A Worthy Man

Six days ago I took four children from their wrongful parents. Yesterday, I set about uniting them with the people who gave them life.

WELBURN_wm1692_FSTscreenfocusThe tick and crosses have to be re-evaluated. The children’s father was a William WELBURN born about 1841 but he didn’t marry a woman 27 years his senior. A record of marriage to the mother of his children eludes me but her maiden surname was quickly found in the GRO Births Index. MUSK. In the censuses, she was just Ann or Annie but registered as Ann Elizabeth by her parents, Robert and Mary Ann née HARDY. Robert was a mariner and he went where the wind blew whenever the census enumerator called, saying he was born in Beccles (Suffolk), Barnby (Norfolk) or Norwich. All three places are within a few miles of each other so he didn’t drift too far from a true course. Ann was the first of their thirteen children to be born.

The green tick indicated that a different, older William Welburn, William of the Four Wives, had married Ann Thickett on the date indicated. The FamilySearch Tree gave his mother as Jane ARTLEY, born 1817, and it wasn’t a great surprise that she is also considered to be the children’s grandmother. But she has competition.

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All but Jane Artley have been generated by “the system” from christening sources and can be discarded because I found Jane LAYCOCK properly represented elsewhere on the Shared Tree. I have been unable to connect Jane Artley to either the Welburns or the Musks. She was the right age to marry John TEMPLE in Scarborough in 1850.

In addition to the four children given to the wrong William and Ann, the rightful parents had two more boys. Ernest, the youngest child, was about 21 months old when William went out fishing in Bridlington Bay and didn’t return home. A squall sprang up and upset the coble Straggler. Two others in the boat managed to grab hold of a short mast and an oar and made it to shore. William is reported to have said to Richard PURVIS, “I am done for” as the waves closed over him. The Driffield Times omits this poignant detail.

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The widow isn’t named in the newspaper reports I have seen. The week after her loss, the takings from a concert in the Victoria Rooms were handed to Purvis and Wilson. Annie didn’t marry again and seems to have worked as a charwoman into her old age. On census night 1901, aged 59, she was sheltering six of her GILMOUR grandchildren. She died on 3 June 1907 and left her effects to William and Ernest. I can’t explain how a char amasses about £50,000 in today’s money.

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Beach 106 · Speeton Sands

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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.

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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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From Appleby to Welburn

This isn’t a post about a journey from Westmorland to Yorkshire but the change of name when two young APPLEBY women married two men called William WELBURN. The marriages were registered in Scarborough in the last quarter of 1860 and the first three months of 1861. The births of a dozen children were registered to mothers with the maiden name Appleby in the following decade.

After hours of piecing the families together, I still have very little information about the first couple, Harriet and William Edward. I concentrated my effort on Elizabeth and plain William because their grave is to be found in St Oswald’s churchyard.

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In loving memory of ELIZABETH, the beloved wife of WILLIAM WELBURN of Gristhorpe, died Nov 19th 1884, aged 49 years.

‘Be ye also ready for in such an hour

As ye think not the Son of man cometh’

Also of the above WILLIAM WELBURN, died Jan 19th 1907, aged 83 years.

‘His end was peace’

Also of their daughter, CATHERINE, born June 22nd 1868, died July 17th 1947.

William may have ended his life as a Welburn but he began it as a WELLBOURN in Weaverthorpe. Elizabeth is a daughter of Robert APPLEBY and Rachel MAW. If you follow the FST links you’ll see that the couple hasn’t yet been brought together on the World Tree.

I am fairly sure of my ground now and will marry them soon and give their nine children (known for sure). For a while, I despaired of finding a piece of “solid evidence” that I was on their right track. It turned up in the 1861 Census. The Find My Past transcription offered William WELBORN, 34, a Farm Labourer born Weaverthorpe and his wife Elizabeth, 27, born Muston. They were described as “lodgers”, and the page image revealed they were under the roof of Rachel APPLEBY. She is married rather than a widow but there is no sign of husband Robert. She appears to have a four-year-old son called William (though she is 51 years old). The child may have been Elizabeth’s boy. Also in residence are two of Rachel’s grandsons, Thomas SHIELDS, 9, and James APPLEBY, 9 months. The GRO Births Index suggests both boys were illegitimate. Rachel’s birthplace is given as Hackness in several sources but in others a nonsense place, something like “Tholso”. An Internet search doesn’t help with this but an OS Landranger map shows a farm – “Thirlsey”- just outside the village. I’m going with that.

When Elizabeth died in 1884, her youngest child, George, was twelve and William quickly found another wife to help with his large and still not flown brood. I haven’t found the marriage yet but at the 1891 Census George has a half-brother, Harry, 5, and a step-mother, Hannah. William has made himself about five years younger, reducing the age difference with his second wife to ten years. He is less sensitive in 1901 when the gap is more realistic at 19 years. Aged 77 William is still farming, at Gristhorpe. I wonder if he had any rest from his labours before he found peace.