Difficult Births, Problem Children

I mentioned a while ago that the discovery of the GRO Online Index had changed my research life. No more waiting until 1911 for Free BMD to begin offering the maiden surnames of mothers.

Taking a break from Filey people, I looked at some of my own folk a few days ago. I have two grandaunts, Annie and Daisy ELSOM, who married fellows called WARD. Charles Edward was born in 1882 and Dick in 1889, both in Hull. But, like the STORMs mentioned a few days ago, they were not related by blood.

Dick was the son of William Edward WARD and Lizzie King HODSON and the GRO Index readily served him up with eight siblings.

Lizzie’s birth family is a different story. I will try to keep this simple. A composite picture of the HODSONs can be stitched together from the three censuses – 1861 to 1881. There are eight children born to Henry Hawkesley HODSON and Elizabeth King HANN. A ninth, Emma, is revealed by the GRO Index to have arrived and departed midway between 1861 and 1871. There is a cuckoo in the nest in 1861 – Henry’s 9-year-old stepson “George J. DRUMMEY”, who subsequently disappears, possibly into the navy and across the pond to the United States.


The Census gives George’s birthplace as “Baston”, Lincolnshire. The GRO records him as George DEVANNEY, born December Qtr 1851 in Glanford Brigg, Mother’s Maiden Surname “KINGHAN”. (Barton upon Humber is in that registration district.) Elizabeth King HANN had married John DEVANNEY in Hull the previous year.

I have been unable to find a record of John’s death, but Elizabeth DEVANNEY marries Henry HODSON in Hull in 1860. A few months later they are at 3, John’s Place, St Mary Sculcoates, with George and three HODSON children – Ann Mary (age 5), Maria (3) and Harriet (0); mother’s maiden name for all three is HANN. Was Henry their father?

Lizzie King HODSON is the next child to happen along, in late 1863; birth registered in Driffield to mother DEVANNEY.


1865, Emma (KING)

1866, Charles (KING)

1868, Annie Helen (HANN)

1870, Harry (KING)

1873, Ada (DEVANNEY)

So, Elizabeth offered her maiden surname to the registrar for just four of her ten children (plus KINGHAN). Why she would give her first married name when registering her last child is a puzzle. Or at least it was until I dipped into Mark D. Herber’s Ancestral Trails and discovered that it wasn’t “a duty”  for those present at a birth to report it to a registrar at all until almost forty years after the civil registration system was established.  Hardly surprising, then, that in some parts of the country  15% of births were not registered between 1837 and 1875. (Neither was a registrar entitled to request sight of a marriage certificate or license.)

Parents misdirecting registrars in this way is a bit annoying – and it has a curious effect on Find My Past’s ability to deliver useful Hints. FamilySearch isn’t knocked out of its hint stride but there is some explaining to do when adding GRO sources to the World Tree. It took me the better part of two days to set up the Hodsons and Wards who were brought into my fold by grandaunt Daisy.

Elizabeth King HANN was already on FST but I had to create records for most of her children and WARD grandchildren. Other than Dick and Daisy’s son Reginald none of these people are related to me by blood, but I persevered because my headmistress at Stoneferry Junior & Infants in the 1950s was a Hodson, and a fellow pupil one Maurice Devanney, so I hoped to make connections! (I haven’t, yet.)

Baby Boomers


Frank GRICE didn’t make it over the “trauma hump”. Nowadays the increasing probability of dying between the ages of 15 and 25 is mostly associated with accidents (young drivers killing themselves and their friends) but a check on causes of death graphs for 1891-1900, for age range 15 to 24, show it is likely that Frank succumbed to phthisis (pulmonary tuberculosis). For males in this cohort violent death is the second biggest killer. I found no news report of his accidental death in the Scarborough Mercury; there wasn’t even a death notice.

The fine stone in Filey churchyard remembers him, his parents and three siblings who died in infancy. He was eleven when Dickinson died aged about a month and fourteen when Alice departed a week after her first birthday. George William died ten years before Frank was born.


On FamilySearch it appears that Frank was the firstborn of Richard GRICE [MGPK-XBQ] and Hannah BOWMAN [K8HF-2DR]. Not so. Kath’s Filey Genealogy & Connections has eleven children and maybe that is all of them.

Richard and Hannah have a different ID on the (Wiki) Tree for each of the children that have a baptismal record picked up by “the system”. Were the others not baptised?

I checked the births of Grice children in the Scarborough Registration District who had a mother called BOWMAN and found only five. They were not the five on FST.

The mother’s maiden name for the firstborn (George William the First) was recorded and/or transcribed as BOWMER, as was child 8, Fanny. Children 2, 3, 4 and 7 were born to mother BOOMER. Francis (Frank) was an odd child out in that his mother was a BOWMAN but his father a GRACE!

This begs the question, “Are these baby Boomers on FST?” They are not, so perhaps they were not baptised – or their baptismal record has slipped through the FST net. Kate was a BOOMER but she is on FST as a BOWMAN [MV83-2XY] though without  a christening source attached.

A month or so ago I had no idea how useful the GRO Online Index was for enabling the completion of family units. Then I happened upon Kathryn Grant’s BYU Webinar titled Finding a Woman’s Maiden Name Using the GRO Site. My research life will never be the same again.

If you are a Yorkshire Coast GRICE and are interested in expanding Richard and Hannah’s family on FST I suggest you begin by removing the parental Dupe records and then turn to Filey Genealogy & Connections for help. George William the Second married into a Filey family that will take you back further than a founding father of the Filey JENKINSON dynasty – Robert [K8H1-45C].



Today’s Image (previous post) was taken from one of the nicely mown paths on the Reighton Sands Holiday Park. In less than an hour you could stroll to the base of the chalk cliffs straight ahead (except at high tide) but your route must be circuitous if you heed warning notices on the perimeter of the wooded valley. Follow the green line on the Google Earth satellite view below to get down to Speeton Sands in relative safety. The steps at the top of the cliff are steep and the slope near the bottom slippery when wet. The bit in the middle, part of the old Donkey Trod, I think, is lovely in summer. (There was a trade in coprolites for a short time in the mid-19th century and donkeys carried the fossilized poop of large sea reptiles and fishes up to the railway for onward transport to Hull.)