Yellow River

Annie Elizabeth TURNBULL (Some Clay Figures, 20 September) was “Nina” when she first married.

John Grant BIRCH was born in Antigua and a brief note in my RootsMagic database indicated his death by drowning – in China. I looked today for details.

We much regret to learn this morning of the death of Mr. JOHN GRANT BIRCH, of the firm of Messrs. John Birch & Co., London, at the age of fifty-three. In this gentleman China has claimed another victim, and Britain has lost a loyal and most patriotic son. Mr. Birch was the eldest son of Colonel J. F. Birch, late 3rd West Indian Regiment. The Times says:- He made the acquaintance of our correspondent, Dr. Morrison, during his frequent journeyings in China in late years, and in our columns have appeared on several occasions letters showing his intimate knowledge of Chinese politics and foreshadowing later untoward events. In his last journey, on or about June 24, he lost his life by drowning through the wrecking of the raft in which he was travelling on the Yellow River, on his way from Lanchow [Lanzhou] to Peking [Beijing], where he had intended making strong representations with a view to the opening of the Yangtsze Valley by railways – a subject on which he was fully informed, and which he advocated in the interests of his country. A further tribute is due to Mr. Birch’s memory in connection with the Soudan expedition, which was rendered possible only by the dessert (sic) railway from Wadi-Halfa to Abu Hamed. Almost the whole scheme of this railway followed a plan drawn up in great detail by Mr. Birch, and submitted by him to Lord Cromer several months before the first advance on Dongola.

London and China Express, 27 July 1900

(Find Wadi-Halfa Railway Station on Google Maps and John on the Shared Tree.)

Measure of Man 63 · Flyers

Muston Sands

Going to Waugh

It isn’t unusual for Filey Pedigrees to be Y Line heavy. Here is an example. It is based on information in Filey Genealogy & Connections.


The Filey spear side of the family represented here is the 9th most populous in Kath’s database. In the two times great-grandparents column, I have given the other positions in the Names Table. (The count is a rough one and includes married women.)

I have been told recently that not a great deal is known about the distaff side. Three male 2xggps are not known to me but all 16 on the female side are missing from FG&C. (Boxes that are a darker blue/pink indicate that the family name is known at those locations.)

I have kept the male line identity anonymous for now, but I expect that the sequence of names in the 5th generation may amount to a unique code. Perhaps someone reading this will crack it. (Don’t forget the “9th” clue.)

The FamilySearch Shared Tree is a revelation, though it flatters to deceive. There are two men called Thomas WAUGH vying for supremacy in one generation. Both have a surprisingly high number of sources but neither looks “right”. They present their genetic credentials in this edited FST screenshot.


Annie Elizabeth Waugh is the daughter of Thomas WAUGH and Annie PEARS. The couple married towards the end of 1877 in Hexham, so you can safely dispose of any children born before little Annie.  Her seeming twin, Pollie, should be sent back to Barnsley, where she belongs. The left panel has Annie Elizabeth’s full sister, Margaret Hannah, but all other children can be cleared from that field. Mother Annie died in 1883 at age 29 and Margaret Hannah quit life’s struggle the following year, aged two.

With two infant girls to care for, Thomas the Coal Miner wasted no time seeking a mother for them. He married Elizabeth BROWN within a year of his first wife’s death. In 27 years of marriage, Thomas and Elizabeth had five children, three of whom died before the 1911 census. The survivors were John Thomas and George Edward. Edith Brown WAUGH is the only casualty of childhood for whom I can find a reliable birth registration. Two other Waugh children with a Brown mother (Elizabeth Ann and Christopher) died in infancy but they were born in a different registration district. Chester-le-Street is almost 50 miles east of Haltwhistle, where Edith had been born, but it is only a few miles further to Houghton le Spring where their fifth child came into the world.

Annie Pears’ daughter, now “Annie Lizzie”, married miner George GLAISTER towards the end of 1898, in Gateshead. The birth of their first child and the death of the father were registered in the same quarter, about nine months later. I haven’t found a newspaper notice of George’s death, but he may not have set eyes on his daughter. She was given the names Annie Elizabeth Georgina.

Georgina wasn’t an only child. After a few years of widowhood, her mother married Thomas NOBLE in Gateshead and at the 1911 census, the house in Broomfield Terrace, Crawcrook, sheltered the parents and five children, including Georgina’s half-sister Hannah Lilian and half-brother Stanley.

When George’s girl married in 1919, she was just Georgina – and her granddaughter married into a Filey family.