The Brothers Toalster

I happened upon the Toalster name for the first time a few days ago when I prepared the Monumental Inscription record and headstone photograph for Catherine APPLEBY.

Catherine was the daughter of James Patrick TOALSTER and Ethel May HARRISON, born in Hull in 1906.

A quick search online for the meaning of the family name and its heartland turned up nothing of value and I must go with my instinct that it is an Irish name. Catherine’s great  grandfather James Toalster was born in the Emerald Isle about 1810, possibly in Galway – the place named in the first of several records that track his career in the British Army. The others are Liverpool, Poona and London where, I think, he was discharged. In 1861 he can be found living in Scott Street, Sculcoates, given age 51 and described as a Chelsea Pensioner.

James was about 44 years-old when his son, also James, was born and did not live to see any of the twelve grandchildren young James had with Mary Ann CLEARY.

Eight of the twelve were boys and four would join the British Army and serve in the most senseless war. All went to foreign fields and only Catherine’s father, James Patrick, came home.

CWGC

John

Edward

Thomas

The three brothers are also remembered at the New George Street Shrine in their home town.

The 13th East Yorkshires was one of the Hull Pals Battalions. If you follow the link you will see that those whose Commonwealth War Graves are illustrated were all killed on the same day as Thomas Toalster. But his mother, still mourning the loss of two of her boys, lived in hope for several months that she might see Thomas again. He had been reported missing at the Battle of the Ancre (13 to 16 November 1916). Then, in late March/early April 1917 –

Ancre was the last of the infamous Somme battles fought over five months. John had been killed on the first day. Edward died from wounds suffered at the Second Battle of Ypres, when poison gas was first used on a large scale.

Only the brother who survived the war is represented on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. I will add the others tomorrow.

Sky 24 · Above the Country Park

A Minnie Problem

John Hendry NORTH, born 1820 in Hull, first married Sarah Doughty SPINK. After bearing seven children between 1842 and 1858 she died in London, but is remembered on a headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.

John Hendry was 47 years-old when he married Frances Ann Elizabeth SHAILER, 24, in the summer of 1867.  Their first child, Arthur Guildford North, was late to the scene – in 1872 – and he didn’t marry Minnie SMITH until he was forty-three.

Even though she was a Smith, I thought Minnie would be easy to find. Initially, I had the information that she was born in 1879 in East Yorkshire. I added 1878 to the search term and Free BMD offered the following girls.

I had a moan about all these Minnies but it didn’t take too long to find a parish marriage entry that gave her father’s name – William Henry.

My family history detective work is sometimes haphazard and the first two-year-old Minnie I found in the 1881 census was a  boarder in the Sculcoates household of Harriet SHAKESBY, a married charwoman with an absent husband. I had a picture of her in the original Looking at Filey folder.

A page from Albert’s Autobiography, courtesy an anonymous donor

Minnie’s mother Ann Smith, though also described as a boarder (and married with an absent husband), was the eldest of ten children born to Harriet HARTLEY and James Shakesby. The couple’s youngest child, Albert (sometimes Albert Edward) was seven  in 1881 and probably saw Minnie as a little sister. When he was a few years older he lived as a “street arab”, becoming ayoung man of dubious character until he morphed into an evangelist. In later life he was occasionally a local hero in Filey. He died just a few doors from where I am writing this.

It was with a heavy heart that I discovered that this Minnie’s father wasn’t called William Henry. In 1881 that gentleman was living across the River Hull in the Old Town, about a quarter of a mile from the Shakesbys, with his wife Mary née BEEDHAM, three sons and the no longer problematic Minnie.

You can find the three families on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

Sarah Doughty North née SPINK

Minnie North née SMITH

Albert SHAKESBY (and Minnie Rogers née SMITH)

Tree 50 · Martin’s Ravine

Christ and Christiana

I looked deeper into the Yorkshire Sigsworths this morning and happened upon Christiana, daughter of yet another John, and Hannah – or was it Elizabeth?

The Market Weighton church register has this baptism record –

1837_SIGSWORTHchristiana_BAP

Every other source I found, beginning with the 1841 census, asserts that Elizabeth is Christiana’s mother.

Market Weighton was Elizabeth’s home village but the couple was living some distance away at the time, in Wawne. In every census in which Christiana is recorded her birthplace is given as Market Weighton, except the last, 1911, when Wawne appears. “Hannah” may simply be a clerical error.

John Sigsworth followed a lowly occupation – licensed hawker – and Christiana worked as a domestic servant before she married Thomas MARSHALL, a bricklayer, in 1867. They had three children. Their firstborn was registered as John Sigsworth MARSHALL and this is serendipitous for a couple of reasons. FamilySearch Tree has, for now at least, a pedigree in which Christiana’s husband is married to another woman!

If John’s middle name doesn’t convince that Miss Waudby is an impostor, the 1871 census seals the deal. John Sigsworth Marshall, aged 2, is enumerated twice. He is with his parents and sister in Walter’s Terrace, and with his grandparents, John and Elizabeth Sigsworth, not far away in Witham. (Both addresses are in the Sculcoates Registration District.) Elizabeth gives her birthplace as Market Weighton. For Christiana, the enumerator just put “Market”.

I was raised a short distance from Witham, a dusty, aromatic area by the River Hull. Fairly quiet in the 1950s and 60s but I imagine it was crowded, noisy – and even more smelly – in Victorian times. Growing up in a Sculcoates Terrace may not have been easy. In 1901, 67-year-old Thomas Marshall was caretaker at a board school and John Sigsworth, 32, single and still living with his parents, was a general labourer. In 1911, Thomas described himself as a retired bricklayer and John, who still hadn’t found a wife, worked on the docks.

I don’t know what sort of life Christiana Waudby had. The after-marriage census sources attached to her tree belong, by rights, to her Sigsworth namesake. She doesn’t have any grandparents.

The other Christiana lived her threescore and twenty years amongst the poor of England’s third-largest port, probably oblivious to her stupendous heritage. FamilySearch connects her to a “super pedigree”, rightly or wrongly, making her a direct descendant of that Usual Suspect, Charlemagne, and a bewildering array of other nobility – kings of what would become France, Germany and Hungary, with a few Plantagenets thrown in, plus Franks, Merovingians and Picts. En route to the King of Kings.

If you start a journey with Christ and go back in time I suspect you will end up with the First Couple. That would be no surprise, but on the way, you will bump into King Serug, aka Sargon of Akkad, who has been reincarnated in this social media age. ROFL.

Good luck travelling forward in time. You may wander for hours before you find Christiana Sigsworth. It might be easier going from Christiana to Christ.