A French Connection

Towards the end of 1810, the British vessel Neva was captured by the French. Richard CORTIS, second in command, found himself a prisoner of war.

Fifty-nine years later, a mariner called Richard Cortis was laid to rest in Hull’s General Cemetery. There is a photograph of his headstone at Billion Graves. He was eighty-three years old and so, if he is one and the same, would have been only 24 when living at Napoleon’s pleasure.

On census night 1861, Hull mariner Richard was with his son William, Filey’s doctor, at No.1 John Street. The household of twelve also contained three of Richard’s grandchildren, Jane Maria, 15, William Richard, 14, and Herbert Liddell, 5. The lives of all three, and their father’s, would end in Australia. Sadly, Richard did not live to see Herbert become a World Cycling Champion.

Last month, out of the blue, I received a set of photographs from Australia that included a picture of Richard.

courtesy H F Morrice Collection,

This appears to be a hand coloured studio photograph – so Richard would have had to be approaching sixty when it was taken. On the evidence of the kepi on the table, the uniform is French. Does this connect him to the other Richard? Were the French so impressed by Richard’s bravery that they honoured him with this dress uniform and sword upon release from prison? And many years later, after the invention of photography, he could still fit into it.

I am not going to speculate further on this image. Richard’s exploits and qualities as mariner, ship owner, hotel keeper, local “prime mover”  – and father – are impressive enough not to need a tale of derring-do and showmanship. But doesn’t he look handsome?

My thanks to Peter for sending the photographs. I will share the others over the next few weeks.

A Reduction in UK COVID-19 Deaths

There were 5,299 fewer UK deaths recorded at Worldometers today. The muppets at Public Health England have been forced to acknowledge the nonsense that Britons catching the supposed disease could never be cured, ever. Weeks and months after appearing to recover, Covid would nonetheless appear on certificates, whatever actually caused their deaths. A dumb, dishonest way to boost scamdemic fatalities. This at-a-stroke 11% drop in Covid deaths has not changed the rankings posted yesterday. Deaths per million have fallen from 686 to 608 but the UK keeps the top spot in my Table.

There are more apparently lethal countries: Belgium (854), Peru (657), Spain (611). There are a few “safer” countries than New Zealand, including Uganda and Vietnam (0.2 per million), Sr Lanka (0.5), Rwanda and Mozambique (0.6).

(If you are offended by my use of the term “muppets” for UK Regime Health Advisors please see Skepticat’s take on The Second Wave.)

Abstract 55 · West Avenue

The Postmaster’s Clock

Early in 1905, Filey Postmistress Mary Eliza YOXON had to retire because of ill-health (see A Shropshire Lass two days ago). The vacancy was filled towards the end of the year by George Newcombe TOOKER. I wrote about George on 17 May (The Postmaster’s Son) and some weeks later was pleased to hear from two of his descendants. Grandson Mike Tooker has kindly sent me a photo of the clock George received from his Plymouth colleagues before heading north, and has given me permission to share it here.

Encased as it is in Connemara marble, the clock must be quite a weight, but it has made the journey to the antipodes, and back and forth within New Zealand perhaps. Right now it is telling South Island time.

I was told a few days ago that the house I identified as “Chez Tooker” in Mitford Street wasn’t built until 1916. I subsequently found it clearly shown on the 1911 Ordnance Survey 1:2500 map. So, for now, I stand by the photograph posted in May.

Wave 38 · Filey Bay

Filey Bay

Water Drops

The Martin’s Ravine cascades this morning  – as they should look in a dry spell. I can only think that I happened to walk by yesterday just after the Muston Road *tank” had been emptied as part of the Flood Alleviation Scheme works.

A Shropshire Lass

In loving memory of EDMUND SAMUEL, the beloved husband of MARY ELIZA YOXON (Postmistress of Filey), who died October 15th 1904 aged 48 years.

‘Thy will be done’

Also MARY ELIZA, wife of the above, who died May 13th 1905, aged 45 years, interred at Whitchurch, Shropshire.

‘Peace perfect peace’

The inscription on the headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard tells us that Mary was a widow for seven months – but not that she had been married for only two years.

Mary Eliza was the first of eight daughters born to William RUSCOE, a Shrophire builder, and  Sarah CATO. The births of all the girls were registered in Whitchurch and the stone suggests it was Mary’s wish to be buried in her home town. She did not, however, die in Shropshire. I think she may have fallen ill in Filey, where she was listed as Postmistress in the 1905 Directory, and travelled to Herefordshire to be nursed by her mother. Sarah Ruscoe was then approaching seventy years of age and would live on for fifteen years after Mary’s death. Mary’s final journey, then, was from Ledbury in Herefordshire to Whitchurch, a distance of about 80 miles.

Her life journey from Shropshire to Filey is something of a mystery. In 1881, at the age of 21, she was working as a clerk, living in Great Howard Street (Liverpool), in the household of widow Mary CUNNINGHAM, a flour dealer from Scotland. Five years later she signs the register as a witness to the marriage of sister Clara Annie to Arthur WALKER.

This looks like the autograph of a determined and efficient young woman, the undotted ‘i’ notwithstanding.

I haven’t been able to find her whereabouts in 1891 but in 1901 she is enumerated at 4 Cliff Terrace in Filey, aged 41, single and the town’s ‘Sub Postmistress’. The Post Office was then situated in Union Street. I discovered the address this morning and went to record the property’s current occupant.

How did Mary meet her husband? In 1901 a census enumerator found him in Welsh Row, Nantwich, boarding with widow Susannah BRAMHILL. Edmund Samuel seems to have spent most of his working life in the Merchant Marine. In 1881 he was Second Mate on the vessel Woodburn, docked at Holyhead. Six years later he married Constance LEWIN in Liverpool. Their only child, Esther Eleanor, was born in the autumn of 1891 but died within a few days or weeks. The death of Constance was registered the following quarter. Edmund was not a stranger to such losses. He was three years old when his father died.

Somehow, the fates brought Edmund and Mary together and they were married at St Oswald’s on 6 October 1902. I have not found a newspaper notice or report of his death two years later.

I was pleased to find Mary Eliza on the FamilySearch Shared Tree – it saves me a lot of work – but had to add Edmund to his birth family. You will notice that his youngest brother was born after father Mark’s death.

Given the wayward nature of the Shared Tree, it would have been disappointing not to see a genealogical howler. I can understand these things occurring (we all make mistakes), but not them being allowed to persist. Mary Eliza’s younger sister Sarah Cato RUSCOE died aged two, but in a parallel universe married and had a couple of children. In this instance the FamilySearch ‘system’ flags the nonsense, so far to no avail. As the real Mrs Preece had children I will leave it to possible descendants to put this right.

Mark of Man 52 · St Oswald’s

We, the sheeple, need you more than ever. Plagues of locusts, the flooding of Godless countries and the near-complete melting of Arctic ice are not waking up enough of us. The descendants of those implicated in your death have just nuked Beirut. Enough is enough, surely. The video evidence of a tactical nuclear missile hitting the dockside warehouse supposedly containing fertiliser and fireworks has been taken down this afternoon by YouKnowWho because it contravenes “community guidelines”. (What does nuking a city contravene?) Material may survive a while longer on Seemorerocks. Steven Ben-Nun at Israeli News Live is always worth listening to whenever human wickedness blossoms (despite Luciferian attempts to dress it up as something else). If this link doesn’t work please do your own research. (I haven’t watched all of TruNews’ Wednesday bulletin yet but I expect the team to be attentive to every detail of the story. Look here, starting 12 minutes in.)

There’s Only One Harriet

The last of the TAYLOR children seriously misrepresented on the FamilySearch Shared Tree is Edmund, the seventh son of Francis and Mary nee BRAITHWAITE. He married twice and currently his first wife is Harriet Matilda WILSON.

On census night in 1871, Edmund is lodging with oldest brother Thomas in Victoria Place, Chorlton on Medlock. At the next census he is married to second wife Mary WILKINSON. Mary has yet to have a child of her own but is stepmother to Harry and Mary. The Shared Tree has Edmund and Mary marrying on 6 October 1880 and Harriet Matilda dying in April 1881.

Between 1871 an 1880 there is only one marriage registered in England and Wales that features our focus couple.

Free BMD Marriages

Harriet is 26 years old when she dies in the first quarter of 1879, less than six months after she gave birth to Mary. A calculated birth year of 1853 generates parents William Wilson and Harriet SPENCER in Bolton, Lancashire, but this relationship should be checked.

On the Shared Tree there are three sources attached to Harriet Matilda. The first is a Chorlton birth registration for Harriet Margaret WILSON in the September Quarter of 1844. Harriet Matilda’s birth is given as 1843 – in Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire. The second source, for the marriage, is correct in naming “just Harriet”. The third source is a death registration for Harriet Matilda Taylor in the June Quarter of 1881. FamilySearch shows the registration place is Chorlton and age at death 38. The GRO Deaths Index, however, doesn’t give the registration place and has a different Volume and Page number. Free BMD Deaths agrees with the GRO in giving Volume 8c and Page 392 and helpfully specifies Chorlton Registration District.

A Harriet date of death after Edmund has married again makes further investigation rather pointless, but a quick search of Free BMD Marriages shows just one Harriet Matilda WILSON marrying between 1860 and 1881 – in Bethnal Green, London.

A “member’s tree” on Find My Past offers a variant Harriet, born in Pateley Bridge in 1855 and dying in Bramley (Leeds) in 1879. I cannot find either event supported by civil registration. So, for me, there was only one Harriet Wilson destined to be Edmund’s first helpmeet.

Path 103 · Sand Hill Lane

Church Ravine

A Sister Misplaced

In The Children of Francis & Mary (24 July), I pointed out that Sarah Butterick (child 7 on the Shared Tree) didn’t belong in the family of Francis TAYLOR and Mary BRAITHWAITE, claiming that she was illegitimate and that her father may have been a Mr. BUTTERICK.

Sarah has five sources attached to her record on the FamilySearch Shared Tree – her christening in Bridlington and four events that took place in the United States. The christening source does not name her father.

The GRO Births Index explains why.

The absence of a Mother’s Maiden Surname is usually an indication that the child is illegitimate. Confirmation is found in the Bridlington Parish Baptism Register.

A census search for unmarried Mary finds her in High Street, Bridlington, with her widowed mother Susannah, and two-year-old Sarah. Living just over a mile away is William BUTTERICK, his wife Ruth and their five-year-old daughter Mary. William is a blacksmith, ten years older than Mary Taylor. I have made the acquaintance of only one blacksmith and he was a Lothario. So, with prejudice, I accuse William of being Sarah’s biological father. Whether or not this can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, perhaps by the discovery of a bastardy order, the assertion that Sarah is the child of Francis and Mary BRAITHWAITE can no longer stand.

Landscape 121 · Martin’s Ravine

The Wrong Wife

John Braithwaite TAYLOR is currently married to Ann CHADWICK on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. Nine sources are attached to his record but one is duplicated and another has been removed. Only the Civil marriage registration source is misleading.

Here is John’s Probate entry –

Hmm, Elizabeth. The 1881 census finds John and Elizabeth at 14 Ferndale Terrace, Scarborough, with two children – Annie Gertrude, 4, and Francis Edward, 2. And the GRO Births Index offers…

Clearly, the marriage of Ann to John Braithwaite Taylor on the Shared Tree should be dissolved so that the birth of her first daughter with George COCKERILL can be recorded.

This child was born in Filey. She does not have a Shared Tree ID yet but she is with her seven siblings on Filey Genealogy & Connections. Her father has a foothold on the Shared Tree.Ann Chadwick has two IDs, one tying her to the wrong husband, the other placing her in the bosom of her birth family.

Elizabeth, the right wife, died shortly after celebrating her seventieth birthday.

Found Object 40 · Love Mask

The Killing of Brother George

George TAYLOR was four years younger than his brother Thomas (Sunday’s post). In between, two other boys were born. They both made a start in life but James died aged four, and two years later Francis departed aged seven. George was probably not old enough to understand these losses but he would form an intriguing bond with Thomas.

On the FamilySearch Shared Tree, Thomas and George have one thing in common. They have, at the time of writing this, both been killed off too soon. Thomas at age 9 and George at 18. The early demise of George is puzzling because he was survived by a nine year-old widow and nine children, the first of them born eleven years after his death.

Of course, the death recorded in 1851 is ridiculous but it is plain to see.

One of the sources for George shows he was alive and kicking in 1901, retired from the joinery trade.

On Sunday, I said that in 1851 Thomas was working as a joiner in Scarborough, aged 21 and lodging with William COLLINSON, also a joiner and just nine years older. I may have been wrong to suggest William could not have been Thomas’ master because of this relatively small age gap.

Apprentices could and did lay complaints against their masters and mistresses for maltreatment or neglect of their proper training. They were not necessarily much younger than their masters and could behave much like truculent younger brothers as dutiful sons.

Keith Wrightson, Earthly Necessities: Economic Lives in Early Modern Britain, 1470 – 1750 p.66

Not only did George follow the same trade as Thomas, he did so initially in the same place. On 7 April 1861 Thomas was living at 5 Queen Street, Rusholme, Lancashire with wife Barbara and three young daughters. Seven weeks later, in Barrow on Humber, Lincolnshire, George married Sarah Ann BOLLEN. The marriage register gives his place of residence as Rusholme.

George took his bride to Lancashire and spent the rest of his life in a small area of Manchester – Chorlton on Medlock, Hulme,Moss Side and Rusholme.  Thomas didn’t stray from the Chorlton Registration District either. I haven’t mapped their addresses but I suspect they lived within a mile or two of each other for thirty years or more.

Thomas died in 1896, aged 66. George died in the decade following the 1901 census because in 1911 Sarah Ann is a widow, living at 77 Derby Street, Moss Side with two unmarried daughters and granddaughter, Nellie ODEN.

A search of the Chorlton death register reveals two men in their mid-seventies who might be “our” George. A burial record for one names his brother as “Watts TAYLOR” so the other becomes favourite. Fortunately, there is a probate record for him.

The “real price” of George’s effects at 2017 values is almost £30,000. Sarah Ann’s widowhood lasted nine years and in that time the value of the pound dropped significantly.

It isn’t clear how many of George and Sarah’s children were still alive at the end of the First World War. The Shared Tree has them bringing nine children into the world – and their names and dates seem to be correct. Sarah wasn’t required declare the number of  her children on the 1911 census form but she offers six, of whom three had died. She may have misunderstood the question put to married couples; perhaps six of the nine were still living. However many there were, they had to share about £6,000 at 2017 values.

Beach 111 · Muston Sands

Old normal-like

Thomas Given Life

As a fledgling family historian I found the advice to “kill off your ancestors” somewhat disconcerting. It has to be done, of course, but with caution. Thomas, the first child of Francis TAYLOR and Mary BRAITHWAITE (Friday’s post) was dispatched without good reason.

On the Shared Tree this death registration has been taken from FamilySearch Sources and attached to Thomas, who was christened in October 1829.

The GRO Index shows that this poor child would not celebrate a single birthday.

As it happens, “our” Thomas is found by the 1841 census enumerator with his parents, three brothers and sister Ann in Bridlington. (Ann’s fate was to be married off to the wrong chap on the Shared Tree.)

When the next enumerator called on this Taylor family there are four children at home. Thomas and George have flown the nest; their places taken by Edmund and a second James, born 1842 and 1848. Francis II has died, aged two.

Thomas left home to learn a trade. On census night 1851 he is in Scarborough working as a joiner. A disparate household is headed by William COLLINSON, also a joiner but only 30 years old and so unlikely to have been Thomas’ master. But there is a third joiner in the household, Jonah WARD, 24, plus a visiting tailor from Nafferton and two young girls, Rachel and Ann MARSHEL from Flixton, also visitors.

Thomas was difficult to find in 1861, for several reasons. A Find My Past transcriber has him as “James”, aged 61 and born in “Rudgwick”. And he has crossed the Pennines, married Barbara PARKER in Manchester (1854) and fathered three daughters.

Barbara, a Scot from Kirkcowan, “Wigtownshire”, gives birth to three more daughters and one son, Francis. At each of the four censuses from 1861 to 1891 the family has a different address in Chorlton but are clearly settled and close-knit. In 1891, three unmarried children are with their parents in Boston Street, Hulme (Chorlton Registration District). Mary Jane, 34, is a dressmaker, Agnes, 23, a milliner, and Francis, 25, an agent (unspecified).

Thomas died on 15 June 1896 and Barbara on 19 December the following year, both aged 66. Thomas’ last address is given as Salisbury Road, Urmston and Barbara’s 31 Victoria Road, Heaton Chapel, but they are together in Ardwick Cemetery, Grave Number 3547A.

Better than being bumped off as a kid, eh Thomas?

Path 100 · Above Mile Haven

Near Primrose Valley

The Children of Francis & Mary

In A Bad Marriage on Tuesday I argued that Ann, sixth child of Francis TAYLOR and Mary BRAITHWAITE (variant spellings), had married William CLARK and not Richard MARSHALL. A closer investigation of the family has revealed other corrections that need to be made.

There is more work to do but provisionally, from left to right:-

Thomas may have died in 1838 but he also appears aged 11 in the 1841 census.

If George died in 1851 his widow was only nine years old.

John Braithwaite Taylor married Elizabeth MORTON, not Ann CHADWICK.

Richard Marshall, hanging on in there.

Sarah Butterick Taylor was illegitimate, not part of this family. Father possibly a Mr. BUTTERICK.

Edmund’s first wife was Harriet WILSON, not Harriet Matilda WILSON.

After James II died in 1846 aged about 18 months Mary gave birth to a boy – James III.

(I have removed the questionmark against Ann NORWOOD, mother of Francis, from Tuesday’s screenshot.)

Francis and Mary have many descendants on the Shared Tree – it won’t be appropriate for me to make changes without contacting other contributors first. It may take a while before the children of Francis and Mary are all present and correct.

Landscape 119 · Filey Brigg

Calm sea, high tide

A Bad Marriage

The paternal grandmother of Thomas CLARK, Sunday’s missing soldier, is Ann TAYLOR. On the FamilySearch Shared Tree she is married to Richard MARSHALL.

Ann has three sources: christening in 1838, 1851 census and civil marriage in 1856. Richard just has the marriage source; his parents are not given. That he is apparently eight years older than Ann isn’t much of a caution, but the bride being just eighteen should give pause. In Britain in the mid-19th century, both sexes could marry legally at puberty. Fourteen for males, twelve for females. Parental permission to marry was required if the parties were below “full age” (21). Widely accepted advice was for young women to wed between the ages of 21 and 25 and the average age at marriage for both sexes  in Victorian Britain was around 25.

Hindsight (after much research) is a wonderful thing, but let us begin the search for Ann’s Mr. RIGHT by accepting her birth in Bridlington in 1838 and that she was from a good, settled family that followed social norms. A simple query of Free BMD marriages in East Yorkshire between 1859 and 1863 gives just one result.

Bingo! A likely contender for Private Clark’s grandfather.

Expanding the search two years each way adds one other East Yorkshire “hit”.

The bad marriage.

Ann’s 1851 census source confirms that her father is Francis Taylor, as shown on the Shared Tree. The father of Ann who married first is another man.

It would be interesting to know if this John Taylor was a witness at the marriage of “our” Ann to William Clark.

I think this is evidence enough to end the Shared Tree bad marriage and unite Ann with her soldier grandson. A task for tomorrow perhaps. (I should point out that William is already represented on the Shared Tree with “Anne” and one child.)

I tried to discover what happened to Richard and Ann but their trail went cold after the birth of their first child.

William Clark had eight children with his Ann and when the 1911 census was taken he is living in Bickerton near Wetherby with daughter Sarah Ann, a Farm Manager’s wife. But William, now 74, is a widower and I don’t know yet when or where Ann died. William’s life ended in the Workhouse but not, it seems, sadly.

Insect 26 · Soldier Beetles

Rhagonycha fulva, Muston Cliffs