Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Natural Daughter of Mary Rutter

In his will, William Watson, Esquire, of North Seaton, Northumberland, made certain provisions for a woman named Mary Rutter. He also gave money to Mary's natural daughter, also named Mary Rutter. 

Although he doesn't name her as such, it is obvious that the younger Mary Rutter was William's illegitimate daughter.

I decided to research the Watson family a little after discovering that William's grandson, William John Pearson Watson, was a close friend of my 3x great-grandfather, Adam Storey. 
"I give and bequeath to Mary Rutter the daughter of Mary Rutter of Longhirst an annuity of twenty pounds and to Mary Rutter the natural daughter of the said Mary Rutter an annuity of twenty pounds for the terms of their natural lives..."
Both the original will and the copy share the above mistake. There are too many Mary Rutters mentioned!

William Watson's original will was dated the 24 November 1818, although two codicils were later added following the births of his legitimate children. None of these concerned Mary Rutter.

Mary Rutter gave birth on 28 November 1808, but her baby girl wasn't baptised until 13 October 1809 at Morpeth. Mary was described as a single woman on the baptism, and no father is listed. The baptism does mention that Mary was a native of Cramlington, and her daughter was illegitimate.

Mary was obviously a clever woman. The baby's father was a wealthy and landed man, and it would have been so easy for him to shirk responsibility completely. It was impossible for Mary to name William Watson as the father of her baby as they weren't married, and it can be assumed that he was not present on the day. However Mary had other options and other ways to force William into taking responsibility. Mary gave her daughter the name Mary Watson Rutter.

Mary Watson Rutter's baptism at Morpeth.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts.

I can only assume that William Watson and Mary Rutter had a dalliance in early 1808, resulting in Mary's pregnancy and the birth of their daughter in November. 

William Watson married Elizabeth Reed on 24 July 1809 at Warkworth. Naturally, Elizabeth's family were also incredibly wealthy.

William Watson and Elizabeth Reed's marriage at Warkworth.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts.
The transcript says June.

Now, Mary Watson Rutter was baptised three months later. Could it be that Mary had her christened with that particular name in the hope that William wouldn't forget about his illegitimate first child? If that were the case, it worked, and Mary Watson Rutter and her mother were both given allowances when William Watson died on 23 March 1830.

Mary Rutter married John Davison on 19 May 1821 at Bothal. She had more children, and eventually died in 1868.

Mary Watson Rutter married Robert Hindhaugh, a carpenter and later inn-keeper, on 16 February 1832 at Bothal. Mary Watson Hindhaugh (née Rutter) died at Bothal on 6 November 1882, and was buried in the little churchyard there four days later.

Robert and Mary Hindhaugh's marriage license. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

What Did My Ancestors Look Like? - The Storeys

I've always wondered what my ancestors looked like. Even long before I started researching my family, I always liked the idea that perhaps I inherited a feature or had a likeness of another family member.

I've been lucky enough to see photographs of most of my immediate ancestors, although some branches remain a mystery, and no one in the family seem to have photographs of them at all. And of course, the majority of ancestors lived in a time before photography existed, or they weren't wealthy enough to afford photographs, or perhaps a camera just wasn't accessible. 

But there are other ways to discover what ancestors looked like and exactly what features they had. For example, certain merchant navy records took note of height, complexion, and also hair and eye colour. They often recorded birthdate and place too, as well as any distinguishing marks a person had. 

Of course, these records are only as reliable as the person making the record, so the following may actually be false. 

I've made a little pedigree chart on Microsoft Word to help display my findings. 

Above are four generations of my Storey family - from my great-grandfather, Robert M Storey, all the way through to my great-great-great-great-grandfather, Adam Storey, who was baptised in March 1794.

That Adam's birthdate was recorded on his merchant navy record as being the 4 March 1793, so that could possibly be a year out. 

The record notes that Adam had a fair complexion, with brown hair and blue eyes. He was just over 6 foot in height. 

His two sons were also listed in the merchant navy records, but they don't seem to have looked very much alike at all. My 3x great-grandfather, Adam born in 1822, had auburn hair and hazel eyes. His brother James, born in 1825, must have closely resembled his father, as he too had brown hair and blue eyes, but brothers shared their father's fair complexion. Adam and James were also around the same height; 5ft 11, and 5ft 8, respectively. 

The next generation is tricky. I have seen many, many photographs of my great-great-grandfather, Adam Storey, born in 1853. He lived such a long life and was so well-known he appeared in many, yet sadly none of the photographs that I've seen have been in colour. Adam was never in the army, nor have I seen any merchant navy records, so his exact details are unknown. However, I can guess. 

His eyes appear quite dark in all the photographs that I've seen, which might indicate that his mother, Ann Renner, had dark features. But perhaps he had hazel eyes like his father.

He is an old man in every photo I have, and his hair is fairly light, which may imply he had light-brown hair, or perhaps he was lighter still and had auburn hair like his father in his younger days. 

Adam Storey
1853 - 1951

I imagine his skin complexion was fair, as one might expect for a Northumbrian man who had lived his entire life on the north east coast. I also believe he was quite tall like his ancestry would suggest.

My great-great-grandfather's first cousin, James Storey the younger, fought in the First World War. However, only his height was recorded. He was 5ft 8 and a quarter, so only a little taller than his father. 

As there are no known recordings of Adam (1853) or James (1878)'s colouring, I have 'greyed' them out in the pedigree above.

I also have the details of my great-grandfather, Robert M Storey, his elder brother, Eddie, and his younger brother, Gladstone. 

In contrast to their ancestors, Robert and Eddie were both said to have dark complexions. They shared brown eyes and brown hair, although Eddie's were stated to have been darker than Robert's. They were around the same height too, Eddie being 5ft 7 and a half, and Robert being exactly 5ft 7. 

It must be noted that both Robert and Eddie's descriptions come from when they enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force during the First World War. They were both Northumbrian born and bred, so I do wonder if they naturally had fairer complexions. The dark complexion may be explained by warmer Australian climate.

It might have been that Robert and Eddie's mother, Jane Mavin, had dark features, and a darker complexion to the Storey family, but I really don't know.

None of the family members I have mentioned were said to have any distinguishing marks, except uncle Eddie. He had a little red tattooed heart on his right forearm, with the word 'Mizpah' [sic] written inside. 

As for uncle Gladstone, he was a little shorter than his two brothers, but he did have the same brown hair. He measured 5ft 6 exactly. Gladstone also had blue eyes, like his great-grandfather. 

Whereas Robert and Eddie had dark complexions, Gladstone had a medium complexion. This may suggest that Jane Mavin was indeed a shade or two darker than her husband.

I can also add three further generations to this chart. 

My grandma had a fairly dark complexion, with dark hair and brown eyes. I just can't be certain whose traits she inherited as her mother, Robert M Storey's wife, also had dark features.

My father has brown hair and blue eyes, and a pale complexion. 

I myself have a fair complexion, rather pale actually, with fair hair and blue eyes.