Sunday, 4 September 2011

George Thompson, or is he?

I was contacted this week by a lady whose great grandfather married into my Raes in 1888. She was having trouble finding anything on him earlier. On the marriage certificate in Ayrshire his name is George E Ellerington Thompson, father William Thompson gardener and mother Rachel Thompson, maiden surname Ellerington, deceased.

From the 1891 and 1901 censuses he was born about 1852 in England (big place).

I though with such a distinctive name he would be easy to find. Silly me.

First I looked for his parents' marriage, on the IGI and freebmd. Nothing. Then tried for a birth using various wildcards to account for spelling variations eg Thom*on would include both Thomson and Thompson spellings. Also drew a blank. Asked if she knew what the other E stood for - it was Edgar. He had an earlier first marriage in Ayrshire in 1884. His father William was an engine driver then. Seemed a bit different from gardener. So tried Edgar too. Nothing.

Then concentrated on the mother Rachel Ellerington. I found her in the 1851 census in Yorkshire, working as a house servant. This must have been quite soon before the birth of George. Tried looking in Yorkshire for his birth. Still no luck. Looked for a death for Rachel Ellerington. Nothing. Then looked for a marriage just of Rachel, not William Thomson and found one in 1857 to either Henry Canty or Barnabas Clark Pottle - you just get the names on the page for all the marriages and have to work out the pairings for yourself. I tried Henry Canty first and bingo here they are in 1861 census in Lincolnshire and in 1871 along with an Edgar Canty who is too old to be Henry's son. George Edgar must be illegitimate. I should really have thought of this sooner. But it contradicts the information George gave on both his marriage certificates.
Given that he was known as Edgar in 1861 I tried for Edgar Ellerington and, whoopee, there he was. I also found him in 1861 census as Edgar Ellerington with his Ellerington grandparents.
But where did "George" come from and who was "William Thomson"? Grandfather William Ellerington was a gardener and stepfather Henry Canty was an engine driver. Could William Thomson be made up? And if so, why?

Wondered if Edgar Ellerington had a criminal past. Happily that doesn't seem to be the case.

I still have to locate him in 1881 census. On both marriage certificates he was working as a pit bottomer. In the 1891 and 1901 censuses he was working in a pottery in Cumnock. He died in 1905, only 52. His wife had already died so he left 5 orphans under the age of 16.

I found the death of Rachel (Ellerington) Canty in 1871 aged 37. The previous but one entry was for Rachel Canty age 0. Seems like she died not long after giving birth.

The only hope may be the 1881 census. No Edgar Elleringtons. But lots of William Thomsons - none fit. But who knows what name to search under? Only thing that is definite is he was born in Hornsea in the third quarter of 1853. Any suggestions?

Footnote on 6 Sep: Working on the premise that he knew his father was William Thompson, then WT had to have been around in Yorkshire in 1852 so had a closer look at 1851 census and have found a possible William in Sculcoates (about half an hour from Hornsea) whose father was George. He has emigrated to USA by 1856 which would account for no further sightings of him! Absolutely no way of proving any of this, unfortunately.

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