Towie Girls

Sisters Mary and Elizabeth Isabella LAW gave Towie, Aberdeenshire, as their birthplace in most censuses but their home was about three miles east of the hamlet, at Wester Sinnahard. Their grandfather, John, seems to have farmed there – and also at both Easter and Middle Sinnahard.

 I am guessing that it is Middle Sinnahard in the Google View above. In 1871, George Law, aged 34 and unmarried, is listed here as a Boarder, an agricultural labourer working for his uncle, Alexander Law. Eliza Alexander CLARK, a 21-year-old general servant is also enumerated at the farm. She would marry George a couple of years later. Mary was their first child and Elizabeth Isabella their fourth. The sisters’ lives ended 350 miles to the south at Cayton, Mary in 1937 at Rose Cottage, aged 63, and Elizabeth Isabella in 1972 at White Croft, aged 91. Both were widows and they, and their husbands, are remembered on a granite stone in St Oswald’s churchyard. The memorial has a twin…

photographed yesterday afternoon

There is work still to do to figure the full implications of the SAUNDERS connection to the NICHOLSON family. Representation on the FamilySearch Shared Tree is as yet unclear.

Stone 29 · Clarke’s Asphalt


Miner, Soldier, Accountant, Contractor’s Clerk

In July 1938 the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer informed readers of the marriage of Samuel Hughes DIXON, Accountant, to Olive, the eldest daughter of Charles FERRAR, of Filey. Samuel, the notice said, was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Philip Dixon, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. He had been born in Fenton, one of the unlovely Six Towns of The Staffordshire Potteries, and at age 13 in 1901 he worked as a miner below ground, probably at Fenton Glebe Colliery.

Ten years later his presence on the North-West Frontier was noted. He was with the 2nd Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment, which had been raised in the next Pottery town in the chain, Longton. He didn’t leave the army until 1929 and so, had he stayed with the North Staffs, would have served for at least ten years in India, a couple of years in Ireland until the Free State was established, and the remainder of his army life at the regiment’s depot in Lichfield or other “home stations”.

His military conduct had been exemplary and for the last ten years he was a Company Quarter-Master Sergeant. He re-started his civilian life in Burslem, as licensee of The Legs of Man Inn in the Market Place. For eight years there were no complaints against him but early in 1937, he found himself in court, charged with supplying intoxicating liquor to two women during “non-permtted” hours.  One of the women, Elizabeth Bridgford, pleaded guilty and was fined but the evidence that she was supplied after 10pm was not strong enough to convict Samuel.

The Stipendiary Magistrate’s view that the case was nonetheless “suspicious” may have weighed heavily upon Samuel. Ten months later The Staffordshire Sentinel reported that the Wine Licence for The Legs o’Man Inn had been transferred from Samuel Hughes Dixon to Alfred William Wood.

Samuel must have quit The Potteries immediately because a couple of months later his marriage to Olive FERRAR was registered in Buckrose. Olive was forty-years-old. Samuel, aged 50, claimed to be an accountant. Eighteen months later, when the Census was taken at the beginning of the Second World War, he told the enumerator who called at 67 Muston Road that he was a Contractor’s Clerk.

Samuel died in the summer of 1952 and is buried at Cayton. His widow married again and is remembered on the FERRAR stone in St Oswald’s churchyard as Olive JACKSON. She died in 1975 aged 78, about 18 months after her youngest sister Gladys Ann BROWN. Their brother Arthur’s life had been snuffed out at nineteen while fighting for King and Country in France.


Find the Ferrars, and Samuel, on the Shared Tree.

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.

Family Matters

The path in Today’s Image links Scarborough’s Dean Road and Manor Road Cemeteries. Heavenly places for taphophiles.

I arrived at the Sarony monument this morning in the middle of a heavy and prolonged rain shower. I made a soggy transcription of the information on the three obelisk panels (one is blank) and headed for home. Back in town, the clouds broke enough to let the sun shine through, so I went back for another attempt at photographing the memorial.


The Saronys are in a prime location by the Chapel and their circular plot is clearly being cared for. (The object on top of the obelisk is a draped urn, signifying the veil between life and death, and perhaps the promise of God’s protection until the resurrection.) Plans to restore the Chapel are ongoing but the total cost will be close to a million pounds and more funds are needed.

The monument tells only part of the story. Jennie’s panel is to the left in the picture, Ida’s faces the main path and Oliver and Elizabeth are on the Chapel side.

In loving memory of JENNIE, wife of SAMUEL W. FISHER JP of this town, and daughter of NAPOLEON SARONY of New York, U.S.A., who died Sept. 4 1905, aged 54 years.

Sacred to the memory of IDA, the beloved wife of THOMAS DAWES of Dudley, and daughter of NAPOLEON SARONY of New York, U.S.A. & niece to OLIVER SARONY, who departed this life May 25 1878, aged 29 years.

Also, in loving memory of the above THOMAS DAWES-SARONY, born 3rd Aug 1852, died 14th Dec 1894.

In affectionate memory of OLIVER SARONY, who died August 30 1879, aged 59 years.

Also of ELIZABETH, widow of the above, who died January 23 1903, aged 81 years.

FamilySearch Tree, at the moment, has Elizabeth married to Thomas Dawes and gives her birth at 1850/60. The rain and unhelpful light made for poor photographs of the panels. When I have satisfactory results I’ll upload them to FST. In the next day or two, I’ll try to put the family in order and add the sources I’ve accumulated so far.

I imagine the Sarony line to be a fascinating one but lost in the mists of Mittel European time. I did not expect that Thomas Dawes of Dudley would have a pedigree stretching back to that most famous of our supposed common ancestors, Carolus Magnus. For entertainment, start with him and work your way back to the Thomas who married his first wife’s aunt. (If you get to William the Conqueror you may be on the wrong track.)

You will have noticed from the monument transcription that Ida was the“beloved” wife of Thomas. Poor farmer Leighton doesn’t get a mention, supporting my feeling about a rift between the families. My sympathies are with John Francis and I’m pleased he has a lovely last resting place. In the photograph below you can see him through the gap left by the fallen stone of the six in the foreground.


A Man of Osgodby

John Francis LEIGHTON may have been a little oversensitive about his age. Two years after marrying 20-year-old Ida SARONY, he told the census enumerator who called at Spring House that he was 38. His gravestone in St John the Baptist churchyard, Cayton, says he shaved off three years.


I think the stone is telling the truth – but it is economical with information. Had John’s marriage of six years broken down? His birth family left behind couldn’t bring themselves to tell of Ida’s existence or speak her name.

It is not unusual for farmers to marry late, or to take wives some years their junior. But not many solid Yorkshire chaps hitch themselves to a New Yorker, daughter of a flamboyant photographist of German origin. Ida’s father was Napoleon SARONY, brother of Oliver. I hope to visit the grave of niece and uncle tomorrow.

On FamilySearch Tree, Ida has the middle name, Leighton. This is probably a contributor’s choice – I haven’t yet seen a source that indicates she remembered her first husband in this way.

Ida survived John by just three years and the marriage to her second husband lasted eighteen months. She died giving birth to Ida Nellie DAWES. After a suitable period of mourning, Thomas Dawes married Oliver Sarony’s widow, Elizabeth.

More about this unusual family tomorrow.

Desert Rat, Desert Fox


This satellite view of a small square of Libya, where rock and sand meet the Mediterranean Sea, is in the vicinity of El Agheila (Al Uqaylah). After Operation Compass routed the Italians in North Africa, the Allied Forces rested in this area – until Erwin Rommel’s infant Afrika Korps arrived to send them packing on this day 1941.

Cecil SIMPSON was born at Cayton and baptized at St Oswald’s, Filey, on 6th March 1918. He was, therefore, 21 years old when the Second World War began.  I don’t know how soon he joined the army but he was with the 1st Battalion Royal Northumberland Fusiliers when a force commanded by The Desert Fox ended his life.

Cecil is remembered on the Alamein Memorial in Egypt (located about 1,000 kilometers from where he died), on the Gristhorpe Memorial in Filey Parish, and on his parents’ headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.


The pedigree of this branch of the Simpsons is not extensive on Filey Genealogy & Connections – and I have struggled today to find forebears on FST to whom he can be readily linked.