Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Whatever Happened to Jane Turnbull?

Jane Hunter Turnbull was baptised on 2 October 1841 at All Saints, Newcastle upon Tyne. She was the ninth child of John and Jane Turnbull (née Hunter).


Jane's baptism entry.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts. 

The entry says the Turnbull family were living in Shiremoor at the time of Jane's baptism, but I know that to be incorrect. They were actually living in Murton, a small village close to Shiremoor, but not exactly the same place. This was where Jane's siblings were all born, and where the extended Turnbull family had lived for many years. 

Jane's mother died in early December 1846 at Murton, when Jane was only 5-years-old. Jane's father, John, effectively goes missing, and I really have no idea what became of him. He registered the death of his mother in 1856, but he disappears without a trace after that.

On the 30 March 1851, Jane was residing in Earsdon with her elder sister, Margery Barrass, my 3x great-grandmother, when the 1851 census was taken. At this point, Jane is 10.

Margery had married Edward Barrass in 1849. Although she's not explicitly described as Margery's sister, I know she is. In the occupation column she's described as a "House Servant," which doesn't sound very kind. Her birthplace of "Murton," does match that of Margery's though. 

I don't believe that Jane was actually employed by Margery and Edward. I imagine she helped with the upkeep of the house, and helped Margery to care for the children - even though she was only a child herself!

Ten years later, and Jane is still living with her sister and brother-in-law. By 1861 the Barrasses had moved to Howdon, and Jane was 19-years-old. She was again noted to be a "House Serv."

This is the last time Jane can be found for definite. It would be so much easier if Jane had used her middle name, but as she didn't I can only guess and theorise as to what happened next...

In 1869 Jane Turnbull married Charles McKinnon at Newcastle. Charles was the son of Donald and Catherine McKinnon (née Campbell). He was born in 1841 in Walker, just outside of Newcastle. Although I do not yet have the marriage certificate to check, I know that Jane's father is named as John Turnbull.

In 1871, the McKinnons are living in Thornaby, not far from Stockton and Middlesborough. They have two young children, Kate and Donald, who were both apparently born in Walker. 

Jane's place of birth is interesting, as it states she was born in Newcastle, which of course wasn't true. On later census returns her birthplace is started to be Earsdon (very close to Murton), and Tynemouth, although her age is incorrect on the latter one.

A quick look at the newly improved GRO index shows the two McKinnon children. Catherine Jane McKinnon was born in 1869, and Donald was born in 1870. Both children were registered at Tynemouth, which would make sense. Both Catherine Jane, or Kate, and Donald's birth registrations note that their mother's maiden name was Turnbull.

Margaret Ellen McKinnon was born in 1872 while the family were still living in Stockton. She sadly died the following year, by which time the McKinnon family had moved back to Tyneside. Charles and Jane also lost their eldest child, Kate, around this time. She was 4-years-old.

The McKinnons' fourth child, James Turnbull McKinnon, was born in 1874 at Howdon. As was Malcolm, who was born the following year. 

After Malcolm's birth the McKinnons seemed to have moved back down to the Stockton area. Elizabeth McKinnon was born there in 1878, but by 1881 the family were back living in Tynemouth.


Jane McKinnon died in 1899 at Tynemouth - but was she really the missing Jane Hunter Turnbull? I think she was.


There are a few clues which hint that my theory is correct:

Jane's birthplace. Although it varies, it makes sense.
- Earsdon is very close to Murton. Historically, Murton was in the parish of Tynemouth, however, so it makes perfect sense for Jane's birthplace to be written as both places. We'll just forget the little Newcastle blip.

Their first child born in Howdon was named James Turnbull McKinnon in 1874. Is it merely a coincidence that my Jane's brother James ran a pub in Howdon?
- Could Charles and Jane have been living with James and his family when their son was born? 

Margery Barrass, Jane's elder sister whom she lived with for so long, was the tenant of the Hartley Arms in New Hartley in later life. She took it over after her husband Edward died in 1884. Margery was a popular landlady and host, and had a reputation as a very kind and genial lady. When the 1891 census was taken, Margery was living with one of her sons, a grandson, two boarders and a servant. 
- One of the boarders was Donald McKinnon, a 22-year-old labourer who was born in Walker. Conveniently, Charles and Jane's son Donald was missing from their home on that night. Was he staying with his Auntie Madge in New Hartley?

Hopefully one day in the future I will discover what happened to Jane Hunter Turnbull for definite. Until then, I will carry on believing this version of events. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Riding the Bounds in 1947

Adam Storey, my 2x great-grandfather, had once been secretary to the Newbiggin freeholders. He resigned at an advanced age, and in 1947 was a bailiff to the organisation.


Adam Storey

He was a keen historian in his own right, and could hark back to his early years with apparent ease. Adam was 93 at that particular riding.

Below are a few extracts from the Morpeth Herald, who reported on the riding of the bounds in May 1947 - 70 years ago this month.

It is rather humbling to read what Adam had to say on the tradition and custom. He speaks with such pride.
-
LORDS OF THE MANOR RIDE BOUNDARIES - BY CAR AND TRAP
-
Newbiggin Ceremony
-
The ancient custom of "dunting" new Freeholders was performed on Wednesday when, at the annual riding of the boundaries by Newbiggin's Lords of the Manor, two lady members were initiated in accordance with the age-old ritual of three bumps on the "Dunting Stone."

This initiation service was not carried out during the war years. The boundaries, however, were still ridden, although perhaps not in the old style of each freeholder being mounted on his horse.

At Wednesday's ceremony, the boundaries were ridden in a modern car and a horse and trap.

...

Veteran Makes Proclamation

Wednesday's ceremony at the stone saw the initiations of Miss Anne Mann, of 88, Front Street, and Mrs. Arthur Brown, of Hesleyside, Newbiggin. The proclamation was made by the Freeholders' old stalwart, 93-year-old Adam Storey, who has traversed the Freeholders' estates both as a youngster and since he was 23 as a Freeholder.

Mr. Storey, Newbiggin's grand old man, has only missed attending the ceremony when, during the 80's he was away with the fishing fleet. He recalls that his relatives performed the ancient ceremony in the 17th Century.

"I remember when we used to do this bare-footed and all the Freeholders were mounted on their own horses. We used to have a great big dinner which cost £5, with beer, which was cheap in those days. We used to have the dinner in different public houses," declared Mr. Storey. 

Another interesting feature he recalled was a horse race by all Freeholders on the sands and extending up the Fair Banks.
-

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Natural Daughter of Mary Rutter

In his will, William Watson, Esquire, of North Seaton, Northumberland, made certain provisions for a woman named Mary Rutter. He also gave money to Mary's natural daughter, also named Mary Rutter. 

Although he doesn't name her as such, it is obvious that the younger Mary Rutter was William's illegitimate daughter.

I decided to research the Watson family a little after discovering that William's grandson, William John Pearson Watson, was a close friend of my 3x great-grandfather, Adam Storey. 
"I give and bequeath to Mary Rutter the daughter of Mary Rutter of Longhirst an annuity of twenty pounds and to Mary Rutter the natural daughter of the said Mary Rutter an annuity of twenty pounds for the terms of their natural lives..."
Both the original will and the copy share the above mistake. There are too many Mary Rutters mentioned!

William Watson's original will was dated the 24 November 1818, although two codicils were later added following the births of his legitimate children. None of these concerned Mary Rutter.

Mary Rutter gave birth on 28 November 1808, but her baby girl wasn't baptised until 13 October 1809 at Morpeth. Mary was described as a single woman on the baptism, and no father is listed. The baptism does mention that Mary was a native of Cramlington, and her daughter was illegitimate.

Mary was obviously a clever woman. The baby's father was a wealthy and landed man, and it would have been so easy for him to shirk responsibility completely. It was impossible for Mary to name William Watson as the father of her baby as they weren't married, and it can be assumed that he was not present on the day. However Mary had other options and other ways to force William into taking responsibility. Mary gave her daughter the name Mary Watson Rutter.

Mary Watson Rutter's baptism at Morpeth.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts.






I can only assume that William Watson and Mary Rutter had a dalliance in early 1808, resulting in Mary's pregnancy and the birth of their daughter in November. 

William Watson married Elizabeth Reed on 24 July 1809 at Warkworth. Naturally, Elizabeth's family were also incredibly wealthy.

William Watson and Elizabeth Reed's marriage at Warkworth.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts.
The transcript says June.














Now, Mary Watson Rutter was baptised three months later. Could it be that Mary had her christened with that particular name in the hope that William wouldn't forget about his illegitimate first child? If that were the case, it worked, and Mary Watson Rutter and her mother were both given allowances when William Watson died on 23 March 1830.

Mary Rutter married John Davison on 19 May 1821 at Bothal. She had more children, and eventually died in 1868.

Mary Watson Rutter married Robert Hindhaugh, a carpenter and later inn-keeper, on 16 February 1832 at Bothal. Mary Watson Hindhaugh (née Rutter) died at Bothal on 6 November 1882, and was buried in the little churchyard there four days later.

Robert and Mary Hindhaugh's marriage license. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

What Did My Ancestors Look Like? - The Storeys

I've always wondered what my ancestors looked like. Even long before I started researching my family, I always liked the idea that perhaps I inherited a feature or had a likeness of another family member.

I've been lucky enough to see photographs of most of my immediate ancestors, although some branches remain a mystery, and no one in the family seem to have photographs of them at all. And of course, the majority of ancestors lived in a time before photography existed, or they weren't wealthy enough to afford photographs, or perhaps a camera just wasn't accessible. 

But there are other ways to discover what ancestors looked like and exactly what features they had. For example, certain merchant navy records took note of height, complexion, and also hair and eye colour. They often recorded birthdate and place too, as well as any distinguishing marks a person had. 

Of course, these records are only as reliable as the person making the record, so the following may actually be false. 

I've made a little pedigree chart on Microsoft Word to help display my findings. 



Above are four generations of my Storey family - from my great-grandfather, Robert M Storey, all the way through to my great-great-great-great-grandfather, Adam Storey, who was baptised in March 1794.

That Adam's birthdate was recorded on his merchant navy record as being the 4 March 1793, so that could possibly be a year out. 

The record notes that Adam had a fair complexion, with brown hair and blue eyes. He was just over 6 foot in height. 

His two sons were also listed in the merchant navy records, but they don't seem to have looked very much alike at all. My 3x great-grandfather, Adam born in 1822, had auburn hair and hazel eyes. His brother James, born in 1825, must have closely resembled his father, as he too had brown hair and blue eyes, but brothers shared their father's fair complexion. Adam and James were also around the same height; 5ft 11, and 5ft 8, respectively. 

The next generation is tricky. I have seen many, many photographs of my great-great-grandfather, Adam Storey, born in 1853. He lived such a long life and was so well-known he appeared in many, yet sadly none of the photographs that I've seen have been in colour. Adam was never in the army, nor have I seen any merchant navy records, so his exact details are unknown. However, I can guess. 

His eyes appear quite dark in all the photographs that I've seen, which might indicate that his mother, Ann Renner, had dark features. But perhaps he had hazel eyes like his father.

He is an old man in every photo I have, and his hair is fairly light, which may imply he had light-brown hair, or perhaps he was lighter still and had auburn hair like his father in his younger days. 

Adam Storey
1853 - 1951

I imagine his skin complexion was fair, as one might expect for a Northumbrian man who had lived his entire life on the north east coast. I also believe he was quite tall like his ancestry would suggest.

My great-great-grandfather's first cousin, James Storey the younger, fought in the First World War. However, only his height was recorded. He was 5ft 8 and a quarter, so only a little taller than his father. 

As there are no known recordings of Adam (1853) or James (1878)'s colouring, I have 'greyed' them out in the pedigree above.

I also have the details of my great-grandfather, Robert M Storey, his elder brother, Eddie, and his younger brother, Gladstone. 

In contrast to their ancestors, Robert and Eddie were both said to have dark complexions. They shared brown eyes and brown hair, although Eddie's were stated to have been darker than Robert's. They were around the same height too, Eddie being 5ft 7 and a half, and Robert being exactly 5ft 7. 

It must be noted that both Robert and Eddie's descriptions come from when they enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force during the First World War. They were both Northumbrian born and bred, so I do wonder if they naturally had fairer complexions. The dark complexion may be explained by warmer Australian climate.

It might have been that Robert and Eddie's mother, Jane Mavin, had dark features, and a darker complexion to the Storey family, but I really don't know.

None of the family members I have mentioned were said to have any distinguishing marks, except uncle Eddie. He had a little red tattooed heart on his right forearm, with the word 'Mizpah' [sic] written inside. 

As for uncle Gladstone, he was a little shorter than his two brothers, but he did have the same brown hair. He measured 5ft 6 exactly. Gladstone also had blue eyes, like his great-grandfather. 

Whereas Robert and Eddie had dark complexions, Gladstone had a medium complexion. This may suggest that Jane Mavin was indeed a shade or two darker than her husband.

I can also add three further generations to this chart. 

My grandma had a fairly dark complexion, with dark hair and brown eyes. I just can't be certain whose traits she inherited as her mother, Robert M Storey's wife, also had dark features.

My father has brown hair and blue eyes, and a pale complexion. 

I myself have a fair complexion, rather pale actually, with fair hair and blue eyes. 

Monday, 23 January 2017

Free to Marry

Thomas McKeith was the fourth son of Robert, a sawyer, and Mary McKeith (née Bertram). He was born on 13 December 1808 at Jarrow, Durham, and was baptised there just short of a year later. Thomas was an elder brother of my 4x great-grandfather, Barty Keith.


Thomas's baptism.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts.






Thomas married Mary Robson, a widow, at St Hilda's, South Shields on 9 July 1844. Their daughter, Elizabeth Ann McKeith, was born the following year. 

But Thomas was actually harbouring a secret, and it wasn't long before he was found out and exposed. His secret was outed in contemporary newspapers for all and sundry to read. Thomas McKeith was a criminal.

The following is from the Durham Chronicle, 2 March 1849:


"CHARGE OF BIGAMY.
THOMAS MC'KEATH (41) was charged with having, at the parish of Jarrow, unlawfully married Mary Robson, his lawful wife being then alive. - Mr DIGBY SEYMOUR appeared for the prosecution: the prisoner was undefended. The prisoner it appeared was first married at Trenan [sic], in Scotland, on the 12th December, 1828, to Margaret Neil. The first marriage ceremony of the prisoner was performed by the then officiating minister of Trenan, at the house of the first wife's mother. On 9th July, 1844, he was again married to one Mary Robson, at St. Hilda's Church, South Shields. On the policemen going to the house to apprehend him, he was under the bed. Prisoner acknowledged the charge against him, and said he was married 18 or 19 years ago; the name of his first wife was Margaret Neil. He had not seen her for seven years. He had got married again two years after he had seen her. Both the first and second marriage were proved; the first marriage by the prisoner's first wife's brother; the second by the sexton of St. Hilda's Church, South Shields. In extenuation, prisoner said he had written to his wife, but had received no answer. She had, on a previous occasion, told him that she liked another man's little finger better than his (the prisoner's) whole body. The man to whom she alluded, it appears she had been living with, and to whom she had had a child. Under these circumstances, he had married again. In fact she had told the prisoner herself, that she was lawfully married to the man whom she was living, and that he (the prisoner) was free. The person prisoner had married at South Shields, he said knew under what circumstances she had married him. He had told her that he was married; and that his former wife was then living. - Guilty. - Sentence deferred until the second wife should be sent for."

Similar articles also appeared in the Durham County Advertiser and Newcastle Courant on the same date. The Newcastle Guardian covered the story on the following day, and added some extra details.


"... When the policemen went, in January of the present year, to apprehend him on the charge of bigamy, he found him hid under the bed; he asked him why he had done that, in reply to which he said he was afraid of his two wives (laughter). In defence, the prisoner said his first wife had told him that she had married again to a man named Hornby, to whom she had a child. She added that she liked Hornby's little finger better than his whole body (laughter). She told him she had no claim upon him and he had none on her, and as he wanted a home he thought he could not do better than take to Mary Robson (laughter). - The jury found a verdict of guilty, and sentence was deferred, his lordship wishing to know whether the prisoner, previous to the second marriage, told Mary Robson about his having been previously married to a woman who was still alive. His lordship added that in all cases of bigamy the second wife ought to be produced as a witness. The solicitor for the prosecution said the woman was a cripple, and when the prisoner was apprehended she did not attend at the police-office to complain."

On the 9 March, the following appeared in the Durham Chronicle:

"In reference to the case of THOMAS MC'KEATH who was charged and found guilty of having, at the parish of Jarrow, unlawfully married Mary Robson, his lawful wife being then alive on whom sentence was deferred until the woman Robson should be sent for, for the purpose of seeing whether she was cognisant, at the time she married Mc'Keath, that he had another wife who was then living, Mr DIGBY SEYMOUR stated to his Lordship that the woman had come, and who said that she did not know, and that he had deceived her. - hard labour for one year."

I was surprised to find this story, so naturally I did a little more digging. I already had the date of Thomas's lawful marriage, so quickly found it in the Scottish registers on ScotlandsPeople. He and Margaret Neil were married at Tranent, a town in East Lothian, rather than Trenan, as named in the first article. Thomas was described as a coalier, or collier. 

Thomas and Margaret's marriage at Tranent, East Lothian, Scotland.










I also found that Thomas and Margaret had two daughters; Marion, born in 1830 at Tranent, and Margaret, born in 1833 at nearby Prestonpans.

There is no doubt that things in the relationship turned sour, and Thomas deserted his wife and daughters. He obviously returned to Jarrow, his birthplace and where his mother and siblings still lived. Perhaps he believed that he had put a great enough distance between himself and Margaret? Thomas obviously thought he could get away with bigamously marrying the "crippled" Mary Robson, but he got his comeuppance in the end.

I can find no record of Margaret's involvement with a man named Hornby, with whom she supposedly had a child, but I did find another. In late 1841, a boy named Daniel Arrington was born in Tranent. His supposed father was named Daniel too, and his mother was Margaret Neil.

I can only assume that his relationship did not work out either, and Margaret was deserted once again.

Margaret later died on 21 March 1873. Her son, Daniel Arrington, was the informant of her death. It's quite interesting to see just what and how much he knew about his mother's life prior to his birth.


Margaret Neil Keith's death certificate.















Daniel informed the registrar that his mother was the widow of Thomas Keith, a journeyman sawyer. Thomas was indeed a sawyer, and it is of course possible that he travelled while doing that job. However, his mother was not a widow, as Thomas was not yet dead. This perhaps implies that following the bigamy revelation back in 1849, communication between Thomas, his daughters, and his legal spouse completely broke down. 

Thomas doesn't seem like a very nice man, and his treatment of both Margaret and Mary just doesn't sit well with me. He deserted Margaret and his two young daughters, then took up with Mary Robson, a "crippled" widow with young children because he was in need of a roof over his head. I imagine he thought that was the best he could do at the time.

Despite this, it is obvious to me that Thomas McKeith was quite a character - take that how you will. He evidently had a knack for making people laugh, and was very humorous in his responses even in a court setting. This is clearly a family trait as his brother Barty was very much the same, although I haven't found any evidence of Barty being so cruel.

Thomas McKeith later died in 1889. Mary Robson had died three years earlier.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Former Mrs Carroll

Bernard Carroll and Ann Dickson married somewhere in Ireland. I imagine it was sometime before 1846, as their eldest surviving child's year of birth would suggest. 

In Ireland they already had one child named William who was born around 1846. The Carroll family arrived in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, Scotland during the potato famine years, where they had a further five children. 

Ann Jnr was born in about 1849, Patrick followed in 1851, then Francis in 1854, Bernard Jnr in 1856, and finally Thomas, who was born in 1859. Sadly only William, Ann and Bernard survived early infancy. 


(Above) Patrick and (Below) Francis Carroll's baptism at St Columbkille's church, Rutherglen.

(Above) Bernard Carroll Jnr's birth registration. Notice "Barny."
(Below) Thomas Carroll's birth registration.

I know Francis died of scarlet fever, and Thomas was frail from birth, but it was neither of these illnesses which killed their mother.

Ann Dickson Carroll died on 4 April 1860, just short of a year after the birth and death of baby Thomas. Her cause of death was stated to be "Cauliflower excrescence of the uterus," which she was said to have suffered from for 12 months. This is also known as uterine cancer.


Ann Dickson Carroll's death registration.

Ann was laid to rest in the churchyard at Rutherglen, no doubt where her infant babes were also buried. 

On 6 July 1860, just over three months after the death of Ann, her widower married again. Bernard Carroll married Jean Duffy at Rutherglen, where she lived on Main Street, and worked in a paper mill nearby. They are my 3x great-grandparents. 


Bernard Carroll and Jean (Jane) Duffy's marriage registration.

It was a rather hasty marriage, but it is to be expected. Bernard was a single father with three young children, the youngest, Bernard, being only 3-years-old when his mother died. Jean was already the mother of little Elizabeth, who was born out of wedlock two years before. At that time Elizabeth was being raised back in New Kilpatrick, Dunbartonshire by her uncle and his wife - so both parties had what some would call 'baggage.'

In that sense, it was completely necessary for Bernard and Jean to find a spouse, and they certainly didn't waste any time. The marriage took place so quickly after the death of the former Mrs Carroll, some may deem it insensitive or cruel, but I think it is completely understandable.

Bernard and Jean went on to have nine children together, of which only four survived infancy.