“Lord Help Me”

About ten weeks after his Christmas Day wedding, William JENKINSON sailed for the North Sea fishing ground aboard the yawl Jane and Elizabeth, skipper Bayes COWLING. Thirty miles from the coast the lines were cast from the yawl’s coble – and then a “sudden gale sprung up”. (All quotes are from a syndicated report that appeared in many local newspapers around the country.) Many other fishing boats ran for shelter but Captain Cowling, quite reasonably, chose to bring in his lines and their catch before heading for shore. Three of the crew, William Jenkinson, the skipper’s son Thomas Hunter Cowling and William SAYERS, brought in fourteen lines and then went out to haul the remaining seven.

…a fearful sudden sea rose and struck the coble, filling her with water. This caused her soon to upset, throwing the crew into the sea. Whilst they were struggling in the water, Cowling caught hold of a bowl and an oar, Jenkinson two bowls, and Sayers grabbed hold of the coble, which was bottom uppermost, and got upon it. Soon after he was joined by Jenkinson, but Cowling could not reach it. The Captain, who had seen this sad affair, at once ran the yawl towards the men, and whilst passing, Cowling seized hold of a “fender” which hung over the yawl’s side. One of the boys on board got hold of the hair of his head and held him up, whilst his father, the captain, seized a rope and life-belt, which he threw to the two on the coble. His son was then pulled in, and the yawl turned round to the rescue of [the] others, but on getting to the coble, Sayers alone was holding on nearly exhausted. A second sea had washed them off, but fortunately he had again got hold of the coble. Poor Jenkinson, on attempting to do so, fell backwards, exhausted, exclaiming, “Lord help me,” and was never seen again. Jenkinson was about 26 years of age, and has left a young widow, he having been married only three months.

There may be an official record of William’s death somewhere but, lacking his recovered body, there isn’t a civil registration. He isn’t remembered on a stone in the churchyard and he wasn’t with Jane long enough to leave a genetic inheritance.

Jane gave birth to a daughter about four years later, father unknown, and eight years after William’s death she married again and had five children with Thomas JOHNSON.

With the only evidence of his passing being a brief, if widely disseminated, news item, it isn’t too surprising that he has not yet been accurately represented on the FamilySearch Tree.

As I write this, Ann CAPPLEMAN is still William’s wife on FST. One of the blue hints by his name on the pedigree leads to his rightful marriage to Jane CAPPLEMAN. (The women are first cousins, their common ancestors being Thomas CAPPLEMAN and the Jane WEBSTER of Sunday’s post.)

England Marriages 1538-1973; page image via Find My Past

Jane and Elizabeth

There are several fishing vessels with this name in Captain Smith’s database but none are yawls. There is a yawl called Jane Elizabeth, built in Scarborough in 1867 and registered SH70. The date of first ownership is annoyingly given as“7???” in my digitization of the Captain’s handwritten pages. However, the owners are “Thomas Hunter COWLING & Bayes COWLING, fishermen of Filey & Robert CAMMISH, grocer of Filey”. In Filey Genealogy & Connections, Robert has just the one child, with Jane ELDERS, baptised Jane Elizabeth in August 1861. You can find her on FST. A case, perhaps, of coincidence challenging a possible recording, transcription or digitization error!



Ann and Jane CAPPLEMAN were the last of nine children born in Filey to William and Mary née CAMMISH.

Ann married Thomas Bradley BURN in 1860 when she was 27–years old. Thomas died in 1864 and Ann married again in 1868. One of the witnesses at the marriage ceremony at St Oswald’s was Thomas JOHNSON, who had married Ann’s younger sister, Jane, three years earlier.

Jane’s marriage lasted less than seven years. She died in February 1872, leaving just one child, John William, who is referenced in verse on her headstone.


‘Mourn not for me my friends so dear

I am not lost but sleepeth here

Mourn not for me but pity take

And love my offspring for my sake.’

Ann’s short first marriage also produced just one son, Bradley. A second boy took the BURN family name but arrived long after Thomas Bradley’s death. She then gave birth to five HUNTER children, four boys and a girl, between 1870 and 1881.

Three years after Jane’s death, Thomas JOHNSON married again. Her name? Jane CAPPLEMAN. Between 1876 and 1883, this couple brought five children into the world, four girls and a boy.

The parents of sisters Ann and Jane had about 20 personal identity numbers between them on FamilySearch Tree and I spent an hour or two today merging the duplicates. There is more work to be done but these two generations are now somewhat more approachable.

William CAPPLEMAN, father of Ann and Jane.

You may recall the Ann CAPPLEMAN who featured on the screenshot in Monday’s post.


Here is the graveyard indication that she did not marry.


In affectionate remembrance of ANN, daughter of WILLIAM & SARAH CAPPLEMAN,

who died May 18 1879, aged 38 years.

‘The Master is come and calleth

for thee’

I stated confidently on the screenshot, ‘This William married a Jane CAPPLEMAN’, And lo! He was the first husband of the Jane who took the place of Ann’s sister in the marriage bed of Thomas JOHNSON.

But it is also true that in May 1857 at St Oswald’s, William JENKINSON married Ann CAPPLEMAN, as indicated in the screenshot. But he was the son of Matthew and Ann née DONKIN, and she the daughter of Francis and Sarah née JENKINSON. (Matthew and Sarah were first cousins, common ancestors Robert JENKINSON and Margaret TRUCKLES.)


‘Thy will be done’

In loving memory of WILLIAM JENKINSON, the beloved husband of

ANNIE JENKINSON of Filey, who died Dec 12 1896, aged 60 years.

‘Rest loved one, rest, our loss

Is thy eternal gain’

Also of ANNIE, wife of the above, who died in the Lord Aug 20th 1905, aged 67 years.

‘Thy will be done’

Also CHARLES HUNTER, son in law of the above and beloved husband of

SARAH ANN HUNTER, who was lost at sea March 6 1883, aged 25 years.

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

This Ann CAPPLEMAN on FamilySearch Tree.

However, for the time being, the mistaken marriage of William Jenkinson and Ann Cappleman can still be found on FST under their duplicate IDs.

I think there is a good chance you are as confused about these various relationships as I have been the past three days. I’ll try to make things a little clearer by telling the story of ‘Wrong’ William’s sad death, and give him his rightful wife, in a day or two.

A Mixed-Up Marriage

The FamilySearch Tree system plays Guesswork Wives occasionally. It is one thing to create a person from an extracted record, and another to marry them off to some random fellow.


This wrong William JENKINSON does not, at the moment, have any sources attached to him. I hope to put him right over the next few days but it is a tangled web. Three Ann CAPPLEMANs were born in Filey between 1838 and 1841, and three Janes of that ilk between 1843 and 1846. Five William JENKINSONs appeared on the scene between 1836 and 1844. Troublemakers all! (Nobody should be blamed for mix-ups that have occurred already – or may happen with these people in the future.)

The untangling is going to be greatly helped by the St Oswald’s Monumental Inscriptions. I have three headstones already in the queue to support the changes that must be made to the above screenshot. And one of those remembered, Charles HUNTER, should have featured in the March 6th post, The Storm & Jacky Windy.

The families of most of the drowned fishermen have some representation on FST but there wasn’t enough time in the day to fill gaps and make sound connections for this post.

At the 1871 Census, Charles was a 13-year-old fisherman. At 25 he was master of the yawl Amity (SH90), and a casualty of the March ’83 storm.


The William JENKINSON of the screenshot drowned about three months after his wedding. Jane married again, had five children, and died aged 97 in 1941. I’ll write more about them in a future post.

Hannah Gets Her Fingers Burned

I made a list of daily tasks a few days ago to encourage me to keep the churchyard project moving. Work on the headstones is eating into story research time so there are a couple of tasks that may provide some research-lite opportunities.

Find one News Story OR a portrait photo among the donations to the old Looking at Filey blog.

Another task is to put one headstone photograph on FamilySearch Tree each day.

The “memory” posted today recalls David GOUNDRILL (1869 – 1941), his wife Mary née SCALES and their daughter Hannah Margaret.


The Goundrill family was not well represented on FST but boosting its presence was fairly straightforward. Mary’s forebears were numerous but included dozens who, as far as I could tell, were not related to her at all. The FST “system” was the main culprit but there is no excuse allowing infant males to sire children or women to keep producing offspring for 90 years or more.

Hannah Margaret didn’t marry and died in 1970 aged 65. Her life was not without incident.


About four years later Hannah was living with her parents in Mariner’s Terrace, working as a “Ships Chandlers Secretary” (source: 1939 Register).

The man responsible for Hannah’s terrifying and perhaps embarrassing experience, ‘Laffy’ junior, was probably Thomas JENKINSON, born 1894. He isn’t on the World Tree yet but you can find ‘Laffy’ senior here.

Hannah on FST.

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.