Saturday, May 1, 2010


The Life Story of Stephen and Sarah Jane (Catterall) Carr
By: Julie Marie (Allen) Carr

I started working on my family tree while still in high school. I got some information, but didn’t really continue with it. It took my son being born to really get me involved again, and even then it was an off and on again hobby due to not having a lot of time to work on it or money to spend on it. Through the years, I have lost many people, who could have helped and given first hand accounts of my families history.

In the summer of 1996, I really started working on my son’s family tree, which of course includes my side of the family and my husband’s side of the family. This blog is dedicated to my husband’s dad’s side of the family. At the time I started researching this family all we knew was that my husband’s grandparents left England to go to Canada around 1912, and then made it to the United States before 1914. We knew this because one of my husband’s aunts was born in Canada in 1912, and my husband’s dad was born in Pennsylvania in 1913.

Through the years, I have research different parts of the family. When I get overwhelmed on one branch, I would start on a new one. My husband’s side of the family is the biggest brick wall I have ever had to deal with -- both on his dad’s side of the family and his mom’s. I received the death certificates for Stephen and Sarah early on in my research, but they really didn’t help much for they gave ENGLAND as a birthplace and unknown for the parents names. Sarah’s maiden name was passed down any where from Cottrell, Cotterell, Cotterall, and Catterall. There was even a way that had a W in it. The fact of not having the spelling of the last name nor where in England the family was from made it nearly impossible to find this family anywhere.

Luckily for me, my family moved to Cleveland, Tennessee in the summer of 2009. It was at the Cleveland Public Library one hot summer day that I had my major break through. The library had the library edition, which allowed me to do research for free. The cost of my research was what would slow me down at different times in my life, and is still a factor, but with more and more records online for free I am able to get a family tree generation by generation with documentation and proof of the family line.

I was able to find Stephen Carr’s World War II card, which stated that he was born on 12 Apr 1878 in Pelton Fell, Durham, England. This was the key that solved a mystery that was almost a century old. The mystery was the answer to where in England the CARR Family was from; needless to say, Stephen and Sarah never past this information down to the younger children. My husband’s father, who was born on 11 Sept 1913 in Pennsylvania, never knew where in England his family was from just that he was the first born in the USA and that one of his older sisters was born in Canada. I also found many generations in the England Censuses that day, but wasn’t ready to say with a 100% certainty that I was following the right Stephen Carr. I was so happy with this find, because it also allowed me to find them going to Canada and crossing over to United States of America. My husband’s dad also knew that one of his sisters died at sea on their way to Canada, which helped me find the right family. I wish I would have gotten to met my husband's dad, but needless to say he died in 1988 and I didn't meet my husband until 1995., U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
(Provo, UT, USA, Operations Inc, 2007),, Database online. Roll: WW2_2243968;
Local board: Ohio , West Virginia. Record for Stephen Carr.

This is not only the story of Stephen and Sarah’s life, but also the story behind my research. I hope little by little I will be able to not only find documents that prove their family, but also stories that bring them to life. Please if you have anything you want to add to this blog, email me at

From here I will write Part one of The Life Story of Stephen and Sarah Jane (Catterall) Carr and their family. I will also write Part two -- Stephen's parents, Part three -- Sarah's Parents, and on back as I get the documents to prove each generation. Please take a look at the Table of Content that will link to each section and will be updated each time I add an entry to the blog. And always feel free to email me at if you have something to add and/or update.

Thank you,
Julie Marie (Allen) Carr

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