All Saints Church and Churchyard, Ripley, North Yorkshire, England

While visiting my brother-in-law in Yorkshire, we made a day trip to the town of Ripley in North Yorkshire. We wandered around the castle for a bit, grabbed a delicious ice cream cone, and afterwards made our way to the All Saints Church and its surrounding graveyard.

All Saints Church, Ripley, North Yorkshire, England

The church dates to the 14th century, and features a very old “weeping cross” where pilgrims and penitents kneeled in prayer. The cross has been lost to time, replaced by stones at the base of the cross. There are only two weeping crosses known in Britain, it is believed that this cross was built around the the construction of the church in the 14th century (part of the original church structure is now sinking into the ground and is referred to as the “Sinking Chapel”):

Weeping Cross, All Saints Church

The church itself was rich in history. Along one of its walls, Cromwell’s Parliamentarian soldiers executed Royalist prisoners after the battle of Marston Moor during the First English Civil War (1644).

Church Wall with bullet holes at All Saints Church

Here is a closeup of the bullet holes which remain in the wall:

Closeup of Bullet Holes in a Church Wall Left By Cromwell’s Soldiers, All Saints Church

Inside, the baptismal font has served the parishioners for hundreds of years:

Baptismal font and stained glass window, All Saints Church

Ripley was mentioned in the Doomsday Book (written in the year 1086) and was originally located on the north bank of the River Nidd. However, in the early 14th century the Ingilby family relocated the village to the north. At that point the Ingilby family constructed Ripley Castle, and have resided there for over 700 years, through 28 generations of Ingilby’s.

The tomb of Sir Thomas Ingilby and his family is inside the church:

Tomb of Thomas Ingilby of Ripley and his wife. Ingilby saved King Edward III when he fell from his horse in the forest and was nearly gored by a wild boar. Ingilby swiftly killed the boar, which was eaten at the ensuing banquet, and earned a knighthood and family crest for the Ingilbys of Ripley.

The churchyard itself was overgrown at the back, with grass growing tall amongst the gravestones.

Churchyard, All Saints Church, Ripley, North Yorkshire, England

Churchyard, All Saints Church

Churchyard, All Saints Church

It was in this cemetery that I first noticed an unfortunate trend in numerous gravestones across Yorkshire: the use of a particular type of sandstone that must be incredibly susceptible to erosion. See James Harrison’s gravestone as an example:

Eroded Gravestone of James Harrison (d. 1875) and other Family Members

There were some beautiful monuments, such as Elizabeth Brown (d. 1857):

Elizabeth Brown (d. 1857) Gravestone, Wife of Francis Brown

But many stones were neglected and fallen over, like George Wood Ripley and his family:

Gravestone of George Wood of Ripley, wife Elizabeth and Daughters

Pieces of broken monuments were placed along the churchwalls:

Broken gravestones along All Saints Church wall

And some pieces of gravestones lay scattered in the overgrown gradd:

Broken Gravestone of Ann, the wife of Stephen Broad[elim?]

There were some lovely examples of gravestone art, such as this decorative angel blowing a trumpet on the family gravestone of George Bradfield:

Family Gravestone of George Bradfield (1851)

Or this possible crossing olive branches with a flower bud on the gravestone of Richard Pawson (d. 1857) and wife Jane (d. 1880):

Gravestone of Richard Pawson (1857) and Jane Pawson (1880)

A forlorn-looking man sits on a chair above the gravestone of 25 year old William Holmes (d. 1851)

Gravestone of William Holmes (d. 1851)

The churchyard itself was peaceful and quiet, though very close to the popular tourist attraction of Ripley Castle and its gardens. And although it seemed a big neglected and could do with a cleanup, it at least has avoided the horrible fate of several other churchyards and cemeteries in Yorkshire who have completely removed gravestones from the grounds and either placed the stones flat to create “Stepping stones”, removed to the churchwall to make mowing easier, or allowed the stones to become building blocks for new construction.

Orcas Island Historical Museum and Woodlawn Cemetery, Eastsound, Washington

For our fifth wedding anniversary, we went to a B&B on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. We practically had the islands to ourselves, since it was the Thanksgiving weekend – and pouring! The inn where we stayed was also a working farm with a lovely view of Turtleback Mountain, and was located along the historic Crow Valley. As we drove to the inn, we passed a tiny old schoolhouse called the Crow Valley School with a sign for the Orcas Island Historical Museum. My wonderful husband, who had a list of some must-dos for the trip such as ocean kayaking (which torrential rainstorms the entire weekend prevented), hiking on Mt. Constitution, walking along the beaches, exploring Massacre Bay with Victim Island and Skull Island (all of which we did!) – he looked up as we drove by and said “looks like we are adding the historical museum to the list!”. He knows me well!

After various adventuring, we walked around downtown Eastsound and visited the main branch of the Orcas Island Historical Museum, an old log cabin with an addition built on. There we met a very helpful volunteer who told us about some of the exhibits and history of the Island. I had done a little research on the Native American history of the island and had a number of questions. She recommended reading Native American Wives of San Juan Settlers, a book researched by a local genealogist, which documented some of the complicated history of the islands, which were granted for white settlement in the latter half of the 19th century, after the local Native American Lummi tribe who lived or summered on the islands were placed onto a reservation after the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott (In 1858, a group of Haida raided a small group of Lummi who had left the reservation and were fishing off Orcas Island. The bodies of the murdered Lummi were left behind, and upon their later discovery by white settlers of the island gained the names “Massacre Bay”, “Skull Island” and “Victim Island”). When we mentioned that our inn was next to the Crow Valley School, she mentioned that the Historical Society had recently acquired it and she would be happy to drive out there the next day to open it up for us and give us a personal tour. Unfortunately, we had a ferry to catch back to the mainland the next day, so we missed the chance. But we learned a few interesting facts, such as the Pleasant Valley School (later called Crow Valley School) was built on an acre of land donated by settler Peter Frechette.The one-room school had as many as 47 students enrolled, 27 average in attendance. The school closed in 1918 and later became a community building.

Driving around the island, we came across Woodlawn Cemetery and stopped to take some photographs. Woodlawn Cemetery was established in 1891 and was first called the Methodist Episcopal Cemetery. In 1908 it was renamed Woodlawn Cemetery.

The cemetery is across the road from a dairy farm, and we explored the cemetery with quite a few bovine friends looking on.

Cows across the road from Woodlawn Cemetery, Orcas Island, Washington, with Turtleback Mountain in the background.

Interested bovine across from Woodlawn Cemetery, Orcas Island

W.R. Weddle (d. 1906) had a monument with a good solid handshake:

W. R. Weddle Gravestone (1906) Woodlawn Cemetery, Orcas Island

And Barbara Hambly (d. 1900) lies in pastoral peace:

Barbara Hambly Gravestone (1900), Woodlawn Cemetery, Orcas Island

Transcriptions of the all the epitaphs at Woodlawn Cemetery are available through the Washington State Digital Archives and USGenWeb.

Old City Cemetery, Raleigh, North Carolina

Back in 2009, I worked a booth at NGS, which was held in Raleigh and was a fantastic conference. After helping to set up the booth the day before the conference officially began, I attended the wonderful African-American Genealogy Forum, which was held at the North Carolina Museum of History, and then wandered around the city with a colleague, searching for historical sites.


We made our way to the City Cemetery of Raleigh, aka Old City Cemetery, which was recognized in 1798 as Raleigh’s first cemetery. Originally 4 acres, it was laid out into quarters, “with the northern two quarters reserved for residents, the southwestern for visitors, and the southeastern for Negroes, both free and slaves”. Today, the cemetery has grown to about 7.5 acres, and is very scenic along the edge of downtown Raleigh.

Entrance to the City Cemetery:

City Cemetery Sign, Raleigh, NC

The cemetery:

City Cemetery, Raleigh, NC

The Raleigh City Cemeteries Preservation group has made a walking map of City Cemetery and also maintains a comprehensive list of the individuals buried at the cemetery.

Unfortunately, we spent more time chatting about things historical while wandering the cemetery, so I did not have a chance to take too many photographs. The city of Raleigh was an interesting mix of northern and southern cultures, modern, yet intrinsically linked to its past with historical monuments large and small throughout the city (it was a bit disconcerting to walk over the the AAGF and pass numerous monuments celebrating Confederate heroes and figures).


Both the city and cemetery were lovely to visit, I would love to go back and see more!

Weekend Surprise: Unraveling Royal Descent

I  received my eagerly-anticipated copy of Martin Hollick’s revised edition of New Englanders in the 1600s. It now sits beside its well-used predecessor, and contains even more families, detailing all modern scholarship which has been performed on a given individual or family from 1980-2010. I use it constantly for work, but rarely ever sat down with it to review my own early New England lines, and became inspired to do so this weekend.

I’m always touting the significance of using current, scholarly research, since so many early genealogical works contained errors, small or large, which were then repeated ad nauseum throughout subsequent books – and then with the advent of the internet, exponentially spread far and wide. But then along comes a modern article published in a respected genealogical or historical journal which corrects those mistakes, or discovers brand new avenues of research. Thankfully, many of those articles are becoming available online, particularly through NEHGS, and are therefore easier to access. With that in mind, I am a bit sorry to admit that up until this point, I have never truly sat down to evaluate my early New England lines. The excuses? Sure! Working for the past five years at NEHGS, I often had clients and patrons ancestors running through my head instead of my own. And when I did have some time to work on my lines, I tended to focus on either the brick walls on my father’s lines, or the complete unknowns on my mother’s lines. Dad was lucky enough to come from several generations which had at least one or two people interested in genealogy, beginning with my great-great-great-grandmother Imogene (Everson) McClellan, and therefore I inherited a big chunk of work already “done” (especially those early New England lines) – whereas my mother, who descends entirely from Irish immigrants who ended up in Boston, had no idea what her roots were beyond the immediate family that she knew. And then of course I married and gained a whole new set of lines to research, since my husband’s British father knew nothing concrete beyond his mother in London, and my husband’s mother had only two generations back to Italy, with various details to be discovered. Add to that the fact that between me and many of my Great Migration ancestors are 13-14 generations. At 14 generations of ancestry, one has a whopping 16,382 ancestors – quite an overwhelming number of people to study exhaustively. So that’s a few mea culpas to add to the mix!

Grandma Imogene’s genealogical research, which largely dates from the first decade of the 20th century, was placed on the “someday” pile to review, and her beautiful fan charts were copied into my Rootsmagic software as tentative. Imogene’s work deserves a full blog entry – or several – as I have been lucky enough to inherit several wonderful pieces of her research. Handwritten letters to and from town clerks across New England, her notes on various contemporary published genealogies, her ancestral charts, as well as primary documents from her father’s line, including some of his deeds and probate (and those of his ancestors), as well as material culture such as quilts and silverware [which has been occasionally highlighted in previous entries].

Imogene descended entirely from early New England roots. And even after just one weekend of digging deeper at her research, it is quite impressive how much of her work holds up to this day. Many little red flags showed up, particularly around the identities of wives of Great Migration immigrants and other 17th century wives, who were falsely identified in genealogies dating to the 1800s – which of course is what Imogene would have been using as her reference works. I developed a folder for all the Great Migration sketches pertaining to her ancestors from Robert Charles Anderson’s series. Imogene’s work was essentially limited to mere names and dates, so works such as the Great Migration are a wonderful way to access modern scholarship which fully documents the lives of those immigrants (the good, the scandalous, and the mundane!).

So far, so good in terms of general accuracy. But then I worked my way to the Big Two: Imogene’s two gateway ancestors to royal descent. Any wagers on the conclusion? Both lines were completely bogus, perpetuated by early authors hoping to connect early New England immigrants (with no known ancestry) to more noble families in England with the same surname.

1. John Dingley of Marshfield, Plymouth, Mass. Supposedly John’s Dingley line connected to the Neville line, which connected to Beauchamp, and eventually to King Edward III, King Edward II, King Edward I, Henry III, King John,  King Henry II, Empress Matilda, King Henry I, and William of Normandy. However, according to TAG 56:207-210 and 61:234-40, John Dingley was unlikely to be the son of the couple Francis Dingley and Elizabeth Bigge who descended from the Neville line.
2. John Churchill of Plymouth. Many attempts to connect him with the ancestry of Sir William Churchill, which ties into a royal bastard line. But his origins remain unknown.

That eliminated all of Imogene’s royal lines. I wasn’t all too surprised to discover it. And frankly I equally love discovering new lines as much as I love disproving false ones. At work I had a running log of bogus “Indian princess” lines as well as a log of particularly egregious 19th century historians who not only made mistakes, but outright fabricated lies and documentary evidence (including writing false vital records on a piece of paper and then dipping it in tea to make the paper seem historic!). But there was a certain appeal to claiming descent from Charlemagne.

Then I began thinking about my extended family. As I mentioned, Imogene’s work has been known in the family since the early 1900s – that’s quite a few generations who took some pride in their royal descent. In my father and grandmother’s generations, quite a few uncles, aunts, and cousins have taken frequent trips to the British Isles, seeking out their “ancestral castles” along the way. Did I have the heart to break it to them?

I called it a night. On Sunday I went back to investigating a few more of Imogene’s lines, to continue adding documentation to her lines, and discovered that an “unknown” wife in Imogene’s time has subsequently been discovered and verified, and traced her line back to the Puritan minister Rev. John Maverick and his wife Mary Gye.

NEHGS genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts compiled The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants, which includes Mary Gye as a true gateway ancestor. 12 generations between Mary Gye and Henry III, King of England and his wife Eleanor of Provence. Huzzah! The ability to tell the cousins that only some of the castles they visited were bogus connections… except Gary writes: “Further documentary proof of generations 7-9 would be desirable”. That’s because it looks like this:

1. Henry III, King of England, d. 1272 = Eleanor of Provence
2. Edmund Plantagenet, 1st Earl of Lancaster = Blanche of Artois
3. Henry Plantagenet, 3rd Earl of Lancaster = Maud Chaworth
4. Eleanor Plantagenet = Richard FitzAlan, 9th Earl of Arundel
5. John FitzAlan, 1st Baron Arundel = Eleanor Maltravers
6. Joan FitzAlan = Sir William Echyngham
7. Joan Echyngham, said to be married to Sir John Baynton
8. Henry Baynton = (_)
9. (said to be) Joan Baynton = Thomas Prowse
10. Mary Prowse = John Gye
11. Robert Gye = Grace Dowrish
12. Mary Gye of Mass. = Rev. John Maverick

Now, I haven’t had a chance to review all the footnotes to get the full story of why, if generations 7-9 are considered sketchy in terms of evidence [though the two “said to be”s surely stick out], that they are accepted as more true than not. Gary had enough faith in the line to include it, but even he feels the connection could use additional documentation.

And of course, with Henry III as an ancestor, that also means we can claim again as ancestors his direct line of royal descent : King John,  King Henry II, Empress Matilda, King Henry I, and William of Normandy.

So in the course of one weekend, I went from erasing all lines of Imogene’s royal descent, to gaining one royal line, to discovering that line, while considered valid, is still a bit sketchy… call it a possible royal line? Martin has discussed the complications of medieval genealogy, but he has been able to document a line of royal ancestry from scratch – perhaps a more thorough review of the sources documenting the ancestry of Mary Gye could upgrade her royal descent from a possibility to a probability.

Mystery Monday: Origins of Mary (Miller) Munroe of Pembroke, Mass.

Nathan Munroe Family Bible, Courtesy of Jane Kent
Henry Munroe [variously spelled Munro, Monroe, etc.] Jr. married “Mary Millar” at Pembroke, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, 12 September 1771. Vital Records of Pembrokenotes that no intention was recorded for this couple at Pembroke churches or the Pembroke town clerk. Their marriage was a double wedding, with Henry’s older sister Mary Munroe marrying Jacob Bearce on the same day.
Henry and his sister Mary were the children of Henry Munroe Sr. and Hannah Josselyn, who lived at present-day Main Street in Hanson. Both the families of Henry Munroe Sr. and Jr. were members of the Congregational Church of Hanson (then part of Pembroke) under the leadership of Rev. Gad Hitchcock.
The family bible of Nathan Munroe, the son of Henry Munroe Jr. and Mary Miller provides the following details about Mary Miller:
·         Henry Munro Jr married Mary Millar Sept 12 1771
·         Mrs. Mary Munroe- wife of Henry Munroe died Aug 26 1813 64th year
    Read more about this bible at:
Pembroke VRs records the death of Mary as: Mary Munro, w. Henry, Aug. 26, 1813, in 64th y.

However, this does not provide her exact birth date [only indicating she was born about 1750] or her parentage.

Joan S. Guilford’s The Monroe Book (Franklin, NC: Genealogy Publishing Services, 1993) p. 320-321 mentions that Henry Munroe’s children “are variously attributed to “Sally”, “Mary”, and “Margaret”, but they are all by Mary. Pembroke VRs list the first five children born to “Henry and Sally Munro” and the next two to “Henry and Mary”, the next to “Henry and Margaret”, then the remaining two to “Henry and Mary”. Gad Hitchcock’s baptism records of the Munroe children all list them as simply the children of Henry Munroe, with no wife’s name listed. However, it does appear to be a matter of the town clerk reporting back variations of Mary’s name, rather than Henry Munroe having four separate wives – there are no subsequent marriages of Henry Munroe, or deaths of additional wives, and in subsequent death records for the children of Henry Munroe, they typically list Mary as their mother [for example, Mary (Munroe) Sturtevant’s death record in Halifax, 6 Oct 1858, listed her as the daughter of Henry and Mary Monroe, despite her birth record stating she was a daughter of Henry and Sally Munro]

Mary’s parentage is very much a question, in part because of the rarity of the surname in Pembroke at that time. During the 18thcentury, there were only three Millers recorded at Pembroke:
  • Andrew Miller and Jane Macklucas married at Pembroke, 19 December 1727
  •  Josiah Miller, husband of Mary, died at Yarmouth, 15 April 1729, a. 50, and his information was recorded on the gravestone of his wife Mary Miller, who was buried at Pembroke Centre Cemetery. [G.R.1. in Pembroke VRS]
  •  Mary Miller, the wife of Josiah, died at Pembroke, 15 February 1772, a. 94, and was buried at Pembroke Centre Cemetery. [G.R.1. in Pembroke VRs]
Josiah Miller (b. 27 October 1679, Yarmouth, Mass.) married Mary (Barker) Crosby 13 August 1708 (b. 14 April 1674, daughter of Isaac Barker and Judith Prince). Mary (Barker) Miller was the granddaughter of Gov. Thomas Prince of Massachusetts. The family of Josiah Miller resided in Yarmouth, Mass. However, his widow Mary (Barker) Miller died in the home of her son-in-law, Reverend Thomas Smith of Pembroke.[1] On 28 August 1734, Rev. Thomas Smith had married Judith Miller (23 Aug 1716, Yarmouth – 31 July 1785, Pembroke), the daughter of Josiah Miller and Mary Barker.
Since Mary Miller was born about 1750, she obviously could not have been a daughter of Josiah Miller and Mary (Barker) Crosby, since Josiah died in 1729. Considering the possibility that she could have been a granddaughter of the couple that perhaps came to Pembroke with her widowed grandmother Mary (Barker) Crosby Miller in the early 1770s to the household of Rev. Thomas Smith, here’s a look at the children of Josiah Miller and Mary (Barker) Crosby, from Yarmouth Vital Records:
1.      Josiah and Mary Miller had a daughter dead born in March 1710
2.      and also another daughter dead born in April 1712 (of Josiah and Mary Miller)
3.      Josiah Miller son of the abovesaid Josiah and Mary Miller he was born on the 29th day of July in the year 1713; Josiah, son of Josiah and Mary, died 13 December, 1717, aged 4 years, 4 months, 15 days.
4.      Judith Miller daughter of the abovesaid Josiah and Mary Miller she was born on the 23rd day of August in the year 1716; Mr. Thomas Smith and Mis Judeth Miller was married August the 28th 1734
5.      John Miller son of the abovesaid Josiah and Mary Miller he was born on the 8th day of August in the year of our Lord 1719; Mr. John Miler of Yarmouth and Mrs. Hannah Parker of Barnstabel… published November 5th 1738; John, died 31 January, 1747/8, in his 29th year; John Miller died on January 31st 1747/8 son of Josiah Miller. John Miller and Hannah Parker had a daughter:
o   Mary Miller she was born August the 22nd 1744 (of John and Hannah Miller), Yarmouth; Josiah Hedg and Mary Miller both of Yarmouth… entered [intentions] February the 4th 1769; she married second at Yarmouth, 1 January 1789, Deacon Josiah Thacher. Mary (Miller) Hedge Thacher died at Yarmouth, 15 January 1811, in her 67th year.
6.      Mary Miller daughter of the abovesaid Josiah and Mary Miller she was born on the 13th day of December in the year… 1721; Mary Miller the daughter of Mr. Josiah Miller she departed this life September 22nd 1724; Mary, daughter of Josiah and Mary, died 22 September, 1724, aged 2 years, 9 months, 17 days.
7.      the abovenamed Mr. Josiah Mary Miller had a son dead born on the 9th day of November in the year of our Lord 1724
So of the seven children born to Josiah and Mary (Barker) Miller, only two survived to adulthood: Judith, who married Rev. Thomas Smith in 1734, and therefore could not have had a illegitimate daughter named Mary Miller born circa 1750, and John Miller, who died 1747/8, and therefore also could not have had a daughter named Mary Miller born circa 1750. Although he did have a daughter named Mary Miller, born 22 August 1744, she remained in Yarmouth and married twice there before dying in 1811.
Therefore it seems unlikely that the family of Josiah Miller and Mary (Barker) Crosby had any connection to Mary Miller, the wife of Henry Munroe Jr.
The only other Miller record in Pembroke prior to Mary Miller’s marriage to Henry Munroe in 1771 was the marriage of Andrew Miller and Jane Macklucas, who married at Pembroke, 19 December 1727. Could they have had a daughter Mary born almost 22 years into their marriage? [Which is not unreasonable – in fact, my line of descent from Henry Munroe Jr. and Mary Miller is through their youngest child, Mercy Miller Munroe, who was born 20 May 1794 – almost 23 years after their 1771 marriage] Or a granddaughter?
The trouble is that Andrew Miller was probably not originally from Pembroke (since there are no earlier Millers in town records) and Jane McLucas was definitely not from Pembroke – she was a resident of Marshfield and married Andrew Miller after a scandal. Jane Macklucas/McLucas/Lucas “of Marshfield” had an illegitimate daughter, Mary, baptized at Scituate 23 October 1726 [Second Church of Scituate, now the First Unitarian Church of Norwell, CR2 in Scituate VRs]. At the time, fornication prior to marriage was still considered a crime.
When Jane’s illegitimate pregnancy was discovered, she was called to the Plymouth County Court of General Sessions to account for her crime. At the Court held March 1724/5: of recognizance of Jane MacLucas was recorded [meaning that she officially recognized that she owed a debt to the court]. At the Plymouth Court of General Sessions held September 1725, Jane Maclucas, singlewoman of Marshfield, “confessed fornication and w[as] fined 4 pounds”, which was paid. [PCR 2:43, 47].
So a year after Jane McLucas of Marshfield had her illegitimate daughter Mary baptized at Scituate, she married Andrew Miller at Pembroke. Did the illegitimate Mary McLucas take the surname Miller and later herself have an illegitimate daughter named in her honor?
There is no birth or baptism record for Andrew Miller in any town in Plymouth County. Only two Plymouth County towns had several Miller families who left records prior to 1727: Middleborough and Halifax, and a smaller number from Plymouth and Rochester.
And there are no birth or death records for any children born to Andrew Miller and Jane McLucas in any Plymouth County towns subsequent to their marriage. There also are no Mary Millers born or baptized in any Plymouth County town vital records collections circa 1750. Neither Andrew nor Jane Miller had a Plymouth County probate. I haven’t had a chance to search if Andrew or Jane Miller had deeds in Plymouth County.
So without any evidence suggesting that Andrew and Jane Miller stayed in Pembroke and had children, there is nothing directly tying them to the Mary Miller who married Henry Munroe. Until more is known about Andrew and Jane Miller’s lives subsequent to their marriage, it is impossible to recommend or discount the possibility that they are the parents of Mary Miller. Did she come from a town outside of Pembroke? Outside of Plymouth County?
If you have any thoughts, speculations, or answers to this week’s Mystery Monday, let me know in the comments below!

[1]Mrs. William Sumner Crosby, One Line of Descendants from Dolar Davis and Richard Everett (Boston, MA: Press of George H. Ellis Company, 1911) p. 56.