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
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.
One of my initial reasons for carrying out my family history research was to see if I could work out where my “brains” came from. Most of my cousins and siblings have not progressed, from an educational point of view, beyond what were then called ‘O’ levels. I have gone much further than that and continue to seek out avenues to continue with my own learning and development.
I harboured for a long time a view that my intelligence must come from my maternal grandfather. A man I never met because he was a soldier in the Second World War and, although he didn’t die of injuries incurred during the war, he did die in a military hospital of a form of cancer at a relatively young age. I went to some lengths to get his war records so that I could find out more about his occupation before he enlisted, as there had been some suggestion that he had been a journalist. However, his war record confirmed that he had been a machine operator or printer for the Daily Express in Manchester; so no journalism there but perhaps an interest in words?
I have though followed his line further back into history as I knew very little about this branch of my family. I discovered that the Ellis family had come over from Ireland sometime between 1837 when their son Robert was born in Ireland and 1838 when my second great grandfather Francis was born in Herne Bay in Kent.
Francis had a successful career in the Coastguard service starting first in the Royal Navy as a seaman in Beirut working on a ship called the Renown. In the 1871 census he is a commissioned boatman in Sutton St Mary in Lincolnshire and by 1881 the chief boatman in Barrow on Humber. By 1891 he was chief officer of coast guards in Filey, Yorkshire; living with his family at 61 Hope St. This street is close to Cobble Landing where the RNLI lifeboat is currently stationed and is very familiar to me as we used to holiday in Filey when we were children; although at that time I did not know we had had relatives living there. By 1901 Francis was described as a naval pensioner and living in York which is where I went to school.
His own father, also called Francis, had been a boatman in Ireland. When he brought his family to England he was stationed in the barracks at Fort Moncrieff in West Hythe, Kent. Sadly this station no longer exists. Francis, my third great grandfather, was born in Mullaghmore on the North West coast of Ireland in County Sligo. At the time it was part of a large estate owned by English absentee landlords – the Temple family; it is now considered a smart holiday destination. It was also off the coast of Mullaghmore in 1979 that Lord Mountbatten and members of his family were killed by a bomb planted by the Provisional IRA.
So what has this brief foray into my family history told me about my roots and connections? Two key things come to mind:
- There is at least one example of someone in my family having a successful career moving through a profession in the way that I have.
- There are many places in Yorkshire and elsewhere which are meaningful to me, with Filey in North Yorkshire being a good example of this.