The Belgian Vice-Consul for Goole

A shipowner, a shipping agent, a father of five, a widower (twice), and an Englishman born in Wakefield, he rests next to George STERICKER in St Oswald’s churchyard.


His stone is badly eroded and the Crimlisks did well to decipher what they did forty years ago. My digitization has this:

In affectionate remembrance of JOSEPH IBBOTSON of Goole, who departed this life (19 June 1885?), aged [blank] years.

The East Yorkshire Family History Society has the advantage of having the burial record and offers the correct year of Joseph’s death and his age – 1865 and 65.

I wonder what he was doing in Filey. And how much did the Belgians pay him?

I haven’t been able to discover the names of the ships he owned but, as an agent in the 1830s, he was advertising the transport of goods and people from Selby to Yarmouth, calling in at Goole and Hull – on the “first-class steamer” Ormrod and the steam schooner Albatross.


The Ormrod is an exceedingly strong built Vessel, Copper-fastened, nearly new, and will be found a most efficient Vessel for the Trade.

The Packet [Albatross] is neatly fitted up with Berths and every accommodation for Passengers that can conduce to their comfort.

Separate Cabin for Ladies, with respectable Female Attendants.

The fare for the Chief Cabin was 18 shillings, which is about £80 in today’s unreal money.

Joseph was survived by two of his five children, Joseph Henry and Hannah Ellen. Barbara, born to first wife Sarah, was the only one who married but she had died three years earlier, just a few months after plighting her troth to John Shepley ASH.

A couple of days after Joseph’s death, newspapers carried notices that Joseph Henry had taken over the business of Shipping and Forwarding Agent at Custom House Quay in Goole. A couple of weeks later the Belgians appointed him Consular Agent for the Port. John Henry didn’t have time to make his fortune. He died aged 27 in 1869. He seems to have been the end of this Ibbotson line and isn’t blood-connected to many forebears either on FamilySearch Tree.

 In staggering contrast, his father’s first wife, Sarah PITCHFORTH, is super-rich in ancestors, connecting to the fantasy world of European Royalty, going beyond Charlemagne to Emperors of Rome. I haven’t travelled all her byways. Perhaps there are some Plantagenets hidden in there somewhere. I was amused, though, to bump into Baldric of Yorkshire, born 1015 and married to Elica Von Schweinfurt.

I’m not responsible for any of this.



PC Powell

I wrote on LaF about a slight accident, the report of which prompted a reader of the Scarborough Mercury to write an acerbic letter to the Editor.  Here it is (again) in full:-



SIR.-The accident at Filey on Sunday [23 July 1882] is another of the exploits of the “bona-fide traveler.” It is to be hoped that our P. C’s will look after them, as the bona-fide traveler is an insufferable nuisance to all peaceable people who live at Filey. It is very seldom that we have a Sunday at Filey, but we have to witness several parties driving about the place in anything but a respectable manner, and often in such a state as to be a danger to anyone who may be out on a walk. It is high time that Parliamentary attention was turned to Sunday closing of public houses instead of wasting their time and the country’s money over Egypt.-

Yours etc.,


Enter PC Powell… I don’t know if he was on duty in and around Filey in 1882 but a studio portrait has been passed to me by Kath Wilkie and I consider him a suspect! Lower ranks of the force don’t seem to have stayed long in the town and many evaded the local Census net. A search for “Police” in Yorkshire in 1881 yields 3134 hits – and one of them is John J. POWELL, age 31, living in Albion Street, Wakefield (PRO ref RG114576 f16). He was born in Scotland, as were his wife and apparent firstborn Ada. Jack arrived next in Halifax and then Elizabeth in Wakefield four years later. A simple search of the GRO births determines the births were in the December Quarter 1874 and June Quarter 1878 and the mother’s maiden name was Tait.

I searched for John J and Augusta on FamilySearch.

John didn’t appear on the first page of returns and there were many more pages to scroll through so I looked for his wife. The third Augusta in the list was married to John Powell and they were in the IGI because a son, George William had been born 18 August 1871 in Hawick, Roxburgh.

The fourth hit gave their marriage on 21 June 1869 in Edinburgh.

The fifth offered the birth of George William Stephen Powell, 21 December 1872 in Govan, Lanark. This record gave the parents middle names – James and Anderson.

The sixth record identifies Ada Catherine (9MTH-19C), born 31 May 1870 in Coldingham, Berwick.

Wee George II must have died before the family came south of the border – I couldn’t find a death registration that fitted him in England and Wales. But I reckon FamilySearch has offered enough evidence to prove that this is our man –


Kath could give me no information about the photograph beyond the “PC J Powell” added in a caption to a digital copy of the image. I think there is a good chance that he was posted to Filey for duty between 1881 and 1891 and might well have been one of the PCs about whom “Progress” was waxing sarcastic.

Wondering what became of John and his family I did a little more research.

He was baptised in “Kirkpatrick Juxta” 10 August 1849 and at the 1851 Scottish Census was living with his parents George W and Catherine, older sister Catherine and two older brothers George W and William Stephen. (Poignant, huh?)

At the 1871 Scottish Census John James and Augusta were living at 7 Wellington Street, Wilton, Roxburghshire with new born Ada Catherine. JJ was employed as a Railway Clerk. (His father was a Stationmaster.) Ten years later, as we already know, he was a police constable in Wakefield, Yorkshire. In 1891 the family was back in Scotland at a confusing address in the Find My Past Transcription – “Montague Street, St Cuthbert Edinburgh, Newington, Midlothian” – John working as a Book Keeper, Ada Kate as a Stationer’s Assistant and Jack as a Packer aged 16.

And that is where I’ll leave them.