Remembering Forgetful Emily

20191022EmilyBPunknownWhen Emily’s husband of 21 years filled out the 1911 census form, he owned up to not knowing where she had been born. John CAPPLEMAN, 50, had been a fish hawker for much of his working life. Emily was running a newsagent business from their home at 55 Queen Street.

Ten years earlier the enumerator had written “don’t know” in the space for Emily’s birthplace, and didn’t give her an occupation.

In 1891 they had been married for about eighteen months and were living in Cambridge Yard, West Street. John was working as both a fisherman and a hawker of the creatures he caught. In the enumerator’s book, “Newcastle on Tyne” is given as Emily’s birthplace.

In 1881, Emily was with her older brother John, visiting a married sister in Kent. Jane Ann’s husband, Alexander FAIRBROTHER, was a farmer with radical inclinations. He gave two of his sons the middle names Cobden and Bright. The birthplace of the three Dawson siblings was given as “Shields, Northumberland”.

In 1871, at home with their parents in Dockwray Square, Tynemouth, all six Dawsons in residence offered North Shields as their birthplace, even though mother Jane (formerly BIRBECK) had been born in York.

In 1861, Errington “DAUSON” and Jane were enumerated at 13, Dockwray Square, with six children born in North Shields (and their mother in her rightful birthplace).

Errington Dawson was a butcher and his son John became a shipowner. The family was clearly settled in North Shields and although several of Emily’s siblings died in infancy there is no obvious reason why she would choose to forget her roots in later years.

Why did she move to Scarborough during the 1880s? In 1888 a list of bankrupts was published in the local paper and there was an Emily Dawson among them. If this was “our Emily” she had failed to make a go of keeping a lodging-house. The following year she married John Cappleman. They were together for thirty years but didn’t have any children.

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I had to create an ID for Emily. Her parents already had representation on the Shared Tree but were waiting for me to play matchmaker. There are other nuptials to be noted and quite a few missing children created. The gathering of these has been made easier by a contributor to the new Find My Past system of sharing trees. For now, though, Emily doesn’t have much of a family on FamilySearch.

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