Wednesday 6 March 2013

Wishful Wednesday - two for the price of one - Matthew Taylor and my cat

Wish number one: cat sleeping potion

Yesterday I woke at 10am from the best night's sleep I'd had in ages, the cat had not disturbed me all night and I think I had slept through from 1am without twitching once.  I put this down to having been able to put the cat out in the lovely sunshine for a few hours in garden the day before.  Plus - and I think this might be important too - I had spent the whole day resting, so wasn't over tired or stupidly full of pain killers when I lay down to go to sleep quite late.

Tonight she has so far woken me twice - 1:30am and 3am.  It was cold and miserable most of yesterday and we had to go to Sheffield to the hospital in the afternoon in the only bit of the day the sun showed its face - so the cat didn't get an airing.  And I was over tired so lay down to go to sleep at 10pm, meaning the cat didn't get her second supper laid out for her until she woke me.  I  now feel very groggy (and annoyed with the cat) and my stomach is telling me the cheese and crackers I had the last time I woke were NOT a good idea. 

Wish number two (which is rather more in the spirit of the Geneabloggers blogging prompt): I wish I knew what happened to Matthew Taylor, the OH's 3x grandfather.

Yesterday I mentioned that I had found his seaman's ticket on Find My Past.  This is the first positive sighting of Matthew that I've had in years, unfortunately it dates from 1845 and therefore brings me no nearer solving the mystery of his disappearance. 

Matthew (b.1829) was the fifth son of David and Elizabeth Taylor of Castleford.  David (b. 1790) was a Waterman or Mariner or Sloopman and appears to have owned boats too (1822 Trade Directory on Genuki).  He was originally from Rotherham - I can only surmise he moved to Castleford as there were more opportunities for work.  One of his brothers, Matthias Taylor (b.1787) also has a suspiciously mobile lifestyle, but I'm still working on that, however note the name Matthias, it's a family one and crops up fairly often.

'In The Clearing Mist' by Roger Davies (from
A sloop appears to be a similar vessel to a keel, though larger and the main difference is in the rigging, a fore and aft sail instead of being square rigged.  This made it more efficient in the Humber estuary and for short coastal hops.  In the wonderful painting above (a picture I wouldn't mind on our living room wall) the nearer vessel is a sloop and the white sailed one further away is a keel. 

The parish records for Castleford All Saints church are missing from the West Yorkshire Archives for the period 1772 to 1835, however Family Search has a listing for Matthew's baptism on 5th Aug 1829. which I assume comes from the Bishop's Transcripts.  His father is given as David Dennison Taylor and Matthew uses the middle name Dennison himself when he marries Susannah Rogers in Sutton, near Hull, in 1848.

The above gives me a problem though, two days ago I found Matthew's Seaman's Ticket.  Or at least I think I did.
BT113 Matthew Taylor's Seaman's Ticket (from Find My Past)
His date of birth is given as 7th September 1829.  Now which do I believe, the baptism on Family Search - probably from a Bishop's Transcript or the Seaman's Ticket, containing personal details of the subject, such as height and hair colour?  Alright - I'm going for the latter - the former has gone through at least two transcriptions and I haven't seen the primary source.

The Seaman's Ticket tells us Matthew first went to sea in April 1842, when he would have been twelve years old.  At the time this record was made, January 1845 he was about sixteen years old, 5' 5" tall with auburn hair, a fair complexion and grey eyes.  He has one voyage recorded, as a Boy on a ship registered at Goole which departed on a Home Trade voyage in June 1845.  I can only assume the rest of his career was on river boats only and thus not recorded.
Marriage Certificate for Matthew Taylor and Susannah Rogers
He married in Sutton, St James on 29th July 1848 - he was nineteen years old and gives his occupation as Sloopman, as does his father.  Sutton is now in the suburbs of Hull, but in 1848 it was a separate village and is about three miles to the north east of the docks.  In 1841 Susannah was living in the centre of Hull, with her mother, brother George and sisters.  George is enumerated in Sutton in 1851 so maybe that's the connection.  Her father was Aaron Rogers, a sailor, but aside from his marriage in 1823 to Mary Ann Lilley, I know nothing more about him. 

Matthew and Susannah have two children that I know of, Mary Ann born in 1850 and Aaron Rogers Taylor born in 1853.  This Aaron is my OH's 2x great grandfather. 
1851 census for Castleford (from Ancestry)
The 1851 census return shows Matthew at home in Castleford, now working as a Glass Maker, we can see some proof that Susannah comes from Hull and his father David, from Rotherham, is now aged 61 and is living with them.
1853 Baptism Entry for Aaron Rogers Taylor at Castleford, All Saints (from Ancestry)
When Aaron is baptised two years later in 1853 Matthew's occupation is given as Labourer.

And that's the last we see of him ...

In 1862 Susannah, now calling herself Susannah Watson and as a single woman, has two children, Elizabeth and Christiana, baptised at Castleford - where you would expect the minister would know what was going on.  I can't find a death for Matthew, I can't find a marriage for Susannah Taylor to a Watson and yet in the 1861 census she says she's a widow.
1861 census for Rectory Street, Castleford (from Ancestry)
It is definitely her, born in Hull, right age and with Aaron Taylor, her son, also the right age listed too.  Susannah is Samuel Appleyard's housekeeper, and the two girls, will be Aaron's half sisters, Elizabeth and Christiana Watson.  When Elizabeth dies in 1863 aged just four years her burial record gives us a clue what is going on.
1863 burial for Elizabeth Appleyard Watson (from Ancestry)
Elizabeth is buried with the middle name Appleyard.  Was Samuel her father?  I certainly think it is very likely.  She was born on 4th April 1857 according to her baptism record, which if she IS Samuel Appleyard's daughter suggests that Matthew was out of the picture before the middle of 1856.

That's quite a small window to search - 1852 to 1856.  But it hasn't helped, there are 28 deaths listed on FreeBMD for a Mat*hew Taylor from Q2 1852 (allowing for Aaron's conception) to Q3 1856 (when Elizabeth Watson was concieved), but none are in Castleford, and as ages aren't shown for this date range I can't even guess if the ones in other parts of Yorkshire or Lincolnshire might be him.  He does not appear in any further census returns.

I can only assume he went back to sea and was lost.  Or deserted Susannah and changed his name!

More about Susannah in my next blog.  It's daylight now - I'll feed the cat again and see if I can go back to sleep.

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