Railway Children

Ethel Mary IMESON was one of eight or maybe nine children born to James William and Ruth née PINDER. The “William” in her father’s name floats in and out of sources and so is not as helpful as it might be when it comes to sorting out the mess.

Here are James Wm’s sources (as James) on the Shared Tree.

‘Red’ James is the only one of the trio born to married parents, Israel and Sarah Ann (born KAY). Aiskew and Bedale are joined at the hip.

‘Green’ James is Ethel’s father and the 1939 Register listed above as a source gives his birthdate as 4 January 1868. His mother is Ann, daughter of Thomas Imeson and Eleanor WILKINSON. She gave birth to two children before she had James but neither Clara nor Thomas William lived more than a few weeks or months. James of Moreton-on-Swale was baptised at nearby Ainderby Steeple.

The one true father of Ethel worked for much of his life as a platelayer for the North Eastern Railway. In 1911 the family was living in one of the Railway Cottages at Muston Crossing, where Ethel had entered the world in 1896.  (She had an older sister, Hannah Elizabeth, who presumably played the part of Bobbie.)

But there is more. Great-grandfather of the Imeson children, David PINDER was a gatekeeper for the NER for most of his working life. The census enumerator found him in 1891, retired and living at Railway Gatehouse, Gashouse Lane, Bridlington.

There is not so much romance attached to David’s son Frank. He was just a railway labourer. He married Alice BARKLEY and they had eight children together. Ethel’s mother Ruth was their firstborn.

On the Shared Tree, to add insult to the injury of being lumped with wrong forebears, Ethel has been given in marriage to William HALLAH. What sort of a name is that? Oh, wait. This poor chap has two sources attached, both of them saying he is a HULLAH. Correct.

William, a farm waggoner at the time he courted Ethel, was about twelve years her senior. He died in 1947, aged 63.

Blue hints indicate Sarah TRUEMAND went to Ireland with her husband, and searches raise the possibility that they went on to the United States. But an 1881 Census return  (Bishophill, York) looks solid. Birth registrations of their children indicate they are grass is greener folk. I last saw them in 1891 – in Moss Street, York, when Michael was a labourer on the North Eastern Railway.

On the Shared Tree, Richard MASON waits patiently for his wife and the announcement of his passing.

John Fawcett POTTER the Elder hasn’t married Elizabeth Ann ROBERTS on the Shared Tree yet. See A Perfect Picture.

Sea 45 · Off the Brigg


Bethalina CHAPMAN’s first husband, George COWLING, died 163 years ago today at the age of 26. While long-line fishing, he drowned “off Filey” – possibly somewhere in the watery expanse captured by Today’s Image.

Bethalina’s second husband, Thomas FREEMAN, died 142 years ago yesterday, aged 47. In 1861 he was working as a labourer but had turned to fishing ten years later.

Bethalina made it to age sixty. She had one child with George and three with Thomas – and at least 17 grandchildren.

I wrote a short post about girls’ names in Looking at Filey that featured Bethalina (aka Bothalina, Bothia, Bythia, Bithynia).  I also gave her a page on the LaF Wiki, which I’ll update soon.

Bethalina’s families are represented on both Filey Genealogy & Connections and Family Search Tree. I did some further research today, concentrating mainly on a second COWLING child that appears on FG&C. Thomas Marmaduke’s record shows he was born in 1856 and if that is correct then George could not have been his father.  Bethalina married Thomas FREEMAN in July 1857, so maybe he was the bio dad.

Thomas thoroughly confused the census enumerator in 1861 and the enumerators’ handwriting in that year and in 1871 has flummoxed the Find My Past transcribers.

Living with Thomas and “Bohahna” at 2, Wenlock Place in 1861 was “daughter in law” Mary CAWLING. There’s nothing much wrong with that, but his own boy and girl, William and Elizabeth, also bear the family name Cawling and relationship “in law”. In 1871 he has accepted Mary “COWLAND” as daughter and William as a Freeman. There are no signs of Thomas Marmaduke anywhere.

When I eventually caught up with the mystery child it was in Filey, marrying Mary Ann HOWE at St Oswald’s Church in 1903. (Mary Ann is “HOWL” in some transcribed sources.) He claimed, then, to be 45 years old and was therefore conceived after the marriage of Bethalina and Thomas Freeman.


However, if he was truthful at the 1911 Census the connection becomes questionable. He gave his birthplace as Staindrop in County Durham. That place is in Teesdale Registration District and there is a likely record for him there but in June Quarter 1857. The mother’s maiden surname is given as HOWDEN.

Thomas Marmaduke’s wife gave her birthplace as Princes End, Staffordshire. This was an area between Tipton and Coseley in the Dudley Registration District. A convincing record gives her birth there in the June Quarter of 1878, mother’s maiden surname COLE. (The age difference between the couple is  16 years in the marriage register and 1911 Census return, and 15 years in the GRO Births Index.)

Mary Ann was about six months pregnant when she walked down the aisle. Thomas Marmaduke junior’s birth was registered in the quarter following the wedding. Curiously, FG&C gives the birthplace as Frankton near Rugby but the registration was made in Scarborough. The birthplace may be correct because in 1911 the family was living in Foleshill, Warwickshire, about ten miles away from Frankton.