A Mystery Pearson

Heading west along Church Walk, the headstone of William PEARSON is an eye catcher, (though you would have to be eight feet tall to see all that this photo reveals).


The inscription tells us that William is “of Filey” but none of the four major censuses he lived through caught him in the town. I thought the mention of his daughter, Elizabeth Ann DUFFILL, who died aged 78 in 1928, would make the family easy to find. Not so.


Filey Genealogy & Connections has William on his ownsome, with his death/ burial dates and a calculated birth year of 1797. The records say he was 76 when he died; the headstone begs to differ, asserting 72 years.

An hour or two searching available sources on FamilySearch and Find My Past failed to deliver a William I could wholeheartedly believe in. But I did have three or four possibles and one against whom I scribbled “best” on my notepad. There were several Williams that were on the FamilySearch Tree already but none were immediately convincing.

A little more cross-pollinating available online data brought me to an affirmation of “Best William” being the fellow buried by Church Walk, and I have added the headstone picture as a memory on FST.

Some scraps of mystery adhere to him nonetheless. Who was his first wife? He was 43 years old when he married Ann FENWICK and the Cloughton Church marriage register notes his widower status.

Somewhat related – how did a farmer from the Whitby area meet a farmer’s daughter born just outside Hull, over 60 miles away? You will find the answer in a ‘blue hint’ on FST. While William journeyed south, Robert FENWICK moved north to the Scarborough area enabling the connection that brought Elizabeth Ann into the world to be made.

Perhaps more mysterious than William is Elizabeth Ann’s husband, Henry DUFFILL. I have been unable to find a trace of him after this brief entry in The Scarborough Mercury of 10 October 1874.

On the 6th inst., at Murray-street Chapel, Filey, by the Rev. Stephen Cox, Mr. Henry Duffill, of Farnhill, near Leeds, to Miss Elizabeth Ann Pearson, of Filey.

Find William on FST here.

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