A Nest Full of Cuckoos

Ginny MILOW emerged in the summer of 1898. Before that year was over, her older sister, Edith Mary, died aged four. Ginny grew up an only child.

Ginny and her mother, c. 1900, courtesy Martin Douglas

On the Shared Tree, her circumstances are very different.

When Thomas Milow of Seamer filled out the 1911 census form, he declared that his wife Jane had given birth to eleven children in 23 years – and six had died.  

Richard Milow is almost certainly Tom’s brother. At the 1881 census, 6 years separate them in the Seamer household of Richard senior and Mary. Young Richard, 16, is a cordwainer’s apprentice and Tom, 22,  an agricultural labourer.

In Filey in 1911, Ginny’s father writes –

I can’t explain why he adds ten years to his age – or why a contributor to the Shared Tree gives him his brother’s children.

Landscape 151 · Primrose Valley

Another Fine Mess

1873 Filey · Birth  Filey Genealogy & Connections seemed quite sure of its take on the family of John Binnington ROBSON and Mary Susannah MAYO. The FamilySearch Shared Tree, I soon discovered, is conflicted. This morning, I had very little information on “birthday boy” Herbert John Robson. Here he is in the two resources aforementioned.


HERE is Herbert John on the Shared Tree.

Chemist “John B” has ten sources attached to his record and they all appear to be sound. The railwayman “John Binnington” (who married Jane) has seven sources. Two are 1861 census entries. The one true John Binnington, married, is under his parents’ roof in Town Street, Old Malton on census night. Ninety miles to the north, in George Street, South Shields, just John is with Jane and three of the children she had with first husband John MARTIN. The GRO Births Index for the youngest, “Jane A”. shows that the Maiden Surname of Jane Ann’s mother is WILKINSON. Registration in the March Quarter of 1855 sent me looking for the death of the father between 1855 and 1858. This poor fellow is a candidate –

Getting back to Herbert John. He became a general practitioner and surgeon and married Jane Edith Sanders, a teacher of literature, in 1893. They had two sons and a daughter. Jane died in Harrogate in 1930, and Herbert followed in 1931.

The two families that are mixed up on the Shared Tree are somewhat chalk and cheesy. If only two boys called John Robson had not been born in Old Malton a couple of years apart… The one that sought his fortune in County Durham was the son of George and Elizabeth.

(John Binnington had an older brother called John who was born in 1827 and didn’t survive the year.)

Herbert John is the only one of today’s six who doesn’t have a headstone in Filey churchyard. The Shared Tree woes of his family have taken up so much of my time today that I haven’t been able to upload the stone photos. I’m forever playing catch-up.

Water 55 · Martin’s Ravine

A Caring Husband?

1834 Filey · Baptism  A census return tells us that Elizabeth Ann STAMFORD was born in Hull, but she was baptised in Filey. She married a Norfolk-born sailor, Richard BORRETT, in Beverley in 1854. Filey Genealogy & Connections shows that their firstborn, Mary Elizabeth, reached adulthood and married, but their next two girls, Susannah and Ann Eliza, did not reach their first birthday.

Elizabeth Ann died aged only 27. In checking the burial register, I noticed that John Borrett, an infant, was laid to rest a few days later. The boy’s birth was registered, but the GRO Index gives the mother’s maiden surname as HEATH. I was already feeling sorry for Richard for the loss of two girls and his wife in the space of three years. To also lose a son would seem to be more than any man could endure.

I looked to the newspapers in the hope of finding the cause of Elizabeth Ann’s early death and found only this –

Records show that Richard married Isabella Hunter CAMBRIDGE in Hartlepool in 1867, and “Captain Borrett” expired at 54 Scarborough Street, Hartlepool on 19 November 1888. He was 54 years old.

1881 Filey · Birth  I chose Edwin Percy because he was one of five children born to Joseph CRABTREE of Leeds and Emily TINDALL from Muston. There is not much information in Filey Genealogy & Connections about the family but it notes that Edwin was baptised privately at the Wesleyan chapel on 28 July, when he was four months old. This seems rather ominous and it is no surprise to see his death registered in the September Quarter of 1881.

The family continued to grow. Following Edith’s birth in Filey in 1883, Joseph Harrison arrived during a brief sojourn in Sunderland. The family moved back south and four more children were born in Scarborough. Mother Emily is found in the 1939 Register – in Tindall Street, Scarborough – with daughter Lilian and son in law Thomas MORLEY. She is “incapacitated” and died at the beginning of 1940, aged 87.

At first glance, only the parents are to be found on the Shared Tree. I have added Edwin.

1888 Filey · Death  See Storms and Skerrys. (The Storm pedigree at Rootsweb may not load.)

Happiness, Now

Bird 114 · Woody


George Featherstone BAXTER was Betsy Ann JENKINSON’s second husband. The first, Richard RICHARDSON, had drowned in the Great Storm of 1880 when she was just twenty-two. Betsy waited four years before marrying George. It may have been a conscious decision not to wed another fisherman. Thirteen years later –

The Coroner accepted the proposition that George had “acted contrary to instructions” and, in undermining the wall, had brought about his own demise. He had not had any children with Betsy. Mary Jane, her only child with Richard, would marry William SCOTT and provide her with three grandchildren, though one of them, called Richard, wasn’t a blessing to her for long.

I have put Betsy’s mournful headstone on the Shared Tree.   

1876 Filey · Burial  Poor little George Edmund Crawford inherited nothing. His father, George, was rich in heartache. A commercial clerk in Hull, he married Margaret CRAWFORD on 6 March 1875 and must have been delighted when she was soon with child. We can assume the boy was born on 2 December – the day his mother died. George junior was baptised on the thirteenth of that month and died the following March the fifth. How did George senior get through the next day? (The first anniversary of his ill-fated marriage.)

In 1881, George is living again with his parents in Hull. Aged 29, working as a general merchant, he has the company of sisters Kate, 18, and Lily, 8. I did try to find him in later censuses but without enthusiasm – in case I found his life didn’t get any better.

Sadly, the headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard also records the death of an infant nephew, Edward Crawford SWANN.

I put the headstone remembering Dorothy BAYES on the Shared Tree about a year ago. There is some remedial work needed on the families associated with John SPICER and Elizabeth BINNINGTON. I may tell their story at a later date.

Beach 161 · Reighton Sands

Clouds 58· Arriving Storm


1881 Filey · Birth I chose to remember Mary because of her middle name. I was curious as to discover her connection with the PHILLISKIRK family. There was very little information about her in Filey Genealogy & Connections (FG&C) and an initial search on the Shared Tree failed to turn up IDs for Mary, her husband George CURTIS or their immediate forebears.

It was quite a shock to find that when Mary married at Filey St Oswald’s in 1909, her newly acquired mother in law was a Cookman. Her husband hailed from the end of the world that is Spurn Head. His birth was registered in Patrington, and so were those of two other boys called George Curtis around the same time. Care is required to avoid traps. But for now, I have to move on to…

1833 Filey · Baptism  William doesn’t have forebears on FG&C and his father is “Unknown Pinkney” on the Shared Tree. So I don’t know if Fylingdales and Baytown were staging points on a journey from a more distant Pinkney heartland. (The Surname Map points towards Durham/Northumberland.)

Whatever, some Pinkneys moved on and Peace, born in Robin Hood’s Bay, married William CAMMISH at St Oswald’s in 1852. FG&C and the Shared Tree have given Peace different parents. Another fine mess I don’t have time to sort out.

Wykeham may be William’s last resting place but he died aged 69 in Ruston, fifteen miles south of Fylingdales. I failed to find what happened to his wife, Peace.

1855 Filey · Marriage  John and Ann Rebecca’s first two children were born in Filey but the family then moved up to Scarborough and when the 1861 census was taken they were living at 14 Blenheim Terrace. I would like to know how John met Ann. She gave her birthplace as Axminster, Devon at one census and the hamlet of Up Cerne, Dorset, at the others. Her family name was BAZLEY but in most sources, this is butchered into Barley or Bailey. She clearly signs “Bazley” in the St Oswald’s register.

Most of the time, Ann’s middle name is missing from the records but the Shared Tree gives her death in 1894, with a supporting source for “Rebecca Forge”.

1947 Filey · Death Frances Carter CHAPMAN married fisherman John William WILLIAMSON at St Oswald’s in 1893. They have a headstone in the churchyard.

Treasured memories of JOHN W. WILLIAMSON, a devoted husband and father,

died July 13th 1939, aged 73.

‘Always thoughtful, always kind, a beautiful

memory left behind’

Also of FANNY, his beloved wife, died March 4th 1947, aged 78

‘Reunited in everlasting love’

And their dear son, Lt. JOHN WILLIAMSON, S.A.A.F., died July 22nd 1942, aged 46,

buried at Cape Town, S.A.

‘Loved, honoured and remembered’

1939 Filey · Burial 

Lest We Forget

Shared with the permission of Bob Moran

The first six minutes of this video reveal the cut of Volodymyr’s jib.


1866 Filey · Birth  Sarah Mary is the fifth child of Thomas FRANKISH and Ann CHEW but she was absent from the Shared Tree this morning. She is not to be found in the Census following her birth, so it is no surprise to find her death registered before 1871.

A month passed before her parents took her to the Primitive Methodist chapel to be baptised. The wee girl may have been doing reasonably well but then perhaps fell seriously ill. She was buried in St Oswald’s churchyard five days after baptism. Her brief appearance on the planet has not been acknowledged in stone.  I have given her an ID.

Father Thomas has six IDs so there is merging to be done. One ID gives him ancestors but no children and another provides children but no ancestors.

1833 Filey · Baptism  In a brief journal entry, Arthur MUNBY gives us a picture of flither girl Mary CAMMISH. (Noted by Kath in Filey Genealogy & Connections.)

10 Dec 1869: Scarborough Railway Station: In the crowd at the station, a strong and bulky figure, as of a porter carrying luggage came full tilt against me from behind. – wrapped in her coarse fishing clothes & heavily laden. It was Mary Cammish, yellow haired lassie of 20 whose keen & comely face I knew of old.

Mary had four children with Thomas CHAPMAN. Two girls died in infancy. The boys fared better. Mortimer, known as “Shaggy”, reached eighty. Thomas was only 37 when he died. He died a married man on the Shared Tree but not, I think, in real life. I will put the family headstone up as a memory (and fix the doubtful Thomas) as soon as can.

1807 Alveston · Marriage  The Reverend William WHELER and his bride could be total strangers to Filey but the mausoleum in St Oswald’s churchyard was –

Erected by the eldest son in honour of his Father and Mother[and] is also testimony of affection for his 8 brothers and sisters, and for other members whose names [are] inscribed within.

The honoured appear to be from the “pure” RUDSTON family and it isn’t easy to see on the Shared Tree pedigree when the Filey connection is made to hyphenated READs. It is a huge pedigree and while wandering around it I noticed some familiar names from my ephemeral long distant past. For a few days, I shared the likes of Lady Mary Boleyn as a forebear with the Rev William. (Maybe I still do. Maybe lots of us do.)

1941 Leeds · Death  The grandson of Thomas SUGGIT and Zillah AGAR, Stephen was born in Filey but moved to the West Riding. He married Lily GRAY, a Hunslet girl and they had two children when the 1911 census was taken. Stephen worked in the newspaper industry. He was secretary of the National Society of Operative Printers’ Assistants, a delegate to the Labour Party and the Leeds Trades and Labour Council. For 29 years he worked in the Yorkshire Post despatch department. (Source: Yorkshire Evening Post, 6 March 1941.)

Lily had died in the summer of 1937, aged 58.

1893 Filey · Burial  Letitia was born in County Cavan, Ireland. I haven’t found her marriage yet but she appears to have been ten years older than her husband, Hugh John Henry ORR, Filey’s Medical Officer of Health, They had two daughters and one of them, Lucy or Jenny, arranged for a stone to be erected in their memory (and Aunt Elizabeth WOOD, Letitia’s sister). I don’t have a good photograph of the headstone yet. I will put one on the Shared Tree soon -and Doctor ORR.

Abstract 92 · Wall

Take My Breath Away

To think, as children, we used to call her Auntie. This morning, the propaganda arm of the UK regime gave a platform to a woman who was angry. Angry that we did nothing when Putin flattened Damascus and other Syrian cities. She wants a no-fly zone over Ukraine and in this topsy-turvy, upside-down clown world, her wish may be granted. But maybe the reincarnation of Churchill will save us all.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

And here is a bit-part player in America, the recently appointed Deputy Assistant Director of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

Samuel Brinton

The end seems nigh.


1741 Kirkbean · Birth  Mary Anne is an older sister of John Paul JONES, Scottish traitor and American patriot, who memorably visited Filey Bay in 1779.

1755 Filey · Baptism  Thomasin (Tomasyn on the Shared Tree) is a grandaunt of Elizabeth CAMMISH, the love of Robert SNARR’s life. (See Anniversary · Death 17 February.) I don’t have any information about Thomasin but her sister Elizabeth gave birth to Flamborough MAINPRIZEs (and Grace to Filey Cammishes).

1752 Filey · Marriage  Find My Past offers three transcriptions of marriage information from the original register and Bishop’s Transcripts. One has the wedding of Richard and Frances taking place on 1 March 1752; the others on 2 March 1751.

1752 was the first time in England when the year officially began on 1 January. Unofficial folk had long welcomed the New Year in on the first day of January but the medieval PTB insisted that Lady Day on 25 March kicked off the annual activities.

With this in mind, the transcribed dates offered for the marriage of our happy couple are both wrong.

Source: Borthwick Institute for Archives, York

So, if 1751 was the last year to begin in England on Lady Day, Richd. and Frances married on March ye 2d 1752. (The illustration is not a facsimile of the original document. I have removed the baptisms.)

Only one of the modern transcriptions gives the ages of Richard and Frances. Their calculated birth years are 1727 and 1731. The couple’s entry on the Shared Tree has almost nothing to say about them.

The HALL family name in Filey Genealogy & Connections ties with WATSON at Number 18. The 203 instances for each show an “opposite” male/female split. Watson 57.1% males; Hall 52.7% female. I will keep an eye open for any descendants of Richard and Frances.

1809 Filey · Death John probably shared a last meal of mouse and ship’s dog with James ROTHWELL. FG&C indicates he was buried on the day he died, as was James. (Both in unmarked graves.) The burial register shows the order of their interments has been lost in transcription.

Their story is recounted in The History and Antiquities of Scarborough, and the Vicinity By Thomas Hinderwell (Kindle £6.95). See what Thomas looked like here.

1851 Filey · Burial  Isabella’s family on her father’s side were Filey folk but her maternal grandparents hailed from Fylingdales and Robin Hood’s Bay. She did not marry but the Shared Tree presents an extensive pedigree stretching over five centuries. Her grave in St Oswald’s churchyard is unmarked.

Clouds 57 · Filey Bay

Mark of Man 86 · Contrail


1777 Staithes · Birth  At eight days old, Mary was baptised at Hinderwell. She was twenty-nine when she became the second wife of William BULMER(46). They married in Filey, had three children and then William left Mary to experience thirty years as a widow. She is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard in an unmarked grave.

1870 Filey · Baptism  When she died at the age of thirty, her father carved a handsome stone that ensured she would be remembered. (But I don’t know the cause of her death.)

Reposing with a peaceful trust in Jesus

1831 Beverley · Marriage  Edward and Hannah’s descendants struggled to keep their line going but great-granddaughter “Louie” STENNETT married Herbert Copley MOWTHORPE in Skirlaugh and gave us local historian “Ces”. He contributed a description of The Black Hole (Hunmanby’s Lock-Up) here.

1822 Scarborough · Death Christopher was born in Bridlington but soon afterwards the family moved to Filey. Kath noted his unfortunate demise in Filey Genealogy & Connections.

On 1st March 1822, he fell into the sea whilst boarding a ship at Scarborough. He had previously fished at Filey.

I don’t think he has a place on the Shared Tree yet but I am fairly sure he belongs to this family.

1919 Filey · Burial  Jane Elizabeth Scotter née CAMMISH was only thirty-three when she died.

It seems that most “official” sources record Jane as a Cammish but I think she was widely known as Jane Sayers. Her mother, Sarah Cammish, married Edmond SAYERS a couple of years after Jane’s birth. The fact that Jane named her son Edmund Sayers Scotter suggests to me that the man who raised her was her biological father.  Here she is on FG&C –

The picture is somewhat different on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

The inscription on her headstone reads –

In sweet remembrance of JANE ELIZABETH, the beloved wife of GEORGE SCOTTER,

who entered into rest Feb 25th 1919, aged 33 years.

‘Father in Thy gracious keeping

We now leave our loved one sleeping’

Russian Man Bad

People who are now speaking out against Russia’s military action in the Ukraine need to answer a simple question: Where have you been for the last eight years while the carnage in Donetsk and Lugansk was going on, while people were being burned alive in Odessa, while the Ukrainian government organized terrorist operations on Russian territory and while the entire Ukrainian population has been forced to kowtow to Americans and to speak Ukrainian, most often against its will? If your answer is “I didn’t know” then you have forfeited your right to an informed opinion on what’s happening there now. Please keep that in mind and act accordingly.

Dmitry Orlov

Full article at The Saker


One of the six-to-remember today demanded so much attention that I’ll have to short change the others. I will try at least to give their dates and IDs.

1878 Gristhorpe · Birth  Elizabeth is a “BASSAM” in Filey Genealogy & Connections and I happened upon other variant spellings. I am going to settle on “Basham” because there are several people with that spelling in Filey churchyard who are relatives of Elizabeth.

I don’t know when Elizabeth made her departure but it is probable her father survived her. Johnathan (the spelling on the 1911 census return) died four years short of his century.

1841 Filey · Baptism  Last Tuesday, I mentioned the hamlet of Newbiggin and two of Skelton KNAGGS’ older siblings were born there. (The enumerator wrote “Newbegin”.) Robert and Elizabeth SKELTON had eight known children and the last one, Peter, was buried a week after his mother had been laid to rest. The infant had been baptised in May so this was not an instance of death in childbirth. Elizabeth was forty years old.

My attempt to follow Skelton through life ended with the 1851 census. He disappears in his teens. The last throw of the dice was a search of newspapers.

Never believe what you read in newspapers. A licence dated 1 November 1832 was easily found, indicating the couple’s intention to marry in Scarborough. It isn’t true either that all children except Skelton and one sister died. FG&C shows Robert, Elizabeth and Emma marrying. (I don’t know what the Shared Tree offers. Skelton is devoid of sibling company there.)

I visited the fabulous Trove in Australia but only found a near-identical newspaper story to the one above, with no indication of the size of the fortune Skelton had made – or of which sister benefited from his hard work in the colony. (Both Elizabeth and Emma seem to have made it into the twentieth century.)

1786 Easingwold · Marriage  George DOUGLAS and Ann CARISSare second great grandparents of James Douglas (Anniversary Baptism 11 February).

1865 Glasgow · Death  Jane COWAN was poisoned by her son in law, Edward William PRITCHARD. Scotland’s People has an article with a source image that indicates Jane died on 25 February but it is the 28th on the Shared Tree.

1809 Filey · Burial  Kath has added an intriguing note to the record of James ROTHWELL on FG&C.

They had sailed across to Newfoundland and back and hit a terrific storm, the sails were shredded and they ate the ship’s mice and dog.  He died as they entered Filey Bay. John Anderson died shortly afterwards. The story of their fate is in Hinderwell’s history of Scarborough.

James’ grave in St Oswald’s churchyard isn’t marked.

Bird 113 · Dunnock

Beach 159 · Filey Sands


1893 Filey · Birth The son of ‘Old Naz’ and Elizabeth Towse SHEPHERD, Richard was killed when SD Emulator hit a mine off Scarborough.

Shared Tree

1844 Filey · Baptism  Stephen TODD and his wife Mary POPPY started a family in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk but moved to Filey about 1839. Their second Yorkshire-born child, Sarah, died in her first year. Their next daughter was born about a year later and they named her Sarah. After the 1851 census, the family moved to the West Riding and in 1861, when Sarah was seventeen, they had a boarder called John WOOD, aged 19. A Primitive Methodist Local Preacher, he married Sarah less than a year later. The couple set up home next door to Stephen and Mary in New Wortley, Leeds and had three children when the enumerator called in 1871. In 1901, Sarah is a widow, living with three children and a servant in Headingly, Leeds. Ten years later she is alone at 11 St Michael’s Road, Headingly. A Leeds death registration in 1913 fits her closely (age 70) but needs confirmatory evidence. She is named on a 1922 source relating to the death of her son Stephen in the United States.

1827 Bridlington · Marriage  Henry and Ann had nine children, all born in Bridlington. Third son Carr Dixon married Mary Ann POOL in Bridlington but died in Filey and is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard.

1851 Filey · Death  Kath expresses uncertainty in a note on FG&C that Susanna GENERY married chief boatman John STOCKDALE. But the Shared Tree has Susanna JENNERY and “Susan” is remembered on a handsome stone in St Oswald’s churchyard, though her name is hidden by grasses and bluebells.

1844 Filey · Burial  The bodies of young John COWLING and Thomas WISEMAN, lost from the two-masted lugger Jerome in Scarborough Bay, were brought home for burial. John’s father drowned with them but his body was not recovered. See Brief Wives.