Scottow · Scotter

Mark SCOTTOW was baptized this day, 1854, in Runton, Norfolk. In August 1917 Mark SCOTTER was “killed by enemy submarine”.


The origins of surnames are often fancifully explained on websites that hope to sell you parchments but I found one today that suggested SCOTTOW derived from a village of that name in Mark’s birth county. It also pointed out that there was a village in Lincolnshire called SCOTTER.

Ancestry has re-designed the surname distribution maps it freely provides online.


Taken at face value, this map shows a Norfolk heartland and zero Scotters in Lincolnshire, so if one accepts the morphing of Mark’s surname in his lifetime, the Scottow theory looks good.

Mark was part of the Norfolk Scottow/Scotter diaspora to the Yorkshire coast and the above map doesn’t register the seven Scotter families in Filey in 1891. If you read the small print, though, you will see that Yorkshire has 42% of Scotter families in England and Wales in that census year. We need a more accurate map.

SCOTTOW is ranked =206 in Filey surnames with 23 males and 6 females.

SCOTTER is ranked =25 with 93 males and 85 females.

These are “unique individuals” in Kath’s Filey Genealogy & Connections database, not people counted several times in census returns.

I counted the birth registrations in the districts containing Scottow, Norfolk and Scotter, Lincolnshire in three decades, 1851-60, 1871-80 and 1901-1910, and in Scarborough Registration District.

There were no Scottows or Scotters registered in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire over those 30 years.

Thirteen Scottow births were registered in Erpingham, Norfolk in the first decade and none in the last.  There was one Scottow birth in Scarborough between 1851 and 1860 and three in the last decade.

For Scotter the count for the three decades in Erpingham was 5, 8 and 4.

For Scarborough, it was 4, 23 and 22.

This is a rather sketchy statistical analysis but it seems to confirm the growing acceptance of Scotter over the “original” Scottow – and the migration of Norfolk fisher families to the Yorkshire coast.

In 2011, David Scotter wrote three articles about the diaspora for Looking at Filey. You can learn more about Mark here.

Mark on FST.

Private Abbott

AbbottGAThe first name on the Filey War Memorial seems to be a mistake. A search on the CWGC website brings a George Alfred, Manchester Regiment, and a gunner with the initials G A who served in the South African Field Artillery. I think the initials should be ‘E A’.

Private Ernest Alfred ABBOTT enlisted in the Huntingdonshire Cyclists when the battalion was formed. Posted to Filey early in 1915, he courted local girl Mary Ann STORK and the couple married on 11th December 1915 at St Oswald’s.

When the Hunts Cyclists were disbanded in 1916 he was transferred to the 683rd Agricultural Company, Army Labour Corps (Service No. 434613). He died in Cambridge Easton General Hospital on 18th November 1918, a week after the Armistice. The exact cause of his death is not known. He is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard.

Dan Eaton, In Flanders Fields…The men of Filey who fought and died during the Great War for Civilization (1914 – 1919)

His birth registration, though, gives his name as Arthur Ernest, and for some records of his short life he omitted the middle name and just answered to Ernest.

When I looked him up on Lives of the First World War, two people were remembering him. A photograph of his headstone has been added but there isn’t much detail about his life.

Filey Genealogy & Connections has very little about Ernest’s origins, and Mary Ann was illegitimate so her pedigree is difficult to research. FamilySearch Tree was more helpful, providing a start with his birth family – a father and eight siblings. The mother was given as “Ann M. ABBOTT” but the GRO quickly supplied her birth name – GAVINS – and four more children. Ernest was the youngest, then, of thirteen. Ernest’s father and eldest brother had the middle name “FAVELL” and it was no surprise that this proved to be the maiden surname of his paternal grandmother.

Most of these Abbotts and their spouses were landed peasantry from a small area of Huntingdonshire. Initially, I had the notion that it had taken a war to push Ernest out of his family heartland but research unearthed an earlier migration of some Abbotts to Yorkshire. Ernest’s Aunt Rebecca married agricultural labourer Joseph ROBINSON in Alconbury cum Weston in the mid-1850s,  and the childless couple moved to the Howden area of East Yorkshire sometime between 1871 and 1881. They both died in 1910 before Ernest was sent to Filey with the Hunts Cyclists. Rebecca departed first, in July, and was buried in Howden. Joseph, in his mid-seventies, had no family to care for him and was dispatched to the workhouse where he died before the year was out.

After Ernest’s death, Mary Ann didn’t fare well. Their only child was two years old and another boy was born in late 1919. Life must have been a great struggle for her and she died in the North Riding Asylum in York in 1924. The Borthwick Institute in York probably has details of her last weeks or months there, and maybe a photograph. I hope she wasn’t certified as a lunatic – and that the Abbott boys did well after their difficult start in life.

Wiles and Wailes

Researching family units occasionally throws up small surprises of particular types. Here are a couple from my recent efforts.

The married male head of a household in one census may have a wife with a different given name in the next. The ready assumption is that there has been a death in the family – and a second marriage.

In 1871, recently married Thomas WATKINSON is enumerated in Outhert’s Square, Filey, with wife Mary and first child Mary Jane. Ten years later this Watkinson family unit is living in Wenlock Place – Thomas, Mary and five children.

In 1891 Thomas and MARGARET are just around the corner from the previous address, with four of the five children, plus three more, and a lodger. But there hasn’t been a parent death or a second marriage.

In the record for Thomas in Filey Genealogy & Connections, Kath makes a note:

Haven’t yet worked out why his wife should be entered as Mary in when he married Margaret who lived until 1912.


This scrap of the page image is clear enough. And so is the marriage record.


“Mary’s” age is given as 29 in 1881 and Margaret is 39 in 1891. A search for birth records yielded nothing convincing for a plain Mary, one for Margaret WILES and another for Margaret WYLES. The first Margaret’s birth was registered in Driffield and the second in Bridlington. The Margaret of the 1891 and 1911 censuses gives her birthplace as North Burton, so Bridlington it is:


Find Margaret on FamilySearch Treebut the parents are, as yet, childless. And the Mary Mystery has not been solved!

The second surprise type this week caused a gnashing of teeth. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Surgeon WHEELHOUSE and Agnes Caroline COWELL had four girls. One died in infancy and, I think, only first-born Caroline Agnes married. She had two sons with George Herbert ROWE. The younger, Claude Hamerton ROWE, was in his early twenties when his grandfather Claudius died but he married Marjorie Eteson WAILES two or three years after the Wheelhouse grandparents had departed for the better place.

Claude is also playing a waiting game on FamilySearch Tree. Marjorie’s grandfather, George, hasn’t brought her to the church yet, to give her away. Indeed, as I write this, she hasn’t been born to Frederic Hill WAILES and Annie Beatrice WAILES. I don’t know about you, but I always find it discombobulating when two people with the same family name marry. As happens in most such instances, this couple is not related by blood, but they make extending the pedigree back in time more awkward. I’m a dab hand at mixing up same name grandfathers.

Quite a few of the Wailes departed are resting in St Mary’s churchyardBirdforth. I’m envious. You can read about some of them here.

Ellen of Greenacres

On quiet days I dip into the On This Day files generated from Kath’s Filey Genealogy & Connections database. From the seventy or so daily hatch, match and scratch results I pick my fancy. PEACH is an unfamiliar Filey name. It doesn’t feature in the StOswald’s Monumental Inscriptions so, yesterday, I was intrigued by the burial of Archibald Philip in the churchyard in 1869 and decided to investigate.

Here is a screenshot of Kath’s record in Roots Magic. (You can view the pedigree fragment in FamilySearch Genealogies here.)


The exclams indicate that the parents were 1,672 years old when they married. They were noted as being of Full Age in the St Oswald’s Church Register and, yes, Ellen did appear to have been born a GRANT. Her father, Samuel, is described as a Labourer – the same occupation as Charles’ father, Henry. It is Ellen’s second marriage and Kath has her former husband as “Mr. Greenacre”; no children.

Given that Charles and Ellen married at the end of a Census year I thought it would be easy to find them in their separate households eight months earlier. Ellen, 32, was living in Quay Street, Scarborough with three children – Sarah Ann, 6, Charles Albert, 4, and Richard S., age 1. Charles, an unmarried fisherman, may have been away at sea on Census night. I couldn’t find him – and failed to find him, for sure, anywhere. I traced back and happened upon just one Charles PEACH with a father called Henry – in 1861, 17 years old and working as an agricultural labourer in Wistow, Huntingdonshire.

What we do know, sadly, is that his children with Ellen had short lives. Archibald Philip lived just four months (the GRO Online Index erroneously gives 4 years) and his sister Betsey Eliza Hannah a year. (Wistow Charles’ mother was called Betsey.)

Ellen GRAND married her Mr. Greenacre in the spring of 1864, the event is registered in Erpingham, Norfolk but probably taking place in Plumstead by Holt where Benjamin Richard was baptized. His father wasn’t named in the church register.

The couple moved to Yorkshire soon after the wedding and their first child, Sarah Ann, was born in Hull the following year. When Ellen was carrying their third child her husband died. Two years later she married Charles and gave birth to the two short-lived Peaches. The parents then seem to vanish and I haven’t been able to “kill them off” as we amateur genealogists are advised to do as a priority.

It was much easier to follow the progress of the Greenacre children. Sarah Ann stayed in the Scarborough area, married and had four children. She died aged 90 in 1955. Richard Samuel worked as a groom in Scarborough (1891) before moving across the Pennines to earn his living as a coachman in domestic service. He probably met his wife at Trafford Hall, Wimbolds – Floretta Hart was working there as a Kitchenmaid in 1891 – before they settled to raise a large family in the Wigan area. Fancy, a Greenacre marrying a Flora/Floretta – and calling one of their daughters Florice. Perfick. Well, not quite. Their son, Charles Albert died of wounds in Flanders in the summer of 1918.

I amassed so many children and sources during today that I decided to put them on FST.

This is how Ellen and Benjamin Richard presented themselves first thing this morning.


The Three Marine Engineers


Oil seems to have run through the veins of Frank, Edgar and Charles. A fourth brother, William, followed their father into mechanical engineering. All told, five HUCKS boys and one girl were born in St Pancras, Middlesex. Charles was the odd one out. Better known as Bennie Hucks, or just BC, he became one of Britain’s best known early aviators and  appropriately (but only with hindsight)  was born near Stansted Mountfichet, two miles from  what would become one of the UK’s busiest airports. I don’t know what motivated his parents, William and Kate Elizabeth nee PETCH, to name him after the village of his birth but one of the mottos of the Primary School that bears the name is “Optimism and positive thinking lead to success.” I suspect the human Bentfield had both in spades, being so magnificently daring and all.

This day in 1911 though he came unstuck in pursuit of a £50 prize for being the first person to fly a Yorkshire built aircraft into Leeds. He took off from Filey Sands in his Blackburn Mercury monoplane and turned the nose westward. Twelve miles from the coast and with another 50 to go his engine sputtered and died.

…the pilot was left with no option but to try and land the aircraft which he did on land belonging to Mr J.Coverdale, at Grange Farm, East Heslerton. The field he selected had cows in it which the pilot attempted to avoid. Following the landing the aircraft sustained damage but the pilot escaped uninjured and after a short time in the area he managed to borrow a bicycle from a Mr Edwin Owston and rode back to Filey!


GrangeFarmEastHeslertonI think I have found the obliging Mr OWSTON, born 15th May 1882, and working nearby as a Postman at the 1911 census! And (left) is a satellite view of Grange Farm. Alas, the pale specks in the pasture field are not cows.

Robert Blackburn built flying machines at Flat Cliffs, just south of Filey, and established a Flying School there. The lives of one pilot and his pupil ended on the beach.

Bennie survived several Yorkshire coast prangs, became the first pilot to cross the Bristol Channel in September 1911 and shortly afterwards assisted Harry Grindell MATTHEWS with the testing of his Aerophone. He joined the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War and approaching the end of the conflict was a Captain in the Aircraft Manufacturing Company. He died of pneumonia on 7th November 1918 at the age of 33 and is buried in Highgate Cemetery. I don’t think he married.

There are 19 people called HUCKS in Filey Genealogy & Connections. I did some family history research this morning and found Bennie’s great grandparents John HUCKS and Sarah HALFHIDE. They are both on FST (John MXYD-GGV) and so are a few others in his immediate family but mostly disconnected. I couldn’t find our aviator so if I have time tomorrow I’ll create a record and unite him with parents and the other two marine engineers at least.


This photo of Bennie is on the information board on Royal Parade, Filey so I have taken the liberty of snapping and sharing it. I think copyright is with BAE Systems. You will find quite a few photos of him online and a short film of him looping the loop. There are many brief feature articles about him too – and this obituary.