On the 17th March 1706, Robert Gray was baptised in the church of the parish of Aughton in Yorkshire. He was the son of another Robert, and the family came from East Cottingwith – a small, rural, village nine miles to the South East of the city of York in the county of Yorkshire. Today there are about three hundred residents – a figure that is similar to that in the late 19th century.
The data currently available comprises the register of baptisms for the parish of Aughton and I’ve looked for the family of Robert and Ann Gray. This indicates that Robert married Ann Cook – again in Aughton – on the 9th May 1749, and they had three sons and two daughters:
- Robert – born 3rd July 1735
- Ann – 29th October 1747
- Ann – 8th February 1749
- Robert – 26th November 1752
- Charles – 1761
The duplication of names indicates that the children Robert and Ann died. However, these children were born prior to the marriage. This is not unknown, but could indicate a second family. So how is it I’ve arrived back in East Cottingwith?
My great grandfather was Frederick George Gray who was born on the 3rd December 1866 in Paley’s Buildings in the city of Leeds (Yorkshire, England) – the son of Henry Gray (1825-1909) and Ann Johnson (1832-?). I’m comfortable about this since I have birth and marriage certificates, together with entries from the published 19th and 20th Century census indices. Henry is traceable back though to his birth in the city of York where he was baptised on the 15th March 1825 in the parish of St Mary Bishophill Junior. His parents were Robert Gray (1752-?) and Mary Medcalfe (?-?). Again – I am confident of this. It is this Robert who is mentioned in the opening paragraphs of this article.