A Mariner’s Daughter

I sailed an extra league this morning to make sure I could place Doris, in Goole, in the household of William AARON – and call out Doris Lynette, born 1918 in Athens, Georgia, as an impostor on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

If you go to Doris Lynette’s details page you will find that one of her seven sources is the birth registration for Doris in 1895.

Just Doris married Thomas Palmer in 1921 and the census of 1939 (the Register) found the couple in Goole with three daughters. (The girls’ married names were added to the census document later. Winifred, for example, married Ronald BEEVERS in Goole in 1949.) Below is a screenshot of the Palmer household as presented by Findmypast.

Doris was 34 years-old when she received news of her father’s death in the Kattegat, en route to Copenhagen.

An Admiralty record gives William’s rank as “First Mate”, his date of death the 18th March, and the cause of death as “shock following immersion”. It also gives the location of the SS Irwell when the accident happened.

I will leave The Mystery of Doris Lynette for someone else to solve.

Mark of Man 60 · Lifeguard Training

Filey Sands

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.

Laura and Her Mothers

It isn’t clear how long Laura has been presented on the FamilySearch Tree as the illegitimate daughter of a ten year-old child.

She has two exclams –

Seven years ago, a contributor left a collaboration note for Elizabeth HARDWICK born 1837 (ticked green in the screenshot above) placing her correctly in the 1841, 1851 and 1871 census returns. In 1871, this Elizabeth is living with her parents, William and Ann Hardwick, at Cote Grange, Northallerton. Elizabeth is 31 years old and unmarried. Also part of the household are William and Ann’s grandchildren, Frederick FOWLER (6) and Laura HARDWICK (5).

Laura has two sources attached to her record on FamilySearch – her birth registration and baptism. The mother’s maiden surname is not given in the first and in the second her mother is described as a Singlewoman.

Her abode – Pill Rig – is significant. The family’s address in 1861 is “Pill Rigs…Sowerby under Cotecliffe”. The name has survived and you can see a photograph of a track to the farm on Geograph. The Google Satellite View below shows the farm’s proximity to Kirby Sigston, where Laura was baptized at St Lawrence’s Church.

If you go to ArchiUK you will be able to zoom out from Kirby Sigston to the places nearby where other players in the “Two Mother Story” lived.

In 1873 Elizabeth married George MOON, a widower and father of a daughter a year younger than Laura. In 1881 the quartet was enumerated at Clacks House, Osmotherley. George’s occupation then was “Corn Miller” but “Farmer” in the next three censuses. In 1911, George (77) and Elizabeth (73) were living at “Clack Pleasant, Osmotherley”.

In 1881 “Laura Moon” is fifteen but the only death registration I have found that fits, in Northallerton  December Quarter 1886, is for Laura Hardwick, age 21. (Osmotherley is in the Northallerton Registration District.)

Pedigree Collapse (Tuesday’s post) gives Laura a dual relationship to her “false mother”, Elizabeth Hardwick born 1856. She is a first cousin with common ancestors William Hardwick and Ann FAWCETT and a second cousin with ancestors Thomas Fawcett and Jane MARWOOD.

So, what became of cousin Elizabeth? She rose above being feloniously assaulted (some sources say “raped”) when only four years old and traduced as an unmarried mother aged ten by FamilySearch contributors.

In the second quarter of 1878 she married William GRAINGER in Northallerton. Within a year their first child, Tom, arrived. He was followed by Harry, Annie, George, Hardwick and Louie. All the children reached adulthood but Harry died in 1905, aged 23.

William was a blacksmith for much of his working life but the 1911 census says he was an “Agent for Cakes and Manners”. Quite a career change. He died in 1927 aged 73 and just over a year later Elizabeth joined him in the next world, aged 72. If the five children who made it to 1911 were still alive then, their ages ranged from 32 to about fifty. That Elizabeth the Younger has been misrepresented on FamilySearch for so long suggests that descendants don’t have much of an interest in their roots. Not on FamilySearch anyway.

Found Object 48 · Spider Man

Muston Sands

Elizabeth Resurrected

It seems that most of Filey was disconnected from the Internet for several hours yesterday. With a couple of hours of my online “working day” remaining, I thought I would write a brief post on the anniversary of Michael AGAR’s death. (The newspaper publication date erroneously gives the impression that the event took place on Christmas Day.)

William was the oldest of the children but he would follow his father’s calling – and drown before the age of thirty. Elizabeth, his wife, died with him.

In memory of WILLIAM AGAR, Master Mariner aged 28 years, and ELIZABETH his wife aged 27 years, who were lost on their passage from London to Shields during a severe gale on the 7th of January 1839.

I put this photograph on FamilySearch as a memory over three years ago. Elizabeth CHEW had two existing IDs back then and I chose the one generated by a marriage source to represent her on the Shared Tree. The other ID linked to her christening record and parents Robert and Elizabeth nee COOK.

Yesterday, I discovered that both of these IDs had been merged. “My Elizabeth” had been taken from her husband.

It gets worse. The gravestone memory is currently linked to an Elizabeth Chew who rose from a watery grave, married again and had a child. Look here.

And this is the Tree View –

Searching the GRO Births Index for a minute or two reveals Ann Elizabeth’s mother to be Elizabeth GREAVES. Investing a bit more time will gather up Ann Elizabeth’s eight siblings, all registered in Knaresborough. Then check in Free BMD Marriages –

I went a few extra yards to discover this William Agar was a farmer at Hopperton, near Knaresborough. He died aged 48 on 12 September 1855 and a newspaper notice said he was “highly respected”.

William and Elizabeth’s memorial stone stands at the head of an empty grave. Their bodies were not recovered. I haven’t found a definitive account of their ship’s disappearance, or discovered how many other souls were lost from it. Initially, I thought they were passengers but tantalizing circumstantial evidence points to the vessel being owned by William. Perhaps he had taken Elizabeth down to the capital to see the sights. The Shipping and Mercantile Gazette of 19 February 1839 records several casualties of the gale on 7 January, including Fama,under Captain RUSSELL, which went ashore on Spurn Point. Her cargo had to be unloaded and she did not reach Hull until 18 February, “with loss of foremast, bowsprit etc”. And in the Hull Packet of 22 February –

I will try to do right by William and Elizabeth.

Beach 123 · Filey Sands at Arndale

Doubting Another Thomas

I happened upon a Shared Tree mix-up a few days ago and it has taken a lot of source searching to resolve.

Thomas, son of Thompson, had been married off to the wrong woman. This situation seems to have been allowed to stand for a few years and, as this Thomas had no sources attached to him, I made some changes. You will now find Rose Hannah’s children with a different father.

If enough living representatives of the families SAWDEN and SAWDON were to be DNA tested it might be found that they are quite distinct lineages. In the imperfect world we inhabit, the variant spellings are haphazardly applied. “Screenshot Thomas” married Florence SAWDON (Free BMD). She had two daughters and the GRO Index entries both give “Sawdon” as the Mother’s Maiden Surname.

Florence signed her name in the St Mary’s register –

The witnesses were siblings of Thomas. The full entry gives us their father’s name.

If you look for Thomas in FamilySearch Sources you will be given this –

Look further down the list and you will see the other Thomas tied to Rose Hannah – and with parents Thomas and Ann, not Thompson and Rachel.  (The illustration below is generated by a search for Thomas born in Towthorpe and three of the children listed in the top hit have the family name SODON in the GRO Births Index. Thomas is clearly a Sawdon in the Wetwang cum Fimber baptism register. On 21 April 1867, the family was resident at Dale Cottages, Wharram Percy. Towthorpe is mid-way between this village and Wetwang.)

Florence is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard and the inscription remembers her first child, Pearl.

Townscape 61 · Crescent Gardens

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Only Connect #2: Jane Cortis

Jane was the third daughter born to Richard CORTIS and Jane SMITHSON, eight years after Elizabeth (Only Connect #1).

Jane was eight years old when her mother died, one of ten children that Richard had to nurture. Elizabeth must have carried most of the burden of being “mother” but she married in 1845. When the census was taken at the end of March 1851, Jane was the only one of the brood remaining “at home” to help her father run the Minerva Hotel in Hull. Three weeks later, she married Philip HORSLEY, a farmer from Doncaster.

Jane has a third FamilySearch ID, masquerading under the family name “Curtis”, without parents or siblings.

I commented in an earlier post that Jane and Philip disappeared from English records and I speculated that they may have joined the Cortis diaspora to the United States. I went looking and found a source detailing the purchase of eighty acres of land in Iowa in 1852 by a Philip Horsley. Expecting to find him with a wife and a bunch of children in 1860, I was dismayed when I couldn’t find them in the Census. I feared one, or both, had died.

I messaged Peter in Australia and he looked again at the cache of Cortis family letters in his possession. He told me that the name DANNATT appeared several times, along with FAMILTON and PECK. This information led me in short order to Jane CURTISS.

This Jane has no birth family history or the earlier marriage to Philip but she married Benjamin in Clinton, Iowa. And if the Familtons and Pecks are not enough to prove a connection to the Australian Cortis branch – she named one of her daughters Minna.

Further confirmation came from the discovery of a marriage record – of Benjamin Dannatt to Jane Horsley.

It appears that Philip died without issue but on re-marrying Jane became a step mother to three children born to Benjamin and his first wife Elizabeth Ann BOWER. Jane subsequently had seven children of her own. Sources on the Shared Tree place the family in Low Moor, Iowa, mid-way between DeWitt and Clinton.

It is looking increasingly likely that Jane blazed the Cortis trail to America. While some of the brothers that followed made fortunes in Manhattan, Thomas Thackrah (the youngest) seems to have been less successful as a physician. He lived near sister Jane in Clinton County for a while. I will make a case for him to be “connected” in another post.

Measure of Man 44 · Country Park

Only Connect #1: Elizabeth Cortis

Elizabeth was the first child born to Richard CORTIS and Jane SMITHSON. As I write, she may be found in two corners of the FamilySearch Tree multiverse.

Seven sources are attached to her record and they all truly belong to her. Three are marriage sources and a FamilySearch transcription of one of them records her age in 1845 as 21, giving a calculated birth year of 1824. The Holy Trinity (Hull) marriage register doesn’t specify the age of the bride or groom.

This source is valuable in giving her residence and her father’s occupation. Richard by this time had given up seafring and was keeping The Minerva Hotel, a stone’s throw from the River Humber.The naming of three Cortis witnesses – Elizabeth’s parents and sister in law -is also helpful. (Mary Jane had married Elizabeth’s brother, Dr William Smithson Cortis the previous year.)

A Sculcoates Parish christening source indicates that Elizabeth was 27 years-old when she married.

A “possible duplicate” indication on Elizabeth 1’s page takes us here: –

Elizabeth does not have children yet – but has the correct birth year, her mother and a full complement of siblings.

Elizabeth 1 appears to have lived for 66 years, dying in Bramley. A few days ago I found a Billion Graves photograph of her headstone in Hull General Cemetery. I imagine it is not far from her father’s grave. It clearly indicates she died in 1857, aged 39.

So, who was the Elizabeth HUTCHINSON who died in 1890? Maybe the wife of gardener Thomas Hutchinson, born Elizabeth HALDENBY. In 1881 this couple and several children were enumerated in Hunslet, which is six or seven miles from Bramley.

After the early death of “our” Elizabeth, Charles Hutchinson re-married – but he waited thirteen years to do so. This is surprising, given that Frederick was twelve and Alice Maria just six when their mother died. Charles died in 1875, aged 58.

Frederick became a successful builder and was able to retire in his late thirties, but shortly after giving birth to their seventh child his wife Kate died aged 38. Frederick chose not to marry again but the 1901 and 1911 censuses show he had two umarried daughters  and three servants to run his household.

It seems that descendants of Elizabeth 1 may have contributed information about her to the Shared Tree, so I don’t want to make any major changes. I hope it will be a pleasant surprise for them to discover Elizabeth 2’s remarkable birth family. Or Betsey as she was known when she married.

Beach 113 ·Filey Sands

There’s Only One Harriet

The last of the TAYLOR children seriously misrepresented on the FamilySearch Shared Tree is Edmund, the seventh son of Francis and Mary nee BRAITHWAITE. He married twice and currently his first wife is Harriet Matilda WILSON.

On census night in 1871, Edmund is lodging with oldest brother Thomas in Victoria Place, Chorlton on Medlock. At the next census he is married to second wife Mary WILKINSON. Mary has yet to have a child of her own but is stepmother to Harry and Mary. The Shared Tree has Edmund and Mary marrying on 6 October 1880 and Harriet Matilda dying in April 1881.

Between 1871 an 1880 there is only one marriage registered in England and Wales that features our focus couple.

Free BMD Marriages

Harriet is 26 years old when she dies in the first quarter of 1879, less than six months after she gave birth to Mary. A calculated birth year of 1853 generates parents William Wilson and Harriet SPENCER in Bolton, Lancashire, but this relationship should be checked.

On the Shared Tree there are three sources attached to Harriet Matilda. The first is a Chorlton birth registration for Harriet Margaret WILSON in the September Quarter of 1844. Harriet Matilda’s birth is given as 1843 – in Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire. The second source, for the marriage, is correct in naming “just Harriet”. The third source is a death registration for Harriet Matilda Taylor in the June Quarter of 1881. FamilySearch shows the registration place is Chorlton and age at death 38. The GRO Deaths Index, however, doesn’t give the registration place and has a different Volume and Page number. Free BMD Deaths agrees with the GRO in giving Volume 8c and Page 392 and helpfully specifies Chorlton Registration District.

A Harriet date of death after Edmund has married again makes further investigation rather pointless, but a quick search of Free BMD Marriages shows just one Harriet Matilda WILSON marrying between 1860 and 1881 – in Bethnal Green, London.

A “member’s tree” on Find My Past offers a variant Harriet, born in Pateley Bridge in 1855 and dying in Bramley (Leeds) in 1879. I cannot find either event supported by civil registration. So, for me, there was only one Harriet Wilson destined to be Edmund’s first helpmeet.

Path 103 · Sand Hill Lane

Church Ravine

A Bad Marriage

The paternal grandmother of Thomas CLARK, Sunday’s missing soldier, is Ann TAYLOR. On the FamilySearch Shared Tree she is married to Richard MARSHALL.

Ann has three sources: christening in 1838, 1851 census and civil marriage in 1856. Richard just has the marriage source; his parents are not given. That he is apparently eight years older than Ann isn’t much of a caution, but the bride being just eighteen should give pause. In Britain in the mid-19th century, both sexes could marry legally at puberty. Fourteen for males, twelve for females. Parental permission to marry was required if the parties were below “full age” (21). Widely accepted advice was for young women to wed between the ages of 21 and 25 and the average age at marriage for both sexes  in Victorian Britain was around 25.

Hindsight (after much research) is a wonderful thing, but let us begin the search for Ann’s Mr. RIGHT by accepting her birth in Bridlington in 1838 and that she was from a good, settled family that followed social norms. A simple query of Free BMD marriages in East Yorkshire between 1859 and 1863 gives just one result.

Bingo! A likely contender for Private Clark’s grandfather.

Expanding the search two years each way adds one other East Yorkshire “hit”.

The bad marriage.

Ann’s 1851 census source confirms that her father is Francis Taylor, as shown on the Shared Tree. The father of Ann who married first is another man.

It would be interesting to know if this John Taylor was a witness at the marriage of “our” Ann to William Clark.

I think this is evidence enough to end the Shared Tree bad marriage and unite Ann with her soldier grandson. A task for tomorrow perhaps. (I should point out that William is already represented on the Shared Tree with “Anne” and one child.)

I tried to discover what happened to Richard and Ann but their trail went cold after the birth of their first child.

William Clark had eight children with his Ann and when the 1911 census was taken he is living in Bickerton near Wetherby with daughter Sarah Ann, a Farm Manager’s wife. But William, now 74, is a widower and I don’t know yet when or where Ann died. William’s life ended in the Workhouse but not, it seems, sadly.

Insect 26 · Soldier Beetles

Rhagonycha fulva, Muston Cliffs