Leeman/Ellis mystery





This is by no means solved or resolved but progress has been made towards a possible solution.
Questions do remain!

The events are related as they unfurled through my investigations.

Although I had the basic information for great grandfather Henry and his family from the 1871 Census, I was now able to look for the details.

The first thing that became apparent was that eldest son George Harold was missing from the family home!

I also had his basic details, and had assumed he was with his parents, but I had to conduct a new search to find out exactly where he was and with whom.

But first... a little bit of background information...for those who have come directly to this page.



Thomas Leeman
1757 - 1826

1761 - 1828

John Swailes
1767 -

1771 -

William Leeman
1791 - 1873

Sarah Swails
1792 - 1871

Ann 1817 -

Jane 1823 - 1825

Elizabeth 1830

Thomas 1834 -

Sarah Ann 1819 - 1899

Jesse 1825 - 1893

Mary 1832 -

Henry 1837

William 1820-1890

John 1827 - 1908

Elizabeth 1833 -





Thomas and Mary Leeman reared their surviving 8 children in and around Bransby.
Some family events registered in the parish records verify this,
not least of all the baptism of William Leeman on 10 April 1791.
William was the youngest of the 6 surviving sons.

William Leeman married Sarah Magson nee Swails in Bransby on 13 June 1816.
Three children were born before William and his wife to move to Buttercrambe.
At the time this was a village of less than 200 people situated on the River Derwent and was about 20 miles away. They remained here for the rest of their lives.



More details are given below of the interim years,
but by 1871 William and Sarah's children themselves had moved away or remain unlocated.


Ann (1817), Sarah (1819), Jesse (1825), Mary (1832), Elizabeth (1833) and Thomas (1834) were not to be found.


William (1820) was in Scarborough.

John (1827) was in Australia.

Henry (1837) was in Silkerton Bretton Wakefield.





And so I had located Henry Leeman, a farm labourer, wife Emma and second son aged 9 months old.
But George Harold was not at home. He was only two years old so was hardly packing his bags just yet!!
Having located the first page of the record, the first exciting piece of information was that George H Leeman was a nephew!
Anticipation was rife as I waited for the record page to load and I was not disappointed.

The household was as follows:-

Portrock Hotel 12 Portrock Lane St James Stockton

David Ellis 41 Licensed Victualler Tailor and Draper born Leeds
Elizabeth Ellis 39 Wife of David Ellis born Buttercrambe
Sarah Poulter 16 Niece of David Ellis born Lumby
George H Leeman 2 Nephew of David Ellis born York
plus two servants one with a 14 year old son

Assuming that David Ellis was truly an Uncle and with no Leeman family ties to Leeds, I reckoned that it must be through the wife Elizabeth and her being born in Buttercrambe was too much of a coincidence.

But I had a small problem. I had a burial notice for an Elizabeth Leeman in 1833 that I assumed to be the second Elizabeth.
I tried a search for marriages between David Ellis and Elizabeth Leeman with no luck.

So I looked at the other entry for Sarah Poulter and tried a search for marriages between Poulter and Leeman.
This time I had more luck!
John Poulter married Sarah Leeman in Tadcaster Yorkshire in 1845.
(That would account for Sarah being 'missing' from the Census returns.)

Now I knew where to look I found that John and Sarah Poulter had the following children
Sarah Jane (1845), Mary (1847), William (1849), James (1851), Ann (1853), Sarah (1855), Alice (1859) and John (1862).

This information made me lean more toward the idea that David Ellis' wife was Elizabeth Leeman.
I have searched all the usual places to see if any other clues might be found and while I have more information, I have nothing that makes anything definite.
However, I will present what I have in the hope that someone may know something concrete!


1841 Census

William Leeman and Sarah Swails and family have not been located.

Ann 24 Sarah 22 William 20 Jesse 16 John 14 Mary 9 Elizabeth 9 Thomas 7 Henry 4


1851 Census

William and Sarah Swails with children Mary and Henry still at home in Buttercrambe.
Sarah is wife of John Poulter living in Huddleston cum Lumby.
William is married to Ann Johnson but he is in Leeds while Ann and children are in East Stamford Bridge.
Ann 34 Jesse 26 John 24 Elizabeth 19 and Thomas 17 are nowhere to be found.

David Ellis 21 is nowhere to be found either.

1861 Census

 William and Sarah Swails are now on their own in Buttercrambe.

Sarah is with John Poulter and family in Huddleston cum Lumby.
William with Ann Johnson and family are now in Scarborough.
John would be in Australia
Henry is a Foreman at Wildthorpe Farm, Wildthorpe.
Ann 44 Jesse 36 Mary 29 Elizabeth 29 and Thomas 27 are nowhere to be found.

David Ellis 32 is nowhere to be found either.

1871 Census

William and Sarah Swails are still on their own in Buttercrambe.
Sarah is with John Poulter in Midgley.
Need to check William and Ann Johnson.
Elizabeth with David Ellis - (where have they been for 20 odd years?)
Henry is now married to Emma Lofthouse and living in Wakefield.
Ann 54 Jesse 46 Mary 39 and Thomas 37 nowhere to be found.


1881 Census

William and Sarah Swails have both died.
Sarah and John Poulter and family are in Bretton West Wakefield
William and Ann Johnson are in Scarborough
Henry and Emma have now moved to Stockton on Tees

Elizabeth and David Ellis have disappeared again. 

1891 - Here is the biggest surprise !!!!

Jesse Leeman apparently marries a Mary Elizabeth in Birkenhead .
Where has he been for nearly 50 years?


So in the finish, Ann (1817) and Thomas (1834) remain entirely elusive.
It is possible that they died as children of course.
And another question has sprung up -
are there two children called Elizabeth or just the one who possibly marries David Ellis?






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