If Mr Swain, my teacher in the top class at Stoneferry J & I, had asked me what the name “Strangeways” conjured up I would have shuddered and mumbled, “the jail, sir”. The lock-up’s reputation was contagious enough to infect little children. (Google it.)

Now, in my dotage, I find I have Strangeways (or variants thereof) in my family tree – and genealogical criminal acts have been perpetrated upon some of them. That’s perhaps a bit strong. I’ll reduce the charge to “microaggressions”.

I have no interest in sending anyone down for the offences. Some mistakes are easily made on the FamilySearch Tree. I expect to be found guilty any day now.

I call William STRANGEWAY.

His birth was registered in the December Quarter of 1842 in York, the son of James, a brickmaker, and Sarah née MATTHEWS. He didn’t stay long enough to celebrate his first birthday but here he is on the Shared Tree.


William is without sources here but checking the GRO for his asserted death in Leeds in 1894 gives this –


A calculated arrival three years out of whack rings a warning bell.

Let’s first look for a York birth registration in 1842.


Year and mother fit the Shared Tree screenshot.

There is nothing for us in York three years later but in the first quarter of 1846 –


In 1851 the census puts William the Younger with parents Robert, a brick and tile maker, and Frances née GIBSON at 5 Aldwark, which is a ten-minute walk from James and Sarah’s home in Redeness Street. William the Elder is beyond the ken of the enumerator of course but his two sisters, Elizabeth and Ann, are recorded with brother Thomas and grandmother Ann née MEPHAM.

The Aldwark house also shelters an Elizabeth. If the births of the two girls were registered on time, less than six months separate their appearance on the planet. There’s a greater chance of some latter-day family historian mixing these two up!


Robert Strangways died aged 44 in 1853. In 1861, William is 15, working as a cloth dresser and living with his mother in Ratcliffe Yard, Leeds. He marries Ellen ARCHER in that city about eight years later.

Sarah Strangway, six years a widow, marries George GREEN in York in late 1862. Her second marriage does not last. In 1871, a widow again, she is living in Marygate with offspring Charlotte and James Strangway. James chooses not to marry and is with his mother in 1891, working as a labourer. Sarah, 73, is a nurse. Ten years later she is in the York workhouse. James is still alive, whereabouts unknown to me in 1901. His mother dies aged 85 in 1903 and James follows her into eternity less than a year later, aged 50.

I wonder if James’ sister Elizabeth attended either of the funerals. She died in Hull in 1911 after burying four of the nine children she had with Alfred WELBURN, one of them being “my Strangway”, first wife of William Henry Phillip SMAWFIELD who then married my grandaunt Elizabeth Ann LOCKETT.

This is a confusing number of Elizabeths to deal with and I am in some doubt now. Have I chosen the right Elizabeth from the two girls born in York in the early 1840s? Although confident I have sorted out the Williams, I don’t have cast iron sources for their sisters. A church marriage source naming a father would give me comfort but I haven’t found one yet. I’ll go over my evidence and report another day.

Mark of Man 45 · Bell Buoy


This gives a better sense of the size of Bell Buoy than Thursday’s sunrise photo.

Foraging Unmasked

I did my weekly shop at the supermarket this morning. I wore nitrile gloves and a scarf in case I needed to protect people from my droplets. I saw only one other person wearing a scarf. So far, in the town, I have seen just one person in a mask.

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, it is mandatory to wear a mask out of doors. The governments didn’t supply masks so nationwide cottage industries sprang up to meet demand. Chris Martenson put this onscreen in his post yesterday.


This afternoon I heard a UK doctor on national radio explain how ineffective masks are in protecting against catching Covid-19 disease. He was particularly scathing about homemade masks. He concluded by appealing to the great unwashed not to wear masks at all. “Leave them for our health workers on the frontline.” But…but… I thought you said…


Go figure.

Elizabeth of Picturesque Terrace

My main concessions to lockdown have been to take my cameras for a walk once a day rather than twice, and go hunting for food once a week. I have more time to sit at the computer but spend much of it trying to understand the extraordinary event we are all experiencing. Living history is rather more exciting than raking over the past, and Filey genealogy is a casualty of the Virus War.

I still have an appetite for family history though, and given that my number may be called soon it seems more appropriate to pick up the threads of my own people.

When I fled Cold Comfort Cottage twelve years ago I brought a few sticks of furniture to Filey, including two bookcases. One was my father’s, the other mine. Both began their working lives in my childhood home – and both had been well made by Lorry. I know, he was probably Laurie. He wasn’t a blood relative but was married to Phyllis. They visited us maybe once a year, were quiet and pleasant. My rudimentary Roots Magic database tells me that Phyllis is a first cousin once removed. Our common ancestors are my great grandparents  Henry LOCKETT and Mary Ann MORGAN.

Mary Ann is almost alone amongst my forebears in having an air of romance and mystery. In one source she claims to have been born in France, in another the Channel Islands. Sort of romantic. The mystery is enshrined in a hand-me-down story that her father saved a number of people from a wrecked ship, rowing out in his small boat like a male Grace Darling and being rewarded with a memorial somewhere on Guernsey. Or maybe Jersey. I don’t know his first name. It may not be a true story.

Phyllis was the only daughter of Elizabeth Ann LOCKETT and William Henry Phillip SMAWFIELD. I remember my dad telling tales about his Aunt Lizzie Smawfield. She was a character though I don’t recall ever meeting her. (I was eight-years-old when she died.) She was William Smawfield’s second wife. The first was the Elizabeth of Picturesque Terrace who married at eighteen, bore a daughter that died almost immediately, and then slipped away herself the following year. There is a photograph of Picturesque Terrace online but it isn’t the “seriously ironic” place she called home. Astonishingly, Hull had two Picturesque Terraces. Elizabeth’s was in Manchester Street and no longer exists – having been obliterated by hideous modern warehouses and engineering sheds.

Find Elizabeth on the Shared Tree.

Bird 77 · Tufted Duck


Observing social distance. This morning there was just one male Tufty on the lake, looking rather apprehensive in the middle of a gang of mallard drakes.

I shared Filey Sands today with one man, his dog and a seal. Until I can walk long distances again, and freely, I’ll incorporate Today’s Images in “standard” posts.

A Clerical Error

The boy who would be an estate agent and poultry farmer (Saturday’s post) cannot be found in the GRO Births Index. However, FamilySearch serves up his christening details in a Record Hint.


Curiously, the birth of a Nugent boy was registered in Bedford in the September quarter of 1867. His name…


Henry’s mother, Mary Susan Boyd, was the widow GOGERLY when she married Mariner John Venables NUGENT in Calcutta. Her maiden surname was BETTS. The GRO printed Index clearly shows “John Venables” so it isn’t a recent transcription or digitization error.

Less a mistake, more a case of several economies with the truth – on the Shared Tree Mary S B Betts was born in Calcutta on 26 July 1826. In 1871, the Bedford census enumerator noted her birthplace as the Channel Islands. In 1891, a widow again and living with recently married Henry and Hannah, she claimed to be 63 years old, born “At Sea”.

None of these errors and narrative inconsistencies matters much. I wonder if the families Betts, Gogerly AND Paliologus knew each other in Calcutta. And how does a Mariner gain an entrée into ex-pat Bengal society?

Puzzling Pattie

St John Paliologus was something of a butterfly. Three sources give his occupation variously as business transfer agent, “formerly tea trade” and fine art dealer. Born in Calcutta but living in South East England in 1881, 1901 and 1911, it is not a stretch to imagine him briefly alighting in Wales to marry first wife, Martha Sarah HALL.

Without a church source or newspaper family notice, we can’t be sure of Martha’s origins. The marriage began and ended between the 1891 and 1901 censuses. Martha gave birth to Zoe and Irene in Reigate in 1895 and 1896 and died at Oak Cottage, South Nutfield just before Christmas 1900, aged 29. A family notice appeared in several newspapers. The Sussex Agricultural Press gave her name as Pattie, “the dearly-loved wife of St. John L. Paliologus”. Hmm.

The birth registrations of the girls give Hall as Martha’s maiden surname. In the three years, 1870 to 1872, the birth of only one Martha Sarah Hall was registered in England & Wales. What else could I do but accept her as the daughter of John Sanford Hall, a Leicester cotton manufacturer, and Elizabeth BUXTON?

Piecing together John and Elizabeth’s family was a harrowing experience. They brought eight children into the world and in short order the Reaper took six of them away. The first four, all boys, contracted scarlatina and in seven days from 29 October to 5 November 1870 they died. Their ages ranged from 2 to 6. A few weeks away from her first birthday, Hannah Elizabeth survived the bacterial infection.

Martha Sarah was born a year after the deaths of her brothers and was too young to remember the brief visits of sisters Mary Ellen and Susan Anne.

Hannah Elizabeth married estate agent Henry Walter John NUGENT in Hastings in 1891. The couple would have six children together, the last of them in utero when the Reaper called for Henry.

Spare a thought now for the parents who lost 75% of their children. Elizabeth didn’t make old bones, saying her last goodbyes in 1877 to Hannah, 7, and Martha, 5.


I have not been able to find John, or his two surviving daughters, in the 1881 census. He doesn’t appear to have been a notable manufacturer of cotton but in 1891 he was away on business in Europe and died “between Dresden and Cologne” that summer. (Perhaps one of his few happy days as a family man had been attendance at Hannah’s wedding a few months earlier.) He was 67 and his estate was valued at  £57 19s (about £5,300 today).


Martha was living at Lydford House with her father and unmarried aunt when the enumerator called in 1891. Hannah was only about five miles away in Battle but maybe that was far enough away to spare her the task of executrix.

Hannah’s husband, an estate agent in January, was now a poultry farmer and a couple of years later he moved to Gloucestershire to raise chickens – and more children. Two girls and a boy were born in Aylburton – in Chepstow Registration District. It now makes perfect sense for Martha to have married from her sister’s home. How the match with St John had been made and her re-invention as Pattie continues to puzzle.

The Winter of Man

Under this title, an essay by Loren Eiseley was published in the New York Times almost fifty years ago. A hundred years ago an “Eskimo shaman” told the explorer Knud Rasmussen –

We fear the cold and the things we do not understand. But most of all we fear the doings of the heedless ones among ourselves.

After taking us on a quick tour from humankind’s tropical genesis to life on the edge of an ice-covered world Loren writes –

Today we have science, we do not fear the Eskimo’s malevolent ghosts. We do not wear amulets to ward off evil spirits. We have pierced to the far rim of the universe. We roam mentally through light-years of time.

Yes, this could be admitted, but we also fear. We fear more deeply than the man in the snow. It comes to us, if we are honest, that perhaps nothing has changed the grip of winter in our hearts, that winter before which we cringed amidst the ice long ages ago.

For what is it that we do? We fear. We do not fear ghosts but we fear the ghost of ourselves. We have come now, in this time, to fear the water we drink, the air we breathe, the insecticides that are dusted over our giant fruits. Because of the substances we have poured into our contaminated rivers, we fear the food that comes to us from the sea. There are also those who tell us that by our own heedless acts the seas are dying.

We fear the awesome powers we have lifted out of nature and cannot return to her. We fear the weapons we have made, the hatreds we have engendered. We fear the crush of fanatic people to whom we readily sell these weapons. We fear for the value of the money in our pockets that stands symbolically for food and shelter. We fear the growing power of the state to take all these things from us. We fear to walk our streets at evening. We have come to fear even our scientists and their gifts.

And the latest gift? SARS-CoV-2. Life-coach Richard Grannon offers his thoughts.

(Do not fear those among us who run around supermarkets like heedless chickens looking for toilet paper.)


Knud Johan Victor Rasmussen 1879 – 1933
Photographer not credited, n.d. Wikimedia Commons

Loren Eiseley has a distinguished pedigree with a line passing through several High Stewards of Scotland to, inevitably, Carolus Magnus. Not bad for a humble American bone collector.

Useful Middle Names

James HAWORTH, a Filey surgeon, had fourteen children with Jane BURY. The parents gave nine of them a middle name. Children numbers 1, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 10 had “ordinary” names that tell us nothing. Child 11 was Oscar Septimus. I don’t know how common it was in the 19th century to call a seventh son “Septimus” but Oscar was the eighth male child born to the Haworths. The two boys that preceded him though were twins who lived for only a day or two. Perhaps they were counted as one.

(James and Jane buried five of their infant children shortly after the family moved from Great Ouseburn to Keighley. Find a photograph of their memorial here.)

Three children had middle names that are unusual enough to encourage a researcher to consider them to be clues that could lead to family stories that might otherwise remain hidden.

Sometimes, a middle name that appears to be a surname points a generation or two back on the mother’s side. Not always though. Some children received the names of national heroes – or “local heroes” beloved by the parents. A schoolteacher, perhaps, or a colleague of renown in their profession. Other names hark back to glory days, long ago.

I haven’t attempted yet to search for the originals of HENLOCK, PICK and CROMPTON bestowed upon Jonathan, William and Beatrice. Secondborn James Bury is obvious, even when a transcriber offers “Berry”.

Kath has a note for mother Jane Bury in Filey Genealogy & Connections airing the possibility that “just Jane” may have been the daughter or sister of “Brooke Crompton” a surgeon from Chorley who was perhaps a friend of James Haworth.

If you followed the link to the five infant stone, you may have noticed some flowers had been placed on the record. Fiona, great-great-grandniece of Jonathan Henlock, wrote an article about the Old Doctor and his son Tom for a locally published Filey history some years ago:-

On the 1851 census, James was listed as a ‘surgeon’s apprentice’ and living in Blackburn in the household of Henry Grime ‘Surgeon, Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and Licentiate of Apothecaries Hall’. It was there that he probably met his future wife, Jane Bury, who was keeping house for her brother nearby.’ (Fiona Hall)

James Bury, a Pawnbroker, was enumerated with Jane in Darwen Street, a main thoroughfare in the centre of Blackburn. Henry Ainsworth Grime, 34, lived with his wife Catherine and their four daughters in Old Chapel Street, which no longer exists as far as I can tell. It had shared a corner with Penny Street and that is about half a mile from Darwen Street, so Fiona’s surmise is a reasonable one. If only we knew for sure how a pawnbroker’s housekeeper and an aspiring surgeon met and fell in love.

Kath’s theory about a Doctor Crompton also looks more convincing if he knew Henry Grime through the Royal College. Chorley is ten miles from Blackburn.

In the last decade of Victoria’s reign, another girl-child given the middle name Crompton was Richmal Crompton LAMBURN, who cheered my boyhood with her Just William stories. (Her maternal grandmother Richmal OPENSHAW married John Battersby CROMPTON’)

Of course, “Lower” is a fascinating middle name, shared by three Paliologus brothers. (”Lowen”, given to Samuel on the Shared Tree, seems to be a mistranscription.) My initial investigations point to them being descendants of a Dynasty. This short YouTube video tells of a notable member of the “Paliologi” who seems to have been the last of one line. I think I can employ “useful name theory” to link Beatrice Crompton Haworth’s husband to even more remarkable Paliologi.

I photographed James and Jane’s headstone yesterday morning. It helpfully gives their birth and death dates, giving me a sure start in building the family on the Shared Tree.


The Stones Speak

As our world drifts inexorably towards the barbarism of perpetual war, manufactured plagues and transhumanism, my breakfast reading this morning introduced me to Albert MOTT. A wine merchant by trade, he was president of the Liverpool Philosophical Society and in 1873 he gave a talk on The Origin of Savage Life, during which he …

… publicized Easter Island and made much of the inferiority of the living inhabitants to their ancestors. Mott dwelt upon the great size and weight of the stone images scattered around the island, the terraces of fitted stone, the utter isolation of this little pinnacle thrust upward in the vast waste of waters. “If,” Mott argued, this island was first peopled by the accidental drifting of a canoe, it is incredible that the art of making these images and terraces should have developed there. To suppose that savages, under such circumstances, would spend their time and strength upon such labours is altogether past belief.”

Loren Eiseley, Easter: The Isle of Faces (collected in The Star Thrower, 1978)

From this and other examples of ancient ruins, Albert argued that “savage life is the result of decay and degradation”.

A wine merchant. For goodness sake.

The man who unwittingly panicked Charles DARWIN into publishing The Origin of Species before he was quite ready, wrote a letter to Dr Archdall REID in 1908.

Broadstone, Wimborne.

Dear Sir, -… I was much pleased the other day to read, in a review of Mr. T. Rice Holmes’s fine work on “Ancient Britain and the Invasions of Julius Caesar,” that the author had arrived by pure historical study at the conclusion that we have not risen morally above our primitive ancestors. It is a curious and important coincidence.

I myself got the germ of the idea many years ago, from a very acute thinker, Mr. Albert Mott, who gave some very original and thoughtful addresses as President of the Liverpool Philosphical Society, one of which dealt with the question of savages being often, perhaps always, the descendants of more civilised races, and therefore affording no proof of progression. At that time (about 1860-70) I could not accept the view, but I have now come to think he was right. – Yours very truly,


As we grow accustomed to our Orwellian present and teeter on the edge of a dystopian future, this letter has added piquancy. Albert Mott’s middle name was Julius, after his father, Julius Caesar Mott (1788-1859).

Somewhat apropos –

Briton Riviere, Giants at Play 1882, Photo © Tate, attribution CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0

I will tell you about Albert’s last day on earth tomorrow.