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.
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.
I’m not very observant, and rubbish at identifying trees, but on my morning walk today I noticed some pines that looked rather sick.
Location: the plantation next to the Parish Wood, Filey.
I did some searching online and learned a little about the pine wilt nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, and its transporter, the Pine Sawyer Beetle, Monochamus sutor.
If the trees pictured above are Scots pine and Norway spruce, the “deadly messenger” has arrived in Yorkshire. Of course, I may be scaremongering. The advice for trees suspected of suffering from pine wilt is “if it’s brown, burn it down”. These specimens are next to a Nature Reserve so plenty of people with more knowledge than I possess have not raised the alarm.
Death comes quickly to trees attacked by the pine wilt nematode – from a few weeks to a year – so I hope these are suffering from something less serious. If it is pine wilt, though, it could be an indication that Britain is warming, however ludicrous that may seem this year.