Growden family in Lancashire

When we began researching our family history 40 years ago, we fairly soon discovered that there were Growden families in Lancashire. I wrote to a Joseph Growden in Bolton, Lancashire, and he said trhere was a family tradition that the family had originated in Cornwall, but when they cjecked it out, the earliest member of the family they knew of turned out to have been born in Rishton, Lancashire.

Now many more records are more easily available, and I’ve been able to piece together something of  the story.

To put it in a nutshell:

Joseph Growden, a blacksmith, was born in Bodmin in 1830. He married Mary Ann Knight of Roche in 1855 and worked in various places in Cornwall. In the 1871 Census they were at Kea, where their younger children were born, and in 1875 their daughter Catherine died there, aged about 14. In 1877 the eldest son, Thomas, married a local girl, and within the next couple of years the family moved to Caterall in Lancashire, where they seem to have stayed, with the exception of Thomas, who returned to Cornwall. Some lived at Rishton, and others at Radcliffe.

This Joseph Growden was my 1st cousin three times removed — in other words, he was the first cousin of my great grandfather William Matthew Growden, though being the son of an older brother, he was some 20 years older. That generation of Growdens seem to have got wanderlust, because in the late 1870s they scattered from Cornwall in different directions. My great grandfather came south to the Cape Colony, and his cousin Joseph went north to Lancashire. Another cousin, James Growden, had gone west to Canada some ten years earlier, and yet another cousin, Henry Growden, ended up in New Zealand, with some of his descendants living in the USA, in places as far apart as New Orleans and Alaska. So in that period, 1850 to 1880, Cornwall seems to have acted as a giant centrifuge, spitting out Growdens in all directions.

But back to the Lancashire ones.

Joseph Growden (1830-1887) and Mary Ann Knight (1836-1902) had eight children:

  1. Lavinia Growden (1855-1938)
  2. Thomas Henry Growden (1857-1919)
  3. William Henry Growden (1839-1954)
  4. Catherine Growden (1860-1875)
  5. Joseph Growden (1863-1928)
  6. John Growden (1865-1904)
  7. George Growden (1856-1940)
  8. Emily Growden (1867-?) married Richard Dilworth

Lavinia never married and Catherine died young, but all the others married and had children

First World War medals for George Growden of Rishton, Lancashire. Click the link to the Rishton page for the full story, and lots more on Rishton people

First World War medals for George Growden of Rishton, Lancashire. Click the link to the Rishton page for the full story, and lots more on Rishton people

In the course of searching for members of this family I came across a marvellous web site devoted to Rishton in Lancashire, which I still haven’t fully explored yet. It has a full page devoted to the military service and medals of George Growden, son of Joseph (1863-1928), who served in the first World War. It is well worth looking at if you have any ancestors who lived in or around Rishton.

A lot of the Lancashire Growdens seem to have had son’s called George, which makes it a bit difficult to work out which ones married which spouses, but at any rate, there are now probably more Growdens in Lancashire than there are in Cornwall.




Seventy-five years ago: Growden news


Aug. 22, 1935 — As the fourth day passes without a trace of the four well-known citizens of Fairbanks who disappeared Monday morning while traveling by airplane from Dawson to Fairbanks, search for the lost plane and its occupants is being pursued with increased vigor by Alaska aviators.

Official authorization for the search was received today from Gov. John W. Troy. From his headquarters in Juneau, he sent a telegram to United States Commissioner W.N. Growden of Fairbanks directing that Murray Hall, federal aeronautics inspector, be placed in charge of the hunt and advising that territorial funds could be used in prosecuting it.

from The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

The above report would refer to:

     Name: William Nelson Growden [4458]
      Sex: M
AKA: Nelson Growden

Individual Information

          Birth: 18 Aug 1893 - Franklin Co, Tennessee, USA 1
          Death: 29 Oct 1979 - Los Angeles, California, USA 2
 Cause of Death:  
        User ID: 4458
           AFN :  


         Father: Arthur Matthew Growden [4399] (1861-1942) [MRIN:1520] 
         Mother: Ella Edna Walling [4414] (1866-1936) 

Spouses and Children

1. *Gwendolyn Fisher [4462] (               - Bef 1979) [MRIN:1540]
                1. William Charles Growden [4468] (1922-1992)
                2. Robert Nelson Growden [4469] (1923-          )
                3. Andrew Jackson Growden [4470] (1928-          )
                4. James Wilson Growden [4471] (1935-1964)



Worked in government service in Alaska.

Alaska. Democrat. Member of Alaska territorial House of Representatives 4th District, 1935-36

Retired to Los Angeles, California.


In Ruby, Alaska:
Growden, William N. Sargent with the Signal Corp. Ran telegraph station 1922 on (source P 46). (Source P 16). 1928 (Source P 4). 1930 (Source P 4)

Growden, William N. — of Ruby, Yukon-Koyukuk census area, Alaska. Democrat. Member of Alaska territorial House of Representatives 4th District, 1935-36. Presumed deceased. Burial location unknown.

Last Modified: 7 May 2010