England appears to be the heartland for this family name, with around 75% found in Yorkshire in the second half of the 19th century. Not that this is readily apparent if you check out the Ancestry distribution maps online.

Photographer unknown, no date

Thomas SUGGIT, a general merchant, grocer and ship owner of Filey, married Zillah AGAR on this day 1837. They were both about 24 years old, the average age for tying the first knot in Victorian Britain. They brought nine children into the world and seven lived long enough to marry. Firstborn William Agar died on the day of his birth and middle child  Thomas Henry was killed aged 14 in a cliff fall on Carr Naze. The others supplied Thomas and Zillah with at least 31 grandchildren, 19 of them Suggits.

A descendant, James, kindly provided Looking at Filey with a number of photographs – and the fruits of a project to find the origins of the family name. James plotted the locations of Suggits and variants in UK telephone directories and found the “epicentre” in Redcar, Cleveland. He thought the name could be of Scandinavian origin, from Søgaard, Siggaard or Sygurth perhaps.

The photo of Thomas came to me from another branch of the family, via Kath Wilkie, and I was informed that confidence in the identification was not quite a hundred per cent. But the sitter looks like a prosperous retired merchant to me and could easily pass for a Swede or Norwegian.

Thomas died in 1881 at Wenlock House in Church Street. Zillah continued living there until her death in January 1898.

Photographed this morning

The presence of the anchor is possibly coincidental, but the owner who renovated the property a few years ago may have done some research and discovered Thomas owned several vessels. Captain Syd names the cutter Ebenezer and three yawls – Refuge and two named Zillah & Rachel (SH37 and SH95).

Find Thomas on FamilySearch Tree – and in St Oswald’s churchyard.


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