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.


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.

7 thoughts on “From Appleby to Welburn

  1. Hi we are direct ancestors of William Appleby son of Rachel (Maw) and Robert Appleby
    I have the family tree if you need any information regarding the family


    1. Thank you for the kind offer, Lee. At some point, I will be putting a photograph of the headstone remembering Catherine (about 1906-1953), wife of Francis Appleby, on the FamilySearch Tree. There is also a more recent stone for Frank Appleby (abt 1848-2015). Please let me know if they are your relatives.


      1. Hi Ian
        I’m not so good with family trees but saw your artical and had to comment.
        William who’s mother is questioned(Rachel Maw) is my Husbands 3x grandfather he married Jane Burt from North Burton.
        They a buried in Manor Rd cemetery in Scarborough


      2. Your husband’s William is an Appleby, whereas my two Williams were Welburns. There have been some contributions to the FamilySearch Shared Tree since I wrote the post – my Elizabeth Appleby has been deleted. I will add an update to the post to replace the “bad link” and perhaps add some more information to the FamilySearch Tree.


      3. I haven’t traced this Catherine yet. Coincidentally, Catherine Welburn (1868-1947), is a niece to your William Appleby. Her FamilySearch ID is LVNT-L1S. In 1891 she was working for farmer Harry Watson at Newbiggin near Filey (and called Kate).


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