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.