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The Conn Family of Pickering
Researched and Contributed by David Conn
Further information is available from David Conn Email him
Geography of the area.
Pickering is a market town in
the Vale of Pickering in North Yorkshire, England. The Vale runs from York in
the west to Scarborough in the east, with the North York Moors to the north and
the Yorkshire Wolds to the south.
Summary of the family.
The earliest records for this family are in Pickering dated about 1620. Exactly where they lived in Pickering, or what their occupations were is not known. About 1690 the family moved to Fylingdales, a parish on the east coast of Yorkshire. The main town of Fylingdales is Robin Hoods Bay, usually just called Bay, which was one of the main fishing centres along this north east coast. Fish was landed at Bay and transported along a sailors trod to Pickering, and it is likely that the family moved to Fylingdales along this trod. It is clear that they were a poor family, for at least two members were buried from the Poor House. Towards the end of the 1700s they were on the move once again, this time to the parish of Lythe, just to the north of Whitby. The farms at Hutton Mulgrave and Moorgate where the children were born are still standing. In about 1822 another move was made to Lofthouse (Loftus). The Tithe map of 1838 shows that George Conn was renting three small cottages immediately to the rear of the parish church of St Leonards. He was also renting a small strip of land just outside of Loftus from Lord Dundas. This was the same Dundas family that features in the Conn family of Upleatham.
Of George's nine children the descendants of only three have been traced. John and William still have descendants in this part of England, whilst George's descendants are to be found in America. William's son ,John, married Mary Jane Hansell of Staithes and had four children. Shortly after the birth of the last child, Grace, John was killed on the Railway at Sandsend, near Whitby. Mary Jane subsequently married John Bennison, the local carrier in Staithes, where they lived in Poplar House. In the 1930s this became a guest house, where I spent many happy holidays.
In the following records those from the parish registers are coloured blue: all others are black.
It seems probable that the Conn family had been living in the Pickering area from at least 1301, because the Yorkshire Lay Subsidy of that year showed that Alicia Conn paid 5 pence. This was a tax of one fifteenth raised by Edward the 1st. on the "temporal" assets of each person. That meant that Alicia had assets of 75 pence, and because the cut-off point was so low - possibly set at 2 pence - this was almost equivalent to a poll tax. Alicia was the only Conn mentioned in the whole of Yorkshire, although at this early date only about half the population had recognisable surnames.
7 Feb 1432. Probate of the will of John Conn of Thornton in the parish of Foston. This is just to the west of Pickering.
Records from Pickering, St Peter and Paul.
Comment:-it is assumed that Richard and Easter were married and that John Conne (senior) was their third son.
They had six children, but the records of only one of them, Robert, can be traced. Dorothy died in 1682 and John married Jane Wilson later in the same year. They had one daughter called Jane who, along with both parents died in 1683.
At some time, perhaps around 1710, Thomas migrated to the parish of Ugglebarnby, probably using the path that the fishermen of Robin Hoods Bay used to take fish to Pickering. Whether he went alone is not known. The following records have been provided by a Mr Richardson of Whitby and have not been checked. Ugglebarnby registers prior to 1720 have been lost, and these records may have been taken from the Bishops Transcripts.
It is possible that these three children were born in Ugglebarnby.
Robert, the first son, must
have formed some association with the sea, for the next record we have of him is
in Fylingdales, where he married Jane Storm in 1738, one of the daughters of
perhaps the largest maritime family in the North East of England. They then move
to Sunderland where they had four children.
It is through the third child, Rebecca born in 1720, that the family line continues.
Parish of Fylingdales, St Stephen.
The returns of the Overseer of the Poor show that Rebecca Conn was receiving sums of money each year between 1776, when the records begin, and 1783, presumably to maintain her in her own home. It is assumed that after this date she moved into the poor house, where she eventually died.
Robert, the illegitimate son of Rebecca Conn, married Mary Garbut about 1788, although no record has as yet been found. There follows a 20 year period of moving from one farm to another. The records are incomplete, so a certain amount of speculation is neccessary.
Children of Robert Conn and Mary Garbut.
Mary is called the seventh child of Robert Conn, but only six can be accounted for. The family line continues through George: what happened to the other children is not known.
The children of George Conn and Eliza Duck.
Hollin Tree House, Hutton Mulgrave and Moorgate are all farms in the parish of Lythe, whilst Handale is a farm just south of Loftus, originally the site of a Franciscan priory. About 1826 George and his family moved into the township of Loftus, probably living in the group of old cottages immediately to the rear of St Leonards Church. Certainly the Tithe map of 1838 shows George occupying three of the four cottages, along with a strip of land, probably of about half an acre, along the road to Handale.
March 1840. Burial of Sarah,
daughter of George and Elizabeth Conn. Monumental inscription in St Leonards
graveyard at Loftus.
The children of three of the marriages can be traced, although several of John's children are called Cown, not Conn. Indeed, George Conn is called George Cown in the census of 1881, and on his grave he is also called Cown, despite the fact that his brother William, buried in the next grave, is still called Conn.
Children of William Conn and Margaret Toase.
29 Jun 1862. Burial of William George, son of William and Margaret Conn of Hinderwell. Monumental inscription at East Loftus Cemetery, grave plot 4B.
Records provided by the Registrar of Guisborough Registration District.
Monumental inscription of John
Conn at East Loftus Cemetery, grave 4B.
Children of John Conn and Elizabeth Willis.
Children of George Conn and Ann Cuthbert.
Of these children, only Margaret can be followed up. She married John Tansley in 1874 and they emigrated to America at the turn of the century.
For 20th century family connections, contact the author.
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