05 June 2009

Norah Digby French 1878-?


  • Subject: Norah Digby Comigham?
  • Date: Early 20th Century
  • Photographer: Unknown
  • Found: UK


I haven't had much luck with Nonie's surname written on the back of her photograph. It looks likes Comigham or perhaps Comighew, neither spelling seems to be a known surname. There is ONE Comigham on FreeBMD, none on the IGI and only ONE on all of ancestry.com! Could it be Cunningham written in a hurry? I've given up, however, I have found Nonie before her marriage and I suspect whatever her married name was it is Irish.


Norah Digby French was born in 1878 in Warter, Yorkshire where her father was the Vicar. Nonie was the second of eight children born to parents Robert Digby French and Zalda Elizabeth nee Wilson.

Births Sep 1878
French  Norah Digby    Pocklington  9d 73

Other children all registered at Pocklington were - Edward Wilson 1881; Edwin 1883; Eileen born/died 1884; Zalda Elizabeth 1887; Robert Digby 1891 and James Anthony 1894. The eldest son, Arthur Cowan Digby was born in Ireland 1876.

MARKET WEIGHTON - Geographical and Historical information from the year 1892.

The living is a vicarage, in the Peculiar Jurisdiction of the Dean and Chapter of York, valued in the
Liber Regis at £4 13s. 9d., and now returned at £300 per annum, including 71 acres of glebe with
residence, in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and held by the Rev. Robert Digby French, M.A., of
Dublin University.

1881 Census Source Citation: Class: RG11; Piece: 4733; Folio: 68; Page: 24; GSU roll: 1342143.


No further sightings of the family in England even though one of their childrens' births was registered in Pocklington after 1891. I did find this that suggests the Rev. perhaps went to India so maybe he took his family too:-

India Office, 23rd July, 1886.
THE Queen has approved of the following
Admissions to the Staff Corps made by the
Governments in India :—

To be Lieutenants

War Office, 23rd July, 1886.
Volunteer Corps
2nd Volunteer Battalion, the East Yorkshire
Regiment, The Reverend Robert Digby French,
M.A., to be Acting Chaplain. Dated 24th
July, 1886.

Reverend Robert Digby French
M, #272824

The Rev Robert's death was registered in Pocklington in 1899, why I cannot find the family in 1891 or even 1901 beats me.

I did find two of Norah's brothers, Arthur Cowan Digby and Robert Digby, living in Ireland in the 1911 census so at least some of them went back to Ireland to live.

There is a small entry in Burke's Peerage on Rev Robert and his son Rev Arthur Cowan here, plus two different transcriptions of the Rev Arthur's headstone in an Irish cemetery.

Kilternan Church of Ireland Cemetery
Kilternan, County Dublin, Ireland
French, Arthur Cowan Digby, b 1876, d 1950, h/o Synolda Gorgina Elizabeth
French, Eleanor (Nell) Digby, b 1906, d 1992
French, Robert Butler Digby, b 1904, d 1981
French, Synolda Georgina Elizabeth, b 1881, d 1971, w/o Arthur Cowan Digby

Top:-  “I shall be satisfied | when I awake | with thy likeness
Second:-  ARTHUR COWAN DIGBY FRENCH | Priest | 1876 – 1950
Third:-  SYNOLDA GEORGINA ELIZABETH | his wife | 1881 – 1871 | ROBERT BUTLER
DIGBY FRENCH | 1904 - 1981
Bottom:-  ELEANOR (NELL) DIGBY FRENCH | 1906 – 1992

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives
The London Gazette


If you know anything about or are connected to the French family please do contact me, I would love to hear from you & it may be to your advantage. All the information on this family may also be seen on WorldConnect here.

Dawn Scotting


Bibphil said...

Sorry saw this a while ago, but just had no time to respond. This is distant connection of my husbands. Robert Digby ffrench
(correct spelling) was my husband's great great Uncle, his Great Grandfather George ffrench's brother. (This branch of the family almost all entered the Church) My husband's middle name is Digby too. The ffrench family is of great fascination to me as there are so many fascinating characters and such a lot of documentation, going back over 400 years. They use the Digby middle name because of their connection through marriage to the Digby Family, the Earls of Bristol. They are descended via their Digby ancestor Jane Digby from Mary Boleyn.See peerage.com for details. You can ask Darryl to add the family if you like.


genealogia said...

Hello Bibphil,

I am a descendant of Robert Digby ffrench's sister Lucinda. You're right, the ffrench's are endlessly fascinating. I have quite a bit of information about Lucinda's family. I'm interested in the Boleyn connection but haven't been able to work it out on thepeerage.com. Any hints on the lineage?

Bibphil said...

Jane Digby married Robert ffrench of Monivea mid-18th . Her great-grandmother was the famous Lettice FitzGerald, heir to the Earls of Kildare. Lettice's grandmother was Katherine Carey (she was prob named after her Famous aunt Lettice Knollys) daughter of Mary Bolelyn sister of Anne. Katherine Carey is suspected to be the illegitimate child of Henry the 8th, Katherine became her cousin Elizabeth the 1st, Lady in waiting as QE was her cousin (and some would say,her half-sister)

Bibphil said...

In my last comment missed a generation Jane Digby is Robert ffrench of Monivea's Mother