I seemed to run out of space last time and as a consequence, had to remove the introduction and an additional question.
I have been chipping away at a brick wall for almost 3 decades, though not continuously and not without some success. I have explored all the angles and they have all seemed to evaporate into the mists of time. I have gathered a lot of evidence, much of it only eliminates possibilities and much of it is circumstantial only. I am short of hard evidence and I suspect it will remain so. To summarise:-
My gt. grandfather Willm. Dixon was baptised Gateshead 1836, an older sister 1835, their parents Thomas and Barbara Dixon. I have looked at 3 possible marriages and I'm satisfied they don't apply. Barbara Dixon was in her mid thirties in 1835 and Thomas Dixon considerably older (he was 63 in 1849). Moreover, William seems to have had an older half brother named Matthew Beckwith who was baptised in 1826 (Gateshead) as Matthew Busfield (Henry & Barbara Busfield, not found a marriage there either). If Barbara Dixon began life as Barbara Beckwith, as seems to be the case, there is a plausible link with a Barbara Robinson Beckwith who married a Thomas Johnson Pyle Holland in 1816 (Billingham). There is evidence (bapt. Ralph Holland, Gateshead,1820) that this couple were possibly in Windy Nook at that time (Thomas Holland a quarryman). There are no further baptisms for Thos/Barbara Holland. Ralph Holland was buried 1829 (Gateshead). Unfortunately, I can't find a baptism for either Barbara Beckwith or Thomas J.P. Holland.
I have looked at other individuals/families who may or may not have been related to Thos/Barbara Dixon. In most cases, I could not find a baptism but some others appear to have been catholics.
Thankyou for your help. My name, incidentally, is Robert Dixon.