A Grave Mystery

My daily dog-walking exercise often takes me through our village’s churchyard and its cemetery.

As I meander among the graves, my past interest in researching my own family history often causes me to stop and read some of the headstones.

Inevitably, these often raise questions in my mind. Who were the characters whose names live on engraved in stone, and what roles did they play in this small north Lincolnshire village?

One headstone, larger than most, caught my eye

Yesterday, one particular headstone, larger than most, caught my eye and I decided to investigate. As I neared the grave I realised this was a family plot, and sure enough, the memorial bore several names.

As I read the list, with its names dates and notable maritime verse, several questions began to form in my mind.



The family plot and size of headstone suggested to me that this family was one of means. Yet, of those individuals mentioned, only the matriarch, Mary had survived into her mid-fifties. The rest died young. Why?

Also, whilst George and Mary and several of their offspring were clearly buried in this village south of the River Humber, there appears to be a connection with the city of Hull a few miles away on the north bank.

As I walked home, I reflected on the headstone’s scant information and tried to equate that with those things I already knew.

A curious nautical verse raised questions

Sculcoates, where Joseph Green was said to be interred, is now a district of Hull, situated on the west bank of the river that gave the city its name.

The River Hull, in what is now within the sprawling East Yorkshire city, is tidal and has long been the site of a busy dock complex. These facts, together with the memorial’s nautical verse, led me to wonder whether the Green family of Ulceby had been involved in one of Hull’s most arduous but highly lucrative industries of that time – whaling.

From past visits to the Maritime Museum there, I know that Hull was home to Britain’s largest whaling fleet during the nineteenth century.

On returning home, I plotted the few details taken from the headstone into my genealogy software, Family Historian:

I reflected on the scant information … and tried to equate that with those things I already knew

Keen observers will realise that one of the names appearing on the headstone is missing here. I’m unable to include Joseph in this family tree right now as the headstone failed to provide clues to his relationship to George and Mary. In all likelihood he is another son, born in 1842, but I’ll need to verify this assumption before adding him to that family.

The only other clue I have been given is the name Standidge. It’s not much to go on right now, and will require further research.

All I know is that there is a thoroughfare in Hull with the name of Standidge Drive. Perhaps this street was named after a prominent citizen. Was that individual involved in the whaling or fishing industries in the city? If so, is there a link to Captain W. Standidge, the husband to Emma? Were the Green family, now buried in Ulceby’s churchyard also connected to Hull and its lucrative whaling fleet?

These questions, and more, are what I hope to answer during the coming weeks.


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