BURGUM FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY

The Burgum family history society is a member of the Guild of one name studies and researches the names
BURGUM
and BURGHAM

Daughters in the Workhouse


In my on-going search for Burgums and Burghams everywhere, experience tells me that the mis-spelling of the name was common. So it is no surprise when I tell you the following story involves Burgum, Burgam, Burgham and Brogam but the subjects all belong to the same family! My curiosity was raised when I found an entry in the 1861 census (see CS1861-75 below) for five young girls listed as pauper inmates in the Union Workhouse, in Kidderminster, serving the counties of Worcestershire, Shropshire and Staffordshire. The girls were Sarah Ann Burgam aged 14, Elizabeth Burgam aged 11, Charlotte Burgam aged 9, Alice Burgam aged 7 and Martha Burgam aged 5. All were said to be scholars and all the girls were born at nearby Cookley, a lovely village just 3 miles to the north of Kidderminster.

REF No
YEAR
ADDRESS
NANE
RELATION
AGE
PROFESSION
WHERE BORN
BORN
CS1861-75 1861 Union Sarah A. Burgam Pauper Inmate 14 Scholar Worcestershire 1847
    Workhouse Elizabeth Burgam Pauper Inmate 11 Scholar Worcestershire 1850
    Kidderminster Charlotte Burgam Pauper Inmate 9 Scholar Worcestershire 1852
    Foreign Alice Burgam Pauper Inmate 7 Scholar Worcestershire 1854
    Worcestershire Martha Burgam Pauper Inmate 5 Scholar Worcestershire 1856


Numerous questions obviously came to mind. Who were these girls? Where were their parents? What eventually came of them? I first searched the Cookley area in the 1851 census to see whether that held any clues. I soon found what I was looking for (see CS1851-48 below). The address was Rock Hill, Shrubbery (or Shrubsey) Row, Wolverley, the next village from Cookley. Living there was Moses Burgam, aged 27, a pudler. This made sense as there was an ironworks in the area. (A pudler stirs the molten iron as it melts in the blast furnace, controlling the process). Living with him was his wife Jane, aged 25, who had been born in Cookley. The first two daughters Sarah Ann (aged 4) and Elizabeth (aged 4 months) were also present. Sarah was listed as born in Staffordshire, while Elizabeth was born in Cookley, Worcestershire.

REF No
YEAR
ADDRESS
NANE
AGE
PROFESSION
WHERE BORN
BORN
CS1851-48 1851 Shrubbery Row Moses Burgam 27 Pudler Liverpool, Lancs 1847
    Wolverley Jane Burgam 25 Wife Cookley, Worcs 1850
    Kidderminster Sarah Ann Burgam 4 Daughter Staffordshire 1852
    Worcestershire Elizabeth Burgam 4 m Daughter Cookley, Worcs 1854


Moses, I learned, had married Jane Davis in the registration district of Kidderminster, which would include the Wolverley, and Cookley area. I also found parish records online to indicate that Alice Burgum and a Sarah Taylor Burgum were both christened at Cookley on 24th November 1854, with Moses and Jane Burgum recorded as the parents. Alice's birth was registered in the first quarter of 1854, so presumably Moses had been around at least until 1853. So what happened during the next eight years ans where were the girls parents in 1861? Well finally I found Jane Brogam (sigh) in the 1861 census (see CS1861-76 below). She was now 35 years old, and her birth place was listed as Wolverley. She was living at Court 4, Mill Street, Kidderminster and working as a general servant. She was in the house of John Swain, a 35 year old worsted weaver from Kidderminster. No wife is listed, but he did have two sons John Swain aged 12, also working as a worsted weaver and George Henry Swain, aged 10, who was a scholar. So Jane is working, but unable to look after her children.

REF No
YEAR
ADDRESS
NANE
RELATION
AGE
PROFESSION
WHERE BORN
BORN
CS1861-76 1861 Court 4 John Swain Head 35 Worsted Weaver Worcestershire 1826?
    Mill Street John Swain Son 12 Worsted Weaver Worcestershire 1849?
    Kidderminster George Hy Swain Son 10 Scholar Worcestershire 1851
    Worcestershire Jane Burgam servant 35 General Servant Worcestershire 1826


I have been unable find Moses (so far) in any census after 1851 and no death record. Perhaps I have missed it or the spelling is even more obscure! According to the 1851 census, Moses had been born in about 1824. On 11th April 1824 a Moses Burgum was baptised at Bodfari, Flintshire, where a number of Burgums lived again working with iron. The father and mother were listed as William Leonard and Ann Burgum. I can find no record of them getting married. However I do have an Ann Burgum being baptised 1st March 1807, at Weaverham, not far from Liverpool. If this is her, she would have had Moses when she was 17 years old. Her parents were Henry and Mary Burgum, who later lived at Bodfari. In another twist, the 1871 census (see CS1871-27 below) indicates that John Swain was still living at Mill Street, Kidderminster. His wife is Jane Swain. Also living there are their daughters Elizabeth (20), Charlotte (18), Alice (17), Martha (15) and Jain (4). The older children are working as worsted spinners and Winters, while Martha is working as a doffer (replenishing the empty Robbins on the looms). The first four girls were born at Cookley while Jain, the youngest, was born at Kidderminster and presumably belongs to John Swain. John has taken in her daughters, rescuing them from the workhouse, and married Jane. Or has he?

REF No
YEAR
ADDRESS
NANE
RELATION
AGE
PROFESSION
WHERE BORN
BORN
CS1871-27 1871 52 Mill Street John Swain Head 46 Carpet Weaver Kidderminster 1825
    Kidderminster Jane Swain Wife 45   Wolvesley, WOR 1826
    Worcestershire Elizabeth Burgam Daughter 20 Worsted Winder Cookley, Worcs.. 1851
      Charlotte Burgam Daughter 18 Worsted Spinner Cookley, Worcs. 1853
      Alice Burgam Daughter 17 Worsted Spinner Cookley, Worcs. 1855
      Martha Burgam Daughter 15 Doffer Cookley, Worcs. 1856
      Jain Swain Daughter 4   Kidderminster 1867


I can find no record of their marriage and when Jane dies at Kidderminster in 1897, she is registered as Jane Burgham. The age also fits exactly. I continue to search for Moses, but have yet to find him in another census. Did he die? Did he walk away, live rough or change his name? Or is there one final possibility. A Moses Burgum died in Pontefract, Yorkshire, in 1886. He was aged 64. Plus or minus a year this fits with the Bodfari baptism date and I have no other record of a Burgum (or Burgham) being christened or registered with the name Moses. This is, of course, an educated guess. I might just be "forcing the jigsaw". There might well be other information out there, which can substantiate my story or prove me wrong. Can you help?