"Each has his own tree of ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, 16 December 2012

From looking at old photographs: 4. Father Baxter

Today’s old photo mystery comes from my mum’s side. The photographs on this side are much better documented – i.e. my mum actually knows who they all are. Plus many of them are labelled.
However, this post focuses on my great grandmother, Annie Louisa Goulding née Hampshire. There are many photographs of her in our collection, though most of these were taken when she was elderly. In one of these pictures there is a man. I asked my mum who he was, and she said ‘Oh, that’s Father Baxter, her second husband.’ I had no idea she had been married a second time, though my mum insists she had told me before!
My mum didn’t know anything much about Father Baxter apart from this slightly archaic-sounding name. I thought he must have been some sort of clergyman, but my mum said not, just that this was what they all called him. So, I set out to investigate.
Annie Louisa’s first husband Thomas Goulding died at the age of 60 in 1938, and my mum said that her grandmother remarried well before she was born in 1963, so I guess we were looking at 1940s or ’50s. Thankfully Annie Louisa Goulding is a relatively uncommon name, so it didn’t take me long to identify a marriage. It took place in Scarborough in the last quarter of 1948. It’s slightly outside of my usual area of focus, but I was aware that the some of the family did live on the coast for a while, on a farm at Osgodby I believe, though I probably need to ask my mum more about that as well! So, Scarborough wasn’t completely unexpected. In 1948 Annie Louisa was 61. Her new husband’s name was John J. Baxter.
Finding this marriage and thus her new surname also helped me to identify a death for Annie Louisa – I hadn’t been able to before, and now I know why – in Wakefield, in the first quarter of 1974, at the age of 86. It also furnished me with her exact birth date: 16 Jun 1887.
I now want to find out more about Father Baxter. I started with Scarborough, as this was the only concrete piece of information about him, and of course an assumption that he was of a similar age to my great-grandmother. I found a couple of likely deaths first: John J Baxter, died Scarborough in 1954, aged 71; and John Baxter, died Lower Agbrigg in 1955, aged 71. Helpfully, Ancestry had identified a probate record that matched the Scarborough death, and this confirmed that John James Baxter of Haltona, Osgodby Lane, Cayton, Scarborough, had died on xx September 1954, leaving his widow Annie Louisa Baxter a sum slightly in excess of £400. So, I can be fairly confident this is the right John Baxter, even though it doesn’t bring me any closer to identifying his parents or any other family.
That’s as far as I’ve got for now, but I’ll be continuing with this little project, so I’ll keep you updated on any interesting findings!
L x

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