Bethalina CHAPMAN’s first husband, George COWLING, died 163 years ago today at the age of 26. While long-line fishing, he drowned “off Filey” – possibly somewhere in the watery expanse captured by Today’s Image.

Bethalina’s second husband, Thomas FREEMAN, died 142 years ago yesterday, aged 47. In 1861 he was working as a labourer but had turned to fishing ten years later.

Bethalina made it to age sixty. She had one child with George and three with Thomas – and at least 17 grandchildren.

I wrote a short post about girls’ names in Looking at Filey that featured Bethalina (aka Bothalina, Bothia, Bythia, Bithynia).  I also gave her a page on the LaF Wiki, which I’ll update soon.

Bethalina’s families are represented on both Filey Genealogy & Connections and Family Search Tree. I did some further research today, concentrating mainly on a second COWLING child that appears on FG&C. Thomas Marmaduke’s record shows he was born in 1856 and if that is correct then George could not have been his father.  Bethalina married Thomas FREEMAN in July 1857, so maybe he was the bio dad.

Thomas thoroughly confused the census enumerator in 1861 and the enumerators’ handwriting in that year and in 1871 has flummoxed the Find My Past transcribers.

Living with Thomas and “Bohahna” at 2, Wenlock Place in 1861 was “daughter in law” Mary CAWLING. There’s nothing much wrong with that, but his own boy and girl, William and Elizabeth, also bear the family name Cawling and relationship “in law”. In 1871 he has accepted Mary “COWLAND” as daughter and William as a Freeman. There are no signs of Thomas Marmaduke anywhere.

When I eventually caught up with the mystery child it was in Filey, marrying Mary Ann HOWE at St Oswald’s Church in 1903. (Mary Ann is “HOWL” in some transcribed sources.) He claimed, then, to be 45 years old and was therefore conceived after the marriage of Bethalina and Thomas Freeman.


However, if he was truthful at the 1911 Census the connection becomes questionable. He gave his birthplace as Staindrop in County Durham. That place is in Teesdale Registration District and there is a likely record for him there but in June Quarter 1857. The mother’s maiden surname is given as HOWDEN.

Thomas Marmaduke’s wife gave her birthplace as Princes End, Staffordshire. This was an area between Tipton and Coseley in the Dudley Registration District. A convincing record gives her birth there in the June Quarter of 1878, mother’s maiden surname COLE. (The age difference between the couple is  16 years in the marriage register and 1911 Census return, and 15 years in the GRO Births Index.)

Mary Ann was about six months pregnant when she walked down the aisle. Thomas Marmaduke junior’s birth was registered in the quarter following the wedding. Curiously, FG&C gives the birthplace as Frankton near Rugby but the registration was made in Scarborough. The birthplace may be correct because in 1911 the family was living in Foleshill, Warwickshire, about ten miles away from Frankton.

A Sherburn Man


William is remembered on the memorials in St Oswald’s (above) and Murray Street, though he was not a Filonian. His father Richard, a wheelwright and joiner, was from Langtoft; he married Esther VASEY in Allerston in 1873. After the arrival of two sons in Heslerton, the couple moved to Sherburn and were enumerated at an address in St Helen Street from 1881 to 1911.

William worked as a joiner and in 1901, age 20, he was a Visitor at Thomas Breckon’s butcher shop, 9 Union Street, Filey, with a motley crew of boarders that included a builder and bricklayer in addition to an apprentice butcher. Ten years later he was living in the town with his wife and their first child, Richard –  but he’d traveled a distance to find Daisy Ella, a Shropshire lass he married in Wolverhampton.

He was 33 years old when the First War began and, married with two children, I can’t imagine he rushed to volunteer. It seems more likely he would have been conscripted in, or after, 1916.

I haven’t been able to determine his whereabouts when he was killed. He joined one of the 24 Tank battalions that fought on the Western Front and in October 1918 he was with the 5th, probably taking part in the Battles of the Hindenburg Line. He may have died in the Battle of Courtrai (14-19 October) or on the first day of the Battle of the Selle (17-26 October).  He is buried at Tincourt New British Cemetery and remembered on Daisy Ella’s granite headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.


In loving memory of DAISY ELLA HARLAND, died October 3rd 1953 and of her husband WILLIAM HARLAND, killed in action October 17th 1918.

William is on the FamilySearch Tree.

Afternoon Sun by Ophelia


Ireland has taken the full force of Storm Ophelia today. Here on the east coast of England, the surprisingly gentle breeze has been pleasantly warm. But smoke from Portuguese wildfires, Saharan sand, and dust from a thousand miles to the south of here has filled Filey skies and given a very strange light.

I was in the churchyard this afternoon photographing a headstone or two and took this picture about 2.30.

As for Today’s Image – I don’t turn my camera on people very often but an opportunity such as this one… The young woman, a jogger, was a total stranger, not seen by me before or since. I told her I had taken the photograph and asked permission to post it online “if it came out”. She looked at it on the LCD screen and kindly gave her blessing.

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.