The Three Wives of William Welburn

William is the father of Alfred and therefore grandfather to Elizabeth of Picturesque Terrace (last Wednesday’s post).

Elizabeth Strangway, you may recall, was close in both age and geography to Elizabeth Strangeway – about six months younger and at one time a ten-minute walk away from her almost namesake. But which of them was the daughter in law of William Welburn?

FamilySearch screenshots tell stories.

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This is rather sketchy but I believe Alfred’s mother was indeed Harriett. I’m still not sure that his mother in law was Sarah MATTHEWS because not only were the Two Elizabeths close in age at birth, they seem to have died within a year of each other. Geography again has a part to play. The Elizabeth pictured above, (let’s call her Elizabeth I), registered the births of six of her nine children in Hull but died in Selby in 1912 aged 71. Elizabeth II died the previous year in Hull, aged 72. Had she been the daughter of Frances Gibson her age should have been given as 70.

On second thoughts, because Alfred’s birth had been registered in Selby, and his father was born in a village only five miles away from there, the screenshot above may indeed be true in every respect, as far as it goes. A doubt lingers though because Elizabeth I was enumerated in Francis Street, Hull in 1911.

Here is another screenshot story.

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This is Alfred’s father. He really did marry Ann Thickett, just not when he was eleven years old. (This William would have been only a year old when he made Harriett pregnant for the first time.) Spare a thought for Ann having four children in her fifties. Mary J had fourteen children. Would Ann have lived long enough to dandle any of them on her knee?

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Ann married as the widow Laycock in 1852, bringing along Vincent and Eliza for William to step-parent.

Fourteen months earlier, William had married his second wife in Selby.

1851_WelburnFish_Marr

She too had been married before but appears to have been childless. She was a stepmother to Ann/Hannah (13), Alfred (8) and Alice (1) for less than six months before dying aged 34.

The children’s mother, William’s first wife Harriett CUNDELL, had died in the September Quarter of the previous year, aged 37.

William, a millwright by trade, was clearly a man of action – if what I have told you about him is true.

My narrative of the Three Wives cannot be followed on the Shared Tree. There are some vital pieces of the puzzle to chase down and when I have them, I’ll make the necessary changes on FamilySearch. I think the travesty of the William and Ann Thickett screenshot was largely the result of “the system” going haywire, rather than a human contributor losing their mind. None of these people is a blood relative, and they only connect tangentially to Phyllis, my first cousin once removed, but I feel I should make an effort to set things straight.

Clouds 40 · Filey Bay

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Strangeways

If Mr Swain, my teacher in the top class at Stoneferry J & I, had asked me what the name “Strangeways” conjured up I would have shuddered and mumbled, “the jail, sir”. The lock-up’s reputation was contagious enough to infect little children. (Google it.)

Now, in my dotage, I find I have Strangeways (or variants thereof) in my family tree – and genealogical criminal acts have been perpetrated upon some of them. That’s perhaps a bit strong. I’ll reduce the charge to “microaggressions”.

I have no interest in sending anyone down for the offences. Some mistakes are easily made on the FamilySearch Tree. I expect to be found guilty any day now.

I call William STRANGEWAY.

His birth was registered in the December Quarter of 1842 in York, the son of James, a brickmaker, and Sarah née MATTHEWS. He didn’t stay long enough to celebrate his first birthday but here he is on the Shared Tree.

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William is without sources here but checking the GRO for his asserted death in Leeds in 1894 gives this –

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A calculated arrival three years out of whack rings a warning bell.

Let’s first look for a York birth registration in 1842.

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Year and mother fit the Shared Tree screenshot.

There is nothing for us in York three years later but in the first quarter of 1846 –

1846_STRANGEWAYwm_Birth

In 1851 the census puts William the Younger with parents Robert, a brick and tile maker, and Frances née GIBSON at 5 Aldwark, which is a ten-minute walk from James and Sarah’s home in Redeness Street. William the Elder is beyond the ken of the enumerator of course but his two sisters, Elizabeth and Ann, are recorded with brother Thomas and grandmother Ann née MEPHAM.

The Aldwark house also shelters an Elizabeth. If the births of the two girls were registered on time, less than six months separate their appearance on the planet. There’s a greater chance of some latter-day family historian mixing these two up!

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Robert Strangways died aged 44 in 1853. In 1861, William is 15, working as a cloth dresser and living with his mother in Ratcliffe Yard, Leeds. He marries Ellen ARCHER in that city about eight years later.

Sarah Strangway, six years a widow, marries George GREEN in York in late 1862. Her second marriage does not last. In 1871, a widow again, she is living in Marygate with offspring Charlotte and James Strangway. James chooses not to marry and is with his mother in 1891, working as a labourer. Sarah, 73, is a nurse. Ten years later she is in the York workhouse. James is still alive, whereabouts unknown to me in 1901. His mother dies aged 85 in 1903 and James follows her into eternity less than a year later, aged 50.

I wonder if James’ sister Elizabeth attended either of the funerals. She died in Hull in 1911 after burying four of the nine children she had with Alfred WELBURN, one of them being “my Strangway”, first wife of William Henry Phillip SMAWFIELD who then married my grandaunt Elizabeth Ann LOCKETT.

This is a confusing number of Elizabeths to deal with and I am in some doubt now. Have I chosen the right Elizabeth from the two girls born in York in the early 1840s? Although confident I have sorted out the Williams, I don’t have cast iron sources for their sisters. A church marriage source naming a father would give me comfort but I haven’t found one yet. I’ll go over my evidence and report another day.

Mark of Man 45 · Bell Buoy

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This gives a better sense of the size of Bell Buoy than Thursday’s sunrise photo.

Foraging Unmasked

I did my weekly shop at the supermarket this morning. I wore nitrile gloves and a scarf in case I needed to protect people from my droplets. I saw only one other person wearing a scarf. So far, in the town, I have seen just one person in a mask.

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, it is mandatory to wear a mask out of doors. The governments didn’t supply masks so nationwide cottage industries sprang up to meet demand. Chris Martenson put this onscreen in his post yesterday.

CzechsLeadTheWay

This afternoon I heard a UK doctor on national radio explain how ineffective masks are in protecting against catching Covid-19 disease. He was particularly scathing about homemade masks. He concluded by appealing to the great unwashed not to wear masks at all. “Leave them for our health workers on the frontline.” But…but… I thought you said…

CzechData

Go figure.