Christ and Christiana

I looked deeper into the Yorkshire Sigsworths this morning and happened upon Christiana, daughter of yet another John, and Hannah – or was it Elizabeth?

The Market Weighton church register has this baptism record –

1837_SIGSWORTHchristiana_BAP

Every other source I found, beginning with the 1841 census, asserts that Elizabeth is Christiana’s mother.

Market Weighton was Elizabeth’s home village but the couple was living some distance away at the time, in Wawne. In every census in which Christiana is recorded her birthplace is given as Market Weighton, except the last, 1911, when Wawne appears. “Hannah” may simply be a clerical error.

John Sigsworth followed a lowly occupation – licensed hawker – and Christiana worked as a domestic servant before she married Thomas MARSHALL, a bricklayer, in 1867. They had three children. Their firstborn was registered as John Sigsworth MARSHALL and this is serendipitous for a couple of reasons. FamilySearch Tree has, for now at least, a pedigree in which Christiana’s husband is married to another woman!

If John’s middle name doesn’t convince that Miss Waudby is an impostor, the 1871 census seals the deal. John Sigsworth Marshall, aged 2, is enumerated twice. He is with his parents and sister in Walter’s Terrace, and with his grandparents, John and Elizabeth Sigsworth, not far away in Witham. (Both addresses are in the Sculcoates Registration District.) Elizabeth gives her birthplace as Market Weighton. For Christiana, the enumerator just put “Market”.

I was raised a short distance from Witham, a dusty, aromatic area by the River Hull. Fairly quiet in the 1950s and 60s but I imagine it was crowded, noisy – and even more smelly – in Victorian times. Growing up in a Sculcoates Terrace may not have been easy. In 1901, 67-year-old Thomas Marshall was caretaker at a board school and John Sigsworth, 32, single and still living with his parents, was a general labourer. In 1911, Thomas described himself as a retired bricklayer and John, who still hadn’t found a wife, worked on the docks.

I don’t know what sort of life Christiana Waudby had. The after-marriage census sources attached to her tree belong, by rights, to her Sigsworth namesake. She doesn’t have any grandparents.

The other Christiana lived her threescore and twenty years amongst the poor of England’s third-largest port, probably oblivious to her stupendous heritage. FamilySearch connects her to a “super pedigree”, rightly or wrongly, making her a direct descendant of that Usual Suspect, Charlemagne, and a bewildering array of other nobility – kings of what would become France, Germany and Hungary, with a few Plantagenets thrown in, plus Franks, Merovingians and Picts. En route to the King of Kings.

If you start a journey with Christ and go back in time I suspect you will end up with the First Couple. That would be no surprise, but on the way, you will bump into King Serug, aka Sargon of Akkad, who has been reincarnated in this social media age. ROFL.

Good luck travelling forward in time. You may wander for hours before you find Christiana Sigsworth. It might be easier going from Christiana to Christ.

The Station Master

The 1861 census for Filey Parish shows that John SIGSWORTH is stationmaster at Gristhorpe, married to Mary. He is fifty years old, his wife 39 and there are no children still at home. Given Mary’s age, it would be a simple matter to find children in the GRO Index, but I haven’t located a record of their marriage. John Sigsworth is a surprisingly common name in the area of Yorkshire around Easingwold and several men with that name married a Mary. But not this one, it seems.

A John Sigsworth born in November 1811 and baptised in Stillington could be the future station master but I am going with the John born to John and Alice née JACKSON.

“Our John” may be the 30-year-old male servant to Innkeeper Henry KIMBERLEY at Barton Hill, near Malton. Four years later the York to Scarborough railway would pass through the village, and a station built there. Maybe the romance of the railways made an impression on this John

I have failed to find the 1851 census so I can’t even hazard a guess at when John became a railway servant. But in 1861 he was here:-

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W. ARTHUR, the author of this photograph taken in 2006, 47 years after the station closed, has generously put the image into the public domain, so I have taken the liberty of making it somewhat brighter than the downloaded version. There’s a photo on Geograph offering a perspective that includes the railway line, which is still open.

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In 1871 the census enumerator found John at Gristhorpe Station still, but married to Emma, 22 years his junior and a native of Oxfordshire. (A later source gives her birthplace as the town itself.)

Mary had died on 29 June 1862 and is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard. Her stone has been moved to the north wall, by the church.

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John may have intended his passing to be recorded on the stone’s open space but Emma put paid to that idea. There’s a death registration in 1877 that fits him perfectly (aged 66) but I can’t support this with a burial record. That Emma, born in Oxford, is a widow in the 1881 census would seem to be confirmation but, rather than being 48 years old, the page image clearly shows her aged ‘67’. In 1891 she is the second wife of William SKIPSEY, a retired gardener, and a more reasonable 61-year-old. She wasn’t finished with misinforming enumerators. In 1901 she has aged considerably when compared with her husband and, rather than being 7 years his junior, is now ten years older than him. William, 80 in the census, died at the end of the year at 84 according to the GRO Index. Emma followed him into the unknown five years later, registered as 75 rather than 95!

William Skipsey has descendants on FST from his first marriage to Elizabeth ARMSTRONG. I don’t think John had any children at all. His life seems to have been uneventful, which is surprising, given his occupations. Inns see a fair bit of action and the railway has its moments. As one of John’s namesakes in the Easingwold area sadly demonstrated. He was one of the Raskelf Sigsworths. The village is just three miles from Easingwold and a John four years younger than our subject, and a railway labourer, married and raised a number of children born there to his wife Rachel WHORLTON. They named one of the boys John. About the same time in Raskelf, farmer James Sigsworth also had a son called John who worked as a potato dealer. In July 1881, a coroner’s inquest into this young man’s death, aged 32, heard that he…

 …met his father with some pigs in a cart at Brafferton. His father left there for Boroughbridge, and the deceased promised to follow. In this, however, he failed, and the last that was seen of him alive was at 10.30 on Tuesday night on the road between Helperby and Raskelf, where he passed a brickmaker named William Baines, of Raskelf, and said “Good night.” The deceased then appeared to be sober, and had on his arm an overcoat. A few hours after he was found lying on the four-foot way of the North-Eastern line, a little more than a mile from Raskelf. He was dead, and his legs were lying apart from the rest of the body more than a yard away, he being frightfully mutilated. A train had evidently passed over him…On Wednesday morning, about four o’clock, the driver of a goods train…stopped at Raskelf station and left the information that the body of a man was lying on the line about half-way between the railway bridge at Raskelf and the signal cabin. On going to the place indicated, the officials found the body of Mr. John Sigsworth, of Raskelf, potato dealer, quite dead, his legs being entirely severed from the body, which was laid in the four-foot. The body was conveyed to the house of his father, with whom he resided. The deceased had been to Helperby Feast on Tuesday, and it is believed he left that village about 11 p.m. on foot, and on crossing the railway had been run over by an express train. The deceased was not married.

Leeds Mercury, 22 July 1881

In early March 1888, another Raskelf boy called John Sigsworth died, aged twenty minutes. Life is a lottery.

From Appleby to Welburn

This isn’t a post about a journey from Westmorland to Yorkshire but the change of name when two young APPLEBY women married two men called William WELBURN. The marriages were registered in Scarborough in the last quarter of 1860 and the first three months of 1861. The births of a dozen children were registered to mothers with the maiden name Appleby in the following decade.

After hours of piecing the families together, I still have very little information about the first couple, Harriet and William Edward. I concentrated my effort on Elizabeth and plain William because their grave is to be found in St Oswald’s churchyard.

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In loving memory of ELIZABETH, the beloved wife of WILLIAM WELBURN of Gristhorpe, died Nov 19th 1884, aged 49 years.

‘Be ye also ready for in such an hour

As ye think not the Son of man cometh’

Also of the above WILLIAM WELBURN, died Jan 19th 1907, aged 83 years.

‘His end was peace’

Also of their daughter, CATHERINE, born June 22nd 1868, died July 17th 1947.

William may have ended his life as a Welburn but he began it as a WELLBOURN in Weaverthorpe. Elizabeth is a daughter of Robert APPLEBY and Rachel MAW. If you follow the FST links you’ll see that the couple hasn’t yet been brought together on the World Tree.

I am fairly sure of my ground now and will marry them soon and give their nine children (known for sure). For a while, I despaired of finding a piece of “solid evidence” that I was on their right track. It turned up in the 1861 Census. The Find My Past transcription offered William WELBORN, 34, a Farm Labourer born Weaverthorpe and his wife Elizabeth, 27, born Muston. They were described as “lodgers”, and the page image revealed they were under the roof of Rachel APPLEBY. She is married rather than a widow but there is no sign of husband Robert. She appears to have a four-year-old son called William (though she is 51 years old). The child may have been Elizabeth’s boy. Also in residence are two of Rachel’s grandsons, Thomas SHIELDS, 9, and James APPLEBY, 9 months. The GRO Births Index suggests both boys were illegitimate. Rachel’s birthplace is given as Hackness in several sources but in others a nonsense place, something like “Tholso”. An Internet search doesn’t help with this but an OS Landranger map shows a farm – “Thirlsey”- just outside the village. I’m going with that.

When Elizabeth died in 1884, her youngest child, George, was twelve and William quickly found another wife to help with his large and still not flown brood. I haven’t found the marriage yet but at the 1891 Census George has a half-brother, Harry, 5, and a step-mother, Hannah. William has made himself about five years younger, reducing the age difference with his second wife to ten years. He is less sensitive in 1901 when the gap is more realistic at 19 years. Aged 77 William is still farming, at Gristhorpe. I wonder if he had any rest from his labours before he found peace.