In this week’s Ancestor Spotlight, we meet John Torrance, my paternal 4 x Great Grandfather.
John Torrance was born on 22 January 1800 in Walmgate, York to James Torrance and Elizabeth Johnson. As seen in his birth record below, both sets of his grandparents are recorded as well. His paternal grandparents were John Torrance (a Stone Mason from Kilmarnook, Aryshire, Scotland) and Ann Kindley. His maternal grandparents were Thomas Johnson (a Shoemaker from Sutton of Forest – now Sutton-on-the-Forest, Yorkshire) and Ann Fibb.
On 21st December 1821, John married Sarah Moorcroft at St Matthews Church, Walsall, Staffordshire.
In 1824, John had finished his Glover apprenticeship and applied for Freedom of the City papers, which would allow him to practice independently.
Over the next 16 years, John and Sarah had four children – Elizabeth Emma (1827-1853), John James (1830-1882), William (1831-1879) and Mary (1839- 1895).
In 1841, John was living in St Luke, Finsbury with his wife Sarah and their four children. In 1843, their final child Sarah was born.
In 1851, John was living with his wife, three of his children (John, Mary and Sarah) and a grandson, James. The family was living at 21 Old Street, St Luke, Finsbury, a fairly middle class area just outside the City of London. John was still working as a Glover, his son John was now a fishmonger and his daughter Mary, a Flower Maker.
Tragically, John died just a year later on October 10th 1852 aged 52. In a surprising twist, his death certificate states that he died a “Natural Death by Visitation of God”. In the early 1800s, this was a common description used for those who died young of natural causes. It was believed that when one’s time was up, that was it! From the 1840s onwards, this phrase was being phased out, but many coroners still used it up until the late 1890s.