James Scaling 1808-1877

Recently I write about two Haw brothers who married two sisters from the Goodrick family in my blog post called a tale of two brothers and two sisters. Further research into the Haw family revealed James Scaling who married two Haw sisters.

James was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire to parents Thomas and Alice and baptised on 2 August 1808.  When he married the first Haw sister, Ann, my fourth great aunt on 3 August 1831 in St Helens Church in York, he gave his residence as Manchester on the marriage licence they obtained. On their marriage record James was described as a glazier and a bachelor. Tracing the family using census records has however been problematic so I may not have identified all their children; it does look like though that they had at least three boys:

  • William Haw Scaling was baptised in Manchester Cathedral on 5 August 1832. He became a gilder, married and had at least three children.
  • John Scaling was born in 1839 and baptised in Manchester Cathedral on 21 August 1839. On his marriage record he gave his occupation as a brass pounder.
  • Thomas Scaling was born in Salford in 1841, became a plumber and married twice.

James’ occupation was given as a plumber and glazier living in Salford on his son William’s baptism record. An 1855 directory gave his occupation as a gas fitter and that he was living in 5 Bury Street, Salford. James’ wife Ann died on 21 March 1856 in Salford, Lancashire as evidenced by her probate record which also confirmed her address as Bury Street, Salford.  James then went on to marry Ann’s sister Hannah (1809-1884) on 27 March 1856 in Manchester. At the time this took place this was an unlawful marriage. It wasn’t until the Deceased Wife’s Sister’s Marriage Act of 1907 that this prohibition was removed. When Hannah’s first husband, Roger Arton (1806-1841), died he had left her with at least three children.

After their marriage James and Hannah lived in Trinity Lane, Micklegate, York where James continued to work as a journeyman plumber and glazier. They had moved to Dale Street by the time of the 1871 census and James died in York in 1877 aged about 69. Hannah died in 1884 aged 75 and was buried in nearby Market Weighton.

Note: the image is one I’ve taken of York City Walls.

Ancestors in Australia

So far in my family research I have found very few people who have emigrated to Australia from either my husband or my own part of our family tree. The most notable person was Thomas King, born about 1813, who was transported to Tasmania for stealing.

Recently I discovered some distant cousins, one of whom emigrated to Australia in 1928 and the other who joined him in 1949. The first to emigrate was Frederick William Ellis (1906-1957) who was born in Luton, Bedfordshire and by 1928 living in Cople in Bedfordshire. He left England for Australia on 13 October 1928 on the ship SS Orford where his occupation was given as farming. Information on the ship he travelled on is included on the Passengers in History website.

SSOrdfordfrompassengersinhistoryFrederick seems to have settled in Western Australia and so far I’ve been unable to determine if he received assistance for his passage. He wasn’t listed as a new settler arriving on the ship SS Orford in the list published in The Western Australian newspaper dated 10 November 1928.


Frederick was living in Northam, Western Australia when he enlisted in the Australian army in WWII. After the war his sister Helena (1904-1988) and brother-in-law Ashley Herbert Lansom (born 1906), my fifth cousin once removed, together with their two sons, emigrated to Australia on the ship SS Otranto. They left Tilbury Docks, London, England on 14 October 1949 bound for Freemantle in Western Australia. On the passenger list Ashley’s occupation was listed as a plumber and they gave their intended residence as c/o Ellis, 58 Hovea Crescent, Wundowie, Western Australia. The Lansom’s seem to have settled in a suburb of Perth called Dianella as they were recorded living there in The Government Gazette dated 31 August 1979.

A resource that I’ve found really helpful to add context to these two men is the National Library of Australia’s Trove website. It is free to use and is where I found copies of The Western Australia newspaper and The Government Gazette.

Note: the photo of SS Orford came from the Passengers in History website under their Creative Commons license. It has not been modified.

A tale of two brothers and two sisters

From time to time I come across intriguing connections between people in my ancestral family tree. This was certainly the case with two of my 2nd great uncles: John Charlton Haw (1876-1958) and Frederick Thomas Haw (1881-1858). Their parents, William Haw (1846-1907) and Ann Bean (1843-1911), my two times great grandparents, lived and worked in the York area of Yorkshire. William was a tailor who by the 1901 census was living with his family at 45 Marygate, York and working as a tailor on his own account.

John and Frederick were both living with their parents in 1901 with John described as a railway porter for the North Eastern Railway company and Frederick a labourer for them too. By the 1911 census Frederick had married Sarah Ethel Goodrick (born about 1881) and they had three children. His occupation was given as a municipal electric cable joiner. Sarah had been recorded as a servant to the Nutchey family in 1901; the head of the household was a railway clerk. By the 1939 register Frederick and Sarah were living at 23 Fifth Avenue, York and Frederick was an electrical engineer. He continued to live in York until his death in 1958 when his address was recorded as 23 Park Grove, York in St Thomas’ Church burial records. The church is located in nearby Lowther Street. I have found a possible death for Sarah in 1960.

Frederick’s brother John continued to work for the NER throughout his lifetime and in 1905 he joined the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants trade union which later became the National Union of Railwaymen. His occupation at that point was given as a shunter. In 1919 he married Maria Emily Goodrick (1880-1967) who was his brother Frederick’s wife Sarah’s younger sister. Before her marriage Maria had been a domestic servant for the Proctor family who ran a Chemical Fertiliser company and were Agricultural Merchants, living in Ashcroft, York. John and Emily continued to live in York and by 1939 were residing at 5 Neville Street with John giving his occupation as a railway foreman porter. Both John and Maria were still living there when John died. His burial record was found in St Thomas’s Church records.

Park Grove York

Park Grove, York


In addition, one of John and Fredericks’ sisters, Sarah Ann Haw (1874-1944), married my great grandfather William Ellis (1873-1951), and they were living at 40 Ambrose Street, York in 1939.  William’s father Francis Ellis (1839-1925) was residing with his family in 40 Park Grove, York in 1901, not far from where Frederick died in 1958 at no 23 Park Grove. (The photo Park Grove was taken recently by me and is an example of what the houses in the street now look like.)



As a final thought, it is interesting that both brothers died in 1958 and their burials recorded in St Thomas’s Church, York. They seem to have lived within half a mile of each other throughout their later lives.

Discovering Digweeds and Tuttles in South East England

As part of my family research I have been following the Digweed family in my tree back in time. The earliest record I have for my seven times great grandparents, Thomas Digweed and Abigail Shepherd, is a record of their marriage on 16 March 1627/8 in Thatcham, Berkshire. Over the summer I have been visiting some of the places the family lived in in Berkshire and nearby places in Wiltshire.


St Mary The Virgin, Thatcham


Thomas and Abigail had at least seven children: three boys and four girls. Finding their records has been challenging though as there are many and different spellings of Digweed. A couple of examples are: Digwidd and Diggweed. While some members of the family remained in Thatcham others moved to nearby villages in Berkshire.



All Saints, Ham

My five times great grandfather Charles Digweed (1703-1760) was born in Thatcham and died in Greenham. Charles and his wife Ann Chapman (born about 1717) had at least eight children: four boys and four girls.  Their grandson and my three times great grandfather, John Digweed (1791-1851), settled with his wife Rachel Hillear (1793-1851) in Ham in nearby Wiltshire. John and Rachel had at least eight children: seven boys and one girl and John was recorded as an agricultural labourer living in Ham in the 1851 census. Their son Thomas (1836-1910) was my two times great grandfather. He too was an agricultural labourer who seems to have moved around somewhat probably in order to find work. With his wife Mary Ann Tuttle (1837-1900) he had at least twelve children: six boys and six girls. One of their sons, Francis Edward Digweed (1873-1959), was my great grandfather.



Great Grandfather  Francis Edward Digweed

By the 1901 census Francis was married to my great grandmother, Violet Kate Richardson (1878-1971), and living near Skipton in Yorkshire when he gave his occupation as a coachman. By 1911 he was a domestic coachman to the Lawley family in Escrick, Yorkshire. As an aside, I was looking at the records of the family (Forbes Adam collection) at the Hull History Centre and came across a number of mentions in the Estate account books for the mid-1910s of payments to Digweed for “clipping the mare”. A later photograph of Francis, provided by a family member, shows him in his chauffeur outfit standing by the Lawley family car.



I do remember my great grandmother Kate and I am lucky to have some family photos provided by one of my relatives. Also, some of the photographs of churches in Berkshire have been taken by me. What I didn’t find in any of these churches’ graveyards were any memorial stones for members of the Digweed family, indicating perhaps that they largely remained as agricultural labourers over quite a long period of time.


St Michael and All Angels, Shalbourne


When I visited Shalbourne though what I did come across were members of the Tuttle family buried in the graveyard: Stephen Tuttle (1803-1876) and his half-brother John Tuttle (1805-1887). Stephen was my two times great grandmother, Mary Ann Tuttle’s (1837-1900), father.



2nd Afgham War memorial


There were also some members of the Tuttle family on two war memorials. The oldest memorial was a cross dedicated to three soldiers of the parish who were “Soldiers of the 66th Royal Berkshire who fell at the Battle of Maiwand, Afghanistan”. One of these soldiers was Lance Corporal George Tuttle (1847-1880), my first cousin four times removed, who died in Afghanistan during the second Afghan War.




G D Tuttle

The WWI memorial in Shalbourne churchyard also has two Tuttle men on it: T(homas) Tuttle (1888-1917) and G(eorge) D(avid) Tuttle (1889-1917). Both were privates in the Royal Berkshire Regiment and are my second cousins three times removed. G D Tuttle’s grave in Shalbourne churchyard is marked with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone.



No members of the Digweed family featured on any of the WWI memorials in the churchyards I visited indicating that they had largely moved away from the area by the start of WWI. It was interesting though to find members of the Tuttle family. Just also to say that my photographic skills are not great and all the photos on this blog post, bar the one of Francis Digweed, have been taken by me, so apologies for their quality. It has been interesting visiting parts of Berkshire which were unfamiliar to me despite the fact that I gained my first degree from Reading University.

Occupation: fellmonger

It was with great delight that I came across an ancestor who was a fellmonger as many of mine are either labourers or worked on the land. However, I did think with the first record I found that it said fishmonger; finding further records for Thomas Bellinger (1841-1938) though convinced me that his occupation was fellmonger and that he lived in Bermondsey, South London. The Tanners of Bermondsey website[1] explains that ‘fell’ is a skin and that a fellmonger was someone who either provided or sold skins to tanners. They might also have prepared the skins by removing the hair or wool from them which wasn’t a pleasant task.

Thomas Bellinger, my second cousin four times removed, was born and baptised in Enborne, Berkshire in 1841 to parents John (1799-1883) and Sarah (1816-1852). John was an agricultural labourer who married twice and had probably at least seven children, most of whom stayed in Berkshire.  Thomas had moved to Bermondsey by the 1861 census when he was recorded as a boarder and fellmonger living at 5 Laxon Street; this was in the Leather Market area of Bermondsey. The leather trade was prominent in Bermondsey in the 19th century and part of the Leather Market building, which was erected by prominent tanners of Bermondsey,[2] still exists in Weston Street[3]. The City of London had banned tanning “because the stench was so foul” and it had moved to Bermondsey where the running water it needed was provided by the Neckinger and other tidal courses.[4] Bermondsey’s growth through to modern times has largely been attributed to the leather trade.[5]

Thomas married Sarah Withey in St James’ Church, Bermondsey on 29 March 1863 and together they had at least nine children, two of whom died in infancy, as shown in the following chart:

Descendant Chart for Thomas Bellingercropjpg

The family continued to live in Bermondsey as follows:

Census Address Notes
1871 5 Paulin Street Children: Robert, Henry and John
1881 36 Earnest Street Seven children at home

Robert and Henry were railway porters – possibly at the nearby London Bridge station

1891 1 Earnest Street Six children at home

Robert was married and had left home.

Henry was a leather dresser, John a dairyman and Thomas a van guard.

Sarah, Annie and Alfred were scholars.

1901 28 Fendall Street Three children at home

Henry was a hide cutter, John a fellmongers labourer and Alfred also worked with leather

1911 42 Macks Road Thomas was still a fellmonger despite being 69 and a widower.

He was living with his son Robert and family. Robert was a carman with Bermondsey Borough Council.

During the time the family lived in Bermondsey the population increased significantly from just under 30000 in 1831 to over 81000 in 1901.[6] Much of the housing were tenements in multiple occupation and disease and unsanitary conditions were rife. A report by the Medical Officer for Health for the year 1895 recorded a death rate of 22.1 deaths per thousand of the population in Bermondsey; this was more than the 19.8 per thousand of population recorded for London as a whole. Infant mortality was 162 deaths per thousand. The report particularly noted that deaths from violent causes had increased and that three people were found dead in the Thames and one in the Surrey canal.[7] By 1901 smallpox had also become a specific concern when an epidemic broke out in Bermondsey.[8] Interestingly, one of Thomas’s sons Henry died in 1902.

After Thomas’s wife Sarah died in 1909, Thomas and members of his family continued to live in Bermondsey until his death in 1938 aged 96.

I too came to know Bermondsey when I started work in Bermondsey Street in 2006. I didn’t know about my family’s collection to the area though and although I’ve walked down Weston Street many times, I wasn’t aware of its importance in the leather trade. I’d certainly like to see more of the Leather Market building; something I can rectify on my next visit to the London Bridge area.


Stephen Richards / Former Leather Market, Weston Street / CC BY-SA 2.0

[1] Tanners of Bermondsey. http://www.tannersofbermondsey.org/fellmongers.html : accessed 28 July 2019.

[2] Malden, E. H. ed. (1912) ‘Parishes Bermondsey.’ In: A History of the County of Surrey. Vol. 4. pp. 17-24. London: Victoria County History. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/surrey/vol4/pp17-24 : accessed 28 July 2019.

[3] Exploring Southwark. The Leather Market. http://www.exploringsouthwark.co.uk/the-leather-market/4591038643 : accessed 28 July 2019.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Malden, E. H. ed. (1912) ‘Parishes Bermondsey.’ In: A History of the County of Surrey. Vol. 4. pp. 17-24. London: Victoria County History. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/surrey/vol4/pp17-24 : accessed 28 July 2019.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Dixon, John. (1896) Report on the Sanitary Conditions of the Parish of Bermondsey for the Year 1895. London: Fredk Tarrant & Son. https://wellcomelibrary.org/moh/browse/?place=Bermondsey&startYear=1848&endYear=1972: accessed 28 July 2019.

[8] Brown, R. K. (1902) Special Report on Smallpox in Bermondsey from October 12th, 1901 to September 6th, 1902. London: Frederic Shaw. https://wellcomelibrary.org/moh/browse/?place=Bermondsey&startYear=1848&endYear=1972: accessed 28 July 2019.

Genetic genealogy

It is quite some time since I last wrote about my genealogical investigations into my family. The last year has been taken up with the diploma year of my course. I decided that over the summer I would see what genetic genealogy could contribute to my own research. I took an autosomal test sometime ago and haven’t been able to establish how some of my matches are related to me. Many of them are based in the USA and share very little DNA with me. At best they are 2nd cousins and at worst 5th cousins and beyond.

I have recently taken an autosomal test with another provider who has a much larger database of testers. In preparation for finding more distant cousins I’ve been working on parts of my family tree which have been somewhat neglected. The person I chose to follow up was my great grandfather Digweed whose family originally came from Berkshire. This has proved to be a bonus as I have found ancestors in both Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. Both counties are close to where I now live in Oxfordshire.


Market Hall, Old Amersham

The first person of interest in Berkshire is Ashley Bellinger (born 1849) who, was the game keeper to Mr W W T Drake of Shardeloes, Amersham. He is my third cousin three times removed. The Drake family held the title of ‘Lord of the Manor’ of Amersham from about 1637; previously Shardeloes had been owned by the Tothill family. William Drake (1650-90) built the Market Hall in Old Amersham in 1682 and another William (1723-96) remodelled Shardeloes from 1758-1766.

Ashley continued to be game keeper to the Drake family until at least the 1901, census although he disappears from the records some time after his son George died in 1902. George (1876-1902), my fourth cousin twice removed, was a police constable with the London Metropolitan Police when he died of influenza and pneumonia in 1902. He was buried in Amersham on 28 June 1902.


St Mary’s Church, Old Amersham

Ashley’s father George (1806-1890) was a publican who in 1881 ran the Fury Bush Inn in Kingsclere, Hampshire. In 1871 he had recorded his occupation as a game keeper. George and his siblings had been born and baptised in the chapelry in Greenham, Berkshire.


St Mary’s Chapelry, Greenham

One of George’s sisters, Ann (born about 1804), seems to have married the same man, Ashley Cowper Croft, twice. The first marriage took place at Gretna Green on 20 July 1819 and they married again in Arundel, Sussex on 26 June 1820. Her husband Ashley became an articled clerk in Arundel on 30 May 1820 and was admitted to Gray’s Inn on 5 May 1823 when he was described as the fourth son of James Croft of Greenham Lodge, Berkshire. Ashley was living at Priestwood Lodge, Greenham when he died in 1833 and left a straightforward will leaving everything to his wife Ann.

These are just a few members of the Bellinger family who I’ve discovered as part of my research into more distant cousins, in preparation for the results of my autosomal DNA test. Of course the results from that came in earlier today and it seems that it’s the Ellis side of my family I now need to do some more work on!

The unidentified John Sarginson

It was probably about a year ago when my brother Tim set me a family history challenge. He is interested in a specific name on the WW1 war memorial which resides in St Helen’s Churchyard in Escrick; the village we were born and brought up in. The man’s name was John Sarginson. Neither of my parents was able to shed any light on this man who shares the same surname as we do. Our uncle Taff, one of my father’s brothers, wasn’t able to help either when we asked him about him earlier this year. Mind you he didn’t know that one of his ancestors from a nearby village had served in World War One, survived and is included in one of the historical books about Riccall; the village which he lives in.

Anyway how hard can this be to identify someone who is currently unidentified I thought to myself. Well much harder than I’d anticipated is the short answer. I started with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and found some John Sarginson’s who had not survived the war but, having carried out further research,  I don’t think it is any of them. Then I thought well perhaps he is in some of the other WW1 records: Ancestry, Imperial War Museum lives of the Great War, Findmypast and the National Archives at Kew. No luck there though.

Then I realised that there would probably have been some meetings to discuss the war memorial and discovered that some papers and meeting minutes had been lodged at the Hull history centre as part of the Forbes Adam collection. Perhaps this was going to be the eureka moment that we family historians crave. Yes you’ve guessed it, it wasn’t. A very interesting letter from Lady Wenlock written in 1921, just after the commemoration service for the war memorial, did reveal some of the local feeling around it and some of the the names which had been included on it. But no the papers didn’t provide any information about who was going to be included on the memorial. A separate sub-committee run by the Rector made those decisions; and so far it doesn’t look these papers still exist or are accessible.

So it was back to the drawing board. After extensive further research, including also looking at the other soldiers on the war memorial and who they served with, I am no further forward in identifying the unidentified John Sarginson. I am loathe to leave him as a mystery so have written to the local historian who wrote a book about Escrick to see if he can help.

If you know anything about this John then do please contact me. I have also posted this blog to my other genealogy website https://sarginsonfamily.com/.

Postscript: it looks like John may no longer be unidentified. He was probably Corporal John Sarginson of the West Yorkshire regiment. It would be good though to know more about his connection to Escrick as he wasn’t born there. If you have any further information do please get in touch.

My Irish ancestors in Walmgate, York

As part of my diploma studies with Strathclyde University I am currently studying Irish records. Some of my ancestors came over from Ireland sometime before the 1851 census and settled in the Walmgate area of York. The family concerned are my three times great grandparents:  James Weir (about 1784-1857) and Mary Carty (about 1804-1875). In the 1851 census they were living in Long Close, Walmgate, York with their seven children, six of whom had been born in Ireland, and one who had been born in York. James was described as an agricultural labourer as well as his sons: Patrick, John and James and daughter Catherine. Their daughters Judy, Ann and Mary were described as scholars and Mary Carty, a visitor and widow (and possibly James’s mother in law), was also living with them.

James died on 21 January 1857. His death certificate records that he was aged 78 and a labourer living in Long Close Lane; his cause of death was asthma and disease of the heart. His death was reported by his daughter Catherine who by then had married James Duffy.  By the 1861 census Catherine, James and family had moved to Middlesbrough.

After James’s death Mary (Carty/Weir) continued to live in York and was recorded in the 1861 census living with her daughter Ann, husband Charles Rafter and a “niece” Mary aged 11. A question I have is, was she the daughter of Mary who was born in 1851 when she was 47, or the daughter of one of Mary’s children? So far I haven’t been able to find a birth or baptism record for her.

My three times great grandmother Mary continued to live with her daughter Ann, Charles and their family. In the 1871 census they were living in the St Dennis area of Walmgate. Mary died on 24 March 1875 aged 67. Her cause of death was recorded a phthisis. She was living with her daughter Ann and family at 19 Dennis Street; her daughter is recorded as the informant on Mary’s death certificate.

My research into this family has had some success with three of James and Mary’s daughters: Catherine (born about 1826 in Sligo, Ireland), Ann (born about 1843 in Ireland and died in 1890) and Mary (born about 1851 in York and died in 1918). Mary married Luke Richardson (1846-1891) and they are my two times great grandparents.

I have had less success researching the following children of James and Mary who were all born in Ireland:  Patrick (born about 1824), John (born about 1834), James (born about 1836) and Judy (born about 1841). If you have any information about any of them then do please get in touch.

Beware of what you find

Researching my ancestors has become something of a passion for me and I really enjoy writing stories about the people I’ve met in this way. From time to time though, I find things out which result in me having a more sombre view of life in a rural village.

A recent example of this relates to the Richardson family; my great grandmother was a Richardson. I was surprised to see that I hadn’t completed all the birth, marriages and deaths information for part of this family who lived in Yorkshire in the late 19th century. As I progressed with the task I came across Mary Ann Richardson, my first cousin three times removed, who as a young child was injured in a fire and subsequently died. The accident happened when both her parents were at work and her two brothers were playing outside in the yard. It looks like she got too close to the stove and her clothes caught on fire. The inquest record explains that one of their neighbours saw her “with her clothes blazing all around”; and that Leonard Smales, a farm labourer, “seized her and rolled her on the floor” to put out the flames. Mary had burns to her legs, body, chest, chin and ears and although her wounds were attended to, she died. Rather poignantly the 1875 burial record for Mary records that she died aged four and three quarter years.

Life in rural Yorkshire wasn’t easy; both of Mary’s parents were working as labourers, Joseph on the railway and her mother Elizabeth on the land. They were at work the day the accident happened, a Saturday. By 1881 they had moved to a nearby village and Joseph was described as a railway platelayer for the North Eastern railway who perhaps had moved with his job?

Sometimes even brief records can pack an unexpected punch. On a recent visit to the East Yorkshire archives in Beverley I handled a small document which recorded the indictment and sentence of my five times great grandfather. Elias was given 7 years transportation for stealing a variety of grains; perhaps either to sell and/or feed his family. He never made it to one of Britain’s colonies though. Elias died in 1812 in a prison hulk ship moored off Portsmouth, probably of hulk fever. I tried to find out more information about his burial but it looks like prisoners were just put in unmarked graves or worse.

Seeing both these records gave me an almost visceral connection to the past, something which I was really surprised about. Sad those these stories are, it won’t stop me doing my research; and their stories deserve to be told, it has also made me more aware of the conditions my ancestors endured in a part of rural Yorkshire which I experienced very differently as a child. To me it meant freedom, fresh air and the chance to read and learn. For them it was more about the daily grind and being able to feed their families. Despite the current climate, in comparison to their lives, I feel very lucky to live in the present time.