Fishing for Thomas Mackrill

I have cast my net into the sea of sources in the hope of catching Thomas, husband of Margaret, the second daughter of Barnet MURPHY and Susanna nee CHAMBERS (see A Childhood Memory).

The marriage of Thomas MACKRALL (sic) and Margaret was registered in Tadcaster in 1857. The 1861 Census places them at the same address as Margaret’s widowed mother but separates the two households. Thomas is 32 years-old, working as a flax dresser and his birthplace is given as “Holden” in the Findmypast transcription. In the page image it looks like “Hebden” to me – a small settlement near Pateley Bridge. Margaret is nine years younger than her husband and a winder in the flax mill. The couple have two children already, Mary Ellen and Francesca.

By 1871 they have moved to Selby. Margaret has enough work at home with six children aged between one and thirteen. Thomas is still a flax dresser. The transcription does not give birthplaces but the page image clearly shows Thomas entering the world in “Beverly”. In 1881 this becomes “Bewerley”, half a mile south of Pateley Bridge. The family has returned to Clifford, just outside Tadcaster, and four children have been added to the roster.

Something happens in the 1880s. It isn’t possible to determine how long Thomas lives apart from Margaret but on census night 1891 he is in Clifford with two of his youngest children and with Margaret’s elder sister Ann, 56 years old, a seamstress and unmarried. Thirty miles to the west, at Northowram near Halifax, Margaret, 53, shares  her home with four of the older children.

Thomas dies before the next census. His young sons move to Halifax to live with their mother. Ann lives alone in Clifford and her death is registered soon after the census, in the June Quarter of 1901.

I had yet to find a record of the birth or death of Thomas. Then, this christening in Pateley Bridge appeared.

Thomas MACKRILL: son of James of Wath in the Parish of Kirby Malzard (sic), Miner, & wife Elizabeth, daughter of Humphrey & Hannah HANNAM. Born 21 December 1830; baptized 7 April 1831.

A shock awaited me on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

I didn’t doubt for a moment that this fragment of pedigree was correct. Two children with middle names honouring maternal grandparents were clinchers. I had come within a whisker of making the kind of mistake on FamilySearch that I have previously spent hours correcting.

Somewhat ironically, I then found the death registration of “not my Thomas”, in Halifax in 1887, aged 56.

I have lost hope of catching Margaret’s husband but will add his children to the Shared Tree when I find the time.

Found Object 50 · Memory Stone

Royal Parade

What Happened to Peter?

Elizabeth MURPHY was sixteen years old, single, and a yarn winder in 1861 (Sunday’s post). Ten years later she was mother to four children and working as a “baller in a flax mill”. The birth of the first child, Mary, was registered in Malton in the same quarter as her marriage to John NASH.

For a few shocked moments, I contemplated a Free BMD record being wrong.

Bramham is just a mile from Elizabeth’s home in 1861. On census night that year, Peter was about fourteen miles away, an apprentice “living in” with Spurriergate butcher John JUDSON. John’s eldest daughter, Ann Elizabeth, was a year older than Peter but fate (or passion) connected him to Elizabeth Murphy.

McClear is an Irish family name and McLEAR Scottish. Representatives of each clan seem to be few and far between in England but there is this birth registration fifty miles away from Bramham in the quarter following Peter and Elizabeth’s marriage.

Nine years later, Elizabeth and John Nash named their sixth child James. James McClear/McLear was not with them in 1871 but I haven’t found a record of his death.

I have been unable to find a source for Peter’s death. The 1861 census gives his birthplace as Liverpool. A Peter McLEARY was born in 1843 (mother McCONNEL) and a Peter McCLARY the following year (mother McDERMOTT) but I could find neither boy in the 1851 census in Lancashire or Yorkshire. (I tried “fuzzy searches” and all the variant spellings I could think of.)

Another Peter McClear did, however, appear. Born in Ireland in 1802, he was enumerated in York in 1851, living less than a mile from Spurriergate, and for a moment I wondered if he was the father of “our Peter”. But he is listed as an unmarried Master Mariner. That he is the uncle of the Head of the household, one Thomas HUSBAND – a flax dresser! – could help further investigation but all I have so far is that he was still a boarder in St Clement’s Place twenty years later, aged 69, and single. (Peter McCLERE, Retired Mariner). He died in York aged 76 in 1879.

I searched newspapers for all the people mentioned in this post and only found this possible reference to Peter the Elder.

Another snippet gives Malabar’s weight as 1,372 tons. William Clark may have painted her.

With so few of the McClear clan crossing the Irish Sea to seek their fortunes in Victorian Britain, it seems unlikely that I’ll hear any more of young Peter – but I would like to know what happened to him. He seems real enough to be given a place on the Shared Tree. (Two Blue Hints appearing on his record suggest “the system” concurs.)

Water 42· Martin’s Ravine


A Childhood Memory

The Number 30 bus to town would drive slowly down a long, straight street of small shops with its pavements thronged with people not socially distancing. I looked forward to the turn at the end for the glimpse it gave of a church that seemed out of place. It was not drab. There was just time to take in its pastel colours, the stone figures in their niches and, on the pediment two curious words in gold, DOMVS DEI.

The seven or eight year-old me probably asked my mother what “domvers” meant. She may have told me, but puzzled fascination persisted until I started doing Latin at secondary school.

Google Street View

I set out yesterday on the trail of a front line worker’s forebears, this being more of an appreciation than clapping on my doorstep. “A” is not a doctor, nurse or care worker but someone putting themselves in a place of danger most days to preserve something of the “old normal”. Where would we be without cheerful checkout ladies at the supermarket?

On 28 April 1811 Susanna CHAMBERS was baptized in the Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Jarrett Street, Hull.

Fifty years later she was a widow, living in Tadcaster with two unmarried daughters and mother Ann, who is described as an agricultural labourer (aged 81). Susanna’s husband, variously Barnet, Bernard, Bryon or Bryan MURPHY, had been an overlooker in several Yorkshire Flax Mills until his death in 1858, aged 52. His younger daughter, Elizabeth, was sixteen in 1861 and a yarn winder in a Tadcaster mill. I have yet to prove beyond reasonable doubt that she is A’s great grandmother. Elizabeth has, so far, made the slightest of impressions on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

Returning to the House of God. The front page of the Register in which Susanna’s baptismal record appears indicates that the “Chapel” of Saint Charles Borromeo was founded by the “Reverend Peter Francis FOUCHER” in 1798. About twenty years later he returned to France, his homeland. There are two men of the right vintage on the Shared Tree that share his name. One is the father of Adèle, wife of Victor HUGO, but he was getting married in Paris when his near-namesake was overseeing the building of a church in Hull.

Measure of Man 50 · Coble Landing

The Brothers Dennis?

Robert DENNIS married Sarah Jane HARDWICK, the younger sister of the little girl assaulted on 5 December 1860 in Nether Silton. Robert was 12 years old at that time, living two miles away at Mill Hill, Kepwick. His wife-to-be was just two.

Robert was baptized in Over Silton Church on 1 October 1848 by John OXLEE, the incumbent. He was the sixth child of Thomas, a carpenter. and Jane nee HARKER. They appear to have had four children after Robert, but perhaps there were only three.

I could not find a birth registration for Robert and so guessed he had been born the previous month, September 1848. There is, however, a birth registration for Thomas Dennis in the December quarter of 1848. The notion that the boys were twins was fleeting. The births of both would surely have been registered and/or they would have been baptized together. I could not find a death registration for Thomas – or his enumeration in the 1851 census. It is Robert, aged two, at the Cooling House, Kepwick, with his parents and five siblings that year. Two of these were sisters called Mary Jane (6) and Mary (about six months old). The elder had been registered as “Margaret Jane”. This discrepancy made me think the parents were somewhat forgetful – so young Thomas and Robert were probably one and the same person.

I was surprised to discover that Robert married Sarah Jane in Bradford, when censuses indicated that neither family had moved far during their lifetimes. I had to look hard to find Robert’s whereabouts in 1871 but eventually –

So we can make that nine children born to Thomas senior and Jane. Both parents have seven or eight FamilySearch IDs, generated mostly by baptism records I’m guessing, though I have yet to tackle all of the merges. The Dennis family is “all over the place” on the Shared Tree. One of Robert’s IDs currently has him married to Sarah Jane but they are awaiting the arrival of the first of at least six children (and he only has one sibling, brother Henry). I hope to make some deliveries tomorrow.

Beach 125 · Butcher Haven

Hunmanby Sands

Another Impostor

Yesterday morning I returned Laura to her true family on the FamilySearch Shared Tree, with the intention of then marrying the younger Elizabeth HARDWICK to William GRAINGER. I didn’t find him with an existing ID in Sources and when I entered his name on Elizabeth’s details page I was told he didn’t exist and could therefore create him. I didn’t hit the button. I have failed to find people with IDs in sources before, only for them to appear on the Tree.  Rather than possibly create a duplicate, I looked for William on the Tree – and found him married to Elizabeth LOFTHOUSE.

The Grainger Pedigree is extensive with some of William’s forebears being well-sourced and illustrated, making my comment on Thursday that there was little apparent interest  in the Hardwick family seem foolish.

I draw your attention to Elizabeth Lofthouse’s fifth child. Yep, she gave birth to all of Elizabeth Hardwick’s children.

I already had the birth registrations for the six children, all bearing Hardwick as the Mother’s Maiden Surname but, out of curiosity I looked for Lofthouse representation in Over and Nether Silton – and came up empty.

My next step was to message a recent contributor to this corner of the Shared Tree. Ireceived a same-day response with an assurance that things had been put right. Miss Lofthouse remains a woman of mystery but she has gone from the Shared Tree now and can be forgotten.

I have added a few sources today and will give Elizabeth Hardwick and William Grainger some grandchildren soon – though maybe other contributors will beat me to it. The changes Rosemary and I have made will be seen by at least five interested people.

The Grainger ancestors will take you back to 16th century England and forward to a wonderfully illustrated colonisation of the United States.

The Hardwicks have not been as thoroughly researched but I was pleased to find several family headstones on Find A Grave. Elizabeth’s younger sister, Sarah Jane, has yet to be married on FamilySearch but, after spending some years in Middlesbrough, she returned home. Her husband, joiner and wheelwright Robert DENNIS, became landlord of the Gold Cup Inn. Fifty years after Elizabeth was enticed from the Inn by John HOGGART, Robert and Sarah Jane are enumerated there in 1911 and remembered in All Saints churchyard, Nether Silton.

Dog 30 · Beagle

Keeping Filey Smiley

Laura and Her Mothers

It isn’t clear how long Laura has been presented on the FamilySearch Tree as the illegitimate daughter of a ten year-old child.

She has two exclams –

Seven years ago, a contributor left a collaboration note for Elizabeth HARDWICK born 1837 (ticked green in the screenshot above) placing her correctly in the 1841, 1851 and 1871 census returns. In 1871, this Elizabeth is living with her parents, William and Ann Hardwick, at Cote Grange, Northallerton. Elizabeth is 31 years old and unmarried. Also part of the household are William and Ann’s grandchildren, Frederick FOWLER (6) and Laura HARDWICK (5).

Laura has two sources attached to her record on FamilySearch – her birth registration and baptism. The mother’s maiden surname is not given in the first and in the second her mother is described as a Singlewoman.

Her abode – Pill Rig – is significant. The family’s address in 1861 is “Pill Rigs…Sowerby under Cotecliffe”. The name has survived and you can see a photograph of a track to the farm on Geograph. The Google Satellite View below shows the farm’s proximity to Kirby Sigston, where Laura was baptized at St Lawrence’s Church.

If you go to ArchiUK you will be able to zoom out from Kirby Sigston to the places nearby where other players in the “Two Mother Story” lived.

In 1873 Elizabeth married George MOON, a widower and father of a daughter a year younger than Laura. In 1881 the quartet was enumerated at Clacks House, Osmotherley. George’s occupation then was “Corn Miller” but “Farmer” in the next three censuses. In 1911, George (77) and Elizabeth (73) were living at “Clack Pleasant, Osmotherley”.

In 1881 “Laura Moon” is fifteen but the only death registration I have found that fits, in Northallerton  December Quarter 1886, is for Laura Hardwick, age 21. (Osmotherley is in the Northallerton Registration District.)

Pedigree Collapse (Tuesday’s post) gives Laura a dual relationship to her “false mother”, Elizabeth Hardwick born 1856. She is a first cousin with common ancestors William Hardwick and Ann FAWCETT and a second cousin with ancestors Thomas Fawcett and Jane MARWOOD.

So, what became of cousin Elizabeth? She rose above being feloniously assaulted (some sources say “raped”) when only four years old and traduced as an unmarried mother aged ten by FamilySearch contributors.

In the second quarter of 1878 she married William GRAINGER in Northallerton. Within a year their first child, Tom, arrived. He was followed by Harry, Annie, George, Hardwick and Louie. All the children reached adulthood but Harry died in 1905, aged 23.

William was a blacksmith for much of his working life but the 1911 census says he was an “Agent for Cakes and Manners”. Quite a career change. He died in 1927 aged 73 and just over a year later Elizabeth joined him in the next world, aged 72. If the five children who made it to 1911 were still alive then, their ages ranged from 32 to about fifty. That Elizabeth the Younger has been misrepresented on FamilySearch for so long suggests that descendants don’t have much of an interest in their roots. Not on FamilySearch anyway.

Found Object 48 · Spider Man

Muston Sands

Pedigree Collapse

On Saturday I pointed out the indignity of giving little Elizabeth HARDWICK an illegitimate child when she was just ten years old. I will put this right, tomorrow perhaps. Something else on the FamilySearch Shared Tree caught my eye.

Elizabeth and her four siblings are two great grandparents short and (offscreen) four 2 times great grandparents. Paternal grandmother Ann FAWCETT and maternal grandfather John FAWCETT are brother and sister.

This sort of thing is to be expected, otherwise we would have more many times great grandparents than there were living people twenty or thirty generations back. It happened more often among royalty – or in small, isolated communities – and usually further back in time than this instance.

Abstract 68 · Sandscape

Hunmanby Sands (Google alt-text: a close up of some grass)

The Young Father

Was Charles HARRISON only twenty-three years old in 1911?

My first thought was that this is a transcription error, so I turned to the page image.

The transcriber’s failings are inconsequential. Glaisdale for a birthplace would have been better and Francis for Joseph’s middle name but Charles’ offering of his and his wife’s name,and their ages, have been faithfully rendered.

What was distracting Charles when he filled out the form? He should have known he was 33 years old and that Mary’s middle name was “Edmond”, after her second great grandmother Hannah EDMOND.

Charles’ father on the FamilySearch Shared Tree is as yet unmarried, so there is a lot of work to be done on the pedigree.  Charles and Mary are commemorated on this stone in St Oswald’s churchyard with four of their eleven children…

Tree 57 · Nuns Walk

Men in Drink

Gathering notes and sources together for Wiki Tree  “profile people” is time-consuming. Writing their biographies likewise.

Charles Waters SCRIVENER, surgeon, was visited with a variety of misfortunes in the late sixties and early seventies of the 19th century. His second child died not long after her birth in 1868, he declared himself bankrupt the following year and in April 1871 his wife Jane died. Six months before that, in the process of getting a valuation on a watch from Nathaniel (aka William) COOPER, he was assaulted in the Refreshment Room at Filey Station by a drunken carriage proprietor. John RICHARDSON believed the surgeon had a monetary debt to repay.

The debt in today’s money is about £290 and John’s fine plus costs a little over a third of that. I’m sure I have seen John in court before but his pedigree contains some solid citizens in Filey Genealogy & Connections. His representation on FamilySearch is minimal. He married twice but neither spouse is recorded on the Shared Tree.

Watchmaker Cooper has three footholds the Shared Tree, twice as Nathaniel, once as William – the pages generated by his own christening and those of his two daughters.

 Charles’ friend, William THORALD, may be the Reverend William THOROLD who is buried in Manor Road Cemetery, Scarborough. He has a brief biography on the Yorkshire Chess History website and it is interesting to note that “William was accused by his congregation in Weeton of being a drunkard, and was removed from active pastoral care”.

I hope to put Charles on Wiki Tree tomorrow.

Townscape 66 · Scarborough Spa


The first monumental inscription in the East Yorkshire Family History Society Survey of 2014/15 remembers Jane Margaret SWEET of Newcastle upon Tyne, who married Filey doctor Charles Waters SCRIVENER. I created a profile for her on Wiki Tree this afternoon. I need to add her mother, siblings, husband Charles and her children but you can check out the start I have made here.

Flight of Fancy 27 · Frost Bonbons

footway, railway crossing, 54.204430, -0.291068