The Inkwell and the Captain

It’s a simple item, an inkwell that was given to me a few years ago by my great uncle. He said it was an inkwell that had belonged to his grandfather Richard Lee Norton and he used it on his voyages.

Richard was a sailor/seaman born in 1819 in Great Yarmouth, England. His father before him was a shipwright and his brothers all went to work on ships. Richard must have been sailing to Canada where met a Quebec girl Hannah Jeffery. Their wedding took place at St. Andrew’s Church, Quebec City in 1854.

In 1857 his son Thomas was born but Richard was away on the steamer the Montmorenci. Although being listed as a seaman, Captain, and mariner on many of the records, I have yet to find information about his sailing career.

So I treasure my inkwell and hope to find more of the story of the inkwell and the captain.

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Finding Margaret

You know when you first started doing your family tree and it seems that every time you hit the library you found something new? Well, that’s what my memory of first starting out researching my family tree was like. It probably was a bit more onerous than that, but it’s the discoveries that suck you in. It is like winning the lottery or sitting at a slot machine in Vegas (minus the flashing lights), you get a win and you are hooked. In genealogy, uncovering another record or breaking through a brick wall is the best feeling in the world! These discoveries do not occur as often, but the euphoria still happens every time.

Today was one of those days, I am thrilled to say! I have been on the hunt for my geat great grandmother’s sister for quite a few years. Margaret Jeffery was born Quebec City October 8, 1830, to parents Elizabeth Tipper and Robert Jeffery and her nine siblings, four of which died in infancy. A life of adventure was in store for her, when she was seventeen, she met and married George Humphry, a Captain of the aptly named ship the Margaret.

Chalmer's Presbyterian Church, Quebec City

Chalmer’s Presbyterian Church, Quebec City — witnesses were her sister Elizabeth and her husband Frederick Yeates.

The Morning Chronicle Oct. 30, 1847

The Morning Chronicle Oct. 30, 1847

Margaret moves to her husband’s home in Saint Sauveur, Devon, England, and children start arriving. First George, followed by Emily and then Margaret Adelaide. Little George, only lives four months, but Emily and Margaret survive infancy. Margaret and her children are back in Quebec City in 1858, the girls Emily and Margaret are baptized and husband George is listed as deceased on the baptism record.

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Quebec City

Baptism of Emily & Margaret, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Quebec City — Hannah my 2x great grandmother signs with the mother Margaret.

Margaret appears to stay put marrying again in Quebec City. The marriage takes place at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on September 8, 1864, and the groom is James J. Atkins. Further searching on the couple lead me to the birth record of Frannie Elizabeth. I wasn’t sure if this was the right family as the birth was in a Methodist church in Montreal. I next look for the family in New York, as I know daughter Margaret’s daughter Emily Humphry gets married there.

In the 1875 New York census I find this family and I think it could be them.

1875 census Kings, Brooklyn Ward, E.D. 3

1875 census
Kings, Brooklyn Ward, E.D. 3

The entry lists the Atkins family consisting of parents James, Margaret with children Addie, Fannie, Henry and Lillie. This family looks promising, it states the right birth places for everyone.

The clincher arrived in the mail today, I had ordered a marriage record for Frannie Atkins who married in New York. This Frannie I suspected to be from the family in the census. A longshot but I was feeling lucky! The marriage record arrived today for Frannie Elizabeth Atkins to Gerald Forest Burroughs taking place in Brooklyn, New York in 1886. Frannie’s parents were listed as… James J. Atkins and Margaret Jeffery,!!!! and Fannie is from QUEBEC!! Success! My gamble paid off and I am so happy I followed my hunch that this was her.

Frannie Atkins marries Gerald Burroughs

Frannie Atkins marries Gerald Burroughs

I was saddened to discover that Margaret (Jeffery) (Humphry) Atkins passed away in New York on July 30, 1878. I do hope to track down where she is buried and someday get an opportunity to pay my respects and connect with some Atkins cousins!