Family myths, tales and unproven loose ends


The Douglas family are said to come from Scotland, even one of the watchmakers, although James Douglass birthplace and date is not known, around 1730-1735 and son of John Douglass is the best I can do.

Family notes had Rev George Boyce’s father as Mary Dolby. There is a Dolby in this branch, but the marriage to Mary Milton seems conclusive. However there is the belief among two of my contacts that Mary Milton is descended from John Milton or his family. John Milton had no male descendants, so this could refer to his brother. However though Milton lived in Berkshire, his origins were in London, so this seems unlikely.

My grandmother Ada Douglas née Pullen said on more than one occasion, that her father William Henry Pullen was a cousin of Sir Edward Elgar. Elgar’s tree is shown here, a little research has shown there is one missing sister Helen Agnes on this tree. However no link has been found to the Pullens. An obituary has confirmed he claimed to have known Elgar.

Ada also said that her husband’s aunt Mary Jane Clarke hung herself. One letter from Mary Jane to Clara Maria is still in the family, it could be said to show signs of instability. Mary Jane left home , worked in two Kent Schools, and returned at least once. The death was found in the National Probate Calendar, she died in Egham in 1920. Now a newspaper report has been found of her death, confirming that she hanged herself from an apple tree in her sister Clara Maria Clarke's garden in Egham, being depressed following a hospital stay six weeks earlier.

Other things Ada said have been substantiated, such as that one of her uncles, ( later found to be George Whateley Holmes) went to Australia, and was the Mayor of Armidale, NSW.

On my mother’s side, my mother once remembered a tale about a great uncle Seth, who was wealthy, and had a family meeting. He was apparently on the Jackson side. No Seths have been found.

My mother and Aunt remember two Aunts’ who used to visit Ann Jackson (née Lee). They were Sally and Mary Haigh. Sally was tall and thin, and Mary short and plump. They were from Hadfield in Derbyshire. They were apparently some sort of cousin to Ann Lee. The most likely explanation is that they relate to Ann’s father John Lee’s second marriage to Ann. This Ann was first seen after the move from Yorkshire to Glossop, though Ann was born in Holmfirth. John’s first wife Mary had died in 1850, and the marriage could have  taken place anytime between 1851 and 1861, and be in Yorkshire of Derbyshire, and has not been found (and at least one incorrect Certificate ordered). This would hopefully reveal if John’s father is who I believe. STOP PRESS Sally and Mary have now been identified in Censuses, they are nieces of Ann, daughters of Emma Lee and Thomas Haigh.

Some of the Cocks family were said to be wealthy, this has not been found, though they are well connected, if one goes back far enough

An explanation on the tenacity of the middle name Bond has been suggested. There was said to be money held in Chancery from a will on the Bond side of the family (Shades of Jarndyce v Jarndyce from Bleak House!).  You have to go back to 1835, to the marriage in Manchester Cathedral of Mary Bond to George Bowker Cock, for the name to be in our direct line. Yet my mother and a cousin’s son still have Bond as a middle name.

The first and middle name Staffurth has been a puzzle. See here for possible explanation but there are other possibilities see here.

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