In 1851, William is living in East Cowton with the Wiseman family and is listed as “foster son”. In 1861, he is living with his uncle, James Bulmer in Iton cum Pott in Durham county. I was unable to find him in the 1871 census but in 1873, he married Alice Brazier in Barrow, Lancashire. His marriage certificate shows his father’s name as “John Bulmer”.
Did he just give the first name to come into his head, rather than say “father unknown”? Or did he know his father’s first name was John and the registrar just assumed that his last name would have been Bulmer?
I have been unable to find any trace of his mother, Ann Bulmer, except for the following entry in the 1851 census, just after William’s birth, when she appears as a servant of a 76 year old man by the name of John! A common name to be sure, but when I re-read the census entry the other day, it did make me wonder.
John Donaldson, Head, Widowed, aged 76, Annuitant, born Yorkshire, Hayton;
Ann Bulmer, Servant, Unmarried, aged 22, Housekeeper, born Yorkshire, Danby Wiske