The Postmaster’s Son

He was generously named but sadly neglected on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. He has even been deprived of his capital letters.


Tooker, W G N 1907I became interested in his story because I found, in a dusty folder on an external drive, a photograph of his father. George Newcombe TOOKER was 39 years old when the picture was taken and he had been living in Filey for just a couple of years. Born in Princetown, Devon in 1868, he waited until he was almost thirty before marrying Mary Anthony ROWE – and shortly afterwards volunteered to fight in the Boer War. “Fight” is somewhat misleading. He delivered mail. A local newspaper gave an insight into his career trajectory.


He arrived in Filey with Mary and two children. One source gives their address as 39 Mitford Street but the 1911 census insists it was No.38. The latter address is more fit for a postmaster but is nonetheless modest. (I am assuming that the street has not been re-numbered in the last century or so.) Chez Tooker has the pale blue door.


Hedley was born here on 2 December 1911. In September the following year, George is attending a presentation in Plymouth, honouring an “old and respected comrade” at the Post Office. It was “a most pleasant evening”.

Mr Fred Ham’s song, “River of Dart”, was very much appreciated by the company. Mr Jack Marshall favoured his brother telegraphists with “Baby Face” in excellent style. Mr P. Soper was also in good voice. Songs were also rendered by Messrs. Avery, Jeffery, Tooker, Dart and Curle.

…Mr Dart, representing the junior staff, said they thanked Mr Hart for the interest he had taken in them: he was always ready and willing to impart the little intricacies of the “test box” to any of the younger officers.

Mr Tooker referred to Mr Hart as a “jolly good fellow,” and a man who had always done his duty with sincerity and good grace.

George may have returned to Filey with ideas of returning permanently to his home patch. The electoral registers show the Tooker family back in Plymouth at the beginning of the Twenties.

All three of the children married. Edna Mary became Mrs MADDICK in 1927, Leslie married Thirza SMITH the following year, and Irene Patricia Merci DESPARD matched Hedley for given names in 1934.

KingsAshRdPaignton_154_GSVWhen the 1939 Register was taken in September 1939, Hedley was working as an Assurance Agent in Paignton, Devon, living at 154 Kings Ash Road (left) with Irene and their son Michael, 4. A daughter, Mary, was born in 1940. It seems that Hedley joined the RAF at the beginning of the war and, when the conflict was over, the family emigrated to New Zealand. Hedley and Patricia are buried in Whangerei, Northland. Find a photograph of their headstone at Billion Graves.

There is still work to do, but Hedley and his forebears are on a bigger Shared Tree stage now.

Path 91 · Church Walk





The Horsefeeders

I was looking for Emily NO NAME, a victim of a long-ago data input glitch, and happened to meet the HORSEFEEDERs as I scrolled down rows of an Excel spreadsheet. I so wanted this to be a real family name, even as I realised that, as an occupation, it may not (somewhat ironically), have put much food on the table.



FamilySearch source

I found no other people with this name in Yorkshire and upon searching online for ‘Horsefeeder genealogy’ I had to accept that they were something other.

As a general rule, transcribers should input what they see.


I’m now seeing ‘Horsefield’ with the ‘i’ undotted and ‘d’ with ascender amputated – but only after accessing the marriage register entry for William and Emma.


Emma gave birth to nine girls before bringing Fred and finally Walter into the world (when she was 43 years old). In 1901 only Hannah, 25, was still living with her parents – and also in residence were William and Emma’s grandsons, George William, 3, and Joseph Pretoria, about 6 months old. One can guess that unmarried Hannah was their mother and perhaps their father was away in Africa fighting the Boers (if he had not already been killed).

Girl Nine was Ada. I looked at the Filey HORSFIELDs and in their short pedigree of just three generations, there are two women called Ada. About thirty miles separate the families but they don’t appear to be connected, and they are minimally represented on the Shared Tree. Both William Horsefield and Richard Horsfield are waiting to begin their families.

Richard’s son, Herbert Knight, is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard.



Path 90 · Headland Way


Path to Speeton Sands


The Sixth Rule of Bio Tyranny

Lionel sent me the Eight Rules by email a couple of days ago and, quite by chance while looking for Kitching stories, I found an old newspaper cutting that is apropos.


I found two concerned Rushworth fathers with infant daughters near Tyersal but neither is on the Shared Tree. John Ireland RUSHWORTH and his wife Sarah Ann had a two-year-old daughter at the end of 1872. She is Julia Ann in the 1871 census and Julia Hannah in 1911. Yes, without the vaccine she made it to her forties. (Somehow she had been successfully inoculated against marriage.)

The Sixth Rule

Sell the public the vaccine as the magical cure and the key to their freedom from this constraint and restraint. Repeat and reiterate the concept of vaccine as magic, elixir, potion and nostrum. In no time they will be lining up and demanding it, turning on those who question.

Doctor Judy warns about having any Covid-19 vaccine but especially one from a Gates of Hell lab. YouTube is serially taking down the Plandemic trailer so the producers have put on a loud music soundtrack in an attempt to confuse the YT censoring algorithm. This makes it horrible to listen to. So I have linked instead to TruNews. Jump to Edward Szall’s Special Report at 17:30 (a conversation with Dr Mikovits), or to the Plandemic trailer at 35.50.

More About Mary

I emailed a contributor to the Old Malton Kitching Family a couple of days ago and this morning found Mary as the firstborn of Francis Greenley and Esther. I have given her two husbands, some in-laws, and grandchildren. I have now forgotten completely why I jumped from the Scarborough Sheaders to the Kitchings.

Path 89 · Church Ravine



Mary Names Her Father

Mary KITCHING was born out of wedlock.


This is the only source I have found that names her mother as Charlotte. She usually goes by Esther.

In 1841, mother and child are together in the household of Esther’s parents, John and Martha née HINDSON. The first Victorian census was cavalier with ages and didn’t give relationships or birthplaces. Jumping to conclusions is unwise. Mary is at the bottom of the household list with her “twin brother” Samuel.


Samuel’s birth was registered in the third quarter of the year.


The FamilySearch Tree represents the household thus:-


In Martha’s past, there are six other children. At her death on 18 February 1857, aged 59, the Malton Messenger said –

She was followed to the grave by 12 of her own children (9 sons and 3 daughters) 9 of whom were married, besides a large number of friends by whom she was much respected.

In “fourth daughter” Mary’s future, two husbands and the births of twelve children await.

She married Joseph SNOWDEN in 1857, three months after Martha’s death, and named her father in the marriage register.

1857_GREENLAYfrancis named_mar

“Blackburn” is a strange occupation. You are right if you guess it to be a clerical error for “blacksmith”.

When registering the births of her first six children, Mary gave her maiden surname as Kitching. For the seventh –


And for her second child with Christopher POSTILL –


Mary was 65-years-old when Christopher junior died at twenty-one. He left a son, another Christopher, who was caught in the 1939 Register’s net, thirty-five, unmarried and living in Scarborough with his Aunt Marion, her husband William DEVONSHIRE and their son Leslie. Christopher’s occupation is given as “Café & Speed Boat Proprietor”. That sounds rather racy – something to do with his genetic inheritance, perhaps.

But no, Francis GREENLEY made an honest woman of Esther a couple of years after Mary’s birth. Their first child stayed with the grandparents – and the couple went on to provide Mary with nine full brothers and sisters. Find them on the Shared Tree.

Landscape 118 · Church Ravine





A Boy Named Spouse

I planned to re-post the story the Edith Cavell today but was side-tracked. One of the fishermen that came close to death on this day 103 years ago would, sometime later, work ashore as a builder’s labourer. He retained a connection to the sea by volunteering for the Scarborough Lifeboat and was one of the men lost in the 1954 disaster.

Four years after his encounter with UB21, the fishing boat’s “Big Lad”, John Harrison CAMMISH, married into the Scarborough SHEADER family. Their pedigree on the Shared Tree needs a lot of work. Rachel lacks an ID but the wrong father awaits and about half of her uncles and aunts are absent.

One of the missing uncles is Spouse Godfrey. He was not the first Sheader boy to be given this distracting name – it may have been handed down for generations. Perhaps surprisingly, only one census transcriber has been flummoxed by it, offering “Spence”. Every other source I have found so far is happy with Spouse.

One evening in 1919 he told the story of his life.


Lost from the Scarborough Lifeboat with John Harrison Cammish was the coxswain John Nicholas Sheader, a cousin of John’s wife Rachel (I think).

It is not yet apparent on the Shared Tree but Rachel’s mother, Betsy Hannah COWLING was a widow when she married George Godfrey. Her first marriage lasted just six weeks.


On this occasion, fate smiled on the Lifeboat coxswain.

I’ll do some more work and re-post the Edith Cavell story in a few days (or weeks). Meanwhile, please let Bill Lealman tell the tale.

Rock 22 · Red Cliffs


Cayton Bay

The Herring House

Edmund CRAWFORD was 32 years old in 1851 and working as a fisherman. The red granite stone marking his grave in St Oswald’s churchyard tells anyone who passes that he died a man of substance.


In 1861 he was a fishmonger, at the next two censuses a fish merchant and in 1885, a year before his death, he owned a herring house. That summer, an awful event took place there.


I wrote briefly about this in 2017 (Two Graces) and at greater length in Looking at Filey. Disappointingly, the British Library still hasn’t restored the old LaF so I will re-post the story on REDUX in the next few days.

Frank GRICE (not Grace) died of “natural causes” in jail, before completing his two-year sentence. Mary Lizzie died three years later, aged thirteen. I put her on the Shared Tree earlier today and while checking some information in the course of writing this post I happened upon something quite grotesque. You will see in Two Graces that I was upset that Mary Lizzie’s headstone was moved close to the grave of her abuser. I have just noticed that Frank’s older brother, George William, named his firstborn child Horatio Wilkinson Grice less than six months after the assault. Mary Lizzie’s father, Horatio Wilkinson, had drowned from the yawl Integrity in 1883. George was married to a third cousin of Mary Lizzie’s mother, Mary née WILLIS. But why…?

Metal 12 · Coble Landing


An Unknown Wife

She was a couple of months pregnant when she married John CROMPTON in St Oswald’s Filey on Valentine’s Day 1762. Over the next nineteen years, she gave birth to eleven children and there are christening records for ten of them – but only John is named as a parent.


This list of IGI records online acknowledges the possibility of another Father John but two genealogies on FamilySearch confidently name the mother as Ann COWPER. If you check the full IGI list you will see her marriage to John, though the date is given as 14 September 1762. Firstborn Ann was christened that day.

Filey Genealogy & Connections has ten of the children, with four of them marrying. Elisabeth, who died before her first birthday, is missing. Ian Ollman’s Family Tree has all the children.

Kath notes that when her father in law Richard died, Ann took over the licence of the Packhorse Inn on the corner of Queen and Reynolds Streets (later demolished and replaced by The Crown). When she died in 1792, her fisherman husband wasted little time marrying the Widow SCALES. In some sources, she is “Ellis”, in others “Alice”. This is a commonplace on the Yorkshire coast, and maybe further afield, but it can cause problems.

On the Shared Tree a while back Ellis was happily married to William Scales but, when I looked yesterday, I found the poor fellow had been deleted and Ellis given a sex change. This has condemned her/him to FamilySearch purgatory.

Fortunately, there is a more believable representation of William and Alice (Ellis) here.

Flight of Fancy 20 · Window


Seeing the light – early morning in the Glen Gardens children’s playground.


Lockdown, some dogs. Word on the beach is that the May to September “dog ban” is not being enforced. Happy days.