Billy-boy and the Billiard Marker

In early April 1871, Thomas Sowersby GELL was enumerated at the George Inn in the small village of Hollym. Aged 22 and single, he worked as a Billiard Marker, probably in nearby Withernsea. (His father headed the household but was described as an agricultural labourer/shepherd, not an innkeeper.) Thomas was a local hero. Less than two months before the census he had saved a man from drowning.

Thomas married a Filey girl, Augusta Emma HULLOCK, in November the following year. They had three sons. They gave the middle boy the name of a more famous sea captain than George PEARSON but, sadly, Arthur Horatio died before his first birthday. Curiously, the other boys were both called William – and both were living with their maternal grandmother in Scarborough in 1881.

They were fatherless. I haven’t been able to establish when Thomas died. Two online trees can’t agree (1875 or 1879) and a believable death registration source hasn’t surfaced yet. Augusta remarried in 1883 but I don’t know what happened to her.

The Hullock and Gell families have representation on the FamilySearch Shared Tree but some duplicate IDs need to be addressed. Find Thomas here.

Water 49 · Martin’s Ravine

Google Alt Text: a close-up of an eye

Any advance on ten eyes (five faces in the water)?

Saturday Stone

I put George KILLINGBECK and Ellen WOODS on my To-Do list two hundred days ago so contributing their stone to the FamilySearch Shared Tree is long overdue.

George was born in Filey and is buried here. He had to journey over 250 miles to find Ellen, a Berkshire girl. They married in London in 1874. I have not discovered Ellen’s whereabouts in the Census three years earlier but George is enumerated at Sandhurst Lodge, working as a footman to Baroness FEVERSHAM, (Lady Louisa STEWART). For a while, then, he was a mere twelve miles from Ellen’s home village.

Within a year of marrying, the couple had settled in Filey and widow Sarah Woods was living with them in Chapel Street (in 1881) and Station Road (1891). Their first child, Elizabeth, died in infancy but their four other children married and had small families.

George worked most of his life as a carter and it is sadly ironic that the only newspaper account of him I found featured a brief appearance at the coroner’s inquest into the death of his mother – knocked down in a Filey street by a horse and cart. (His father, John, had been killed by an express train, a short distance north of Filey Sation.)

I have some details to add to the Shared Tree – and have put several more family stones on The List. I hope it won’t take months for me to upload them to FamilySearch.

Measure of Man 66 · Flamborough Lights

Two Lighthouses (2016)


Charles William PERCY married into the JOHNSON family (recent post A Missing Firstborn). It would be no surprise to discover his descent from one of the most powerful families in northern England. The FamilySearch Shared Tree takes his pedigree back five generations but through variant spellings such as PIERCY and PEIRSEY. (To confuse matters further, in 1797 Michael Peirsey married “Franky Frances Piercy”.)

Charles and his wife Alice Ann died a few miles from Filey but both are remembered in St Oswald’s churchyard.

They seem to have led quiet lives.

Measure of Man 65 · Poop Bags

Morgoth’s Review: The Politics of Poop Bags


When she married William Anderson JOHNSON (the Younger) in 1894 the clerk at St James Church in Hull named her Rosiener. Her signature in the register offered an alternative spelling.

Some Census enumerators had difficulties, except in 1891 when she said her name was “Rose”. She is “Rosina” in the GRO Births Index.

HALL, Rosina, Mother’s Maiden Surname: KIRKWOOD. GRO Reference: 1864 D Quarter in SCULCOATES Volume 09D  Page 126.

Kath calls her this in Filey Genealogy & Connections, adding a note –

Name spelt: Rosiener in marriages. altho’ there are two variations of it ie Rosienier. 1901; aged 35 with husband William A Johnson & children Charles & Gertrude. living at 8 Church Street. Her husband was an insurance agent

This afternoon I photographed the Johnson house in Church Street. (I don’t think there has been a numbering change.)

“Rose” was the household head on census night 1911, with her two children. Charles, 16, worked as a florist’s assistant. I must look for William! He died in 1932 aged 61. FG&C has Rosina living to the grand old age of 87 but I haven’t yet been able to confirm her death at Hunmanby Gap in 1952.

Sunrise 52 · Mini Golf Course

A Missing Firstborn

Agnes GIBSON, who would give birth to twenty children, is currently the first child of Henry and Alice on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

There is clearly time for Agnes to have had an older sibling after her parents married.

The next headstone on my To-Do List marks the grave of William Anderson JOHNSON and his wife Mary Elizabeth née Gibson. Mary is without forebears on the Shared Tree.

In the 1871 census, her birthplace is given as North Burton (an alternative name for Burton Fleming).

A simple query for “Mary Gibson” in FamilySearch Sources returns the top hit as –

The 1851 census clearly indicates the girls are sisters and it is surprising that the Shared Tree hasn’t brought them together. The absence of a birth registration for Mary may be responsible. It took me a while to find a confirmatory baptism source. For a number of years, the sisters, with their husbands and children, were near neighbours on Filey’s Crescent, the Johnsons at No.30 and the Perrymans at No.23.

I will place Mary Elizabeth with her birth family on the Shared Tree tomorrow and add the Johnson stone as a memory on Saturday.

Wave 49 · Filey Bay

Edmund or Edward?

William John PERRYMAN (Tuesday’s post) is currently without parents on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

The parents have a presence, lacking children and forebears.

The Blue Hints are to the marriage register. FamilySearch offers a page image and the groom provides a signature.

(Citation: “England, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988,” database, FamilySearch ( : 12 April 2021), > image 1 of 1; London Metropolitan Archives, England.)

Filey Genealogy & Connections has given Edward and Hannah six children.

The three daughters are all present and correct in the 1841 census – but their father is “Edmund”.

The address given is No. 22 Tower, Dymchurch. “Edmund” is not given an occupation but the Tower referred to is one of many built on England’s southern coast to deal with the invasion threat posed by Napoleon Bonaparte. After that danger passed this Martello Tower served the Dymchurch Coastguard Station.  

Look for “Edmund” Perryman on a list of British coastguards on Genuki, and then scroll up to “Perriman” to see EDWARD and Hannah with two children in 1871.

In 1861, the family is in Murray Street, Filey, but not easy to find – unless you search for “Edmond PENYMAN”. I have not found the parents in the 1881 census but there is an 1883 death registration in Scarborough for an EDMUND Perryman, with an age at death that fits his birth year. I failed to find a death record for an Edward Perryman.

His widow appears in the next two censuses, living with son Edward James in St Mary’s Walk, Scarborough. She dies on 13 April 1901 (less than a fortnight after the census) and a Roman Catholic register records her burial four days later, giving her age as 86. The same age is found in the civil death registration source but the recent census giving her age as 91 is a better fit with her other vital records.

I have enough information now to extend the family on the Shared Tree. My coastguard will be Edward, not Edmund.

Tree 72 · West Avenue

Looking for Miss White

Robert Tate KILLINGBECK was an older brother of Tom Holland, (killed at Gallipoli, see A Different World). He married Christiana SELLERS in August 1895.

Thomas, Christiana’s paternal grandfather, was born at the end of the 18th century and had at least six children. There is an empty space on the FamilySearch Shared Tree where their mother should be.

Blue hints for Thomas point to “Sarah” being the mother of two baptised children. Filey Genealogy & Connections gives her birth family name as REID and I attached a note some years ago saying that FamilySearch offered WHITE. More recently, a Sarah WILES had fulfilled the role of wife and mother – and had then dismissed for being “wrong”.

There is a Sculcoates parish marriage record of a Thomas SELLORS marrying Sarah White in January 1819. She would have been no more than seventeen years old.

Census records would show Carnaby or Bridlington as Sarah’s birthplace and Thomas was a Hunmanby man, so the couple marrying in Hull is a bit concerning. Some solid evidence is needed if Sarah White is to be returned to the Shared Tree.

I caught a glimpse yesterday of a Find My Past member’s tree that had lonely Thomas dying in Australia in 1878, but amongst his sources on the Shared Tree is the 1881 census putting him in the Northgate home he had occupied for many years.

The seven grandchildren here had been born to daughter Mary Jane and husband William SMITH. Mary’s older brother George also had a large family – with a Mary SMITH (confusing, huh?) and it was their ninth child, Christiana, who became Mrs Robert Tate Killingbeck. A son, Thomas Holland, was nine years old when his eponymous uncle was killed at Gallipoli.

Landscape 146 · Church Ravine

Mary Goes a Different Way

Given the domestic situations of the LAW sisters towards the end of their lives, it is likely that Mary accompanied Elizabeth Isabella on the five hundred mile journey to London. But life in the capital did not suit her. She moved on another fifty miles to Liss Forest in Hampshire. In 1901 she is a housemaid at The Wylds, one of six servants ensuring the comfort of Robert HENDERSON, his wife and their three daughters.

The approaching 20th century brought change to this quiet corner of England. The Ministry of Defence built two army camps, the boundary to Longmoor being only three hundred metres away from the Henderson house. Bordon Camp was four miles further north and in 1901 a house painter called Frederick Walkley SAUNDERS was enumerated there. The fates arranged a meeting with Mary and the couple married in 1907, about a year before Elizabeth Isabella and Tom Holland KILLINGBECK tied the knot.

Mary and Frederick had just one child, daughter Jean Elizabeth Margaret. Frederick didn’t live to see her marry in Filey St Oswald’s church.

You may recall that St Kitts was Elizabeth Isabella’s address in 1915 – and notice that the connection to Scotland remains intact.

Mary died about 15 months after the wedding, before grandson James David Lee NICHOLSON was born.

Last Tuesday I offered a scrap of FamilySearch Tree showing “David Nicholson” and a photograph of his headstone indicating accidental death. James, an Olympic athlete, was killed in a car accident.

Below is a fragment of SAUNDERS  pedigree. Frederick George is Mary Law’s father in law.

I have gathered enough information to connect this to the Law, Killingbeck and Nicholson families – and can then put the “twin headstones” on FamilySearch as memories.

Dog 34 · Jess

A Different World

The Towie girls of Tuesday’s post turned their backs on the open fields and big skies of Aberdeenshire. Younger sister Elizabeth ended her journey south in the heart of London. In 1901, aged 20, the census enumerator finds her working as a kitchenmaid for widow Annie HAMILTON in Belgravia. Seven of the 12 people in residence on census night, and five of the 8 servants, are Scottish-born. This would surely have helped Elizabeth to settle in the alien environment of the Great Wen.

14 West Halkin Street undergoing renovation, next to a former Scottish Presbyterian Church, now Mosimann’s, “one of the most prestigious private dining clubs in the world”.

Elizabeth may have served other mistresses in subsequent years but seems not to have strayed far from Belgravia. In the spring of 1908, she married Londoner Thomas Holland KILLINGBECK in Fulham.

Thomas is found in 1901 working as a footman in nearby Kensington.

The household at 7 Ennismore Gardens is headed by Katherine Drummond, a married woman aged 37. Of the eight live-in servants, one is Annie RODGER, aged 31, Scottish-born and a “nurse domestic” caring for the four Drummond children. I wonder if she played some part in bringing Tom and Elizabeth together. The distance between the two houses pictured could be walked in about twenty minutes, but a chance meeting leading to marriage is hard to imagine.

On census night 1911, Tom and Elizabeth are living under different roofs in Stansted Mountfitchet. Tom is employed as a footman at Hargrave House. Less than half a mile away at Bentfield Green, Elizabeth has the company of boarder Annie Elizabeth HALL, 17, a draper’s assistant. Tom has family connections in Yorkshire, and when he is killed at Gallipoli in 1915 he has a Filey address.

I will write about Elizabeth’s sister Mary in a day or two.

Water 45 · Martin’s Ravine


My Cousin Josh?

Last month I mentioned the possibility that I shared common ancestors with Edith Beaumont Clay.

Last night I watched the first programme in Series 18 of Who Do You Think You Are?, featuring Josh Widdicombe. On his journey into the past, the first name that rang my bell was Lady Katherine KNOLLYS, the daughter of my many times great grandmother, Mary BOLEYN (possibly).

Josh’s televised adventure didn’t go any further back than another of our (maybe) common grandparents, King Edward I of England, aka “Longshanks”.

Catch it if you can, wherever you happen to live. Genealogical eye candy of the highest order.

Find Mary Boleyn on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

Josh was expecting to find “a couple of farmers” among his forebears and was well pleased with the quality of the stock from which he came. I wish I had a bunch of historians to establish my descent from the high and somewhat mighty down to my ag labs and sawyers.

Townscape 72 · Seafront

Seawall Repair