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.

Person Unknown · 1

I was an only child and although my parents had seven siblings between them none had been greatly exercised by the genetic imperative. The annual ritual rummage through a box of family photographs fascinated me with its cast of hundreds. Who were all these people? Where were they? Many, perhaps most, would still have been alive in the 1950s, but few ever appeared at our door.

Looking through the photographs today, I realize that most of the faces are of total strangers. No amount of facility with genealogical records is going to help me to identify them. (No names on the back!) Distant memories are all I have to go on. On second thoughts,  a growing familiarity with my “tree”, could focus the memories and sharpen intuition.

Take this venerable chap, for instance.


I do remember clearly that my parents couldn’t put names to a fair proportion of faces and I think this fellow was one of them. Their knowledge of their grandparents was sketchy, and of great-grandparents almost non-existent.

It doesn’t help that my maternal and paternal sides’ photos are mixed together. (They were always thus.)  This image is on postcard stock so, off the cuff, I’m going to date it to 1890. The subject is probably wearing his best clothes but they are sensible rather than fashionable. He is fresh-faced but his hands have done much work. A countryman. The kind of person we all want to have in our pedigree – an Ag Lab.

So, I’m looking for a parental great grandfather aged between 60 and 70 in 1890, who lived in a village. Of the eight candidates, I have the names of just five. One is Norwegian, totally lost in the mists, one a Channel Islander, ditto. Two were city dwellers, and one got my 2x great-grandmother pregnant but did not marry her. Last man sitting for this photograph is Thomas Andrews GOODING (1819-1897). Born in Binbrook, worked the land around Binbrook, died in Binbrook. He married late, aged 41, but had eleven children with Eliza HATCLIFFE.

There isn’t much chance of this hunch ever being confirmed – unless a distant cousin reads this, has the same photo in their family album and kindly gets in touch.