Family Gatherings

I know I have little chance of accomplishing my main goal before my days are done – putting the people in Kath’s Filey Genealogy & Connections onto the FamilySearch Tree – but I wondered if I could rustle up some numbers that would indicate the enormity of the task.

When I last counted, there were 43,127 people in FG&C, 102.3 males for every 100 females. (For births to English mothers registered between 2011 and 2015 in the UK the ratio is 105.4: 100)

The top-ranked family name in FG&C is JENKINSON. There are 314 male and 262 females; ratio 119.8 males to 100 females.

I decided to use the Jenkinsons as a manageable sample and see what they could tell me statistically.

My first task was to remove all those born after 1919. This reduced my sample size to 407 (sex ratio 122:100). “Culling” the total FG&C population in this way would reduce it from 43,127 to about 35,500.

There are many people in FG&C that have no connection at all to the town (mostly Kath’s forebears). Others have little or no vital record information, are “singletons” or have a pedigree limited to just themselves and parents. It is a guess but removing these folk might reduce the total population to, let’s say, 30,000.

How many of these are already represented on the FamilySearch Tree? I thought I’d arrive at a rough and ready answer if I used the Jenkinsons as a proxy for this notional FG&C total.

I created an Excel spreadsheet and organized it in such a way that a minimal data-entry effort would supply answers to a bunch of other questions too.

WilliamJENKINSON_1721One must go back a thousand years or so to find the “founding fathers” of the village that became Filey. The first Jenkinson in FG&C, John, was born around 1700 in Yarmouth, Norfolk. He married Grace, (family name not given), and their only son in the database, William, was born in Norfolk in 1721. William married Mary CAPPLEMAN in Hornsea, East Yorkshire in 1748 and there are records of three children. Kath isn’t sure that William was the son of John and Grace, and I am not sure if the gentleman portrayed here is John or William. I don’t have any provenance for the image, donated to LaF by Kath. It appears to be a half-tone monochrome copy of an original painting. (I have added some random colour in Photoshop.)

Robert Jenkinson, son of William and Mary Cappleman, born in Filey in 1756, married Margaret TRUCKLES in Yarmouth. They had at least nine children and their baptism dates at St Oswald’s, Filey, point to Robert being away fishing for herring for much of the year.

Five sons gave Robert and Margaret 46 grandchildren; two daughters supplied 22 more. The Filey Jenkinson dynasty was established and for the most part, it stayed put.

Birth and death place information is not complete but of the 407 Jenkinsons in my reduced version of FG&C, only ten were born outside Yorkshire. Of 393 born in Yorkshire, only 15 took their first breath in the North Riding and none in the West Riding. Only 26 of the East Riding children were born outside Filey Parish. (I’m including Gristhorpe and Lebberston villages in the Parish and the East Riding referred to is the historic division of Yorkshire. Filey was confusingly passed over to the administrative North Riding sometime last century, or was it the century before that?)

Death place information is available for 240 of the Filey born. Only 33 (14%) died outside the parish.

I have calculated the straight line distances from Filey to the 33 out of town death places. The range is one mile to 1,450. In such a small sample there is little point offering a Jenkinson “average” of birth to death place. The two distant places, Kronstadt and Malta, swell the overall average (mean) of 123 miles. The modal distance is 7 miles (to Scarborough). The median distance, 10 miles, makes most sense statistically I think. (Half the sample have traveled this distance or fewer miles and half ten miles or more. If the time arrives when I have information for 30,000 people with Filey connections this kind of stat may be more interesting. It is possible, of course, that the migration patterns of other “family names” will be very different from the Jenkinsons.)

What were the most popular first names chosen by Jenkinson parents? It only takes a minute or two for a pivot table to offer the top four:-

Boys: John (40), Robert (29), George (27), William (25).

Girls: Mary (44), Elizabeth (24), Sarah (13), Jane (10).

Of more interest, to me at least, is how many Filey Jenkinsons are represented on the FamilySearch Tree? There are currently 88, 22% of my total. I have created records for 26 of them over the last year and it is daunting to think I have  321 more to do.

I will start with those Jenkinsons buried in St Oswald’s churchyard or remembered on the headstones. A quick and not yet complete check shows that there are 66 monumental inscriptions that note the lives of about 200 Jenkinsons. So far I have photographed 38 Jenkinson headstones.

On FamilySearch Tree, the Robert Jenkinson who married Margaret TRUCKLES (or TRUCKLESS) has three PIDs. There is merging work to be done. Start your search with MGZM-X5R, K8H1-45C or MGZM-SLL and see how you go.

The next four most populous Filey families – Cammish (569), Smith (437), Johnson (402) and Cappleman (371). The sex ratios in order are 116, 115, 118 and 121 males per 100 females.


‘Pride of Filey’

The steam drifter SH215 Pride of Filey was built in 1907 in Portnockie on the Moray Firth. Originally named Emulator and registered in Banff (BF64), she was sold to Thomas WHITEHEAD of Scarborough on 29 November 1913. Her first three skippers were Isaac ROSS, William SAYERS, and J. W. CRAWFORD. The Admiralty requisitioned her for war service between 1914, and 1918 and in 1921 she was sold to Hull and renamed Cuhona (H307). (Source: Captain Sydney Smith’s database.)

On the 25th July 1914 one of her crew, Filey man Thomas William “Crow” JENKINSON, suffered a fractured skull while fishing. The vessel returned to port immediately but Thomas died in hospital before the end of the day. He was 50 years old, survived by his wife Frances Haxby née COWLING and eight of their ten children. You can find an as yet limited version of his pedigree on FamilySearch Tree.


‘He Opened Africa’s Skyways’

This is the inscription on the headstone of John WILLIAMSON in Cape Town’s Maitland Cemetery. Born Filey in 1895 he must have spent quite a few years in South Africa. Skyways can’t be opened in a hurry, surely.

John was one of the unlucky generation, called upon to fight for the elites in the worst of wars. I haven’t been able to confirm it yet, but I think he served as a motor mechanic in the infant Royal Air Force between 1915 and 1918. There is circumstantial evidence that he migrated to South Africa shortly after the end of the First World War and was serving in the South Africa Air Force when the Second began. His brief service details on the CWGC website reveal that he was known as “John Billie”. Plain “John” when his birth was registered, his father was a John William, a more likely reason for the diminutive, perhaps, than the surname.

I haven’t found a marriage for John in the UK but an online search found a possible daughter in law in the Capetown suburb where he lived with his wife ‘C. M.’ Cato ‘Dinky’ Williamson née LADAN, was the sister of sculptor Eduard Louis LADAN (1918? – 1992). She was one of South Africa’s first female pilots. Eduard served in the SAAF in the Second World War and was rewarded for distinguished services in the King’s Birthday Honours in 1943.

John is remembered on the Filey War Memorial in Murray Street and on a family headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.


And their dear son, Lt. JOHN WILLIAMSON S.A.A.F., died July 22nd 1942 aged 46, buried at Capetown, S.A.

‘Loved, honoured and remembered.’

The family is represented on the FamilySearch Tree but the pedigree is limited to just five generations of his direct male line.

Today’s Image

The mysterious algal bloom is back on the boating lake. Last evening it covered about three-quarters of the lake surface, a mosaic of slimy green ‘floes’. The wind overnight had pushed these to the eastern end, up against the retaining wall.


When I photographed today’s star duckling I didn’t notice the lump on its back. I guess compromised nature will have to take its course.

Remembering Jenkinson Haxby

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record states that Jenkinson died on the 7th July 1916. His body was not recovered for burial and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial with 1,463 others. I’ve looked carefully down the list and he is the only casualty serving with the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment.

He is also remembered on the headstone of his grandparents, Matthew and Jane HAXBY in St Oswald’s churchyard but the inscription records his death on the 8th. Only 354 deaths are recorded on the Thiepval Memorial for that day but there are a number of men from the 2nd Bn Yorkshires. I haven’t been able to establish where Jenkinson was killed but after several days of little action in the Battle of Albert the attempt to capture Trônes Wood began on the 8th, so maybe that is where and when he fell with some of his brothers in arms.


And their beloved grandson L/C JENKINSON HAXBY, 2nd Yorks. Regt., killed in action July 8th 1916, aged 23.

‘Wars bitter cost, a dear one missed.’

(On the Memorial Plaque in St Oswald’s, Jenkinson is among Filey men who died in 1917 and is recorded as serving with the West Yorkshire Regiment.)

I did some work today on his father’s birth family but not enough to put Jenkinson or his mother Elizabeth Ann JENKINSON on the FamilySearch Tree. Grandfather Matthew HAXBY 1834 – 1902.

‘Lady Shirley’ revisited

Seventy years ago, four Filey fishermen drowned when their boat overturned off Primrose Valley. Auxiliary coastguard Eddie BELT, on bad-weather watch on Carr Naze, saw what happened through binoculars and raised the alarm. Eddie would later say that one of the fishermen had made it to the beach, had shaken himself and walked back into the waves. (This information from Ben Jenkinson senior in an audio clip posted to Looking at Filey but not available on the Wayback Machine.) I assume this was Richard Ferguson CAMMISH returning to the upturned boat to rescue his brother. (At the inquest a couple of weeks later, the Coroner would pay tribute to a Leeds man, Sidney Leonard Moon, who stripped and went into the sea “in a vain attempt to rescue the fishermen”.) Richard’s body was never found. His brother was buried in St Oswald’s churchyard, with  Francis CAMMISH and William Robinson JENKINSON, on 3rd July.

The four men were fourth cousins; the brothers two of three sons born to Robert “Codge” CAMMISH and Mary Emily Simpson WATKINSON. In the photo below they are standing together beside their elder sister, Mary Margaret. The little girl is Annie Elizabeth. Her father named his boat after her. Girl Annie is one of the Filey fishing boats memorialized on the Promenade.

Courtesy  Ian Robert Cammish via Kath Wilkie


There is only one boat that goes salmoning regularly now. I photographed it this morning and have added an arrow pointing to Primrose Valley. Lady Shirley capsized about fifty yards from the beach.


There are two posts about the tragedy on Looking at Filey, Lady Shirleyand A Cammish Family.

The four fishermen are on Filey Genealogy & Connections.

Francis ‘Frankie Tosh’ Cammish

Richard Ferguson ‘Tosh’ Cammish

William Watkinson ‘Codge’ Cammish

William Robinson ‘Billy Wemp’ Jenkinson

I have created records for the brothers on FamilySearch Tree.



Duckling News

The 2016 brood on the boating lake lived for about five days; the unfortunates in 2017 less than that. This year, six ducklings soon became five but the surviving quintet is now 11 days old and looking well. The mother appears under-protective. Maybe previous experience has lowered her expectations. The father paid his family a brief visit a couple of days ago. He looked rough on the prow of his canoe.


Herring Coble ‘Unity’

The Driffield Times reported on 30 April 1892:-

After having enjoyed spring-like weather for a little while, an unwelcome change took place on Wednesday morning [27th], when it rained and blew incessantly. The weather and wind having changed toward evening, it being fine and pleasant, some of our fishing craft ventured to the fishing ground, and had already got a great many miles from land, when a sudden gale sprung up about four the next morning, a strong north wind blowing accompanied by heavy seas.

The small boats and a couple of larger herring cobles turned for home as soon as the weather “looked treacherous”. Two of the vessels needed the assistance of the lifeboat to get home safely. The skipper of Tally Ho! reported that they had been in the company of a third herring coble and great concern was shown for its crew. The boat was still missing on the morning of Friday (29th).


SH87 Unity was  ­40 feet long and weighed 20 tons. Although described above as a Scarborough boat, Captain Syd notes that Thomas COWLING of Filey shared ownership with  John REYNOLDS and Arthur Harrison SELLERS. The database gives the lost-with-all hands-date as 25th April but that may be my digitization error! The official Overseas Deaths and Burials record gives the 28th April and this date appears on the headstone of John and Richard’s parents.


Also of JOHN AND RICHARD, sons of the above, & EDMUND ROSS JENKINSON, son-in-law, who were lost at sea, April 28th 1892, aged 36, 34 and 30 years.

‘In the midst of life we are in death.’

You can easily navigate to the three men on Filey Genealogy & Connections, from John CAMMISH senior.

Bean, G 1891George BEAN was an incomer to Filey, born in one of the Hecks (Great or Little), near Selby. He is on FG&C but I suspect he has been given the wrong mother there.  You can see, though, that his father in law is ‘Unity Jack’ CRIMLISK, after whom the doomed herring coble was presumably named. The image of him (left) was taken in 1891 in his guise of Treasurer of Filey Red Stars Football Club.

SH140 Tally Ho!, mentioned in the Driffield Times report, was lost in Filey Bay on 8th December 1892.

FV ‘Emulator’

The steam drifter, wood built at Lowestoft in 1904, was bought by Matthew ‘Matty Airy’ CRIMLISK in 1914 when he saw the success ‘Billy Butter’ WATKINSON was having with a similar vessel, Lord Kitchener. Matthew shared ownership with William ‘Billy Trummy’ JENKINSON and the latter’s nephew, Richard Cammish JENKINSON. The war intervened and Emulator was requisitioned by the Admiralty and operated as a minesweeper. It is a terrible irony that she served without mishap until released by the government and then, on the first peace-time fishing trip from her home port, was blown up by a mine, about 25 miles east of Flamborough Head.

‘Matty Airy’ and his sons, Wilfred and Tom Robert CRIMLISK were killed. ‘Billy Trummy’ and his son, Thomas Castle ‘Toye’ JENKINSON also died, with Richard Cammish JENKINSON and Richard Baxter ‘Dick Fipney’ COWLING. Seven in all. A plaque in St Oswald’s Church names nine fishermen who died in 1919 but two were drowned from the coble Annie (yesterday’s post).

Seven Filey Men Lost

Drifter Sunk by Mine

There was great distress at Filey on Wednesday when it became known that the steam drifter Emulator, had been sunk through striking a mine 30 miles out of Scarborough, and that her crew of seven, all Filey men, had been lost. The Emulator left Scarborough on Tuesday afternoon for the fishing grounds, and the steam drifters Tryphena and Fear Not went out at the same time. The Tryphena returned on Wednesday morning and the Fear Not in the afternoon, and reported that shortly before ten o’clock on Tuesday night they heard a terrific explosion in the direction where they last saw the Emulator fishing. They missed the Emulator’s lights, and later, whilst cruising round, discovered traces of oil on the water, but there was no sign of any crew. A search was made at daylight by the Fear Not, but nothing could be seen, and after getting in their own lines the two drifters returned to port. The Emulator was taken over by the Government in 1916, and several members of the crew have been with her all the time. Latterly she has been fishing out of Grimsby, and only returned to Scarborough last Friday. She was owned by three of the men who, it is feared, have gone down with her, namely, Matthew Crimlisk, skipper aged about 40, married, of Filey (who had two sons with him); William Jenkinson, of Filey, mate (who had one son with him); and Richard Jenkinson. The other missing man is Richard Cowling, who married the daughter of a well-known Scarborough fisherman, and who leaves a widow and six or seven children.

Hull Daily Mail, 17 April 1919

There haven’t been enough hours today for me to find all the lost men and their families on FamilySearch Tree. Mainly because I have a studio portrait and headstone photograph, I’ll briefly introduce ‘Dick Fipney’ now.

photographer Walter Fisher, no date, courtesy Suzanne Pollard

Richard Baxter, son of William ‘Fipney’ COWLING and Margaret BAXTER, was born in 1871. Through common ancestors Robert JENKINSON and Margaret TRUCKLES, he was a third cousin to the other six aboard Emulator.

He married Alice BAYES in Scarborough in 1898  and the couple had seven children. Filey Genealogy & Connections shows that all but one married. The children of Richard and Alice haven’t been entered on the FamilySearch Tree yet.