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

End of a Line?


Sacred to the memory of ELIZABETH, wife of CHRISTOPHER COLTAS of Gristhorpe, who departed this life November 14th 1836, aged 30 years.

The languishing head [is] at rest

Its thinking and aching are o’er

This quiet immovable breast

Is heaved [by affliction] no more

This heart [is no longer the seat

Of trouble and torturing pain]

My digitization of the Crimlisk Survey of St Oswald’s churchyard has “ELIZABETH [blank] EMMA” beneath the verse inscription and my first search on FamilySearch Tree found the wee girl. Filey Genealogy & Connections offered the sad information that Elizabeth Emma had been baptised the day after her mother was buried – and died at 16 months.

For a while, I made little progress with online searches and thought the representation of this small family on FamilySearch would mirror the MI details.


FG&C indicated that Elizabeth was 24 years old when she married, so it would have been surprising if Elizabeth Emma had been her first child.

I then happened upon a census household containing two COLTAS brothers, Edwin and Herbert A. It took a while, but I found a source that told me Herbert’s middle name was “Atkinson”. It seemed certain that these fellows were older brothers of Elizabeth Emma but it was the discovery of their church marriage register entries that confirmed Christopher, a farmer, as their father.

FG&C had given Christopher’s occupation as a Filey“schoolmaster” so I was disconcerted – until I found his own marriage record.

When his wife died, Christopher’s boys were five and seven years old, and possibly not too difficult to raise on his own. It was surprising that he didn’t marry again quite quickly though. He waited 15 years, marrying Mary, third daughter of the late Francis HILL, Lloyd’s agent, in August 1845. I have yet to find confirmation of this union in civil, church or census records but a notice in the local newspaper adds a detail to the information above – that Christopher was a “farmer and grazier”.

I don’t know how old Mary was at marriage but she presented him, in his late forties, with two sons, Alfred and Frederick, both with the middle name Hill. Alfred died not long after he was born, and Frederick before his first birthday. A year after Frederick’s death, Mary had another son. They called him “Frederick Hill”. And about 18 months later they named their last child “Alfred Hill”.

Christopher’s sons with Elizabeth ATKINSON married but don’t appear to have had offspring. Herbert died in 1876 aged 43 and I think Edwin departed this life in 1881 aged 50. Returning briefly to the second Alfred and Frederick. I haven’t been able to discover yet whether or not they reached adulthood and were able to continue the COLTAS name. I chanced upon a Frederick Hill Coltas who died in Scarborough in1882, in his first year. Two years earlier a Frederick Hill Coltas had married across the Pennines, in Salford.

If this line of the Coltas family did persist it may well have morphed into the more common “Coultas”. For now, the question mark in this post’s title is appropriate and hopeful. If I can find the marriage record for Christopher and Mary I will add the details to FamilySearch Tree, with the Hill boys and any descendants they may have had. Find Christopher and Elizabeth here.

The Surprise Professor

The first Filey child to be born on New Years’s Day, for whom I have a record, is Hannah COCKERILL in 1881. Her father George, born 1836, is on the FamilySearch Tree but is waiting to get hitched to Ann CHADWICK, born Flamborough in 1851.  George had ten siblings and while sorting through them today I happened upon his nephew William, the son of older brother Joseph, born 1830.

William was nineteen when the 1871 census was taken and at the family home on Scalley Moor, near Scalby, he was the eldest of five and the enumerator, in a distinctive hand, immortalized him as “Professor of Music”. His father was barely 20 when he married Hannah WRIGHT and worked as an agricultural labourer. So how remarkable was his firstborn?


In 1881, William was with his parents still, on a different moor (Burniston), occupied as a basket maker. Roll the clock forward 30 years and he heads a household in Harwood Dale that contains younger brother Joseph, sister in law Hannah, and great nephew John EMERSON. William continues to make baskets, his wife has died and on the census return he states he has been blind since the age of ten. The same hand seems to have filled out the form, neatly, and William is the signatory.


William married Rosamond Annie WESTERDALE in 1888 and they brought three children into the world. In 1881 she was working as an assistant teacher at the Manor House Yorkshire School for the Blind in York and was, to some degree, unsighted.


I remember a blind man coming to Stoneferry Junior and Infants School, in the 1950s, to tune the piano in the Assembly Hall. Perhaps William had done such work as a young man. We’ll never know who was responsible for the elevation of his status in the community.

Three William Cockerills were born in the Scarborough area within a couple of years of each other and all three died between 1912 and 1920. I think “our William” departed in 1916, aged 64, but this needs affirmation. I don’t know yet what happened to his children. Find him here on FST but bear in mind his birth family is incomplete.