This afternoon I opened up my Relatively Yours program to look at details for the Congress 2015 Research Interests. I was somewhat surprised to discover what an important date today is in the lives of my families. Perhaps it’s something we should do daily to pick up these coinciding anniversaries.
On 25th January my family honours these family anniversaries:
The birth of Richard Kent at Red Hill near Sandon, Hertfordshire, England in 1805. Today would be his 210th birthday! Richard is my 3 x great grandfather. He, his wife and family emigrated from Sandon on the General Hewitt arriving in Moreton Bay on 16 December 1854. This Richard Kent followed a long line of descendants with the same name, but it is through his daughter’s female lines that I am descended. My mtDNA comes from Richard Kent’s wife, Mary Camp later Shepherd.
The arrival of the Woodlark in 1877 with my ancestor Stephen Gillespie Melvin, and family, on board. Accompanying him were his first wife Janet Melvin nee Peterkin, and his young son, Laurence, named for Stephen’s father. Janet Melvin died at Peel Island on 2 March 1877. Stephen remarried on 21 August 1878, quite a long bereavement given he had a young son to care for. His second wife, and my ancestor, was Richard Kent’s granddaughter Emily Partridge. Today is the 138th anniversary of the arrival of one of my ancestral lines.
The death of Margaret Gillespie (born Tyneside) in 1906. Today is the 109th anniversary of her death. Margaret Gillespie had married Stephen Gillespie Melvin’s father, Laurence Melvin, in Leith in 1850 but was widowed as a young woman in 1858. She remarried in 1868 (again in Leith) to John Simpson Ward,a master mariner. She had worked as a stewardess at sea so perhaps emigrating when she was no longer young was not such a challenge for her as for some. After John’s death, she married Arthur Wheatonin Sydney and after his death, she moved to Charters Towers to join her son Stephen and family. Margaret was buried in the Charters Towers cemetery on Australia Day 1906.
I found it quite interesting that today’s anniversaries affected interweaving family branches on my tree. Do you have similar anniversaries which link your families?
Shauna Hicks has initiated a new 52 week series of prompts, Genealogy Records. We’re only into Week 3 but there have already been some interesting topics: Military Medals, Internal Migration and Probate.
However Shauna’s topic is a great opportunity to personalise my own stories to her theme so I will probably join in from time to time where the topic is relevant to my own history. I have such a migration mania that I couldn’t possibly not participate in her second topic, Internal Migration. Whenever I get on the topic of migration it turns into a long yarn, so grab a coffee and a comfy chair, and read on for a while.
THE McSHARRY/McSHERRY FAMILIES
With so many railway people in my family tree, it’s inevitable that they’d be a peripatetic lot. Some moved across vast distances, others only relatively short postings when in their early years.
My greatest internal migrants would be the Sherry family who arrived in Rockhampton, Queensland, from Ireland where they also worked on the railway: the Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford Railway line judging on their progressive movement through those counties. On arrival, the patriarch James Sherry, changed most of the family’s name to McSharry. Oral history suggests this may have been to piggy-back on the fame of James McSharry from the railway construction firm, O’Rourke and McSharry. Who knows whether this is fact or fiction. I suppose it’s also possible that the two families may have been connected but that’s an exploration I’ve yet to undertake. Whatever the reality it has certainly caused immense confusion when trying to unravel what happened to my own family over the years, especially the mystery of what happened to my James McSharry.
The McSharry family moved from Rockhampton where they arrived, to Maryborough (why?) for a number of years, then back to Rockhampton where wife/widow, Bridget McSharry, settled and ran a boarding house until her death in 1900.
The adult children of this family moved around Queensland in response to work. Early family events revealed at least some of these through death certificates, police staff files, Post Office Directories, electoral rolls, and marriage records.
The eldest son of the family, Peter Sherry, arrived with his family a year after the rest of the Sherry family. Strangely he changed his name to McSherry rather than McSharry. Within weeks of arriving in Rockhampton he had been recruited to Queensland Government Railways and so began his migration around the state. The family spent a long time in Longreach, then moved on to Hughenden and Townsville before being transferred to Rockhampton where they put down roots.
Tracing this family’s internal migration has been greatly facilitated by Trove as it has revealed stories that would otherwise never have been known. I have a full copy of Peter’s railway staff recordwhich tells the bare bones of his positions and postings over the years: a great base for knowing where they migrated internally.
Obviously the children of this family moved with Peter and Mary McSherry in their childhood, but even in their adulthood, the migrations continued. My grandfather James, worked in Hughenden then later Townsville before moving to Brisbane so his children could obtain jobs, or so the oral history goes. Given the move occurred in 1942, mid-war, in the thick of the Brisbane Line concept, I have to wonder whether it was because he was needed to build the railway carriages further from risk of Japanese invasion.
Once again my sources are: railway staff files, Trove, oral history.
THE KUNKEL FAMILY
George and Mary Kunkel, of whom you’ve all heard often, settled in Ipswich after their marriage there in 1857. While there George worked in a number of occupations: servant (pre-marriage), pork butcher and boarding house keeper. To all extents and purposes he was there all the time, after all there were children being born at regular intervals.
It was a court report, that enlightened me differently. While the family was settled, George was also working on the Tooloom goldfields in northern NSW as a butcher. Further reading on Trove revealed that there were regular coaches between Tooloom and Ipswich so plainly he could get home fairly often, perhaps to restock his supplies.
Recently I posted how he’d had a financial setback and this may have prompted their move westward, reportedly working on the railway, or perhaps again supplying meat. The next precise confirmation of where they lived was at Highfields, via the school admission registers and through church baptisms and birth certificates.
A few years later and the family would move a short distance to the Fifteen Mile between Highfields and Murphys Creek where they would take up farming and settle. George supplemented the farm income by working for the railway as a labourer.
Kunkel descendants, many of them railway workers, also moved around south-east Queensland and west as far as Roma with postings as the railway was constructed. One family branch moved to Mackay in northern Queensland and set down roots cane farming.
Records: court reports, school admission records, baptisms and birth certificates, railway staff files, land selection records.
THE GAVIN FAMILY
The Gavins were short-migration people. Denis came from Kildare in Ireland and his wife, Ellen, from Wicklow. They married in Dublin before they emigrated though it’s not known when they each made that internal move.
On arrival Denis went to Binbian Downs station (per his obituary) as a carrier, then to Dalby, Toowoomba and Crows Nest. Although the distances are short by Australian standards he would have covered a lot of ground carrying wool on the bullock dray from Binbian Downs which is out near Wallumbilla.
Like the other Gavan/Gavin families with whom they interweave, but are unrelated, they remained on the Darling Downs.
Records: Convict records (the Galway Gavins), birth certificates, employment records, death certificates, re-marriage certificates, obituaries, maps, Trove.
THE KENT, PARTRIDGE AND McCORKINDALE FAMILIES
These families were my stay-at-homes. The Kents and Partridges both went straight to Ipswich on arrival as far as I can tell. There they remained until their deaths, though descendants moved around the state.
The McCorkindale exodus from Glasgow commenced with Peter and Duncan’s arrival in Sydney in 1900. Well actually I eventually discovered it commenced with an uncle’s arrival quite a bit earlier. After the death of their father, their mother (Annie Sim McCorkindale) emigrated with the rest of the family excluding one stay-put son, Thomas Sim McCorkindale who’d moved to London. Close analysis of the shipping lists showed that other family members had arrived as well.
Once settled in Brisbane on arrival, Peter joined them, and the family remained there except for country excursions to decimate the opposite in bagpipe and Highland Dance competitions. Duncan McCorkindale moved between Sydney and Canberra where he was part of the teams that built the nation’s capital, and their Caledonian Society.
Records: Trove, shipping lists, BDM certificates, church registers.
THE MELVIN FAMILY
Stephen Gillespie Melvin’s family was tied to the sea, with generations of merchant seamen. No surprise then that they were born to be migrants, both internal and international.
After the death of his wife, Janet, soon after arrival SGM settled in Ipswich, Queensland where he promptly established a well-regarded confectionery shop. He must have gadded around a bit though because his land portfolio was scattered around the south east of Queensland. But it was his foray into mining that brought him undone, resulting in insolvency and a little jaunt to jail.
Not long after being released from jail, the family moved to Charters Towers which was then experiencing a gold boom. No doubt escaping his notoriety would have been on his mind as well, though the coverage of the trial was so extensive that it would have been known in Charters Towers as well.
Around the time of his second wife’s Emily’s death, SGM started acquiring businesses and land in Sydney and thus the younger members of his family set down their roots in New South Wales. Meanwhile he continued his migrations on a temporary basis, as he travelled back and forth to the UK for business. One such migration became permanent however when he died in London.
I know from my Irish research that the emigrants were keen to follow their own destiny even at the expense of family connections, but the internal migration of Bridget O’Brien (later Widdup) is one that puzzles me.
If Bridget was in Ipswich with her sister Mary after their long emigration journey, why did she decide to move south to the Albury area, and to Urana? This has always mystified me, since I knew from her death certificate that she’d spent one year in Queensland.
The possibilities seem to be:
She didn’t like the Queensland environment or climate
Friends were moving interstate
She had met her future husband, John Widdup, on the ship as the story goes so she moved to be with him.
Her employer in Queensland relocated and offered her a position elsewhere.
It’s the Whys of family history research that keep us on our toes.
Records: Death certificates, oral history, Trove
So there you have it…the peripatetic wanderings of my families over the years. It has always seemed to me that having made the long journey to Australia, rather than the comparatively short hop across the Atlantic, they were not daunted by further moves if they satisfied their occupation or life goals.
The 2013 Australia Day challenge was initiated by Helen of the blog From Helen V Smith’s Keyboard. The challenge is to talk about our first ancestors to arrive in Australia, male or female, or perhaps both. My initial reaction hovered around my “swimmers” George Kunkel and his wife Mary O’Brien. While George may have been part of the Victorian gold rush fever, it’s by no means certain, so in the end I decided to go with my earliest identified arrivals. This neatly captured both my great-great-great grandparents, Richard and Mary Kent, but also my great-great-grandmother, their daughter Hannah, who would later marry William Partridge in Ipswich, Queensland.
Richard and Mary Kent arrived at Moreton Bay with their adult children on 16 December 1854 on board the General Hewitt. Richard Kent (46) was an agricultural labourer whose parents were Richard and Mary Kent, both deceased. Mary Kent was 49 and her parents, John and Mary Camp, were both deceased. Also among the married couples was their son RichardKent (23) with his wife Mary Kent (23) and daughter Catherine Kent (1). The younger Richard was also an agricultural labourer and of course his parents were on board. His wife’s parents were Samuel and Mary Brittain who were both living in Cambridge. Listed among the single passengers were the older Richard and Mary’s other adult children: Hannah Kent, aged 19 was a servant whose parents were on board; Thomas Kent (19) and John Kent (17) both agricultural labourers. All the members of the family are recorded, not entirely accurately, as born in Hertfordshire. All could read and write except Mary Brittain Kent and John Kent who could read only. They all stated their religion as Church of England. .
The immigrants on the General Hewitt, a ship of 965 tons, had sailed from Southampton on 25 August 1854 and arrived in Moreton Bay 107 days later. There had been 16 deaths on board (14 of them children) and 3 births. The brig Sporting Lass went down to the Bay to bring the passengers up to town but the weather was so rough it prevented the brig from lying alongside. After such a long time at sea, the immigrants had a frustrating week waiting to be taken ashore. As they landed only days before Christmas I wonder what how they felt to be in such a different environment.
On arrival 381 immigrants were disembarked and the newspapers report that there was such demand for labour that less than two weeks later there were only 70 adults remaining in the immigration barracks and most of them were hired. The Kents were among the large groups of agricultural labourers and servants looking for work. Presumably they were recruited by an Ipswich employer because this is where they settled. Wages for a married couple were £50 and for female servants £20.
The Kent family came from the village of Sandon in Hertfordshire which had been the family’s home for hundreds of years. In the 1851 census Richard Kent (46) was enumerated at Roe Green near Sandon as a farmer of 40 acres (employing one man) and a beer house keeper. His wife Mary was 50 and their sons, Thomas 17 and John 15, were employed at home. All of the family were born in Sandon. Roe Green is an old medieval settlement and I wrote about my discovery of their pub’s name andmore about it here.
In 1851, Richard and Mary’s daughter Hannah (my great-great-grandmother-to-be) was 14 and a servant working for Mrs Anne Field at Wood Farm, in the adjacent parish of Rushden. Wood Farm has a long history, being an old moated site from the 16th century. Their eldest son, Richard Kent (21) and his wife Mary Ann Kent née Brittain (21) were living at Green End in Sandon where Richard was working as an agricultural labourer. Mary Ann Brittain’s home place is recorded as Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, not Sandon. It is interesting to compare the family’s ages with the stated ages on arrival compared to their actual ages: Richard 46 (actually 49), Mary 49 (53), Richard jnr 23 (24), Mary Ann 23 (24), Hannah 19 (17), Thomas 19 (20) and John 17 (18). Hence all their ages, except Hannah’s, were decreased to enhance their immigration prospects and reduce costs.
An 1851 Post office directory for Hertfordshire confirms that Richard Kent was a beer retailer. The village of Sandon was not a large one, though the parish is a little spread out and in 1851 there were 176 houses with a population of 770 (412 men and 358 women). It seems that the Kents were reasonably well established though not affluent. One wonders why the whole family decided to emigrate and re-establish themselves in MoretonBay. I think their reasons were either economic or to help the adult children get ahead. At one time I thought it may also have been attributable to religious affiliation as in Queensland there were occasional non-conformist links. I now suspect this was not the case.
Richard Kent’s name appears on various electoral rolls and on endorsements of nominees for parliamentary positions in Queensland. Apart from that he seems to have kept a fairly low profile in his new town and without any oral history it is difficult to develop a more holistic understanding of Richard or his wife Mary Kent.
Trove has helped me to unearth a clue to the family’s early life in Ipswich with several advertisements throughout 1856, thanks to the recent digitisation of the Ipswich newspapers. Richard Kent was working on Rhossili/Rhossilli, a property in Little Ipswich (now the edge of West Ipswich) where he is listed as “in charge” of stock. Whether this Richard was the father, who had run a farm as well as his public house, or the son who had worked as a farm labourer, is nigh on impossible to know. I like the fact that whichever man it was, had the opportunity to work with skills he’d acquired in England. Perhaps it was even his first contract on arrival in Queensland less than two years earlier.
My search for Rhossili in Trove revealed that around this time it was lived in by Pollett Cardew, Commissioner of the Peace. Ipswich Heritage lists a property called Rhossili but states it’s unclear whether this is the first property of that name. My ambivalence rests on the fact that this Rhossili is in Newtown, to the east of the city centre, whereas Little Ipswich was to the west. Conversely, Cardew is mentioned in association with the Ipswich Heritage site, in Pugh’s Almanac and in Trove family notices from 1857. Obviously there’s scope for future research at Queensland archives and libraries now I’m aware of the family connection.
The family’s hopes for a promising new life disappeared with the early deaths of children and grandchildren, leaving the succession limited mainly to the women in the line. On such genetic whims of matrilineal inheritance does my own existence depend.
Richard Kent died, aged 65, on 31 July 1870 at his residence at Pelican Street, North Ipswich. Richard’s place of birth is correctly stated as Red Hill (Sandon). He was buried in the Ipswich cemetery by the Church of England minister. His wife, Mary Kent, died aged 75, only a few months later on 26 September 1870 at Terrace Street, NorthIpswich, the home of her daughter Hannah Partridge. Plainly her age had been routinely under-stated in the records. Her place of birth is stated as Weston (not Sandon), Hereford (actually Hertfordshire).
I am participating in the A to Z 2012 blog challenge throughout April. My theme is a genealogical travelogue or a travel genealogue (I’m not sure which). My goal is to hand down the stories of the important places in our family history, and some travel memories, to our family.
S is for Sandon (Hertfordshire, England)
Sandon, Hertfordshire was the home of my Kent family for a couple of centuries and for at least some of this time they were publicans in Red Hill and Roe Green, nearby hamlets in this parish. Last year I talked about my discoveries in the enclosure records and how they helped knocked down some brick walls in my research.
Sandon remains a rural area, reflecting its agricultural heritage, but it’s also now in the “stockbroker belt”, close enough to commute to London and there’s no shortage of houses with heritage listings and big prices. The village seems to me to lack a “centre”, other than the old church which stands imposingly, solidly. Somehow the lychgate appeals to me as an entry point. The house opposite used to be a pub when we first visited, but no longer. I love the pond across the way with its ducks…very restful.
Roe Green is similarly peaceful, revealing only by its buildings that there’s a long history here. There’s a village green where no doubt cricket is played in summer, horses being walked and a general air of tranquillity; who wouldn’t want to live here.
S is for Strachur (Argyll, Scotland)
My Morrison family lived in Strachur on Loch Fyne for many years on a farm called Inverglen. Like my Sim ancestors in Bothkennar, they were more established than others family lines, being involved in local business and community as well as farming. Luckily for me one of my 2xgreat-aunts was with the Morrison family on the 1841 census as a small child. I’d have liked it to be the 1851 census with relationships stated, but I’m reasonably sure that she was with her grandparents.
Some years ago we met a very elderly man from the Morrison family in Strachur, but at the time we couldn’t be sure of our relationship. We loved that he offered Mr Cassmob a whisky (at about 10am), which he accepted to be hospitable. As several fingers of single malt were poured Mr Morrison announced he never touched the stuff…needless to say I was the chauffeur that morning. Mr Morrison had a memory of meeting a Fergus McCorkindale, a person who at the time meant nothing to me. It was only later that I established he was a grandson to my great-grandfather through his first marriage and so my grandmother’s nephew.
I’ve posted about Loch Fyne and how it feels like home to me. Sometime I’d love to see it on a clear blue day rather than in its grey winter clothes with scarves of fog and cloud. One visit we stayed at the historic Creggans Inn in Strachur, with its view across the loch to Inveraray. We were amused during our stay when the waitress slipped us some fresh raspberries to accompany our porridge, with the injunction “don’t tell cook”.
S is for Sadds Ridge Road (Charters Towers, Queensland)
I wrote previously how my husband found this old street sign on a coconut plantation near Gurney in Milne Bay. This is where Australian troops were stationed around the time of the Battle of Milne Bay. We’ve always assumed it was a souvenir that a soldier too with him, but have never been able to unearth anyone who might know more.
Did you have a relative who went from Charters Towers to Milne Bay?
I am participating in the A to Z 2012 blog challenge throughout April. My theme is a genealogical travelogue or a travel genealogue (I’m not sure which) and today’s post explores interludes in Ireland, Inishail, and Ipswich (Qld, Australia).
I is for Ireland
As soon as I arrived in Dublin in the late 1980s there was a sense of recognition, a realisation of how much like the Irish we Australians are in so many ways…the sense of irony, mickey-taking, disregard for authority. At the same time it seemed unfamiliar because I’d expected the inflexibility and conformity learned from my life in an Australian Catholic school and church with Irish nuns and priests, and a stern Irish-born grandfather. It was a delight to discover that Ireland was full of joie de vivre and craic (good fun) as well as the darker, more morose side with which I was familiar.
Without the urge to learn more of my family history I may never have visited Ireland, and so would have missed out on far more than adding leaves to my family tree. Ireland fulfils so many stereotypes that you’ve heard about: the green patchwork fields, the distant blue hills, old stone cottages, the soft rain, and the quirky sayings and greetings that seem quintessential yet somehow difficult to remember when you leave. Coming from Australia with its wide open spaces and vast distances, it’s easy for a tourist to think “ah I’ll get there in no time” but everywhere there are those signposts that can all point to the same place, via twisty Irish roads that only change how much time it takes you to get to your destination. Despite the number of times I’ve visited I still make the mistake of not allowing enough time!
Over the years we’ve visited 20 counties and each has its own beauty. Despite my Clare ancestry I have to say my favourites are the rugged, more isolated areas: Achill Island (Mayo), Beara Peninsula (Cork), the wide-open spaces in south-west Donegal, tragic site of many evictions, and the steep cliffs near Dun Choin by Dingle (Kerry).
Over the decades as the Celtic Tiger stirred, and then roared, the social atmosphere has changed. There was cash to splash and everyone was busy, busy. There was a brashness to life, in Dublin especially, that I didn’t really like…it had turned into a typical big city (or perhaps I’d got used to living in a smaller city). In the rural areas people remained both friendly and reserved, much as always. The standard of living had improved which made life more comfortable for people…the decades and centuries of disadvantage were slowly being turned around. It’s sad to think that the Irish people are now going through such difficult times.
Wherever you go, there is that essential kindness and welcome that the Irish share with the visitor. It’s a grand place to visit and if you have the opportunity it’s well worth going. Even if the trip doesn’t uncover specific family history, you’ll get a much better sense of the place and its people, and, intuitively, the loss your ancestors experienced when they left it all behind.
I is for Inishail (Scotland)
Inishail is part of the combined parish of Glenorchy and Inishail in Argyll, Scotland. Inishail lies over the hills from Inveraray and borders the starkly beautiful Loch Awe. The MacArthurs and Campbells are powerful in this area, and history abounds. I’m not planning to talk about that here but if you want to investigate further you might find this linka helpful starting point.
My interest in Inishail parish arises because my 2xgreat grandparents, Duncan McCorquodale (various spellings) and his wife, Ann Campbell lived there for about 50 years, apparently having moved across the Loch from Kilchrenan parish. They both appear in the 1841 census, and Duncan in the 1851 census, living in Drimuirk. It took some work locating this little hamlet as it’s rarely indexed on maps. My starting point has been the village of Cladich which in its day, was on the drove road for cattle to Inveraray and points south and west. The long haired Highland cattle are still a feature of the area, and of a local estate. In the colder months, when we tend to visit, the clouds hang low, and the mist filters through trees draped in moss and lichen…dimly among the trees appears a woolly Highland cow. It can be kind of spooky.
On previous trips I’d estimated from maps where Drimuirk was located, and taken photos, but this time I was given a great privilege…the opportunity to “walk the land” where my ancestors lived. At ground level, and with local help, I could see that what had seemed random rocks were actually the remains of the rude cottages of the long-ago residents of Drimuirk. Of course I have no idea which of the small handful of house foundations was theirs, but I like to imagine it was the one with the view over the loch and where the travellers could be seen coming over the hills. Afterwards I read the Kirk Session records for the parish, and found a reference to the “small house” of Duncan McCorquodale. The reiteration of “small house” suggests that even by the standards of the day it must have been tiny, yet there’d have been half a dozen people living there at times. You can read my post about it here. I’m forever grateful to have been given this chance to see what remains of this little settlement.
Dorothy Wordsworth passed through the area in 1803, around the time my family came to the area to live. She describes the children of the Macfarlane family thus: The children, after having collected fuel for our fire, began to play on the green hill where we stood, as heedless as if we had been trees or stones, and amused us exceedingly with their activity: they wrestled, rolled down the hill, pushing one another over and over again, laughing, screaming, and chattering Erse (Gaelic)…[i]Reading this it’s so easy to imagine my own great-grandfather playing with his siblings in this way.
Genie tip: when searching for Inishail, also try spelling it as Innishail, especially in archive searching, which will add to your results.
I is for Ipswich (Queensland, Australia)
Ipswich is the place where my Melvin, Partridge, Kent and Kunkel families first settled in Australia. New immigrants would sign work contracts and then travel by boat up the river system to Ipswich from where they would be dispersed to the most distant reaches of the Moreton Bay settlement, as happened with my Gavin family and most of the Dorfprozelten immigrants who came to Moreton Bay. No doubt the employers were keen to keep them on the move before the immigrants had any idea of just what they were taking on, and how very isolated many of them would be.
Those who came to Ipswich to live and work arrived in a small but bustling town with minimal, but developing, infrastructure. They quickly became part of the social fabric of the community and could, if they wished, make their mark there. William Partridge worked as a carpenter, George Kunkel ran a boarding house in Union Street with his wife Mary and also a pork butcher’s establishment, before they moved west with the railway construction. Richard Kent was an older man when he arrived and remained a labourer as far as I can tell, though he’d run a public house in England. Stephen Melvin arrived later, in the 1870s, and before long was establishing himself with a well-regarded confectionery shop(s) and factory.
My families were on opposite sides of the religious divide with the Kunkels attending St Mary’s, the Catholic church, and the others associated with the Anglican or Methodist churches at different times. Despite this it would have been difficult for the Kents, Partridges and Kunkels not to be aware of each other in such a small community through the 1850s and 1860s.
One of the interesting things about doing family history from those early days of Moreton Bay/Queensland, is how often you come across someone whose ancestry lies in the same places as yours…not all that difficult when the European population was so small. I wonder from time to time, whether these distant links are part of why we instantly “click” with some people and others, without doing a thing, get our backs up. It intrigues me that much the same thing can happen with people whose names I find bobbing up in the overseas parish registers of my families…kind of weird really.
Ipswich for a long time was a coal mining town and continued to be a place where new immigrants could afford to settle. Ipswich suffered in the 2011 floods, a history which has repeated itself over the centuries. These days it’s throwing off its former social disadvantage and promoting its history, of which there’s a wealth. If you ever want to see fantastic examples of vernacular Queensland architecture, Ipswich is the place to go. Perhaps precisely because it was economically depressed for quite a while, there are wonderful examples of old Queensland homes with deep verandahs, mostly set on stilts to keep them above the flood waters.
I’m looking forward to having more time in the future to re-explore Ipswich and its historical treasures: the churches, the railway workshops, the architecture and the cemetery.
I ships for East Clare immigrants
Irene (1852)  + 7 from Ennis; Ironside (1863)  and Ida (1864) 
A to Z 2012 Challenge
Mynod for today is Catherine Noble’s blog about writing. I especially liked “D for Dedication”.
This is Week 9 in my Beyond the Internet series of topics in which I explore the sources of information beyond our computer screens. I’d love it if you wanted to join in with your own posts on this week’s topic which is Church Registers.
Please join in with your blog posts on this topic, and if possible provide the link on this page.
Last week’s topic was certificates and how they can help ensure you are tracing the right line, and potentially tell you a great deal more about your family. But of course certificates are only available from around the middle of the 19th century. Before that you need to turn to the church registers of your ancestor’s local parish for their baptisms, banns, marriages and burials (and don’t forget they may not all belong to the official church). If you’re lucky the clergyman may have also shown dates for births and deaths, but by no means always.
If I’m researching a parish where my ancestor lived, my first port of call is the familysearch catalogue to search under place names. Lots of people (me too) used to like to search the old IGI but what are/were you getting? You might assume you’re being given every bit of information regarding that parish. Unfortunately that’s not the case, and ignoring for the moment that you’ve so far only got dates and names, what else are you missing out on?
When I want to know what’s indexed for the United Kingdom (also Canada/USA), I’ve been in the habit of using Hugh Wallis’s wonderful site because this tells me what’s been incorporated into the IGI. To illustrate what you might miss out on with the IGI (and perhaps to a lesser extent with familysearch unless you use advanced search carefully), I’ll look at the parish of Sandon in Hertfordshire. This is what Hugh Wallis says is available on the IGI:
To summarise: baptisms (christenings) from 1697-1879 and marriages from 1678 to 1976. Sounds great doesn’t it? Now search the family search catalogue under the place name of Sandon, Hertfordshire and these are the options that come up for church registers (there are yet more other entries).
Church of England. Parish Church of Sandon (Hertfordshire)
You can also see that the author of #3 is the Church of England, parish church of Sandon. When you look at the films you’ll find that you’re actually viewing an exact image of the pages from the parish register. By clicking on #3, it will show that it’s possible to see all the following by ordering the film numbers bracketed behind each:
Baptisms, marriages and burials 1678-1812, and banns 1750-1766 (991394, items 6-9).
Baptisms and burials 1813-1879 and marriages 1813-1837 (991394, items 1-4)
Marriages 1837-1976 (film 993735, item 4)
Banns 1767-1874 and baptisms 1880-1960 (1537909, items 5-6)
Burials 1879-1902 (1951789, item 16)
You’ve gained the opportunity to learn a good deal more about your ancestors because you can now go back in time for 20 years of baptisms, as well as banns and burials (not sure what happened to the 1628 shown). Burials are not included in the IGI, so searching the films will let you correlate the information you’ve obtained on your family and make sure you’re not pinning your tree on someone who was buried well before adulthood. For example, at first glance my direct ancestor, Hannah Kent, is the child baptised in Sandon on 27 April 1832 and that was what I initially thought. Had I never ordered the microfilm I’d never have known differently because that Hannah was buried a week later on 2 Mary 1832. My ancestor was presumably the next girl born to parents Richard and Mary and also called Hannah – though there’s no clue why she wasn’t baptised in the Church of England (nor is she shown in the non-conformist indexes). Burial information can let you identify which person of the same name is being buried and if a child, the name of the father, and sometimes address information and other stray details. Other entries in the register may tell you about occupational changes, confirm family connections, provide witnesses’ names and so on.
It’s also a good idea to have a look at the Bishop’s Transcripts (BTs) where they exist and for Sandon it looks as if they provide another 74 years. Unfortunately the reality is that the film is so poor that it looks like the register was kept in a barn with a leaky roof for a very long time. Much of those early years are illegible but occasionally snippets can be figured out. The other qualifier with any of the BTs is that they are what they say, transcripts, so subject to errors in transcription. On the other hand, they will sometimes give slightly different details from the original register. For a small sum of money, a wait for the microfilm, and the time taken to read it, you can have the confidence to know you’ve squeezed as much as possible from the available registers.
If you have ancestry in Durham and Northumberland from c1797-1812, you will find parish registers might offer you a great deal more even than “normal” registers. The then Bishop of Durham, Shute Barrington, decreed that parish registers be kept which included such detail as place of origin, parents’ names, maiden names, ages etc. Inevitably not every entry has all the required detail but most do, and it is a potential goldmine. Bishop Barrington deserves his own Genealogy Award!
Happy hunting in the microfilms…may you find many “lost” ancestors, unravel some mysteries and find some clues.
Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun last weekend was Two Degrees of Separation. Obviously I’m not having much fun on Saturday nights that it takes me to Tuesday to respond to this challenge, which rather intrigued me.
So, how far back in time could I go with my ancestors by using an ancestor I knew as the pivot point.
As it happens not too far, certainly not as far as Randy managed. Despite many branches of longevity on our tree the furthest back my known personal linkages took me was the 1830s. There were two reasons for this: 1. the timing of my families’ migration to Australia and 2. (in some cases) the early demise of their ancestors.
I was surprised to discover just how recent and ephemeral was this grandparent-grandchild link that we seem to take for granted these days. But more on that another time.
I was lucky that I knew all four of my grandparents and these are the links which took me back.
My grandfather, Denis Joseph Kunkel b 1880, knew all four of his grandparents and would have seen quite a lot of them I imagine. Even though his family moved around with the railway, they spent most of their time near where the grandparents lived. I like the fact that he knew them well and perhaps was close to them. I only wish he’d told me about them …or was I not listening? All these grandparents have birth dates in the early 1830s though only one is a confirmed date (the rest were Irish –say no more!). If Denis lived in today’s world, where international travel and Skype connect families separated by distance, then he would also have known two of his great-grandparents who were still alive in Ireland, and I could connect back to the c1804..
My paternal grandmother, Catherine b 1887, may have the record for the earliest connection, assuming (and it IS an assumption) that she met her grandfather, Duncan McCorkindale before his death in Greenock Poorhouse in 1889. She wouldn’t have remembered him though, as she was only two when he died. Still IF the family visited him from Glasgow then he would be the earliest contender for our “two degrees of separation”, having been born in 1808.
With my maternal grandmother, Laura, the story is the same. Her Northumbrian-born grandmother lived with them in Charters Towers and Laura would also have known as her Partridge grandparents but again, birth dates are in the 1830s. All earlier generations pre-deceased her birth.
My paternal grandfather, James, certainly knew his paternal grandparents (both born 1830s) as they also lived in Gorey, Co Wexford and the two families emigrated to Australia within a year of each other. Perhaps before they emigrated they travelled to Tullamore, Co Offaly to visit his great-grandfather Martin Furlong, in which case this link would connect back to the early 1800s.
Thanks Randy for a new way of looking at our ancestral families, and enlightening our current family experience.
I’d love to welcome my earliest Australian ancestors to an early evening dinner party so I could get to meet them as real people. I think it would have to be a typical outdoor event, under the shade of a spreading Banyan tree or a Moreton Bay fig so everyone felt at home. We’d have long tables and folding chairs. I’d buy some brightly-coloured melamine plates and drinking glasses to match pretty place mats and napkins (of course). Hurricane lamps with lightly scented candles would light the tables so the mood was familiar and cosy, and I’d hang some lamps from the trees.
To welcome everyone we’d have a good malt beer to honour my Kent family who were Hertfordshire publicans…before they became Methodists…and some spring water for those who were traditionally abstemious. Thinking on my maternal 2x great grandfather, William Partridge from Coleford, I think we’d need a good Gloucester cheese to go with the beer.
We would have to serve roast pork in honour of my Bavarian 2 x great grandfather, George Kunkel, who was a pork butcher. Instead of slaving over a hot oven in the kitchen we’d cook the pork in our Weber Q – would that seem familiar to them or somewhat wondrous? George also made his own wine and so we’d drink a white wine similar to that traditional in his birthplace…and again that spring water.
The pork would be accompanied by crispy roast tatties for my Irish ancestors, Mary O’Brien Kunkel and the Gavin and (Mc)Sherry families, and, come to that, my Highlanders, the McCorkindales. We might even introduce them to multi-cultural 21st century Australia with an Asian-inspired salad as an accompaniment.
While we ate we’d play some Scottish reels and Irish fiddle music to cross the cultural borders of my ancestry. How much nicer it would be to have a real fiddler play rather than a 21st century i-touch and if our feet wouldn’t stop tapping, we’d dance a quick reel in the twilight. There are so many questions I’d love to ask my ancestral visitors about their lives…another reason to keep that wine and beer flowing. I think they’ll be glad to escape by the end of the night!
Dessert would certainly have to be spectacular to impress my pastry chef ancestor, Stephen Gillespie Melvin, with perhaps a real Aussie pavlova (great pic) decorated with King Island cream and superb fruits like passionfruit, mango, kiwi fruit and fresh summer berries. Maybe we could even buy some delicious Haig’s hand-made chocolates to see if they match SGM’s standards…I’m realistic here, I couldn’t make them myself.
As this wonderful inter-temporal gathering came to a close, I would ask one of my McCorkindale great-uncles to play Auld Lang Syne on the pipes, and with a wee dram, toast the courage of these ancestors who came to Australia. I’ve nary a doubt I’d share more than a few tears as I farewelled my guests who’d visited all too briefly.
I raise my glass to all my Aussie immigrants: George Kunkel and Mary O’Brien, Denis and Ellen Gavin, Annie Sim McCorkindale and her adult daughter Catherine, Peter and Mary McSherry/Sherry and their son James Joseph, Stephen Melvin and later his mother Margaret Gillespie Melvin/Ward/Wheaton, James and Bridget McSharry/Sherry, Richard and Mary Kent and their adult daughter Hannah and her future husband William Partridge.
My good intentions to publish this in week 2 were derailed by house-hunting interstate so, with my thoughts locked on real estate, it seemed appropriate to talk about ancestral houses and what we can find out about them beyond the internet.
For most of us a high point on our ancestral wish-list, is to actually see our ancestors’ homes. Sometimes that’s possible because they’re close by and still standing. Sheryl’s transcriptions and comments on her grandmother’s diary illustrate how personal documents can highlight the day-to-day usage of the family farm or house, but even just seeing the building can give us great excitement.
It was 19th century land enclosure records from the Hertfordshire Archives in England that gave me the necessary clues to identify the precise location of my ancestor’s pub in Sandon. I told this story here.
Don’t forget, too, that there may be LDS microfilms for your ancestor’s original parish which may tell you about their house or land eg parish vestry minutes can be a wonderful source of information. In the online world, Heritage-listed property information gave me more details about the structure of the building and google rounded it out with some clues into its more recent life.
An underutilised resource, both offline and online, are the cultural heritage studies undertaken by many Shire Councils in Australia.
These may make mention of your family’s home or property and it may be worth asking if there are unpublished reports on individual properties even where they are not mentioned in the final report. I was very fortunate when the current owner gave me a copy of the Cultural Heritage Study by Gatton Shire Council which referred to my Kunkel family’s farm at the Fifteen Mile. It makes mention of the kitchen outbuilding as a “slab building…of local significance”. Similarly the huge old fig tree that overlooks the cottage and kitchen, is a “significant fig tree” and is tied to the wedding photo of my grandfather’s sister where the whole family gathers underneath it.
The study found that the stone steps to the cottage were a later addition, and yet they so exactly mirror the ones found in George Kunkel’s home village that I wonder. I confess that further investigation of cultural heritage studies is still on my to-do list though many references can be found on the internet. Time and being able to visit the local records office can be stumbling blocks but a phone call may reveal whether such reports exist.
Of course many of us can’t get to see our ancestors’ homes for one of two reasons (1) they’re too far away or (2) they’ve been demolished. In these cases we’re dependent on old records (some available online) to tell us more about them: newspaper articles, old photos or local histories. When the digital British Newspaper Archives was opened up recently I found a news article about my great-grandmother talking a little about troublemakers on their farm…because I’d seen the property I could envisage what was happening. Back on the internet, old online maps, Google earth or street view enable us to see houses, streets and places far away from where we live.
Local archives host a vast array of records, some of which are likely to help with the history of your family’s homes. Queensland family historians are very fortunate that they have access to wonderful records of their ancestor’s land selections outside the urban area. As part of their selection, our ancestors were required to improve the property and the records that arose from this process are invaluable. You will find when and where on the block your ancestors built the land (especially useful if it no longer exists), a description of the house, what fencing they’d done, what crops and animals they had on the land and the like. On George Kunkel’s land selection it makes mention that there was a “four roomed cottage” with the “selector’s wife and family residing during the last five years” in compliance with the residence requirements. Does this mean that George was elsewhere or simply that the family’s residence was continuous while he may have been off working on the railway or pork butchering? As always each discovery seems to lead to more questions. It’s worth remembering that even if that house no longer exists, the paper records in the archives retain the story of its earliest life. You may never see a photograph but you will have a mental image of your ancestor’s home and how they lived their lives.
These records are held at the Queensland State Archives and no doubt similar records may be available from other archives. Local heritage centres and libraries may also provide further clues. It would be interesting to hear from other regions and countries about the resources they’ve found to fill out the story of the ancestral homes.
Week 3’s topic, coming up in a day or two, will also be house-related.
Geneabloggers set this Surname Saturday meme last Saturday but with family commitments last weekend and coming in late, I decided to wait until this week. This meme is a revival of an old topic by Craig Manson of Geneablogie.
How The Meme Works
To participate, do the following at your own blog and post a link back here in the comments:
1. List your surnames in alphabetical order as follows: [SURNAME]: State (county/subdivision), date range
2. At the end, list your Most Wanted Ancestor with details!
3. Post your comment at Thomas MacEntee’s blog, giving your link.
I jumped the gun with my Most Wanted as I wanted James Sherry to have prominence.
So here is my list of surnames, places of origin, places of immigration/residence at the great-great-grandparent level. I’ve also included some sibling families that I’m keen to link in. This meme has helped me to highlight some lines I need to do some more work on, like my Callaghan line from near Gorey, Wexford (Peter Callaghan was a fisherman when his daughter married).
I’ve decided to colour code the countries of origin so they stand out. I’ve also listed the names of the Dorfprozelten immigrants to Australia whom I also research.
CALLAGHAN:Ireland (Wexford, Gorey) c1860-1882, Australia (Queensland, Rockhampton, Longreach, Townsville) 1882-1950.
CAMP: England (Hertfordshire, Sandon c1795 – 1854), Australia (Queensland, Ipswich 1854-1870)
FURLONG:Ireland (Offally/King’s, Tullamore c1840-) Australia (Queensland, Rockhampton, Maryborough) 1882-
I also research the immigrants to Australia from Dorfprozelten, Bavaria. This list needs some updating. The original immigrant families are in capitals with their descendant families following and their place of settlement behind the immigrant surname (Qld=Queensland/Moreton Bay) and (NSW = New South Wales):
BILZ (Qld, Brisbane), Coe, Morse
DIFLO (Qld, Toowoomba), Muhling, Ott, Erbacher
DIFLO (Qld, Ipswich, Rockhampton), Nevison
DÜMMIG, (Qld, Darling Downs, Brisbane Valley, Ipswich) Dimmock