Jumping to Conclusions

I continued piecing together Ann Eliza COOPER’s life today. I thought that drafting a chronological “sketch” would help me navigate the information deficient years, (marriage to Richard GEOGHEGAN in the 1850s and her whereabouts in 1871, seven years after his death).

On reaching empty spaces, I turned to available sources to see if I could discover something germane, and happened upon a significant “new” person.

I mentioned in an earlier post that Ann Eliza left York after her third husband’s death to work as a Waiting Room Attendant at Withernsea Railway Station. Her granddaughter “Julian” went with her, and at the age of 18 formed a relationship with Railway Porter, William WINSHIP. I had wondered if Julianne’s father was Ann Eliza’s firstborn, Thomas, but had yet to find him – anywhere.

A marriage in 1869 of a Thomas to Anne Elizabeth SIGSWORTH seemed promising but soon hit the rocks. Two years later, an initially dubious Thomas who took Melinda EASTBURN for a wife led to some pieces fitting together. The birth registration of “Julia Ann” Green in Leeds was followed by the death of Melinda Green two years later, at the age of 22. Four years earlier Melinda was enumerated in a Leeds household headed by a 36-year-old Block Cutter called George ELLIS. His wife was Melinda’s older sister Martha, 20; the marriage registered in the June Quarter of 1870. With them was Thomas Eastburn, George’s “nephew”, aged 7 months. I expected to find the boy was illegitimate but what took me by surprise was that the registration (September Quarter) gave him the middle name “Ellis”. What conclusion would you jump to? When my great grandmother was made pregnant and abandoned, she gave her son a middle name that told the world who his father was.

A quick search didn’t find George, Martha or young Thomas in 1881. I couldn’t find a death registration for the boy in his first decade but he clearly didn’t go with his younger half sister (possibly) to York and then to Withernsea.

I still don’t know what happened to Julianne’s father, Thomas (Ann Eliza’s son). When she married William Winship in 1893 she told the clerk that Thomas was a Horse Dealer. In 1901 there is a Thomas Green, widower, with the right age and birthplace, living in Hull and working as a “Commission Agent Horse Racing”. Ten years later he is at a different address in Hull and a “Commission Agent”. An easy conclusion to jump to – that this chap is Julianne’s father. But he writes on the 1911 census form that he had been married for 15 years and had four children, of whom two are living. Perhaps he married again and forgot all about Melinda and Julianne.

Flight of Fancy 22 · Cube

Reighton Sands (...gives a meal man appeal)

She Married a Waterman…

…and a Whitesmith, and a Railway Wagon Wright. Ann Eliza COOPER, daughter of a Cottingham shoemaker, was sixty years-old when her third husband, George WINTERBURN, was killed.

Six years earlier, George was working in his former trade as a ship carpenter and living in Ebor Street, York. Sharing the small terrace house were grand-daughter “Julian” GREEN (7) and sister in law “Julian G” COOPER (80). It is amusing that the unusual spelling  “Juliann” caused census enumerators and other minor bureaucrats a lot of trouble. Family relationships are also somewhat mangled where Annie Eliza’s various families are concerned. Her first husband was William GREEN but I don’t think this young girl, “Julian”, is a close relation of hers. “Julian G”, however, is Annie Eliza’s mother, Juliann née OGLESBY.

During the next six years George found work with the Railway Company, Juliann the Elder died (1885) and the household moved to Cambridge Street. The house has been demolished but the street itself remains and its proximity to George’s source of income and the scene of his death are indicated in this Google Street View screen grab.

It seems as though the Railway Company found work for third-time unlucky widow Ann Eliza. The 1891 census finds her sixty miles to the east, living in the “Porters House” by the Station where she is a Waiting Room Attendant. Juliann the Younger (18) is with her, insisting she is Ann Eliza’s granddaughter, and also a boarder, William WINSHIP (21), working as a railway porter. He is Filey-born and marries Juliann two years later.

Twenty years pass. At the 1911 census, William Winship is now a railway signalman at South Milford near Pontefract, living in the nearby village of Hillam with Juliann and three sons. Annie Eliza, 83, is with them and described as “grandmother to wife”. Also present on census night – but probably in permanent residence, is “great aunt to wife” Mary Jane COOPER (85). This is actually Ann Eliza’s elder sister, the first-born child of the Cottingham shoemaker. She would live for five years after the death of Ann Eliza in the spring of 1914.

Ann Eliza’s last spell as a widow had lasted 27 years. I haven’t found death records for William Green or her second husband Richard GEOGHEGAN,  so cannot say what her married life to widowhood ratio is. I’m puzzled too about how many children she had. William Winship writes on the 1911 census form that she had five children and three were still living. I have only found three birth registrations and one of those children died at about six months. Perhaps firstborn Thomas or another boy who lived was the father of Juliann the Younger. (The reason for my aforementioned uncertainty regarding Ann Eliza’s “granddaughter” is that George Winterburn, given age 15, is living in Langthorpe with Robert and Maria GREEN, their four sons and three daughters in 1841.)

When Ann Eliza married William Green in 1847, the church register gave his address as “on the river”. The births of their first three children were registered in York but secondborn Ernest’s birthplace is given as Grimsby in the 1851 census. It seems likely that Ann Eliza voyaged up and down the Humber and Ouse for the first few years of married life. Father William cannot be found for certain in 1851, and in 1861 Ann Eliza is in Scarborough with Richard the Whitesmith, her son Thomas Green, her widowed mother Juliann – and a three year-old “niece”, Ann Eliza COOPER. The birth registration indicates the child is illegitimate and was possibly named after her mother.

I couldn’t find Ann Eliza Cooper the Elder on the FamilySearch Shared Tree and so gave her an ID [G71F-8HC]. She is still single as I write this, but as soon as I can I will marry her three times and give her all the children I find. She has a stronger connection to Filey than William Winship gives her. I had a long chat with a second great grandson of hers on the Coble Landing yesterday.

Beach 109 · Filey Sands