Joseph and Mary

William Rickard’s first stepmother, Sarah ASHTON, had three children with Richard NICHOLSON before his death in 1864. Joseph arrived first in 1857, followed by Mary in 1859 and Thomas three years later. At the time of the 1861 census, the family was living next door to Sarah’s parents, Joseph and Charlotte née PRINCE, in Princes Street, Castleford. Richard was described as an Earthenware manufacturer and the elder Joseph as a Glass Bottle Manufacturer employing 41 men and 18 boys. The future must have looked bright for the Nicholsons.

There doesn’t seem to have been anything untoward in Richard’s passing at the age of 35 – I couldn’t find a newspaper account of his demise. The 1871 census finds Sarah living in Glass Houghton with James Rickard, a farmer of 155 acres employing three labourers. Her sons with James, William (Billy Ricky) and James Henry, are aged eight and two but they have an older half-brother to contend with – Thomas Nicholson, 9.

I made a cursory search for Joseph and Mary and, unable to find them living or dead, took the optimistic view that they were away at school somewhere or already working. I was surprised, though, to find two infants called Joseph and Mary Nicholson shuffling off their little mortal coils in Castleford aged zero, in 1866. But they were not twins.

Find little Joseph Nicholson on FSTThere is still some work to do but I’m almost ready to upload the headstone photographs for some of the LONG and RICKARD families that made their way to Filey.

A Million Species

Most newspapers carry reports about the United Nations “Extinction Report” today. I can’t comment on the coverage because I haven’t read any of them. This news item from may grab your attention (if it hasn’t been grabbed already).

I have lived with the grief of 200 species going extinct every day for several years now. So another ten years will see a million gone since I first took notice.

If there are still humans around in 2029 it may be a miserable world to live in, even for the most recent “royal” to arrive amongst us.

On my afternoon walk, in West Avenue:-


Billy Ricky’s Three Mothers

Filey Genealogy & Connections states plainly that William RICKARD’s mother is Sarah HURRELL, who married James Rickard in Stoke Damerel, Devon in 1856. The parents’ birthplaces are correctly located in the West Riding of Yorkshire. So what were they doing in Devon?

FG&C has William as firstborn in 1862, another unlikelihood, but gives him four siblings which are, I think, just one short. It marries him to Hannah Maria LONG and is correct in naming their ten children.

On FamilySearch Tree, Hannah Maria is waiting for a husband William has a foothold on FST thanks to a christening source. His mother is “Ann”. Her maiden name is TURVER in the GRO Births Index and William has an older brother, George Thomas, born two years earlier, in 1861. James married Ann in Wakefield in the first quarter of 1857.

George Thomas has a bigger genealogical footprint on FST but is an only child. His mother (and William’s) died in 1865 aged 32. James married a widow, Sarah NICHOLSON, two years later when his boys were aged six and four. Sarah ASHTON (as was), bore James four children and died aged 58 in 1896. In the spring of 1900, James married a third time but death took Jane Eliza (born WEBSTER) eighteen months later.

I don’t suppose Billy Ricky had any memories of his birth mother. I wonder what his relationship with Sarah was like – and how many times he saw Jane Eliza before she died. In early 1901 his father and second stepmother were living in Garforth between Leeds and Tadcaster, while he was residing 70 miles distant in Queen Street, Filey, with Hannah Maria and five sons aged between one and fourteen.

Today’s Image

I went to Scarborough this morning and, after photographing some monuments in Dean Road Cemetery, wandered down Peaseholm Glen. And saw a path through ramsons!


When the petals fall and the leaves yellow the “carpet” will get rather slimy and very smelly, but a single stem is still something to behold.


The photograph was taken 13 June 2014; a Black Cliff specimen maybe, brought back to my flat so that I could pretend to be Karl Blossfeldt.


It is easy to make mistakes when compiling family trees but, when whoppers are made on FamilySearch, “the system” usually issues a caution. Not in this case –


My persons of interest here are William George LONG and his wife, Hannah Elizabeth Susan HEADLEY. There are two headstones in St Oswald’s churchyard, side by side. One remembers William and Hannah’s seven-year-old daughter, Kate Mary. The other lists four of their grandchildren who died in infancy, including a second Kate Mary, but this one a RICKARD, who died aged 7 months. They were children of Hannah Maria LONG and “Billy Ricky”, who ran the chemist shop that still plies the trade at the corner of Murray Street and West Avenue, now as Boots but previously Whitfield’s.

Hannah Elizabeth was a daughter of Morris HEADLEY and Ann DOEG who seem to appear twice in the screenshot. The couple to the left is correctly positioned chronologically and between them and the would be “older” pair is their son (possibly) and his wife Anna Maria Bridgnell WALMSLEY. This couple married in Gateshead but as you can see from the screenshot Anna gave her birthplace as Dudley in a census. They were both some distance from home. My task now is to put them in their proper place, before I upload the headstone photos as Memories – and remove the duplicate Morris and Ann pairing.

I miss the ramson carpets that cover the floors of Coalbrookdale’s coppices and woods at this time of year. There are some small patches of wild garlic (aka “stinking lily”) in Filey, like this one by Black Cliff Steps, photographed on May Day. A poor man’s madeleine, of sorts.