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I knew from comments that my father and grandfather had made in the dim and distant past that there was some association of our family with Whitby in North Yorkshire, but when you're young and fancy free, you're not interested! In any case the only Whitby we really knew was just down the Wirral Peninsula from where we were born and bred in Wallasey, Cheshire (as it was then!) My interest in family history started about 10 years ago. During a Crewe & Nantwich Rambling Club weekend in Whitby in November 1994, a chance stroll down the back streets on the East Side turned up the photo on the home page of this website in the window of a shop in Sandgate,Whitby, owned by Jowsey and Roe!

It was 6 months later in August 1995 that I was able to return to Whitby, to follow things up, when I was met by the horror of the shop being sold and boarded up!

Lesson 1 in Family History! - don't put off until tomorrow what you must follow up immediately! Fortunately, a note I left at the shop next door was passed onto a Kathy Harris in Stokesley, who turned out to be a 3rd cousin of mine. Kathy quickly made contact and we have been in regular contact ever since!

Kathy had already spent quite a number of years up until then researching the Roe family and passed onto me an extensive file of information. This showed our lineage continuously back to the early 1700's to a Matthew Roe, with a potential link back into the mid to late 1500's with a John Roe, who was reputedly associated with Nicholas Postgate!

With a fair chunk of the family history uncovered, I set myself the task of the origins of my unusually spelt Christian name - Bryan with a 'Y' and not an 'I'. There had always been a story that it was a Yorkshire surname, but with only 2 of my father's siblings still alive at the time and neither of them born on the mainland, they knew very little about it. My father had died some 10 years previously in 1986!

What transpired at the end of the research was intriguing in that it had all started with a
William Stanger born in 1763. One of his daughters from his first marriage to Hannah Fishwick - Elizabeth Stanger married a Charles Bryan in Whitby on 19th October 1813. One of their 10 children - Hannah Bryan married a David Wilson in Whitby in 1846 and produced 3 children - Mary born in Wigan/Manchester in 1848, Elizabeth born in Wigan in 1851 and Emily Dawson born in Whitby in 1858. Elizabeth then married Martin Roe in Whitby in 1869. From there my grandfather Francis was born in Whitby in 1879, my father Francis Bryan was born in Belfast in 1918 and I was born in Wallasey, Cheshire just after WWII in July 1945! This piece of research and analysis of 2 family wills were subsequently published in The Cheshire Genealogist - see Bibliography link.

A 2nd cousin of mine, Christine Wardhaugh, also helped in this research. Sadly, Christine died suddenly in February 2005. However I am still in contact with her husband Andrew, who has passed to me much of Christine's research items. These include 2 albums of family
Victorian Photographs which can be viewed from the side menu.

I still have many queries about our family history, perhaps you can help me by visiting the
unanswered questions page!