The Two Elizas

Eliza HOW gave birth to ten children between 1835 and 1858 and she is clearly identified in eight of the nine registrations. (Thomas arrived too early for civil registration and her surname in the GRO Index for Joseph, in 1850, is “STOW”.) The ninth arrival, Henry, married Sarah Mary CHAPMAN in 1876 and the fourth of their daughters, Martha, connected Hertfordshire to Yorkshire when she married Robert Frederick COGILL in 1905.

I had to create records on FamilySearch Tree for both Robert and Martha in order to add the photograph of their St Oswald’s headstone as a “memory”. In the post Guesswork Wives a week ago I mentioned that  Eliza How’s husband Jacob CHILD is also hitched to Eliza HITINS on FST. I haven’t been able to find a source that identifies this other wife by her maiden surname but I cannot remove her without the blessing of CHILD descendants who have contributed to the pedigree.

For now, Robert’s wife Martha is a granddaughter of Eliza Hitins. And Martha’s father, Henry, as the son of Eliza HOW, is still without a wife and children. It would appear to be a simple matter to merge Henry’s duplicate IDs but it could create difficulties for those contributors for whom Eliza Hitins is still accepted as “theirs”.

The good news, though, is that giving Robert’s father an ID, and a wife who was already on FamilySearch Tree, boosted the COGILL pedigree back to the early years of the 17th century through the NELLIST and GREENLEY families.

Guesswork Wives

Routine headstone listing a couple of days ago brought me to Robert Frederick and Martha.


Filey Genealogy & Connections recorded Martha as a HUNTER, but a note (not visible in the FST version) cautions that she is a “guesswork wife”. It is rare for Kath’s guesses to send one down a wrong path, but I found that Martha entered the world as a CHILD.

Her father, Henry, appears to have been the ninth of ten children born to Jacob CHILD and Eliza HOW. The GRO Online Index of Births gives HOW as the Mother’s Maiden Surname for all but one of the children. The odd one out has “STOW” – a mistranscription by the GRO, I suspect.

Most of the children can be found on the FamilySearch Tree, but their mother is given as Eliza HITINS in this pedigree. This Eliza has eleven sources attached to her page, none of which give her birth Surname. She seems to be another guesswork wife.

Elsewhere on FST, the marriage of an older Jacob Child to Eliza How can be found. This couple has six children – but Martha’s father Henry is without a wife (as I write this). The six or seven years difference in Jacob’s age is clearly enough to fool “the system” into thinking the two Jacobs are different individuals.

I’m not sure of the best, (most efficient), way to put these people on the straight and narrow. My immediate concern is to create a Martha CHILD (1884 – 1964) so that I can attach the headstone photo to her record as a Memory.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, “marriage horizons” of Filey-born men and women may have become much wider than those of their Victorian forebears. I wonder, though, about the serendipity involved in Robert Frederick finding his bride in Hertfordshire 230 miles south of Filey.