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.