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The couple had six children: James (1763–94), Nathaniel (1764–80, lost aboard HMS Thunderer which foundered with all hands in a hurricane in the West Indies), Elizabeth (1767–71), Joseph (1768–68), George (1772–72) and Hugh (1776–93), the last of whom died of scarlet fever while a student at Christ's College, Cambridge.When not at sea, Cook lived in the East End of London.Cook was attacked and killed while attempting to kidnap Kalaniʻōpuʻu, a Hawaiian chief, during his third exploratory voyage in the Pacific in 1779. S.) in the village of Marton in Yorkshire and baptised on 14 November (N.S.) in the parish church of St Cuthbert, where his name can be seen in the church register.As he progressed on his voyages of discovery he surveyed and named features, and recorded islands and coastlines on European maps for the first time.He displayed a combination of seamanship, superior surveying and cartographic skills, physical courage and an ability to lead men in adverse conditions.

In 1741, after five years' schooling, he began work for his father, who had been promoted to farm manager.

He attended St Paul's Church, Shadwell, where his son James was baptised.

Cook has no known direct descendants—all his recorded children either pre-deceased him or died without issue.

At this time Cook employed local pilots to point out the "rocks and hidden dangers" along the south and west coasts.

During the 1765 season, four pilots were engaged at a daily pay of 4 shillings each: John Beck for the coast west of "Great St Lawrence", Morgan Snook for Fortune Bay, John Dawson for Connaigre and Hermitage Bay, and John Peck for the "Bay of Despair".

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His five seasons in Newfoundland produced the first large-scale and accurate maps of the island's coasts and were the first scientific, large scale, hydrographic surveys to use precise triangulation to establish land outlines.