John, John

In 1821, they were christened 49 days and about the same number of miles apart – and their mothers were called Mary.

FamilySearch.org
FamilySearch.org

Their wives were also called Mary and the couples chose the same names for three of their children.

Perhaps we should not be surprised that the two families became tangled on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

The first thing I did this morning was to extract all Yorkshire Carters from the 1881 Census as an Excel file and sort them by birth year, first for “John” and then for “Mary”. It was no surprise to see the men “twinned”. Three hale Marys, all widows, separated the wives.

Interesting that George should be living next door to his parents. (His wife and children are on the next page.)

Huntingdon John laboured on the railways for much of his life while Flamborough John worked the land. The agricultural labourer’s life would be shorter by sixteen years.

The railway man was a widower for seventeen years and lived for most of that time in Norton with his youngest son Thompson, daughter in law Sarah Ellen, and five grandchildren. The family’s move to Norton shortened the distance between the two Johns at death by almost twenty miles.

Efforts are being made on the Shared Tree to tease the two families apart. I am not acting alone, so a certain amount of chaos can be expected. I will let you know when I think it is safe to pay the Marys and Johns a visit.

Nature Morte 16 · Catshark

Small-spotted catshark, Scyliorhinus canicula, Filey Sands

A Very Special Lady

There are hundreds of small memorial plaques scattered around Filey. If they were all transcribed and digitized they would make up a database of people, visitors mostly, who loved the town. If their native places were to be found, an interesting distribution map might be drawn, showing Filey’s “hinterland of attraction”.

The first plaque I noticed on my morning walk today gently asked me to remember Margery Joan RABJOHN.

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I was taken initially by her year of birth. She shares 1926 with the scum of the earth I wrote about yesterday so her specialness was a welcome restorative (of faith in human nature). Her family has chosen the Parish Wood as a place of remembrance.

With such an unusual name, I thought it would be easy to find Margery and her forebears.

A quick online search failed to turn up a “meaning” for the name. Ancestry’s 1891 distribution map showed an absence of Rabjohns in Yorkshire but another site remarked that there are still a lot of them living in South Yorkshire.

Margery was born a DEAR, to Thomas and his wife Dorothy M. CARTHEW in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. I struggled to find her DEAR forebears so turned to her husband, Ronald. He was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire!, in 1924 to Percy and Minnie RABJOHN. Yes, Minnie was born a Rabjohn. I haven’t put my findings in a family tree program but, despite the rarity of the name, I would expect this couple not to be related by blood.

Percy’s parents were William RABJOHN and Eliza Ann EYRE, who married in Sheffield in 1869.

Minnie’s parents were George Charles RABJOHN and Sarah NORTON, who also married in Sheffield but later, in 1882.

At the start of the Second World War Ronald was approaching his fifteenth birthday and working as a Gas Fitter’s apprentice. His father, Percy, had spent some time in the Navy but in 1939 was doing heavy work as a Boiler Fireman. The family was enumerated at 231 Crookesmoore Road, Sheffield.

I found some sources for these Rabjohns on FamilySearch but none had a hoped-for “tree symbol” attached. One should not give up hope in such circumstances. FamilySearch has a quirky way of hiding people. Well, it is more likely that the failing, if it can be called such, is with the searcher’s methodology. When I approached from a different direction I found George Charles straight away on the tree – as Charles George RabJohn.

I spent some time looking in newspaper archives for Margery Joan without success. I’m sure she WAS very special, but perhaps in a low key way, to a select group of friends and family. There is, of course, every chance that she left a considerable mark that my amateurish search failed to uncover. Whatever, I enjoyed my time today with this stranger met by chance in a Filey wood.

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