Places to Visit in the Lastingham Area

As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, Mom, Dad, and I will be staying in Lastingham, England in 2017.  Lastingham is a village on the edge of the North Yorkshire moors.  We will be using it as a base as we explore the surrounding villages and towns.  Certain branches of Grandad P’s family have been born within a ten mile radius of Lastingham for generations.


Raymond Pearson’s ancestors, with those born within a 10 miles of Lastingham highlighted.  It is quite likely that many more of his great great grandparents were born in the area as well, but I haven’t yet ascertained their birthplaces.

Here is a list of some of the places we hope to visit that have significance to our family:

Lastingham: Ruth Fletcher (Grandad P.’s paternal grandmother) was born in Lastingham in 1853.  At the time of Ruth’s birth, her parents, Robert Fletcher and Mary Jane Pickering, had just arrived in the village having previously lived in Hartoft.  Robert and Mary Jane (Grandad P.’s great grandparents) subsequently settled down in Lastingham and appear to have lived there for almost five decades until Mary Jane’s death in 1901.  Even after his wife’s death, Robert continued to live in Lastingham and, at age 81, he was even still gainfully employed in the area, working as a road contractor.


The village of Lastingham

Spaunton (1 mile from Lastingham) – In 1871, Ruth Fletcher (Grandad P’s paternal grandmother) was working as a domestic servant at Low Askew farm in Spaunton. The farm was quite a large one (180 acres) and, altogether, it employed four farm servants and two domestic servants.

Appleton-le-Moors (1.7 miles from Lastingham) – Sidney Pearson and Annie Frank (Grandad P.’s parents) were married at Christ Church in this village on June 17, 1916.  In addition, at the outbreak of World War II, when the 1939 Register was conducted, Sidney and Annie were living in Appleton-le-Moors.  Their address is listed as Orchard House; however, there are several other families also listed as living at Orchard House and Sidney’s occupation is head gardener, so it is possible that, rather than living in Orchard House itself, Sidney and Annie lived in a smaller residence on the Orchard House property.


Orchard House, Appleton-le-Moors

Hutton-le-Hole  (1.8 miles from Lastingham) – William Frank (Grandad P.’s great grandfather) was born in Hutton-le-Hole in 1817.  At the time of the 1841 census, 20-year-old William was still living in Hutton-le-Hole in a house with his parents and four of his brothers.  By the time of the 1851 census though, William was married and had moved away from Hutton-le-Hole.  However, by 1871, William was back in Hutton-le-Hole living with his housekeeper and 14-year-old son, Thomas (Granddad P.’s maternal grandfather).  William appears to have lived in Hutton-le-Hole from that point onwards until his death in 1893.  Exact addresses are very rarely provided in the Hutton-le-Hole censuses; however it can be said with certainty that William was living on Back Lane End in 1881.  And, in 1891, he was living in the vicinity of the school room (either beside it or across from it).

Cropton (2.5 miles from Lastingham) – Sidney Pearson (Grandad P.’s father) was born in Cropton on February 27, 1889.  Sidney lived in Cropton for his entire childhood.  In 1891, for example, Sidney was living with his parents, four siblings, and his cousin in a four room house on Morley Terrace.  Sidney’s parents, William Pearson and Ruth Fletcher (Grandad P.’s paternal grandparents), weren’t originally from Cropton, but, after raising their family there, William and Ruth continued to live in Cropton until their deaths in 1923 (Ruth) and 1944 (William).  Both William and Ruth are buried in the Cropton Cemetery.


The 1939 Register shows William Pearson and his daughter Henrietta living in Cropton.

Esther Monkman (Grandad P.’s maternal grandmother) was also born and raised in Cropton.  In 1871, at the age of three, she was living, with her mother and siblings, at Hen Flats Farm in Cropton.  Nowadays, Hen Flats Farm is a caravan camping site.  By the time the 1881 census occurred, Esther and her parents and siblings had moved into Cropton village itself.


Hen Flats Farm (photo courtesy of A. Matson).

As an interesting aside, Esther Monkman (Grandad P.’s maternal grandmother), Sidney Pearson (Grandad P.’s father) and many other relatives all attended Cropton Undenominational School.  For those of you who watch “Escape to the Country,” keep your eye out for that school.  It was featured as one of the properties for sale in Season 15 of the series!  The school and the rest of the village are plotted out on this map.

Kirkbymoorside (5 miles from Lastingham)At the time of the 1881 census, Thomas Frank (Grandad P.’s maternal grandfather) was working as a farm servant at the 137 acre Cartoft Farm in Kirkbymoorside. Today, the farm seems to be broken into several smaller properties, so it is difficult to ascertain exactly where Thomas worked, but the farm looks to have been situated on Malton Road.

Hartoft (7 miles from Lastingham) – Jane Harland (Grandad P’s great great grandmother) was born there on January 20, 1799. She married Jeremiah Pickering from the parish of Fylingdales on December 9, 1819.  The newlyweds settled down on a farm in Hartoft, and raised at least eight children there. Their eldest daughter, Mary Jane Pickering (Grandad P’s great grandmother), was still living in Hartoft when she married Robert Fletcher in 1851.  Her fiance was also living in Hartoft at the time of their marriage.  A year later, Mary Jane and Robert’s son, William, was born in Hartoft.  However, by the time their next child, Ruth (Grandad P’s grandmother), was born in 1853, Mary Jane and Robert had relocated their family to Lastingham.

Aislaby (7 miles from Lastingham) – Sidney Pearson (Grandad P.’s father) was working as a wagoneer on John Hodgson’s farm in Aislaby in 1911.  His future wife, Annie Frank, spent part of her childhood in Aislaby, so it is possible that he first met her there.

Our family sure does have multiple connections to the Lastingham area, eh?!  Here’s hoping we have plenty of time to explore!




Monkmans Revisited

In my last blog entry (about Pickering), I alluded to the fact that next up would be a list of places to visit in the Lastingham area.  I am still hard at work doing my research for that article . . . but in the meantime, I was recently sent some photos that I wanted to share with you all right away.

If you remember, a couple of entries ago, I wrote about the Golden Wedding Anniversary of Robert and Esther Monkman (my great great great grandparents).  They were the couple who had sixteen children and their daughter, Esther, was my great great grandmother.


Robert Monkman and Esther Hebden (Grandad P’s great-grandparents)

Well, I am a member of Ancestry and a few weeks ago, I was contacted on Ancestry by a distant relative.  Her name is Angela and, like me,  she is a great great great granddaughter of Robert and Esther.  If I have figured things out correctly, I think that makes Angela and me 4th cousins!  Now, it turns out that Angela is lucky enough to have a Monkman uncle who is in possession of Robert and Esther’s Bible that has been passed down through the generations.  And that Bible includes not only the birth dates of Robert, Esther, and all their children, but also photographs!  So, without further delay, here are some of the images from the Bible that Angela was kind enough to send me:

Robert and Esther Monkman (my great great great grandparents):


Close up of Robert Monkman (my great great great grandfather):


Close up of Esther Monkman nee Hebden (my great great great grandmother):


Another photo of Robert and Esther Monkman (my great great great grandparents):


Esther Monkman (my great great grandmother) and her sister Mary Monkman:


Another page of the Bible with photos of two of Robert and Esther’s sons: Robert and James. My 4th cousin, Angela, is descended from James Monkman:


I never thought I would see family photos from so long ago.  How marvelous, eh?!  Thanks very much to Angela for contacting me and sharing such treasures!

An Anniversary to Celebrate

In October 1905, my great-great-great grandparents, Robert and Esther Monkman celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in Wykeham (near Scarborough).  They were the maternal grandparents of my great grandmother, Annie Frank (who was Granddad P.’s mother).


Robert Monkman and Esther Hebden (Grandad P’s great-grandparents)

Robert and Esther were married fifty years earlier on October 6, 1855 in Middleton, Yorkshire.  Due to the sheer number of children they had, their Golden Wedding Anniversary made the news in places as far afield as Bath and London:


Bath Chronicle and Local Gazette – October 12, 1905

What a lot of children, eh?  All sixteen were all born in Cropton, Yorkshire and there’s not a twin or triplet among them!  Here are Robert and Esther’s seven daughters and nine sons in birth order:

  • Margaret, born 1856
  • John, born 1857/died 1860
  • Robert, born 1859 / died 1859
  • John, born 1860
  • Robert, born 1862/died 1862
  • Hannah, born 1863
  • George, born 1865/died 1868
  • Anne, born 1866
  • Esther, born 1868 (MY GREAT GREAT GRANDMOTHER)
  • Mary, born 1870
  • Robert, born 1871
  • James, born 1873
  • Jane, born 1875
  • George, born 1878
  • Charlotte, born 1879
  • Frederick, born 1882

One thing immediately strikes me when I look at the names Robert and Esther chose for their multitude of children: they were absolutely determined to have sons named John, George, and Robert.   In 1860, John, their firstborn son, died at age three and, later that same year, when another son was born, they named him John.  Similarly, they lost a three year old son named George in 1868; ten years later, in 1878, they named another son George.  And, they ended up having three sons named Robert – the first two Roberts died in infancy and then, about a decade later, they decided to risk naming another one Robert.  Luckily, the third Robert grew to adulthood, got married, and ended up having at least seven children of his own!

The other thing that is striking about Robert and Esther’s large family is the age difference between the oldest and youngest: oldest daughter, Margaret, was twenty-four years old when her youngest brother Frederick was born.  She got married, in fact, the same year that Frederick was born.  And Robert and Esther already had at least one grandchild (Eliza, born 1879) by the time their youngest child, Frederick, was born in 1882.  Two-year-old grandchild, Eliza, in fact, was living with her grandparents in Cropton in 1881, and she was the exact same age as her Aunt Charlotte – I bet they were excellent playmates!


Eliza and her Aunt Charlotte, 1881 census

Not an Orphan After All . . .

For this post, I thought I’d share the story of my great grandfather, George Carter.  My interest in genealogy was kindled when I heard that my grandmother (Nanny P.) was looking for information about her father, George Carter.  He hadn’t told her much about his childhood, only saying that he was an orphan who grew up in an orphanage.  Nanny P. wanted to know more about his background and so I set out to see what I could find.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that he was not an orphan at all.  I’m not sure what’s sadder though, growing up in an orphanage after your parents die?  Or growing up in an orphanage when your parents are still alive?

George Carter (Nanny P.’s father) was born in 1899 to Thomas Carter and Elizabeth Mason.  Thomas and Elizabeth were originally from Staffordshire, but by the time George was born, they were living in Stockton-On-Tees.  The 1901 census shows Thomas and Elizabeth living in a two-room house at 8 Charlton Street with George, George’s older siblings (Thomas, Ellen, and Elizabeth) and George’s younger brother (Samuel).   Older half-sister, Naomi Downes, who shows up on a previous census, is not living with the family in 1901.  I haven’t yet figured out where she is.


The Carter Family – 1901 Census

By  1911, George’s family has fallen on tough times.  George and his brother Samuel are living in a cottage home (an orphanage) on Hartington Road with fifteen other boys, under the care of a Miss Pamela Smelt.


George (and his brother Samuel) – 1911 Census

(As an interesting aside, one of the boys living in the orphanage with George and Samuel is William Stewart.  He’s listed directly below Samuel and he was killed in World War I; his life is memorialized on the very poignant 1,245 Sunflowers website.)

Where is the rest of George’s family while he and Samuel are living in the orphanage?  Well, their mother is in the workhouse and their father is a lodger in the home of a Mr. James MacDonald.


Elizabeth Carter (George’s mother) – 1911 Census


Thomas Carter (George’s father) – 1911 Census

I didn’t find any trace of George’s older sisters (Naomi, Ellen, and Elizabeth) in the 1911 census; while searching for them, however, I discovered a five-year-old “Margaret Carter” listed as an “inmate” at another orphanage in Stockton-on-Tees.  Another sibling perhaps?  I emailed Stockton Archives and, sure enough, she is George’s little sister.


Margaret Carter (George’s sister), 1911 Census

I also located older brother, Thomas, who by 1911 had joined the Durham Light Infantry and was stationed at Colchester, Essex.


Private Thomas Carter (George’s brother) – 1911 census

George’s family, then, was definitely scattered far and wide by 1911.  Unfortunately,  worse was yet to come:  his older brother, Thomas, was killed while serving with the 2nd Durham Light Infantry at Colchester on August 13, 1913. What a great deal of hardship and adversity the family had to deal with.

George’s tragic family story leaves me with lots of questions about him and his family.  What precipitated them all being split asunder?  Did George know his parents were still alive or did he truly think he was an orphan?  Did George know that he had a younger sister or was he already in the orphanage when Margaret was born?  And did George ever reunite with all his surviving siblings?

Welcome to Ancestral Hearthbeats!

I’ve been pondering the idea of creating a family history blog for a few years now, and I’ve decided it is finally going to happen in 2016.   I can’t promise I’ll post regularly as I don’t seem to have much time to devote to genealogy, but I hope you’ll enjoy reading my posts when I do post them!

Setting up this blog has proved more challenging than I thought it would be.  The hardest task by far was giving it a name.  Genealogy is such a popular pastime and, as a result, everyone is blogging about it.  What does this mean for me?  It means all the typical genealogy-related blog names are already taken and I had the difficult task of trying to find a very unique name.  I have spent a couple of days trying to find a name that a) isn’t already in use and b) encompasses all my ancestors.  “Roots and Ramblings”? Taken!  “From Moor and Mountain”?  Perfect for my ancestors who lived in the mountains of Canada or beside the moors in Lastingham – but not very inclusive for those who lived in Middlesbrough or Wolverhampton!

I finally decided to brainstorm to determine what (if anything!) all my ancestors had in common.  All from England?  Nope.  All farmers?  Nope.  All paupers?  All Non-Conformists?  All from villages?  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Just when I was beginning to despair, it hit me:  hearths!  My ancestors all came from very different backgrounds, but I bet they all gathered around the family hearth on a cold winter’s day.

In historic and modern usage, a hearth /ˈhɑrθ/ is a brick– or stone-lined fireplace, with or without an oven, used for heating and originally also used for cooking food. For centuries, the hearth was such an integral part of a home, usually its central and most important feature .                                                          ~Wikipedia

The hearth has been present in homes for centuries.  I have vivid memories of both my grandfathers lighting fires in their respective hearths.  I can still feel the chilly morning air around me as they worked diligently to get their fires started.  I can still smell the coal.  I can still hear the crackle of the kindling.  I remember Grandad Carter shaving with a razor and shaving brush in front of his hearth.  And I remember Grandad Pearson feeding Pip Lion bars in front of his.  The hearth really does feature prominently in my memories, and picturing my distant ancestors around their hearths makes them feel more like living, breathing people to me.   And, thus, the name of this blog was born!


Medieval Fireplace

Until next time, I hope you all stay warm around your hearths (or have the luxury of turning on your central heating!) . . .

(PS – Do any of you have memories that feature the hearths of your grandparents or other relatives?)