy and Thomas Wilson.


A John Goodfellow married a Dorothy Elliot at Lanercost in 1764. Although this was too early to be the marriage of the parents of Dorothy, wife of Thomas Wilson, the combination of the names Goodfellow and Elliot led to this family being investigated, and what appears to be the baptism of Thomas Wilson’s wife was located.


Dorothy, wife of John Goodfellow, was buried at Brampton in 1769. As a widower, John married Susan or Susannah Stephenson at Brampton in 1783. They had a daughter Dorothy, born about 1785 and buried in 1808, and a daughter Susan Goodfellow, baptised in 1789. This Susan had an illegitimate son William, baptised at Brampton in 1813. Some years later, in 1833, a Dorothy Goodfellow, spinster, was living in Brampton when her illegitimate son Thomas was baptised there. Thomas Goodfellow is recorded at the workhouse at Brampton in the 1841 census returns (no other Goodfellows being there at the time). His mother seems to have been the Dorothy who married Thomas Wilson. The most obvious alternative is the Dorothy Goodfellow baptised at Raughton Head in 1817 who would probably have been only sixteen at the time and as far as is known was living with her family in the Raughton Head or Westward area, some distance away from Brampton. There was also a Dorothy Goodfellow of Scaleby who married a John Fergusson of Dearham at Gretna on 12 August 1834. However, she was probably the Dolly James who married Gideon Goodfellow in 1816 as a Gideon Goodfellow was buried at Scaleby on 9 May 1834.


No baptism of Dorothy Goodfellow of Brampton could be found under that name. However, there was a “Dorothy illegitimate Daughter of Susan Stephenson of Brampton” baptised there on 22 December 1811. No other trace of a Susan Stephenson in the parish has been found, other than the one who married John Goodfellow in 1783 who would have been over sixty years old in 1811. My conclusion is that the mother in the 1811 baptism entry was in fact the Susan Goodfellow baptised in 1789, perhaps choosing to use her mother’s maiden name as an alias at the baptism of the illegitimate child.


The father of Dorothy is not named in the 1811 baptism entry but the use of the surname Elliot for Dorothy on some occasions raises the possibility that her father was an Elliot. He may have been of the same family as Dorothy Elliot, the first wife of John Goodfellow, and indeed Ruth Margaret (Daniels) Davies has some DNA matches with descendants of Elliots from the parish of Haltwhistle, where Dorothy (Elliot) Goodfellow was baptised in 1739. However, the exact identity of the father of the Dorothy baptised in 1811 has not been found.


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1    JOHN GOODFELLOW of Brampton, Cumberland, labourer, was buried on 1 September 1789 at Brampton.[4] He married first, on 17 May 1764 at Lanercost, DOROTHY ELLIOT,[5] daughter of James and Jane (Snowdon) Elliot. Dorothy was baptised on 15 March 1739 at Haltwhistle[6] and buried on 21 May 1769 at Brampton.[7] John married second, on 18 August 1783 at Brampton, SUSAN STEPHENSON,[8] daughter of John and Isabel (Maughan) Stephenson (see here). Susan was baptised on 22 August 1748 at Lanercost, died on 16 January 1819 and was buried on 18 January 1819 at Brampton.


         Child of John and Dorothy (Elliot) Goodfellow:

                  i        JOHN GOODFELLOW, bur 12 May 1769, Brampton.[9]


         Children of John and Susan (Stephenson) Goodfellow:

                  ii       DOROTHY GOODFELLOW, b ca 1785, bur 21 Oct 1808, Brampton.[10]

                  iii      JOHN GOODFELLOW, bap 6 Jan 1788, Brampton.[11]

         2       iv      SUSAN GOODFELLOW (1789-1813); m JOHN SMITH.


2     SUSAN GOODFELLOW of Brampton was baptised on 25 October 1789 at Brampton[12] and buried on 30 September 1813 at Brampton.[13] She married on 10 February 1813 at Brampton, JOHN SMITH.[14]


         Child of            Elliot and Susan Goodfellow:

                  i        DOROTHY GOODFELLOW, alias ELLIOT, bap 22 Dec 1811, Brampton,[15] bur 19 Oct 1842, Canonbie;[16] m 22 Sep 1839, Gretna, THOMAS WILSON[17] (see here).


         Child of Susan Goodfellow:

                  ii       WILLIAM GOODFELLOW, bap 9 Jan 1813, Brampton.[18]

[1] The informant when Thomas Wilson’s death was registered was William Wilson, son of Thomas by his second wife Ellen Scott. The death was in fact registered by a Goodfellow. The registrar Alexander Goodfellow was a son of Thomas Goodfellow and Sybella Nichol, Thomas being a son of Alexander Goodfellow and Elizabeth Little.

[2] A notice of her death in the Carlisle Patriot of 29 Jan 1847 confirms that Dorothy was the daughter of Robert Goodfellow.

[3] See the 1841 census returns, Plumpton Wall (National Archives, HO 107/173/16, fol. 8) and the 1861 census returns, Croydon (National Archives, RG 9/449, fol. 131).

[4] Brampton parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service).

[5] T. W. Willis, ed., The Register of the Parish of Lanercost, 2 vols (Brampton and Beverley, 1908-12). John is stated to be of the parish of Lanercost and Dorothy of the parish of “Holtwesel”.

[6] England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 (

[7] England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991 (

[8] Brampton parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service).

[9] England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991 (

[10] Brampton parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service): “Dorothy Daughter of Susan Goodfellow of Brampton widow, aged 23 years”.

[11] I thank Ian Stephenson for information on the 1788 baptism of John Goodfellow, which is recorded in the Brampton Presbyterian records (Cumbria Archive Service).

[12] Brampton parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service). Her father is described as “John Goodfellow lately deceased”.

[13] Brampton parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service).

[14] Brampton parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service).

[15] Brampton parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service): “Dorothy illegitimate Daughter of Susan Stephenson of Brampton”. See the discussion above.

[16] Burial register images in the England & Scotland, Select Cemetery Registers, 1800-2016 collection (online at

[17] Gretna Green marriage registers (Achievements of Canterbury). The Canonbie parish registers (National Records of Scotland) state that Thomas and Dorothy were married at Gretna on 20 Sep 1839.

[18] Brampton parish registers (Cumbria Archive Service). The baptism entry does not name William’s father, but Susan Goodfellow married John Smith a few weeks later.