I returned to the John Stork Problem this morning. It isn’t going to be resolved anytime soon.
I did some more delving and found a snippet of pedigree that gave the cuckoo in the Filey Stork nest the correct parents – Henry and Hannah NETTLETON – but hasn’t yet married John to Hannah STEEL.
I also found “Right John” (after the system had initially denied his existence and I’d created an ID for him). This seems to do a good job of the children he had with Sarah HARPER but also gives him an earlier wife called Sarah TWINHAM. She has borne three children after her death but there’s another reason for her being “iffy”. I think she married a Thomas PICKERSGILL in York.
John’s true first wife, Sarah HARPER, gave birth to eight children before dying in 1864 aged just 37. FamilySearch Tree gives her mother’s name as “Mrs Margaret Harper”. In looking to confirm this, I turned up several christening records of Sarah and siblings being born to Robert Harper and Rebecca.
Five Harper children were born in Bridlington between 1818 and 1830 but I have only been able to find two of them in the 1841 census. Sarah, 15, and her younger brother Richard, 12, are in the Bridlington Workhouse. They are not listed together in the enumerator’s book, but their ages fit very well with their christening dates. What became of the parents and other children?
Sarah may have been resourceful, or perhaps life dealt her some better cards in her later teenage years. She met agricultural labourer John Stork and married him in 1849 when she was 23 years old. At the 1851 census, they are recorded in High Street, Bridlington, with their first child, Emily.
Their youngest child, Sarah, was only two years old when mother Sarah died. John married again the next year. Ann CHAPMAN may have been a good stepmother, and in 1871 she was also caring for Fanny CHAPMAN, a nurse child. This may have been the daughter of a brother because a birth registration for Fanny gives the infant’s mother’s maiden name as WATKINSON.
John and Sarah Harper’s seventh child, Rebecca (perhaps named after her grandmother), married John MOORE, a fisherman who later worked as a brickmaker’s labourer.
They had eleven children, of whom nine reached adulthood. John and Rebecca are remembered on a handsome stone in St Oswald’s churchyard. It stands quite close to the grave of Rebecca’s Uncle Robert Stork. Her father, “Right John”, has a Filey burial record but no known grave.
A Companion for Today’s Robin
I snapped this chaffinch in Crescent Gardens this morning and didn’t notice its warty feet until I processed the photo. It seems finches of several species are prone to Fringilla papillomavirus (FPV). The condition is also called papillomatosis or, colloquially, fur foot or bumblefoot. The “warts” don’t seem to affect the general health of the birds but may accumulate to such a degree that perching becomes problematic – and feet are sometimes lost.