Monkeying Around

In April 2019 I put a headstone on the Shared Tree that remembered Robert STORK, his two wives, Margaret CHAPMAN and Rachel HUMPHREY, and Margaret’s second daughter Elizabeth, who died aged six in 1857.

Elizabeth already had an ID [MGCB-W3S] but if you search for this now you get…

Hmmm.

Searching for Elizabeth, born 1851 in Filey, delivers this Top 3…

Number 1 is our wee girl, with her parents and correct years of birth and death – but a different ID, GS79-JX2. Click to the Shared Tree…

Although heartened that this Elizabeth has the right dates, I am disappointed that her “memory” has been removed. And who is this “rachel Stork”? She has no sources attached and I don’t think any will ever be found.

It gets worse.

Number 3 on the search list (above) is Elizabeth Stork born in Flamborough in 1851, wife of George Henry WESTFIELD. On the face of it she is not our Elizabeth but click on her and, notwithstanding death in 1906 and the absence of forebears, she has a memory.

So much for little Elizabeth’s early death being written in stone – and affirmed on paper.

Finally, the Elizabeth currently tagged to the Stork headstone has a calculated age at death of 55. The GRO Deaths Index entry says Mrs Westfield was six years older than that.

WESTFIELD, Elizabeth, Age at Death (in years): 61. GRO Reference: 1906  M Quarter in SCULCOATES Volume 09D Page 156 Occasional Copy: A

I cannot find a Bridlington birth registration for Elizabeth Stork in 1844, 1845 or 1846. There is this in 1847 –

STORK, Elizabeth, Mother’s Maiden Surname: ULLIOT. GRO Reference: 1847 D Quarter in BRIDLINGTON Volume 23 Page 29.

And here is “wrong Elizabeth” in 1901, from FamilySearch records –

Found Object 58 · Monkey

Ancestral Trials

The Misses Mary TOALSTER on FamilySearch (IDs GZMR-29J & 9QVZ-N86) could not, of course, be merged, being different individuals. I had two choices. Declare them “not a match” and then change the name of “Mary E.” to create the person Mary Elizabeth HUNT. Or I could make this change first, thereby removing the “potential duplicate”. I thought it better not to break the chain of data custody and go the “not a match” route. I started the clock to see how long this would take me. After four hours yesterday I had most of the information I held on the two Marys uploaded to the Shared Tree but hit some obstacles along the way and didn’t get as far as connecting Mary Elizabeth to her forebears. The most interesting puzzle involved Sarah ODLING, a grandmother of Mary Elizabeth Hunt. She has this toe-hold on the Shared Tree.

And here she is, usurped –

Sarah UNDERWOOD/HUNT has six sources attached to her record. Two census returns, three baptism records for daughter Sarah Ann and one reference to the baptism of Mary Jane the Elder. None of these sources identify mother Sarah as a born Underwood.

It seems unlikely that there were two Mary Jane’s living together as sisters. I have not found a record of the younger Mary. Here are the birth registrations of four children –

(Roger, Mary Elizabeth’s father-to-be, is usually “Rodger” in subsequent records.)

It appears we should accept Sarah ODLING as the wife of James Crowther Hunt. Here is the parish marriage register record –

Grimsby is in Caistor Registration District and the family crossed the River Humber after Mary Jane was born to settle in Hull. I found it interesting that Sarah could write and her husband couldn’t. Sarah’s childhood had not been easy. In 1851, given age 9, she was descibed as a pauper inmate of Boston Workhouse, with her mother Ann, (married, 48), brother Benjamin (15) and younger sisters Elizabeth (6) and Mary Ann (3).

It gets worse. On the Underwood screenshot above the “real” Mary Jane Hunt marries William AARON and if you look on the Shared Tree they have (perhaps) seven children. The youngest, Doris, has an attached record showing her baptism in 1895 in Goole, which is about thirty miles from Hull. By some genealogical legerdemain, she transforms into Doris Lynette, born in Athens, Georgia in 1918. It should not come as a surprise that Mrs Mary Jane Aaron, aged fifty when Doris Lynette was born, was not in real life the daughter of James Crowther Hunt.

I’m not sure I want to bite the bullet. It feels as if I’ve been put through a cement mixer.

Found Object 51 · Primrose Valley

A Tale of Two Marys

Mary Ellen TOALSTER was sixteen years old when three of her eight brothers were killed on the Western Front. James came home from India and Arthur William survived the conflict too – as a mechanic in the infant RAF.

A couple of years after the war ended, aged 20, Mary Ellen married George Arthur DICK in their home town, Hull. The partnership was broken by Mary’s death in 1955.

I turned to the FamilySearch to see if George was represented on the Shared Tree.

This screenshot jumps the gun somewhat – in showing that the Mary E. Toalster who died in 1994 needs to be cancelled to make way for George’s second wife.

George was sixty-years-old when he married Mary the Second and it seemed likely that this was her second marriage also.

The GRO Index entry for her death was helpful in giving her middle name and year of birth.

DICK, Mary Elizabeth, [Date of Birth] 1909. GRO Reference:  DOR  Q1/1994 in HULL (5502B) Reg B51A  Entry Number 129.

It also confirmed the approximate date of her death so I then looked at the “possible duplicate” on FamilySearch to see if that offered any clues.

The two addresses for “Mary E. Toalster” were possibly supplied by a contributor with close family connections. I needed to find a birth family for the former Mrs Coultas before I could tackle the merge. Thanks to the 1939 Register data on Find My Past, this was more easily accomplished than I had expected.

A search in the Register for Mary Coultas born in 1909 found the home in Hull that she shared with husband William Henry, a Railway Signalman and two children. The younger child, Brian, had yet to celebrate his first birthday and his registration gave the mother’s maiden surname as HUNT. Mary’s birthdate was clearly written in the Register as “28/2/1908” but her birth registration and a baptism record confirm 1909 is correct.

All I needed now was to show William making way for George, which he did in the June Quarter of 1957, aged 58.

I haven’t found a marriage record for William Henry Coultas and Mary Elizabeth Hunt yet. Ten years older than Mary, William may have first married Agnes SMALLEY in Howden in 1920. But I think I have enough information to hand to do the necessary merge. Tomorrow perhaps.

Bird 97 · Titlark

I think this is a Tree Pipit but I am playing safe. Rock, tree and meadow pipits were all referred to as ‘titlarks’’ once upon a time. Birds Britannica (Mark Cocker & Richard Mabey) has this:-

Small, brown and streaky, pipits represent either an expansive pleasure dome for the hair-splitting expert or a baffling terra incognita to the tyro. Their dullness is legendary.

The Brothers Toalster

I happened upon the Toalster name for the first time a few days ago when I prepared the Monumental Inscription record and headstone photograph for Catherine APPLEBY.

Catherine was the daughter of James Patrick TOALSTER and Ethel May HARRISON, born in Hull in 1906.

A quick search online for the meaning of the family name and its heartland turned up nothing of value and I must go with my instinct that it is an Irish name. Catherine’s great  grandfather James Toalster was born in the Emerald Isle about 1810, possibly in Galway – the place named in the first of several records that track his career in the British Army. The others are Liverpool, Poona and London where, I think, he was discharged. In 1861 he can be found living in Scott Street, Sculcoates, given age 51 and described as a Chelsea Pensioner.

James was about 44 years-old when his son, also James, was born and did not live to see any of the twelve grandchildren young James had with Mary Ann CLEARY.

Eight of the twelve were boys and four would join the British Army and serve in the most senseless war. All went to foreign fields and only Catherine’s father, James Patrick, came home.

CWGC

John

Edward

Thomas

The three brothers are also remembered at the New George Street Shrine in their home town.

The 13th East Yorkshires was one of the Hull Pals Battalions. If you follow the link you will see that those whose Commonwealth War Graves are illustrated were all killed on the same day as Thomas Toalster. But his mother, still mourning the loss of two of her boys, lived in hope for several months that she might see Thomas again. He had been reported missing at the Battle of the Ancre (13 to 16 November 1916). Then, in late March/early April 1917 –

Ancre was the last of the infamous Somme battles fought over five months. John had been killed on the first day. Edward died from wounds suffered at the Second Battle of Ypres, when poison gas was first used on a large scale.

Only the brother who survived the war is represented on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. I will add the others tomorrow.

Sky 24 · Above the Country Park

A Childhood Memory

The Number 30 bus to town would drive slowly down a long, straight street of small shops with its pavements thronged with people not socially distancing. I looked forward to the turn at the end for the glimpse it gave of a church that seemed out of place. It was not drab. There was just time to take in its pastel colours, the stone figures in their niches and, on the pediment two curious words in gold, DOMVS DEI.

The seven or eight year-old me probably asked my mother what “domvers” meant. She may have told me, but puzzled fascination persisted until I started doing Latin at secondary school.

Google Street View

I set out yesterday on the trail of a front line worker’s forebears, this being more of an appreciation than clapping on my doorstep. “A” is not a doctor, nurse or care worker but someone putting themselves in a place of danger most days to preserve something of the “old normal”. Where would we be without cheerful checkout ladies at the supermarket?

On 28 April 1811 Susanna CHAMBERS was baptized in the Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Jarrett Street, Hull.

Fifty years later she was a widow, living in Tadcaster with two unmarried daughters and mother Ann, who is described as an agricultural labourer (aged 81). Susanna’s husband, variously Barnet, Bernard, Bryon or Bryan MURPHY, had been an overlooker in several Yorkshire Flax Mills until his death in 1858, aged 52. His younger daughter, Elizabeth, was sixteen in 1861 and a yarn winder in a Tadcaster mill. I have yet to prove beyond reasonable doubt that she is A’s great grandmother. Elizabeth has, so far, made the slightest of impressions on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

Returning to the House of God. The front page of the Register in which Susanna’s baptismal record appears indicates that the “Chapel” of Saint Charles Borromeo was founded by the “Reverend Peter Francis FOUCHER” in 1798. About twenty years later he returned to France, his homeland. There are two men of the right vintage on the Shared Tree that share his name. One is the father of Adèle, wife of Victor HUGO, but he was getting married in Paris when his near-namesake was overseeing the building of a church in Hull.

Measure of Man 50 · Coble Landing

A Minnie Problem

John Hendry NORTH, born 1820 in Hull, first married Sarah Doughty SPINK. After bearing seven children between 1842 and 1858 she died in London, but is remembered on a headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.

John Hendry was 47 years-old when he married Frances Ann Elizabeth SHAILER, 24, in the summer of 1867.  Their first child, Arthur Guildford North, was late to the scene – in 1872 – and he didn’t marry Minnie SMITH until he was forty-three.

Even though she was a Smith, I thought Minnie would be easy to find. Initially, I had the information that she was born in 1879 in East Yorkshire. I added 1878 to the search term and Free BMD offered the following girls.

I had a moan about all these Minnies but it didn’t take too long to find a parish marriage entry that gave her father’s name – William Henry.

My family history detective work is sometimes haphazard and the first two-year-old Minnie I found in the 1881 census was a  boarder in the Sculcoates household of Harriet SHAKESBY, a married charwoman with an absent husband. I had a picture of her in the original Looking at Filey folder.

A page from Albert’s Autobiography, courtesy an anonymous donor

Minnie’s mother Ann Smith, though also described as a boarder (and married with an absent husband), was the eldest of ten children born to Harriet HARTLEY and James Shakesby. The couple’s youngest child, Albert (sometimes Albert Edward) was seven  in 1881 and probably saw Minnie as a little sister. When he was a few years older he lived as a “street arab”, becoming ayoung man of dubious character until he morphed into an evangelist. In later life he was occasionally a local hero in Filey. He died just a few doors from where I am writing this.

It was with a heavy heart that I discovered that this Minnie’s father wasn’t called William Henry. In 1881 that gentleman was living across the River Hull in the Old Town, about a quarter of a mile from the Shakesbys, with his wife Mary née BEEDHAM, three sons and the no longer problematic Minnie.

You can find the three families on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

Sarah Doughty North née SPINK

Minnie North née SMITH

Albert SHAKESBY (and Minnie Rogers née SMITH)

Tree 50 · Martin’s Ravine

Matilda and Her Visitor

When Jane Maria CORTIS married  45 year-old John Would PARKER in 1876 she still had fifteen years or so in which she might have borne his children. There is a third reason why none appeared. If you look at the two photographs of John posted a couple of days ago he doesn’t appear to be full of the joys. He had cause.

Matilda was his little sister, appearing when he was three years old. They lived on the family farm together for 25 years before she married George ROSE, who also farmed in Ludborough. She gave birth to three children in three years, Matilda Alice (1859), George Byron (1860) and John William (about August 1861).

Shortly after John William’s birth, Matilda Alice caught an infection caused by the Corynebacterium diphtheriae and she died in the middle of November. Diphtheria is a respiratory illness transmitted by droplets. Neither of her brothers contracted the disease. Her father did, and he died a couple of weeks after his daughter.

George Byron died two months before his third birthday. It is not clear if widow Matilda took her surviving boy with her when she crossed the Humber to Hull. Her state of mind may have been such that her mother and older siblings considered her unfit to look after him. In September 1864 she married John Henry LEE , a timber merchant three years her junior. The marriage was ended within a year – by divine intervention.

Had she not been taken, Matilda would have had to nurse her husband through a lingering illness until his death in January 1867, aged 31.

So much misery. But, back in Ludborough, Sarah Parker née WOULD, her eldest daughter Sarah Elizabeth, and yet to be married John Would Parker, gave infant John William Rose a home. The boy was at Manor House Farm in 1871 but when John married and brought Jane Maria home, he moved with Sarah Elizabeth to another house in the village. Sarah, a 57 year-old spinster in 1881, would surely have received help from her mother and brother in guiding the the young man towards adulthood, and perhaps Jane was an influence on him too. Whoever was responsible for his upbringing, they did a good job. He was an undergraduate at Cambridge University in 1881 and later worked as a solicitor for a number of years in London and Brentford. It appears he wasn’t a great success in his chosen profession. The 1911 census finds him at 63 Windsor Road, Ealing, working as a Merchant’s Clerk (in Condensed Milk and Starch). With him are wife Caroline Matilda and their son Wilfrid. (A second child had died in infancy.)

I have made some connections on FamilySearch. You can find John William on the Shared Tree and make your way back to John Would and Jane Maria. I think, maybe, that Jane’s husband had been so traumatized by Matilda’s experiences that he chose to remain childless. (He was executor of brother in law George’s will.) We can only guess what Jane thought of all this but it is understandable that, as a widow getting on in years, she traveled to the other side of the world to be with what was left of her birth family.

When I did some work on the Cortis family a few years ago, I thought John Would had gone to Australia with Jane and suggested as much in a note on the Shared Tree. I should have paid closer attention to the newspaper notice of her death in a Sydney newspaper.

Found at Trove

PARKER, John Wold (sic), Age at Death (in years): 63. GRO Reference: 1893 D Quarter in LOUTH Volume 07A Page 429.GRO Index Deaths

Nature Morte 15 · Seal

A Memorial to My Childhood

A question prompted by The Brothers Cortis (last month) sent me to Ashby Cum Fenby in Lincolnshire over the weekend, to see if I could find more information about the parents of Richard Cortis, the brothers’ father. At the moment “John & Elizth” are on the FamilySearch Shared Tree with Richard and eight other children, none of whom are yet connected to each other.

“Elizth” seems to be Elizabeth SMITH. A February 1765 marriage in Ashby is well-timed for the couple’s first child, Ann, christened in January 1766 and buried two months later. The Ashby Parish register can be found at Lincolshire Archives. The ink has faded but most of the Cortis events can be discerned. John first appears in Ashby in 1761 (as far as I can tell) and is intermittently the churchwarden over the next three decades. At most of his own events he is referred to as “John junr.” His father would, therefore, seem to be John senior whose origins are obscure to me but who dies at the end of the year in which John and Elizabeth marry.

Reading the register carefully, I found all the Cortis children on the Shared Tree and several more. I also noticed that there was a second John Cortis, referred to as “John of Laceby”. This is all well and good – until the entry in December 1791 for the burial of John Cortis, aged 0, son of John junr and Elizabeth of Laceby. A John Cortis married Elizabeth BASNIP of Laceby in February 1791 but without seeing the death of Elizabeth nee Smith recorded some doubt remains. (In 1799 there is a list in a newspaper of subscribers to the Caistor Association in which John and William Cortis of Laceby AND John Cortis of Ashby appear.)

Elizabeth Basnip has issues of her own and it was a relief to be distracted by intriguing entries in the register that cried out to be investigated.

1753 David Langley, a stranger killed by a Fall from a Sycamore Tree as he was taking Rook nests, May 7th buried.

1796 Aug 25th buried Edward Condock aged 14 years. The above Edward Condock received his death by an accidental shot from a Gun in Mr Scrivener’s House. [A Thomas Scrivener shared churchwarden duties with John Cortis.]

And the entry that took me back to my childhood?

The Number 30 bus in Hull used to go to and from Stoneferry along New Cleveland Street, and maybe still does. I was always particularly drawn to the mysterious (in name and nature) Marble and Stone Merchants, Anselm Odling and Sons. One had only the merest glimpse of what went on behind the tall fence but it was the name that fascinated me. And here, perhaps 150 years before the company set up a branch in Hull, I find the forebears (surely) in a small Lincolnshire village. Thanks to the Interweb, I now know it was a large company of diverse activities – and it is still trading on New Cleveland Street, but disappointingly just as “Odlings”.

Another name in the Ashby register that caught my attention – Hewson. The Hewsons may have been the preeminent family in the village and in Louth in 1862 John and Elizabeth’s grandson, William Smithson Cortis, widower, married Susanna of that ilk.

Flight of Fancy 26 · Emoji

Filey seawall

Only Connect #3: Thomas Thackrah Cortis

Thomas was about twenty months old when his mother died. His father chose not to marry again so Thomas was raised by older sisters.

As mentioned in an earlier post, of the six Cortis boys who reached adulthood, one emigrated (eventually) to Australia and the other five to America. Thomas seems to have had the greatest difficulty getting to grips with the New World.

He has four Personal IDs on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. Only one gives him parents.

Two show him married to Helen Isabel (or Isabella) WHITTEMORE. Here is one –

Though lacking detail, these two screenshots “tell the truth” – but only part of his story. Helen was his second wife. The fourth ID reveals his marriage to Sarah Jane HERRICK and the three sons they brought into the world. (Two didn’t stay long and Richard died aged 19.)

Poor Sarah. Her pedigree is astonishing – if the Shared Tree is to be believed. Forebear Henry Herrick Snr. arrived in Salem. Massachusetts aboard Lyon and married in the village three years after its foundation in 1626. His son, Henry Jnr., was a member of the jury at the Witch Trials. Her European ancestry is replete with aristocracy and a sprinkling of royalty. I feel sure Sarah would have been told stories at her mother’s knee of the Puritan Plantation – but that she was related to King Henry III of England? Maybe not.

Sarah gave birth to her boys in three different Iowa towns – De Witt, Fulton, and Davenport. Infant Herbert died in Davenport and Harold the following year in Fulton. Thomas was a physician, and clearly an unsettled one. However, the strength of his bond with sister Jane is indicated by these places being between ten and forty miles from the DANNATT family at Low Moor.

Over on Ancestry Sarah has been given an extra child.

Mabel was, of course, Helen’s child and if you look again at the second of the screenshots above you will see Mabel’s son Richard Cortis GREEN.

Richard, nicknamed “Cort”, exchanged letters with the Australian branch of the family and Peter has given me permission to share some of what he wrote about his grandparents. Poor Thomas and poor Helen. The following is part of a 1968 letter transcribed by Peter. Some of it may be fanciful family lore (not true) but this section is so vivid I offer it unedited. (Cort’s handwriting is difficult to read.)

“Cortis Fam. History – very little do I know really —SAM, RICHARD (White Star Line Boston, Hamburg American, NYC). JESSIE (married [Alvey] of US WORLD (Newspaper NYC & Almanac). Carrie Cortis (Sam’s daughter) Daunett –all familiar names.

MUCH EMOTION AND PROBLEMS FOR my mother as [the] penniless daughter of [the] youngest boy (THOMAS THACKERAY CORTIS), by 2nd wife , A WHITTEMORE (family split by US Civil War & impoverished).

Thomas Thackeray had wife & son RICHARD when came to U.S after service as an army surgeon in Sepoy Mutiny & Crimean War. [indeciph]:-siege of Balaclava -who knows – maybe he sparked [could be “spanked”] Florence Nightingale!! (One Brother skipper of R.N vessel in that show).

Next we see him a widower with a teenage son in N.Y.C courtesy of older brothers who got him a job as the port health officer –on strength of fantastic language skills –7 proficient [14 speaking].

We see him making classic mistake of trying to find a foster-mother for son & himself a wife. He married Helen Whittemore. She has social aspirations. Debts mount up. His brothers pay. He gets out of town. Goes to DeWit CLINTON IOWA. Has daughter (my mother) born approx. 1876 (mother always said she was born 1880 & records burned in DeWit Club). Moved Municipalities [indecipherable] again 1882/83. Wife took herself to her room & [never] was seen again –pining for lost gay life in NYC. RICHIE, the son dies of measles and pneumonia about 1885 age about 18. T.T Cortis keeps stiff upper lip. Puts rose in button hole every morning on way to office -wends way on rather faithful mare [indecipherable]. He has 2 strokes and dies in 1896. Mother and her mother Helen Whittemore Cortis =>Chicago. My mother aged about 18? Works for Marshall Field Store. No money. Brothers pay to put H. Whittemore in home (we will never know what her real trouble was), mother went to NYC. $500 were left from Dr T.T’s estate –that kept by SAM –much anguish as mother thought was for her education – wanted to be a Dr. (Father fixation etc etc etc).

You see why I’m ready to dump the whole U.S part of the clan. EXCEPT FOR ONE THING –old T.T tried & did KEEP THE FAITH. His illustrious eldest bro. was obstetrician to the old Queen VICTORIA herself & trained T.T. He T.T did most of his doctoring before [indecipherable] & GOD [indecipherable] Penicillin—which event –so help me have wielded as a giver of life & [kept?] death away from my crew.”

“Eldest bro” was William Smithson, who left Filey after 1861 and was enumerated in Kennington, less than three miles from Buckingham Palace in 1871. If the then fifty year-old doctor followed his journey-to-royal work today he would pass the Florence Nightingale Museum, which has re-0pened in, spookily, St Thomas’ Hospital. I doubt anyone would ever have spanked Florence, or Mary Seacole, but in a long report on 1856 New Year celebrations in Crimea that mentions both Angels of Mercy, there is this –

Cort’s memory of young Richard doesn’t fit the Shared Tree information but it is interesting that Thomas returned to Iowa after a spell in New York City. Jane’s place must have been a refuge for him. Richard died in St Peter, Minnesota; his father not far away in St Paul.

Thomas is also represented on WikiTree ­with a variant middle name. I signed up to be a “WikiTreer” yesterday so that I could connect him to his folks in Hull – and marry him to Sarah Jane.

Path 106 · Old Tip

Nature Reserve and Parish Wood, evening

The Brothers Cortis

Six sons of Richard CORTIS and Jane SMITHSON reached adulthood. Five crossed the Atlantic and ended their days in the United States after experiencing mixed fortunes. From information received and uncovered thus far, it appears that the first young man to Go West was Richard John in 1856. He had married Jane Hannah MAPLES in Hull in 1850 and they sailed from Liverpool with two infant boys. When they were caught by the 1860 US census they had been joined by Harold Graeme (aged 6 months) – and RJ’s brother Samuel Smithson. I don’t know for sure if the other three brothers had made the crossing by this time but eight years ago I was offered a reason for them all leaving home.

Here is a post from Looking at Filey, 6 May 2012 – in full, errors included but footnoted. (The archived Looking at Filey has still not been made available again at The British Library. The web links should still “work”.)

Distant Relations

Photographer unknown, no date1, courtesy Elizabeth Kennard

Richard John2 CORTIS senior, born about 1788, was a master mariner and later a shipping agent. He also owned the Minerva public house hard by the River Humber. (Recent photos here, here, and here.) With Jane SMITHSON he had at least ten children. I had found eight of them on FamilySearch but Elizabeth supplied two more – Henrietta, who died in infancy, and Joseph who was killed in Tennessee during the American Civil War. Seven Hull born children made it to adulthood but none breathed their last by the Humber. Six3 died in the United States and one in Australia. Elizabeth asked me what happened in Hull around the 1850s that prompted a whole brood to fly a long way from the nest. Despite being a Hull lad, I didn’t have a clue and so asked a man I hoped would know. Peter Church explained that 1849 was a cholera epidemic year and some of the city’s water came from Spring Head in Anlaby along an open channel which passed Spring Bank cemetery where 700 cholera victims were buried. Minerva opened in 1851 and Richard John CORTIS senior was responsible for “masterminding the trans-migrants passing through Hull from mainland Europe to America”.  I reckon he was therefore in a good position to advise his children to seek a healthier life across the Atlantic and to facilitate their journeys.

The odd one out was William Smithson CORTIS who was enumerated in Queen Street Filey in 1851 with a wife, three children and three servants.  Ten years later he was a widower in a mixed  John Street household containing three of his children, a widowed sister in law and nephew (on his wife’s side), a pupil  in his medical practice, four servants – and his old dad, 74 year old “Richard,  formerly Master Mariner.”

The Cortis presence in Filey comes to an end at some time during the next ten years, before 1869 probably because the old master mariner dies in Hull that year, his age given as 83. Two of his Filey born grandsons made their way to Australia and William Smithson went out there too, dying in Manly in 1906.

I wonder if any letters passed between Filey and the United States. Was the man on the horse (above) aware of his older brother’s passing in Australia, four years before his own death?

Elizabeth has told me that Richard John Junior worked as a shipping agent for the White Star Line and did well enough for himself to have four servants and a coachman in the house. The photograph was taken in Brooklyn, New York City, which is not, as Elizabeth writes, “a noted pastoral green, horse riding area any longer”.  (William GEDNEY pictured Brooklyn as I imagine it.)

Notes:

  1. Date about 1895.
  2. I do not think Richard senior had a middle name.
  3. Five brothers and, perhaps, sister Jane.

Elizabeth’s photograph came with the following information attached.

Richard J Cortis 1823-1910, an Englishman who with his wife Jane (Maples) came to NY City permanently about the middle of the 1850s. He was the father of Jessie V. Cortis (1865-1937) who married Wm. Kennard in 1889. The maternal grandfather of Wm. Cortis Kennard (1893-1975) and the great grandfather of Richard Cortis Kennard (1920- 2001.

R J Cortis always kept a horse or two in Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY and this picture taken about 1895 shows him on his horse “Rex” at the Cortis home, 66 Lennox Road, Flatbush, which the Kennard family and R J Cortis left in 1908 for 1722 Albemarle Rd, a home built by Wm M Kennard.

Find Richard John on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

Path 105 Long Lane

Boris & the Tent