Lonesome Dove

If I take “Snaith George” away from his parents on the Shared Tree he will have no-one in his past. After several hours of searching, I’ve yet to find his real ma and pa. Based on geography alone, there is a good chance he is the son of John and Elizabeth DOVE. They christened their boy in Bubwith, about ten miles from where “our George” married Rachael Lansdon née BICKERTON. Alas, the few sources that give his age all disagree. The 1841 England & Wales census says he is 35, the 1851 Canadian census offers 47. So, calculated birth years of 1806 and 1804. The Bubwith christening took place on 8 September 1802.

Rachael Bickerton’s birth year is an equally moveable snack – 1806 (1841census), 1801 (1851 census) and a very precise 16 April 1796 attached to her christening in Howden, attended by parents John Bickerton and Jane RICHARDSON. FamilySearch gives eleven hints for Rachel/Rachael and only one is duff – the 1851 census, which makes her the wife of “Middleton George” and mother of three children not her own. In that year, of course, she was over 3,000 miles away in Ontario.

I am waiting for replies to messages I sent a while ago to two contributors to the Doves from Hook/Snaith/Goole. I would prefer it if descendants made the needed corrections.

I wonder how much Snaith George knew about his ancestry. Was he able to tell his children about their roots? Some days ago I discovered that his fourth daughter Harriet married Benjamin F. CHEESBRO in Norfolk, Ontario on 11 September 1858. Today I discovered that this union is peculiarly represented on the Shared Tree.


The marriage date is wrong and this Benjamin’s birthplace is given as Saginaw. His two brothers were born in Methley, Yorkshire, a few years later. But, the parents of the Benjamin F. CHEESBRO who married “our Harriet” are given as Joseph and Jane in the Norfolk marriage source. A quick look at the growing Methley CHEESBROUGH family in England looks right, hence the ticks. Its Y-line goes back to Robertus, born 1586, but if you explore the Shared Tree further it becomes clear that Harriet married into a family of great distinction – assuming the earlier generations have been assembled with greater accuracy than those in the 19th century.

For now, in truth, poor Snaith George is bereft of forebears.


The Harriet DOVE I found yesterday, a domestic servant at age 13 in 1851, was not the daughter of “Snaith George”. The muddled, mistaken family was at that time about 3,000 miles away in Brant County, Ontario. No wonder I had failed to find them in the England & Wales census.

Small elements of doubt. I unearthed the christening records for the children this morning and all the entries in the Hook Chapelry book gave George’s occupation as “Innkeeper”. This doesn’t solve yesterday’s mystery scrawl. And George told the Canadian enumerator he was a Mason by trade (and a Methodist by religion). I then happened upon a source from a much later date that said the family arrived in Canada in 1840. so what are the chances of these migrants being mistaken Doves all over again?

In 1841, in Snaith, the family comprised:-

George, 35

Rachel, 35

Ann, 9

Sarah, 7

Emma, 5

Harriot, 3

George, 1

The birth and christening records show variant children’s names – Ann Elizabeth, Harriet and George Wesley.

Compare the list with the 1851 Canada census:-


Not a slam dunk, but close. (In 1841 England, enumerators were instructed to give adult ages to the nearest five years.) I can’t explain Sarah’s absence. It is possible she was left behind in the home country but it’s perhaps more likely that she died in Canada before 1851.

On a happier note, I found a record of Harriet’s marriage to Benjamin F. CHEESBRO, son of Joseph and Jane, in Norfolk, Ontario on 11 September 1858. But nothing else.

There is still the muddle on the Shared Tree to sort out. I am receiving help from another contributor, so with luck and a following wind…

Just Williams

I made another attempt today to discover where William ALDEN originated. In the 1881 census, he gives his birthplace as “Hornsey”, Yorkshire. I took this to be Hornsea. In 1891 he offers “Hatfield”, possibly Great Hatfield just four miles from Hornsea. In 1901 it is back to “Hornsey” and in 1911 “Hornsea”. Both William and Ann are wayward in giving their ages but a fuzzy search for William in Skirlaugh Registration District between the start of civil registration and 1843 doesn’t find him.

Looking again at the census, I was distracted by a William Alden working as a Carter in Skipsea with a calculated birth year of 1840, between one and three years older than Ann’s future husband may have been. He gave his birthplace as Thorpe, in Norfolk. The fact that Ann’s parents had married in Skipsea 29 years earlier gave me pause. (Perhaps she met him while visiting relatives and fell instantly in love.) After searching for this William in the Norwich area records, and coming up blank, I’m still wondering.

I also looked in newspapers for a Norfolk William who may have been driven from the county of his birth by a shameful deed. I found a William Alden, who could conceivably have been our man’s father, committing suicide by throwing himself from Whitefriar’s Bridge into the River Wensum. This was in 1856, the place of demise just a few miles from Thorpe. (It was suggested at the coroner’s inquest that “the deceased had suffered from a kind of religious fanaticism, and had also been much depressed in spirits”.)

I think I’ll let Ann’s William rest in peace, with his secrets buried with him in Filey churchyard.


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.


O Pioneers!

My 3rd cousin 5 times removed, Susannah Rebecca TILLET, was born in Norfolk in 1822. Her father, William, didn’t live to see her married to Daniel OSBORNE in 1844; her mother, Susanna, welcomed four of the couple’s seven children into the world – though the first two, twins Richard and Robert, didn’t stay long. The third child, Susannah Rebecca (named after her mother), was four years old when granny Susanna died. Three more Osborne children were born in Norfolk and then, at the age of 31, Daniel decided to take his family to America. They sailed on the good ship Thornton and arrived in New York City early in July 1856, giving their final destination as Utah. Before the end of the month, they set out from Iowa City, traveling with the James G. Willie Company.

A Willie Handcart Survivor plaque continues the story of Susannah Rebecca the Younger.

At the age of  12 years Susannah Rebecca Osborne and family were members of the Willie Handcart Company of 1856. She, her mother and sisters Martha Ann and Sarah Ann were rescued from under the handcart in Echo Canyon, Utah, by John Saline. Soon after their rescue, Susannah Rebecca Tillet Osborne, mother of three little girls,, died and was laid to rest in a meager, snowy grave just hours from Salt Lake City. Her father Daniel Osborne and Daniel Osborne Jr. also died and were buried on the plains. John and Susanna were later married and came to the Gila Valley where they raised ten children. Their numerous descendants are sincerely reverenced and truly humbled by their great faith, noble devotion and everlasting love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are forever amazed, honored and stand in awe of their life story.


I wouldn’t have known any of this had FamilySearch not sent me an email! Here’s the first sighting of my pioneer cousin.


O Susannah, I’m not ashamed to say I cried for thee.


Today’s Image

In June 1841, Church Cliff House was occupied by farmer Richard LOWISH, his wife Mary Ann, and their daughter Ann, with five male agricultural labourers and two female servants living in. In August the following year, Richard sold 35 pure-bred Leicestershire rams by auction and in April 1843 assigned “all his real and personal estate and effects” to three trusted men and sailed for America. In 1850 he was enumerated in Lost Creek, Vigo, with Mary Ann and four children. The youngest of three girls, Emma G. aged 3, had been born in Indiana. You can find them on FamilySearch Tree.

Scottow · Scotter

Mark SCOTTOW was baptized this day, 1854, in Runton, Norfolk. In August 1917 Mark SCOTTER was “killed by enemy submarine”.


The origins of surnames are often fancifully explained on websites that hope to sell you parchments but I found one today that suggested SCOTTOW derived from a village of that name in Mark’s birth county. It also pointed out that there was a village in Lincolnshire called SCOTTER.

Ancestry has re-designed the surname distribution maps it freely provides online.


Taken at face value, this map shows a Norfolk heartland and zero Scotters in Lincolnshire, so if one accepts the morphing of Mark’s surname in his lifetime, the Scottow theory looks good.

Mark was part of the Norfolk Scottow/Scotter diaspora to the Yorkshire coast and the above map doesn’t register the seven Scotter families in Filey in 1891. If you read the small print, though, you will see that Yorkshire has 42% of Scotter families in England and Wales in that census year. We need a more accurate map.

SCOTTOW is ranked =206 in Filey surnames with 23 males and 6 females.

SCOTTER is ranked =25 with 93 males and 85 females.

These are “unique individuals” in Kath’s Filey Genealogy & Connections database, not people counted several times in census returns.

I counted the birth registrations in the districts containing Scottow, Norfolk and Scotter, Lincolnshire in three decades, 1851-60, 1871-80 and 1901-1910, and in Scarborough Registration District.

There were no Scottows or Scotters registered in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire over those 30 years.

Thirteen Scottow births were registered in Erpingham, Norfolk in the first decade and none in the last.  There was one Scottow birth in Scarborough between 1851 and 1860 and three in the last decade.

For Scotter the count for the three decades in Erpingham was 5, 8 and 4.

For Scarborough, it was 4, 23 and 22.

This is a rather sketchy statistical analysis but it seems to confirm the growing acceptance of Scotter over the “original” Scottow – and the migration of Norfolk fisher families to the Yorkshire coast.

In 2011, David Scotter wrote three articles about the diaspora for Looking at Filey. You can learn more about Mark here.

Mark on FST.

My Delilah

A couple of weeks ago FamilySearch kindly sent me some relatives via email. Since the door to my fancy forebears closed I have been left with a modest pedigree so any “new blood” is most welcome, even if it ain’t blue. I doubt I would ever have unearthed these people – descendants of a third great granduncle, Charles FENN. A gift gratefully received.

Charles (1797 – 1863) was the firstborn child of Jonathan FENN and Anne ALDOUS and he had six children (at least) with Sophia COPEMAN. Two of the children, Charles Jnr and Eve Maria were born in the Gressenhall Workhouse. The second son, William (born 1833), was with his family in the Workhouse in 1841 but ten years later he had, it seems, set out to see the world, leaving behind two brothers and two sisters with their father, widowed in 1850.

William headed north to Durham and on 3rd January 1857 married Margaret Ann McVAY (or McVEY) in Sunderland. Their first child, named  Eve Maria after the workhouse baby sister, was not long in arriving but she opened her eyes in New York. Her two brothers and eight sisters would enter the world in New York, Salt Lake City, Idaho, Lewis and ManganeseWickesHelenaClark County and Park City in Montana. At the 1880 Census they were living in Helena, which was one of the wealthiest towns in the nation around that time. William was working as a boilermaker and I guess his main employers would have been mining companies. Gold was the main source of the area’s wealth but the mountains to the south of Helena had other minerals worth scrabbling for. In Jefferson City, a few miles from Helena, there were over 14,000 claims and 2,500 mines. Checking the satellite view on Google Earth it is the manganese at Wickes that catches the eye.

FamilySearch focused on William and Margaret’s five-year-old daughter Sarah Doremis and I became somewhat emotional imagining her going to school in “Lewis and Clark” country near the Missouri River. (Last year I read Allan Wolf’s novel New Found Land and connected most readily with Meriweather’s wonder dog, Oolum!) Sarah died aged 83 in Cascade, Montana when I was ten years old and totally unaware of her existence. She was my second cousin three times removed.

But what of Delilah FENN, my first cousin four times removed? Sarah’s aunt, she married Frederick RUSSELL in 1867 and bore him 12 children. Fred was a builder and, I suspect, a fairly prosperous one, well able to pay for Delilah to cross the pond to see her 60-year-old brother and surviving nephews and nieces. She sailed for New York from Glasgow aboard the State of Nebraska in1893.

Who knows how many wonderful memories she brought back to “the old country”? She died in Sussex in 1913, age 65.

On FamilySearch Tree – Delilah, Sarah Doremis.

The path towards the uncertain glories of a now mythical Plantagenet heritage can be followed from my 3 times great grandmother, Esther Wells – but only for three generations.

Ellen of Greenacres

On quiet days I dip into the On This Day files generated from Kath’s Filey Genealogy & Connections database. From the seventy or so daily hatch, match and scratch results I pick my fancy. PEACH is an unfamiliar Filey name. It doesn’t feature in the StOswald’s Monumental Inscriptions so, yesterday, I was intrigued by the burial of Archibald Philip in the churchyard in 1869 and decided to investigate.

Here is a screenshot of Kath’s record in Roots Magic. (You can view the pedigree fragment in FamilySearch Genealogies here.)


The exclams indicate that the parents were 1,672 years old when they married. They were noted as being of Full Age in the St Oswald’s Church Register and, yes, Ellen did appear to have been born a GRANT. Her father, Samuel, is described as a Labourer – the same occupation as Charles’ father, Henry. It is Ellen’s second marriage and Kath has her former husband as “Mr. Greenacre”; no children.

Given that Charles and Ellen married at the end of a Census year I thought it would be easy to find them in their separate households eight months earlier. Ellen, 32, was living in Quay Street, Scarborough with three children – Sarah Ann, 6, Charles Albert, 4, and Richard S., age 1. Charles, an unmarried fisherman, may have been away at sea on Census night. I couldn’t find him – and failed to find him, for sure, anywhere. I traced back and happened upon just one Charles PEACH with a father called Henry – in 1861, 17 years old and working as an agricultural labourer in Wistow, Huntingdonshire.

What we do know, sadly, is that his children with Ellen had short lives. Archibald Philip lived just four months (the GRO Online Index erroneously gives 4 years) and his sister Betsey Eliza Hannah a year. (Wistow Charles’ mother was called Betsey.)

Ellen GRAND married her Mr. Greenacre in the spring of 1864, the event is registered in Erpingham, Norfolk but probably taking place in Plumstead by Holt where Benjamin Richard was baptized. His father wasn’t named in the church register.

The couple moved to Yorkshire soon after the wedding and their first child, Sarah Ann, was born in Hull the following year. When Ellen was carrying their third child her husband died. Two years later she married Charles and gave birth to the two short-lived Peaches. The parents then seem to vanish and I haven’t been able to “kill them off” as we amateur genealogists are advised to do as a priority.

It was much easier to follow the progress of the Greenacre children. Sarah Ann stayed in the Scarborough area, married and had four children. She died aged 90 in 1955. Richard Samuel worked as a groom in Scarborough (1891) before moving across the Pennines to earn his living as a coachman in domestic service. He probably met his wife at Trafford Hall, Wimbolds – Floretta Hart was working there as a Kitchenmaid in 1891 – before they settled to raise a large family in the Wigan area. Fancy, a Greenacre marrying a Flora/Floretta – and calling one of their daughters Florice. Perfick. Well, not quite. Their son, Charles Albert died of wounds in Flanders in the summer of 1918.

I amassed so many children and sources during today that I decided to put them on FST.

This is how Ellen and Benjamin Richard presented themselves first thing this morning.