A Burmese Day

William…who was drowned at Rangoon in Burmah

An exotic placename carved on a headstone in an English churchyard always raises questions and inspires conjecture. If there is a newspaper report “out there” explaining how 27-year old William WARE came to meet his maker I’d like to read it. In the meanwhile, I have to wonder if he fell out of a small boat on the turbid Irrawaddy of my childhood memory. Or was that the Limpopo? Thoughts then go further back in time to consider his journey out to the distant land. What forces pushed or pulled him there? Was he an agent of Empire or an adventurer? Was he traveling alone?

Filey Genealogy & Connections has one of William’s sisters but not the drowned man.

The full inscription on the headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard runs: –

In Affectionate Remembrance of RACHEL widow of the late THOMAS WARE

who died November 3rd 1885 aged 85 years

Also WILLIAM son of the above who was drowned at Rangoon in Burmah

October 15th 1858 aged 27 years


and granddaughter of the above who died Feb 20th 1892 aged 27 years

Annie Elizabeth was one of 13 children born to Rachel and Thomas WARE’s younger daughter Ann and Thomas PETCH. She married Richard Ferguson SCOTTER in the December quarter of 1891 and died less than five months later.

Rachel DAVEY’s husband Thomas died at the age of about 39 in 1837. In 1861 widow Rachel, as old as the century and working as an “upholsteress”, had a house full in North Street, Scarborough. With her were daughter Ann, her husband Thomas Petch and four children, plus 18-year-old lodger Mary PETCH who may have been Thomas’s sister.

In 1871 Rachel’s company in North Street comprised her elder daughter Ellen, 41, and her husband John JONES. The Joneses appear to have been childless but in 1881 John was head of a household in Queen Street Filey, with Ellen, his mother in law Rachel – and Annie Elizabeth PETCH.  Annie was with the Jones couple, still in Queen Street, ten years later (masquerading as “Amelia” in the Find My Past transcription). In 1901 the Joneses were back in Scarborough, now in their early seventies and with another PETCH for company – Mary Ellen, single, aged 43.

From Find My Past I moved to FamilySearch and found something surprising that brought my attention back to William Ware. In the same quarter of 1858 in which he would have learned of his older brother’s death, John WARE married Rachel NEWTON in Scarborough. They named their first child William, born around September 1860 – in Adelaide. Their second child, Annie, was also born in the Australian Colonies, in 1864, but the next two, Thomas John and George Henry, entered the world back in “the home country”.

This information raises another bunch of questions – and speculation regarding the brothers as young boys. Did they ever talk about wandering the globe together? Did John go to Australia to complete a journey that William had dreamed of making?

The WARE Pedigree on FamilySearch.

4 thoughts on “A Burmese Day

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    Liked by 1 person

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    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind comment and encouragement, Tammie. My readers’ base is great but quite small really. I write the stories and take the photos for myself mostly, and share them because it seems a shame not to. I appreciate you taking the trouble to let me know that LaFredux is working for you!

      Liked by 1 person

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