Lucy · Louise

I will get round to the old ladies of Roe’s Buildings eventually but my interest in the push and pull of migration prompted an investigation of their 13-year-old servant, Lucy COOK. I tumbled into a genealogical rabbit hole.


Here she is in Filey in 1841, the census enumerator giving her an ‘N’ for No; she wasn’t born in Yorkshire. Ten years later she is a married woman with two children, living just around the corner from Roe’s Buildings. She gives her birthplace as Maldon Basin, Essex. Her husband, Robert CHEW, was a butcher and in 1861 she is with him in and five of their children at The Butcher’s Shop, 4 King Street. (A sixth child, Ann Elizabeth the Second, was with paternal grandmother Ann née HICK on census night.) Lucy gives her birthplace now as Heybridge, near Maldon in Essex. I suffer from poor short-term memory but Heybridge rang a bell. Within a few minutes, I realised I’d put a photograph of a headstone on FamilySearch Tree that remembered Lucy’s sister Elizabeth.

An hour or two later I had brought together Lucy’s entire birth family. Father Michael, mother Susanna, brothers John and William, sisters Ann, Elizabeth and Susannah. They are not found together in Filey Genealogy and Connections or on FamilySearchTree.

In my Roots Magic version of Kath’s database, Lucy is masquerading under a false name.


Her “real family” is incomplete.


Most of Lucy’s children have been picked up by the FamilySearch system. Yesterday morning the parents had about nine IDs each. I did the necessary merges (and gave  Just Lucy her family name), but she is still from a broken home on FST.



I would like to put Lucy with her parents and siblings on FST but I’m waiting for the blessing of descendants/other contributors before doing so. Michael and Susanna didn’t baptise a daughter called Lucy.


For the time being Lucy · Louise appears on FST like this.

So, Michael and Susanna’s last child, Susannah, was born in 1838. About three years later she was living in Church Street, Filey, 200 miles north of her birthplace, with widowed mother, brother John and eldest sister Elizabeth. Lucy is a stone’s throw away at Roe’s buildings and Ann, not found in 1841 in Filey, is a servant to Christiana LORRIMAN, mother of her uncle Richard, ten years later.

What happened?


I was late out for my morning walk. The Bay was empty of ships. Early birds said Alfa Italia was still at anchor first thing so at lunchtime I checked Ship AIS and saw she was then anchored just out of sight around Flamborough Head. Right now, just before 9pm, she is underway at 11.3 knots, heading for Arzew, Algeria. I photographed her yesterday afternoon as it grew dark.


Thornbury, another of the becalmed tankers mentioned a few days ago, is now on her way north to Sullom Voe.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the deaths of William AGAR and his wife Elizabeth neé CHEW. I looked again for a newspaper account of the loss of the vessel from which they were lost, en route from London to Shields in 1839, and thought for a moment I’d found William. Alas,  it was a late report of a William AGAR of Sunderland who had drowned in late December from a vessel that struck the Seven Stones, a rocky reef between Land’s End and the Isles of Scilly.

I did make a bit of research progress, placing Scarborough William with parents – and becoming more certain than before that his maternal grandmother isn’t the Jane NEWTON on Filey Genealogy & Connections and Family Search Tree. I’ll try to sort out “the old ladies of Roe’s Buildings” and write about them another day. Two of the four have headstones in St Oswald’s churchyard but their husbands are still a mystery.

The Brothers Chow


Eight years after Elizabeth Richardson searched the Filey shore for her husband’s body, the family CHOW sought two of their own – brothers, Francis and James. Robert and Mary née PEARSON have ten children listed in Kath’s database, Filey Genealogy & Connections but only three had PIDs on FamilySearch until today.

FG & C has Robert drowning with his sons on 14 January 1808 but I have yet to find an official record to confirm this. This headstone offers circumstantial evidence that Robert lies beneath with  Francis and James, and that two months of searching separated discovery of the brothers’ bodies. The following verse is mostly hidden now but it was recorded by George Shaw in his book,  Rambles Round Filey, 1886 and is included in the East Yorkshire Family History Society transcription.

Most epitaphs are vainly wrote;

The dead to speak it can’t be thought;

Therefore, the friends of those here laid,

Desired that this might be said.

That rose two brothers, sad to tell,

That rose in health, ere night they fell –

Fell victims to the foaming main;

Wherefore awhile they hid remain.

Friends for them sought, and much lament,

At last the Lord to those them sent.

So child and widow may bemoan

O’er husband’s and o’er father’s tomb.

The EYFHS transcription adds the burial records for the brothers; James being interred on 24 January and Francis on March 25th, 1808.

The family unit isn’t complete on FST yet but here is the link to husband and father, Robert CHOW. By the time George, his youngest son, died in 1864 the family name was CHEW.

Hale Mary

Francis CHEW (or CHOW) was named after the father he never met. Francis Senior and his brother were drowned in January 1808.


There is a verse inscribed on the stone that has long been covered by an accumulation of soil. When the Crimlisks did their survey of the monuments in 1978 they relied on George Shaw’s Rambles Round Filey, 1886, to quote it in full (and kindly gave him a credit).


Sacred to the Memory of FRANCIS & JAMES CHOW who were drowned Jan·y 14th 1808, the former aged 30, the latter 24 years.

‘Most epitaphs are vainly wrote;

The dead to speak it can’t be thought;

Therefore, the friends of those here laid,

Desired that this might be said.

That rose two brothers, sad to tell,

That rose in health, ere night they fell –

Fell victims to the foaming main;

Wherefore awhile they hid remain.

Friends for them sought, and much lament,

At last the Lord to those them sent.

So child and widow they bemoan

O’er husband’s and o’er father’s tomb.’

Young Francis had an older brother but it would appear from the singular child of the verse that he had died before the father.

I made a start today on putting the CHEWs on FST and if you click the link you will notice the curious appearance of two women called Mary EDMOND who would become the grandmothers of John Francis CHEW.

The two Marys are not related by blood but one of them, the wife of John JENKINSON, was the niece of Ann EDMOND who featured in a post a few days ago.

Young Francis married Mary JENKINSON, the daughter of John and Mary Edmond II, on Christmas Eve 1832. Nine years on, to the day, this Francis was lost at sea. There are records of three children – Mary Ann who didn’t quite make it to her fortieth year, Elizabeth who died aged about three and John Francis who fell nine years short of his natural span.

Their mother, though, kept going through her long widowhood and saw in the 20th century.

She was only 26 when her husband died so it is perhaps surprising she didn’t marry again. In 1861 she was housekeeper to her father who was giving shelter to a couple of his grandchildren. John was still around in 1871, giving his age as 83, still cared for by daughter Mary. His granddaughter Elizabeth JENKINSON was with them, busy making dresses.

John died a year later and so did Mary’s daughter Mary Ann. At the 1881 Census, Mary was caring for her three HANSON grandchildren, aged 18, 15 and 12. Ten years later the King Street cottage was occupied by just Mary, now 76, and Frank Hanson, a 27-year-old Joiner who would marry Mary Jane COWLING that summer.

In 1881 Mary had kept a shop to support her young family and she possibly kept it going through her seventies. She was obviously made of stern stuff. Hail Mary!

A Current Event

In July 1865 John CHEW of Filey, while helping passengers disembark from his pleasure coble, noticed a bottle bobbing in the wavelets. Breaking it he found a chilling message.

January 23, 1865. – Dear Friends, – We are sinking; the pumps won’t work; in lat. 35., long 19.30. Captain John Roberts, screw steamer Golden Eagle. Anybody picking this up is requested to take it to the nearest magistrate.

I wrote about this in Messages in Bottles in January 2013 and clearly thought it an unlikely story. I am amazed that I spent so much effort assessing the prospect of a bottle finding its way to Filey Sands from four locations. I concluded it was just about possible if the Golden Eagle had foundered 600 miles south west of Portugal.

Four years ago I failed to find any references to the death of Captain Roberts or the sinking of his ship but re-visiting the event today I found this:-


Cap’n Roberts’ coordinates do indeed put  his vessel off the River Plate if the appropriate easting and northing are added – but over 2,000 miles off. And I would still argue that a bottle tossed into the sea there couldn’t float into the North Atlantic.  The dates are intriguing – Jan. 23 and Jan. 25 but the published report was a year earlier than stated in the message. I suspect a descendant of the writer of the note is now scattering fake news items about the Internet (and the Gray Lady is publishing them).

I spent a couple of hours searching for Filey CHEWS on FamilySearch Tree and found another candidate for the bottle finder. John Francis CHEW is plain John in some sources, including FST [ID MGCB-JN8], four years younger than the second cousin I thought might have owned the pleasure coble.

Every visit to FST  reveals how much work there is to do there. Here is an example of a mistake “the system” makes that cries out to be sorted.


Robert married Betsey Ann NICHOLSON and they had four children at least. His mother was Lucy COOK and she had twelve children with Robert Senior. The elder Robert has a duplicate ID attached to his own baptism record (MGZS-4N3). Search for that and you will not bump into the interlopers from New Jersey and Indiana.

A short distance inland from the cliffs in the foreground of Today’s Image, in amongst the caravans of the Blue Dolphin Holiday Park, the body if Gristhorpe Man was discovered in July 1834. Anniversary post in a few days!