Was William Ralph Bates H&W employee related to Joseph Bell?

ann Freer

The house I live in was owned by Bell. On his death Maud inheretted it. A later transfer of manorial rights has William Ralph Bates name included, not sure why. If you then work through the census returns and some other information I have on the family you can conclude that Maud's maiden name was Bates. Hence Bells brother in law. I am sure a marriage certificate would prove this but were they got married I don't know. I would be interested to know how they met as she was living in Derbyshire which is land locked.
The below might help?

Probate Report:
Bell, Joseph of Barnton, 1 Belvidere Road, Great Crosby, Liverpool. Ships Engineer. Probate registered, London 2nd August 1912 to Maud Bell, widow and William Ralph Bates, Iron Works Manager. Effects £6457.0s.10d.

(From The Titanic Relief Fund booklet March 1913).
C28. Bell, Maud. Widow. Bell, John Child. Bell, Marjorie Clare, Child. Bell, Eileen Maud, Child. Bell, Ralph Douglas. All Class A dependants.

Best regards Brian

ann Freer

Thank you for replying it is all very interesting. Firstly the census return clearly shows them as brother and sister. There is also circumstantial evidence of a family link in that their father was a boiler and chain maker, and Mauds son is called Ralph.
The Titanic relief fund book is useful but I have a question. The reports say 4 children. The oldest is Frances J Bell. Is he classed as an adult and no longer dependent or is the J for John ,a family name, and miss recorded?
The marriage confuses me as it is a different Maud and and doesn't fit with the other evidence. Please could you explain how you arrived at this so if necessary I can go back to the drawing board.

Regards Ann
Hello Ann,
The Relief Fund extract above is as printed in the book. Normally the child was taken off of the Fund when they reached 16 years of age but because he was an apprentice (see extract from Mr. Bells obituary below)they may still have been paying a weekly allowance but I do not know.

. . . . and at thirty years of age was Chief in the Coptic. Mr. Bell, who was fifty-one years of age, leaves a widow and four children, two boys and two girls; the eldest boy, 16½ years, had recently started as an apprentice in marine engineering at Messrs. Harland & Wolff, Ltd., and accompanied his father in the Titanic from Belfast to Southampton.

David Huffaker will have to answer the marriage certificate question.


Cross referencing Relief Fund, Census and vital records it would appear that Joseph Bell married Maud Bates of Ripley, Derbyshire in the aforementioned locale in 1892.

The 1901 census shows Maud residing in Tottenham, Middx with the eldest daughter, 2-year-old Marjorie; Joseph is away, presumably at sea, and Francis John appears to be staying with Joseph's sister Jane (Mrs. Wm) Lowthian in Cumberland.

ann Freer

Thank you for your help. Sorry Brian I did not mean you had miss reported the relief fund but the name had been transposed on the original document. It would give four children and John is a family name.
Maud appears to be from Ripley as the census shows and it would be the logical place for the marriage and the date is good. I have been looking at the same returns as Chris and wondered if the nurse was with the family because the next child was due and that was why Francis was away from home. Jane was in Northampton at this time which is not too far away. By the time of the disaster she was back in Cumbria and the rest of the Bells appear to be in Lancashire in 1911.
I feel that all the evidence gathered here from the different sources answer the original question that William was related as brother in law to Joseph.

Thank you to everyone for providing more information for my family tree.
The local villages have just had a scarecrow competition and to let people know of their famous resident we did a tribute to Joseph.
Hi Anne

I was in Farlam a couple of weeks ago and saw the scarecrows. It might have been you who told me where the church was !!

I went to the old churchyard to see the memorial stone to Joseph Bell (I believe it is his mothers grave)and after an hour or so stumbling around (as I sure you know sadly it is very overgrown) found it near the entrance.

The stone itself has faded somewhat but you can still see the writing.

Hopefully I will be able to get a picture next time.

One interesting thing is the number of Bell's in the churchyard, so the family must still live there. Two had recently won prizes in the church raffle !!

ann Freer

I am glad you had a good look round our parish. Did you see our Titanic tribute?
I can email you a picture of the head stone I have one on record. Joseph is the first name and this is his great grandfather, then Margaret his mother, the Richard his brother and finally his memorial. I have the church survey for the head stones so can give you the full transcript if you are interested.
Yes there were lots and lots of Bells not necessarily related as it is a riever name. Many call John Joseph and James. Many never married and a lot moved away as farming became harder in late 1800 so there are not many left but a few families are linked to this branch of Bells but often through the wifes side. It is very difficult to unravel.
If you are up again I can show you the house where he was born in Farlam.
Regards Ann
I didn't see the Titanic tribute unfortunately, but the scarecrows were everywhere !

I was trying to find the church in Farlam and only by asking a resident did I find out that it is some distance away.

I then went into the old graveyard and eventually found the stone and although it is faded you can read the inscription. I would very much like a picture, please. You can e mail it to chris.beard@calderdale.gov.uk.

It does seem a shame that it is so overgrown, although the damage I did in stumbling about and getting bitten by insects and stung by nettles and thorns would be a start if anyone tried a clean up exercise.

While Joseph Bell would not be a name that many people recognise immediately, the fact that he was so closely related to a ship that everyone would know and the bravery of the engineering staff that night seem to me to deserve more recognition. For that reason, its very pleasing that you and others in your area are at least giving him a little bit of the credit he deserves.