Cree Family History Network

The search for your Cree, Crie, Crea, Cre, Crey and Chree origins

Originally posted  on September 17, 2012 at 10:07 by Trevor Cree.

    (a) Thomas Cree, Master Mariner.

    In September 2012 the Ancestry website released new information covering Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927, Great Britain. Only two Cree individuals were recorded, namely, Thomas Cree and Wilfred George Holt Cree. Wilfred G.H. Cree (1884-1926) was a Commander in the Royal Navy and was from Line 14: The Sprotborough, Yorkshire line ( No. 3402). The question therefore remained, who was Thomas Cree?

    The Master's Certificate of Service issued on the 13 March 1851 stated that Thomas Cree was born in Perth, Perthshire, on the 15 November 1814. He had been employed in the capacity of Master for ten years in the British Merchant Service in the Foreign Trade. On the 24 March 1862 a renewed Master's Certificate of Service was issued to Thomas Cree again stating that he was born in Perth in 1814. Clearly it was simply a matter of looking up the birth of Thomas Cree in our records since we had a very precise birthdate and location, namely Perth. However, as often happens in family history research, there was no matching birth record for a Thomas Cree in 1814 in Perth.

    The 1851 master's certificate gave the issuing port as Newcastle upon Tyne and using the 1851 census a search was undertaken to try to find a master mariner in that location in the hope that he was not away at sea at that time. Fortunately a good match was found at 24 Richmond Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, where we have Thomas Cree, head of household, 36 years (b.c. 1815), ship broker, born in Scotland. His family consisted of his wife Dorothy, 34 years, born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and children Sarah, 12 years, Thomas, 10 years and Dorothy, 4 years. In the 1861 census Thomas Cree is found as a lodger in Gloucester, age 47 years, master mariner, and born in Scotland. His wife Dorothy Cree, 44 years, remained in Newcastle with their children Elizabeth, 24 years, Sarah, 22 years, Thomas, 19 years, and Dorothy J, 14 years (The transcribed census incorrectly gives the surname as Oree and not Cree).

    Further research revealed that Thomas Cree married Dorothy Wigham on the 27 April 1836 at Sunderland, County Durham. The children born to the couple were Elizabeth Wigham Cree (30 June 1837), Sarah Adams Cree (c. 20 January 1839), Thomas Cree (c.27 April 1841), John Wigham Cree (c. 4 December 1842) and Dorothy Jane Cree (c. 6 December 1846).

    In the 1871 census we find that the daughter Dorothy Jane Cree has married James Turnbull and they have a young son Thomas Cree Turnbull. Also within the household are Dorothy Watson Cree, mother-in-law, and her daughter Sarah Adams Cree, sister-in-law. It is interesting to note that Dorothy Watson Cree is recorded as a widow and therefore Thomas Cree has clearly died by 1871. A Thomas Cree did die in Newcastle in 1862 but without the death certificate we cannot tell if this is one and the same person. Working back further to the 1841 census we find Dorothy Cree at home with two of her children, Sarah, 2 years, and Thomas 6 weeks. Again it is assumed that Thomas Cree was away at sea at the time of the census. It is interesting to note that in the 1841 and 1851 censuses the daughter Elizabeth Cree was staying with her grandparents Richard and Elizabeth Wigham. Thomas Cree's wife, Dorothy Cree (Wigham), died in 1887 in Newcastle, aged 70 years.

    Returning to the origins of Thomas Cree, master mariner, born in Scotland, we can examine the actual birth record of the Thomas Crie who was born in Perth in 1813.

    "Middle Church Parish Perth Saturday the Thirteenth day of November One thousand eight hundred and thirteen years was Born Thomas Crie lawfull Son to Thomas Crie Corporal in the Royal Perthshire Militia and Christian Adam his Spouse and Baptised the Sixteenth day of December said year by William Aird Thomson Minister of the Middle Church Parish Perth."

    The evidence that this is the correct Thomas Cree rests, I believe, on the naming of Thomas Cree's daughter Sarah Adams Cree which includes a close approximation to his mother's surname Adam. As we know the inclusion of the mother's maiden name was very prevalent in Scottish naming patterns. Why Thomas Cree gave his birthdate as 15 November 1814 and not as the 13 November 1813 we do not know but perhaps it was just a simple mistake. Nevertheless I believe that the available evidence indicated that Thomas Cree. master mariner, was actually the son of Thomas Crie (No 2467) and Christian Adam (No 2474).

    After reviewing what I had written Mike Spathaky drew my attention to the fact that Thomas Cree must therefore be the elder brother of Peter Campbell Crie ( No. 6169) who had become a river pilot in Newcastle upon Tyne. Peter Campbell Crie had married Elizabeth Cawthorn in Sunderland in approximately 1843, the same location that Thomas Cree had married Dorothy Wigham. We could not have had a better fit if we tried, a very rare occurrence in family history research.

    (b) Thomas Cree, son of Thomas Cree, master mariner, and Dorothy Wigham.

    Thomas Cree, the son of Thomas Cree, master mariner, and Dorothy Wigham, was baptised on the 27 April 1841 in Newcastle upon Tyne. By the time of the 1881 census Thomas Cree was living at 36 Canada Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, 38 years old, house carpenter, and was married to Elizabeth Cree. They have five children, Margaret, 21 years, Thomas, 16 years, John 11 years, Dorothy 6 years and Mary J, 2 years.

    Fortunately Mike Spathaky had been given a copy of a marriage certificate many years ago covering the marriage of Thomas Cree and his wife Elizabeth Eltringham.

    "10 August 1862 Marriage Certificate, Parish Church, Gateshead Fell, County Durham.

    Thomas Cree, 22 years, bachelor, joiner. Father: Thomas Cree, master mariner.

    Elizabeth Eltringham, 24 years, spinster. Father: John Eltringham, collier.

    Witnesses: Sarah Cree & Matthew Taylor."

    The 1871 census indicates that Margaret Cree was actually born in 1860, prior to the marriage, and the census records her as Margaret J Eltringham, daughter of Elizabeth Cree. Thomas and Elizabeth's children are recorded as Christina A Crea, 8 years, Thomas Crea, 5 years, and John E Crea, 1 year (Again we have an incorrect transcription of the name Cree).

    By 1891 Thomas Cree was still a carpenter (joiner) living with his wife Elizabeth, and children Dorothy, 17 years, and Mary J, 12 years. It is interesting to note that they are living at 5 Wigham Street, the maiden name of his mother Dorothy Wigham. By 1901 Thomas Cree is still a house carpenter and living alone with his wife Elizabeth at 7 Camden Street, Newcastle.

    The daughter, Mary J Cree, married William Purdy in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1901.

    25 December 1901

    William Purdy, 27, Bachelor, labourer, of 7 Canada Street, son of Barras Purdy, Pitman.

    Mary Jane Cree, 22, Spinster, of 7 Canada Street, daughter of Thomas Cree, joiner.

    (c) Thomas Cree, grandson of Thomas Cree, master mariner.

    The son of Thomas Cree and Elizabeth Cree (Eltringham) married Jane Pentland prior to 1890 and from existing Ancestry family trees it seems that they had nine children, namely, Dorothy J Cree (1890), Thomas Cree (1892), William Cree (1893), Jean Cree (1895), John Cree (1897), Richard Cree (1899), Robert Cree (1901), Elizabeth F Cree (1904-1992) and Margaret Cree (1908-1996). It is therefore likely that Thomas Cree, master mariner, and Dorothy Wigham, will have a number of present day Cree descendants, and all of them can trace their ancestry back to the Alexander Cree line of Forteviot and Perth.

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