Tuesday 5 March 2013

Castleford AND Mariners - when blog worlds collide

One thing leads to another and then you wander off down another path and forget where you were going in the first place ... and your mind turns to wibbly, wobbly, timey, wimey jelly stuff and you might as well go with the flow as nothing else makes sense ...

On Facebook an Open University colleague has just pointed out that I got my ref for LJS wrong by two years in yesterday's Narratives upon Chaos blog (I've put it right now!), so I went and checked my TMA4, submitted last week.  Sure enough I had put 2004 all the way through (seven different refs!) except in the bibliography where I had correctly put 2006 - well there's a date I won't dare get wrong in the exam!  I wonder how many marks that will lose me?  Ho, hum.

Yesterday I was definitely going to blog about some Castleford ancestors, but ended up investigating a family called Bullough who are distantly connected to the OH and lived in Whitwood Mere, adjacent to Castleford, but not ... if you see what I mean.  I found a tree full of Bulloughs on Ancestry and contacted the owner to offer him some information and ask if it was Ok to use his (it's only polite) - this morning he wrote to thank me and asked a couple of pertinent questions.  Such as "Where was the husband/father?" to which I replied, "Dead or missing, I've never been able to work it out ... he may have been drowned in the river or lost at sea ..."

****Light bulb above the head****

Of course - the Castleford Taylor family sailed keels between Leeds, Goole and Hull - I know that - SAILED - that means they were sailors, (yes, I know I'm labouring this, but I couldn't believe I'd not noticed this before), so that means they might have records in the maritime sections of Ancestry and Find My Past.  Arrrgh!

Map showing canals around the south of Yorkshire (from Canal & River Trust)
The Taylors originated in Rotherham, but mainly they are from Castleford from between 1812 and the present I suppose, although the OH's branch came to Barnsley around 1887. They married wives from Hull and Leeds ... look at the lines of the canals (the thinner blue wriggly lines - not the motorways!) above, Leeds to Goole, that's the Aire and Calder, with a branch to Castleford and Wakefield.  Then from Goole down the Humber to Hull.  Rotherham joins up too on the Sheffield Navigation, and there used to be a canal between Barnsley and Wakefield and linking Barnsley to Swinton, although most of that no longer exists. 

You could get just about anywhere on a boat - long before trains came along. Either around the edges - the advantage of living on an island  - or along the rivers and canals.

A Humber Keel (from Transport Explorer)
This is a picture of a Humber Keel, I have census returns showing at least two members of the Taylors from Castleford captaining this type of boat.  To me it looks a bit like a canal boat but with a mast and a couple of square rigged (you can tell I've been reading the books) sails.  

1871 census for Fly Boat No 5 (from Ancestry)

In 1871 David Taylor (b.1824) is on the Flyboat No 5, tied up in Princes Dock, Hull and he notes he was given the census schedule in Goole the week before.  There is only one other man besides him on board - did it only take two to sail a keel or had some other men gone off for a night in Hull?

1871 census for the William & John (from Ancestry)

Meanwhile his brother William (b.1812) is at Goole, on the William & John, a larger boat, 70 tons to the Flyboat No 5's 30 tons.  He was given his schedule in Hull a week before, so the brothers must have passed each other in the Humber.  Wiliam is accompanied on board by his wife and stepdaughter, no other men.

You are probably wondering if I found anything in the various maritime records online ...

Well, nothing obvious in the Masters and Mates on Ancestry, there are Taylors from Doncaster, Knottingley and Rotherham, but no-one from Castleford.  The certificates mention coasting trade, but not river trade - I suppose small ships with tiny crews didn't need qualified masters.  However on the Merchant Navy Seamen's records on Find My Past I found entries for David and William Taylor mentioned above, plus Matthew (b.1829), the OH's 3x great grandfather (the one that went missing) and a Joshua (b.1831) who I can't fit in yet, but I will! 
BT113 - Seaman's Ticket for David Taylor, b.1824 (from Find My Past)
Here's just one of the records I found today.  This gives David Taylor's birthdate as 19th August 1824, information I had not had previously.  He first went to sea as a boy in 1840, so he would have been 16 years old.  In 1845 when this record was made he was a Mate, and he was 5' 11" tall, with dark brown hair, a fair complexion and blue eyes.  Oh, and he has an anchor tattoo on his right arm! Wonderful!

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