The Elusive John Hartas Lawson

You would think that fellows with unusual middle names would be easy to track and trace in Victorian Britain. Not so.

I have given “our John” a tick of approval because the minimal information attached to him on the Shared Tree is sound. Opening his single source on FamilySearch gives Emma Atkinson and Agnes Ramsden as possible spouses but, fear not…

The couple married in Filey St Oswald’s and the register entry tells us more.

John died less than eighteen months later but I couldn’t find any newspaper reports of his passing.

In 1901, Ann is “living on her own means” at 10 Mitford Street, Filey, with granddaughter Elizabeth. Ten years later at the same address she is described as a lodging house keeper, and a different granddaughter, Everellda, is with her. Helpfully, Ann noted the length of her marriage to Robert Killingbeck on the census form, 21 years, and that she’d had six children with him, of whom three had died. (Elizabeth is the illegitimate daughter of Ada, though she is Elizabeth ALMAND on the Shared Tree. Everillda is the daughter of Robert Tate KILLINGBECK and Christina SELLERS/SELLARS.)

John Hartas’ birth year – 1847 – has been calculated from his given age at death. A search of this year on Free BMD offers eleven boys called John Lawson plus one with a the middle name “Heslin”. This lad, born in Sunderland, was still alive in the twentieth century, so no misspelling involved there. There are sixteen just Johns born in 1846, plus four with middle names that can’t be mistaken for Hartas. None of the birth registration places caught my eye – and knowing his father was a labourer called John is of little assistance.

However, knowing that John Hartas had been married before suggested another strategy. I looked for a John H. marrying in a place of interest and found one in 1866. This is a little too early to be encouraging, but the marriage to either Johanna BENFIELD or Ella SOLOMAN took place in Kensington. At the 1871 census, Robert Killingbeck and Ann were enumerated at different Kensington addresses, Robert at York House Stables, where he worked as a coachman, and Ann at Dukes Lane (with daughter Ada, 1, mother Mary Tate nee HOLLAND, 46, and a nephew, Thomas, aged 2).

It is tantalising to think that Ann and John may have met in Kensington, even as she had more children with Robert, but for this to eventually end in them marrying requires  the wife of John H to follow Robert Killingbeck to the next world before 1889. I have found no evidence of this happening.

I will keep searching but other tasks await. Perhaps you, dear reader, can help.

Landscape 140 · Filey Bay

Cliff path above Muston Sands

Northern Spring, Southern Autumn

April seemed unusually cold on the Yorkshire Coast, and May cold and wet. But the mean temperature data from the Durham Tees weather station indicates the season was actually a tiny bit  warmer than the average for the last thirteen years.

It was maybe the seemingly relentless wind that chilled us.

Note the trend line in the above chart. Perhaps north-east England is anomalous because a Government Report out this month tells us we should not just be afraid of catching ‘flu. (Gee, I hope I don’t get a Delta Variant runny nose.) UK Column extracted a quote from the Report for their bulletin yesterday.

You may recall that the IPCC claimed in 2017 that the global average temperature had increased by one degree centigrade since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and projected it would reach 1.5°C above Pre-Industrial by 2040.

Taking the running average mean temperatures from the start of the current meteorological year, two of the five northern  hemisphere weather stations I monitor (other than Durham Tees) were well above the dreaded 2°C by the end of Spring. Mumbai at 2.66 and Shanghai 2.42. Koltsovo, which has been very warm over the last few years, has cooled to a smidgen over the “Paris Target” of 1.5°C. Four of the five southern hemisphere stations have been quite cool throughout their autumn, with Cape Town being only 0.47 degrees above P-I. The 10 stations representing the Globe average 1.23°C above Pre-Industrial. If one gives each day since the end of November 2017 an equal bite of the 0.5°C rise to 2040, the projected global temperature at the end of Q 2 this year is 1.08 degrees. My Ten Stations collectively are therefore warming seven times faster than projected. Durham Tees is cooling by a little less than one “IPCC Unit” (0.02174°C per year).

Returning to Durham Tees, below is a graph showing the progression of mean temperature above Pre-Industrial through the warmest spring of the last 13 years, the coolest, and for the last three years.

This clearly shows that April and May this year were indeed chillier than March but in following 2019’s trend the season ended up distinctly average.

Sea 37 · Filey Bay

Egyptian Variant

A vulture, not seen in this country for over 150 years, reminded me of a nightjar from the same neck of the desert, shot by Albert Charles SPINKS in 1883.

I didn’t need much reminding – I read the story while having my breakfast a couple of days ago.

Egyptian Nightjar, Caprimulgus aegyptus. This pale desert nightjar has been recorded just twice in Britain. The second occasion was in 1984, but to the first attaches an entertaining story. A Nottinghamshire gamekeeper, Albert Spinks, flushed a bird from its resting spot while he was shooting rabbits and, thinking it looked unusual, brought it down with his second barrel. A day later when it started to smell he threw it on to the ashpit near his cottage, only for his ornithologist employer, J. Whitaker, to notice and retrieve the skin. Whitaker sent it to his taxidermist and subsequently had its identity confirmed as an Egyptian nightjar, then he honoured ‘his’ find by erecting a monument at the site of discovery (Thieves Wood near Mansfield). The inscription, in which the largest letters spell his own name, was intended to read: ‘This stone was placed here by J. Whitaker, of Rainworth Lodge, to mark the spot where the first British specimen of the Egyptian Nightjar was shot by A. Spinks, on June 23rd, 1883, this is only the second occurrence of this bird in Europe.’ In fact ‘occurrence’ was misspelt and the date appears to have been wrongly given as 1882.

The stone is significant as probably the only memorial raised to an individual wild bird in Britain for more than a century (see Great Auk, page 254). Whitaker’s mounted skin of the bird is now in Mansfield Museum, but his stone was recently replaced by a simple concrete post with only a nightjar etching and the date, which now forms part of a nature trail through Thieves Wood.

Birds Britannica, Mark Cocker & Richard Mabey

There is a photograph of the concrete post on Joseph WHITAKER’s Wikipedia page.

Albert’s claim to infamy isn’t obvious on the FamilySearch Tree and his employer, who didn’t have to work for a living, only has one ancestor – his father Joseph.

Looking for Whitaker descendants offers an example of good sources leading to unbelievable outcomes.

One source attached to the tree places the marriage of Joseph and Mary EDISON (sic) in Mansfield, in the Second Quarter of 1872.

A second source is even more helpful in recording the ceremony at Blidworth on 16 April 1872 and informing us that the bride was the “only surviving daughter of the late Booth Eddison, surgeon of Nottingham”. Booth is represented on the Shared Tree but is not yet married to Eliza ELLIS, with whom he had three daughters and one son, Alfred. Two of his girls were with him when he died on 7 March 1859 in Funchal on the island of Madeira. The more benign climate there was no match for tuberculosis. If one of the daughters at his deathbed was firstborn Sarah Anne, she would die in Mansfield just a few months later, aged 19. Alfred died in Penzance in 1861 aged 16 and middle daughter Margaret in Nottingham in 1866, aged 22.

The middle name of the first child born to ornithologist Joseph and Mary Eddison came from his grandmother Mary RANDALL. His birth in Blidworth in 1875 was registered in Mansfield. In April 1911 he is with his widowed father at Rainworth Lodge (near Thieves Wood) and before the year is out he has married Selina READ in Curling, Newfoundland. A whirlwind romance?

Booth Eddison seems to have been a remarkable doctor. If you want to discover more about his short life, start here and follow the offered links.There is a likeness of him here and lot of information about his forebears here.

But don’t forget the poor Egyptian Nightjar.

Path 140 · Nuns Walk

Michael Lost

In the early evening of Friday 9 June 1950, two schoolboys walked to the cliffs on the north side of Carr Naze in search of seagull eggs. Only one returned to sleep in his own bed. Michael David WARE slipped while making his way down a grassy slope towards a nest he had seen, failed to control his slide and vanished over the cliff edge into Black Hole.

Michael’s friend, Benjamin ROBERTS, alerted the Coastguard and his account of the accident appeared in later newspaper reports.

Michael was buried on 13 June in the sheltered corner near the south door of St Oswald’s.

The “book” stone remembers his parents Roderick Leslie and Edna May. They are represented on the FamilySearch Shared Tree but Les, as he was widely known, has not yet been connected to his father, William [LH7X-Z15].

William is waiting for a wife – Caroline Elizabeth BEGG – and the WARE male line doesn’t go back far. I wonder what our ill-fated egger would have thought about having King ALFRED as a many times great grandfather, had he lived to be a silver surfer. If the Shared Tree is to be believed, Michael had many other forebears among royalty and the elites of Great Britain and several European nations. I recommend a grand tour of his ancestry, all the way to Welsh kings who lived before the birth of Christ. His father, Les, involved himself in charitable work with Filey Lions for the last thirty years or so of a long life and this contribution is honoured on a bench near the Church Bridge gate.

Michael’s mother died aged 82 on the 43rd anniversary of her boy’s funeral.

Measure of Man 56 · Arndale

Moses Found

His name on a list caught my eye a couple of days ago. In the Filey Genealogy & Connections database the vital dates for him are imprecise. There is also no clear indication that he had any dealings in the town. He seems to have spent most of his working life as an agricultural labourer initially, before taking on a small farm of 14 acres – but being successful enough to enlarge a holding that required a number of live in “hands” to help run it. One of these was Samuel TEMPLE a waggoner on Manor Farm in 1901 and the farm’s foreman ten years later. Moses died just a few weeks before the 1911 census, leaving Emma and their surviving daughter Dinah Elizabeth. Dinah married Samuel the following year at the Ebenezer Chapel in Filey.

I was pleased to see Moses on the FamilySearch Tree and set about looking in newspapers for the marks he might have made in his small corner of the East Riding of Yorkshire. I was amused to see that about half of my searches triggered stories about bulrushes – and only three small items that mentioned him.

Four of these worthy gentlemen were mentioned in despatches the following year, when the children of Folkton and Flixton schools “visited Filey in glorious weather”. (Mr. Ashby RICHARDSON also received a mention, a relative perhaps of P. Richardson.)

The last snippet indicates that Moses went quite swiftly and unexpectedly to meet his Lord.

Mr Moses Found, a well-known farmer, of Folkton, was taken ill on his way home from Seamer market on Monday, and, being removed to his home, died just after his arrival.

Driffield Times, 25 Feb 1911

He was sixty-nine years old and left effects valued at almost £10,000 (about £816,000 today).

Clouds 51 · Filey Bay