Friday, 3 June 2011

Joseph Rank family history

I had an interesting visit this week from a descendant of Joseph Rank, the miller. The gentleman and his wife were tracing Joseph's Yorkshire roots and visiting places where there was a family connection.

Joseph was born on Holderness Road in Hull in 1854. His father was James Rank who had married Mary Ann Parrott in Hull in 1851.

However, the reason that my visitors were in this particular area of East Yorkshire was that Mary Ann was born at Saltmarshe in 1825, the daughter of Joseph and Mary Ann Parrott. She was christened at Laxton and came from a long-established Saltmarshe family who were sailors and boatbuilders.

By 1841 the family had moved into Hull, where Joseph continued to build boats and sail them and where young Mary Ann eventually met James Rank. Sadly, Mary Ann Rank died in 1858, having never recovered from the birth of her fourth child. Joseph, although only four when his mother died, apparently had very clear memories of her.

Another local connection is that Joseph Rank later attended a small private school at Swinefleet run by Rev Edward Cragg Haynes, believed to be Yorkshire's first black vicar. I was able to show my visitors a  photograph of Rev Cragg Haynes with some of his pupils and they tentatively identified one little boy as Joseph.

I find family history and the connections it throws up, such as this, endlessly fascinating.

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