Monday, 14 January 2019

#52Ancestors - Week 33 - Family Legend

 It all started with Robert the Bruce.
Robert the Bruce at Edinburgh Castle (2014)
Among correspondence belonging to my grandmother we found a letter written in the 1960s from a cousin who believed that my grandmother's family could be traced back to Robert the Bruce. It was suggested that there were also links to James II of Scotland, Edward III of England and maybe even Alfred the Great. He had hired a researcher to investigate this for him and would let her know the result. (This, of course, was pre-internet.) Unfortunately we did not locate any outcome of this research in the correspondence.

In January 2012 I must have had some spare time and decided to check the truth, or otherwise, of this family legend. I wrote about this exercise in a previous blog post.

The research was done in stages with the initial research investigating the Scottish connections. I was aware of part of the Hutton family tree as my father had copied the information from records held by my grandmother. The Hutton family was connected to the Lidderdale family when Eleanora Lidderdale married Thomas Hutton in 1771. Eleanora's grandfather, David Lidderdale had married Eleanora Dunbar in 1708. It was the Dunbars who had the direct links to the Scottish royalty when John Dunbar (1330-1391) married Marjorie Stewart (1344-1417) in 1370. Marjorie Stewart was the daughter of Robert II of Scotland and therefore great granddaughter of Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce).

The initial investigation was carried out following online family trees. Three years later I had time to check the search results including verifying the family connections in

Because of all the intermarriage between royal families the lists confirmed  that there were links to the Plantagenets including Edward III and therefore to William the Conqueror. Once I stopped laughing I was able to locate direct links from William's wife, Matilda, to Alfred the Great and his forebears. There was a link to James I of Scotland, but not James II.

The searching did not stop in England but also in Normandy to Viking connections. Through Geoffrey Plantagenet, husband of Empress Matilda (daughter of Henry I), there are links to French royalty. Other Plantagenets also married French wives creating more interesting connections. Alfred the Great's daughter, Aelfthryth, married Baldwin II of Flanders and his line can be traced back to Charlemagne, Pepin III and several lines back into the 500s.

Needless to say when I was following these family lines there were times I laughed out loud. On paper it is all impressive but there are thousands and thousands of people who can make the same discoveries. However it does add another dimension to travelling in the UK and France as ancestors appear in unexpected places.
Statue of King John - Kings Lynn (2018)
On our last trip to the UK I found many mentions of King John in Kings Lynn in Norfolk including a statue just off the main shopping strip. So we said, 'Hello' to my great (x24) grandfather. In 1216, King John travelled through Bishops Lynn (now Kings Lynn) and in the nearby Wash his baggage carts became bogged in quicksand and many of the the family treasures in the baggage carts disappeared forever. King John died at Newark Castle several months later.

When we visited St George's Chapel in Windsor I found a stone plaque on the chapel wall providing the history of the chapel. At the top it was stated that Edward III (my great (x 20) grandfather) founded the College of St George in 1348. I was laughing about this with my husband when an attendant asked why I was so interested in the plaque. I explained the possible family connection emphasising that I was one of many others with the same connection. She laughed and said I should enjoy it.
Arundel Tomb - Chichester Cathedral (2018)
We were exploring Chichester Cathedral and when we passed the Arundel tomb I stopped as I was sure that there was a family connection. Checking records later I had been standing next to the tomb of my great (x20) grandparents - Richard FitzAlan (1307-1376) and Eleanor Plantagenet (1311-1372).

This is just a side-line to my family history research as my main area of interest is locating as much information as possible about family members in Australia. However, finding these links does help create a greater interest in UK history (especially prior to the Tudors) and also history relating to family links in France etc. It just goes to show that family history research can lead to unexpected discoveries.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

#52Ancestors - Week 32 - Youngest

It is interesting to look at the age of my convict ancestors when they committed the crimes resulting in their transportation to Australia.

Mary Bateman - 15
Mary Hyde - 16
Charles Daley - 17
George Guest - 18
Kezia Brown - 18
Uriah Moses - 18
Simeon Lord - 19
Richard Holland - 23
Jane Williams - 25
Susannah Alderson - 27
John Pendergast - 29
William Roberts - 30

Seven of my convicts were what we would now refer to as teenagers when they were arrested, the youngest being Mary Bateman aged 15.

I have written a number of posts in this blog about Mary Bateman and her husband George Guest including using Mary's Story as the major assignment in the Convict Ancestors unit for the Diploma of Family History (Univ. Tas). The year that I did the unit the assignment was presented in a web database allowing you to create the main story with links to side stories. I later added these sections to my blog. I also wrote a more detailed account of Mary's Voyage to Australia  and Arrival at Cascade Bay for other assignments. There are also posts in the blog about Newgate Prison and The Old Bailey where Mary was imprisoned and tried.
Ship, Lady Juliana, which brought Mary to NSW
Looking at Mary's story raises questions about life in London in the 1780s. Why was a fifteen year old girl working as a prostitute? In reality she may have been younger when she began working in this field. Some information is available about Employment Opportunities for Women in the 1780s. Taxation laws at the time discouraged employers from employing girls above the age of 15. This may have left Mary with no other employment options than working the streets. We will never know.

Of course Mary was not arrested and tried for being a prostitute but for stealing the watch of a client.

The many posts in the blog written about Mary's husband, George Guest, also provide insight into Mary's life in Australia, especially on Norfolk Island. Mary eventually died in the Liverpool Lunatic Asylum in 1829 aged 56. After leaving Norfolk Island in 1805 the family settled in Tasmania but frequent trips were made between Hobart Town and Sydney. Mary appears to have lived in Sydney for many years while her family lived and worked near Hobart.

My youngest convict faced many dramas in her life. I only hope that that there were also calm times, maybe on Norfolk Island, for her.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

52#Ancestors - Week 31 - Oldest

Many years ago (in the early 1960s) my father spent many hours on the verandah of the farmhouse on my grandparents' property transcribing documents that belonged to my grandmother relating to family history. Dad's handwriting was well known for not being easy to read however the transcriptions that he made have been an invaluable resource when researching stories about my grandmother's family.
Click to enlarge
The main document that Dad transcribed was a series of notes written by my great grandfather, George Hutton, describing his first years in Australia in the early 1870s. Many years later my aunt sent me a copy of George's original notebook as she knew that I was interested in recording the family history.

Dad also transcribed a letter written in 1855 by Jean Mackillop in Bath to her daughter, Eleonora Hutton, who was living in India. A copy of this letter is in one of the posts in this blog. This letter provides fascinating information on life in Bath for a well-to-do- family during the 1850s.

The Mackillops and the Huttons had a long association with India as merchants, in the army as well as in the East India Company. There is an account of the death of John Mackillop at Cawnpore in 1857 as well as notes about Thomas Bruce Hutton who was also in the Indian army at this time.

There are a number of family stories as remembered by George Hutton including his father's encounter with an elephant in India plus his mother's adventure, also in India, when riding a horse and encountering a wild buffalo.  George also provided an account of the adventures of his grandfather, George Mackillop, when exploring part of Victoria. There is also an account of a near disaster when George's mother and sister, Margaret, travelled by boat from Victoria to Tasmania in the 1870s.

Part of the family tree of the Huttons going back to 1670 and a list of baptisms for the children of William Forbes Hutton is included in Dad's notes plus a description of the Hutton Coat of Arms.

As well as  providing valuable information, the insight into the lives of family members provided in the documents that Dad copied has helped me better understand this branch of the family. Needless to say I am very greatful to my father for spending the time to copy these documents.

Monday, 7 January 2019

#52Ancestors - Week 30 - Colourful

When you visit another country you often have a preconceived idea of the colours in the natural environment you will encounter. This is particularly the case today with instant news and documentaries on television. However during the first years of the colony the convicts and their guards would have been amazed at the different style, variety and colour of the vegetation they encountered.

The bush near the coast would have been scraggly with trees they had never seen before. So many different varieties of eucalypts - some with long narrow leaves, others round - and not the bright or dark green of English foliage. The variety of bark to be found on the trees plus the different types of colours of flowers and shapes of seed pods would have also been a new experience. They would also encounter multiple varieties of wattle with their mass of yellow flowers in late winter and early spring along with the large flowers of the red waratahs and the banksias with their yellow or orange flowers before revealing dramatic seedheads. Instead of green fields there was grass which died off or turned yellow during the hot summer.

Arriving in summer there would have been days of blue sky and sunshine accompanied with a sub-tropical storm from time to time. The first settlement was on the coast so they would also experience the changing moods of the sea. For those who had come from towns and cities this would be a new experience, once they had recovered from their long sea voyage.

As time went on and the settlers began to explore inland they would encounter large areas of saltbush and further inland the desert. I love the rich colour of the desert, especially contrasted against a bright blue sky but this would have been a shock to many hoping to settle and farm this land. Those who explored north on the east coast would encounter the rain forests - another environment again.

Colour of the landscape would have been just one of the sensory challenges. There would also be different different smells / scents of the vegetation, not to mention the strange widlife encountered.

Over time the Europeans brought many of the trees and plants from their countries to grow in Australia and we now have a mixture of vegetation and colour in our gardens. The initial impact of a new palette of colour created by vegetation and climate would have had an impact on the first European settlers in Australia.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

#52Ancestors - Week 29 - Music

Trove has digitised newspapers from the Hawkesbury area and reading articles relating to my father's family I discovered a strong connection with music in one branch of that side of the family tree. This is therefore a summary post to some of the information discovered at the time with links to posts about music already in this blog.

William Moses (1844- 1923) was a son of Windsor baker, Uriah Moses (1780-1847), and Ann Daley (1809-1880). After their father's death the Moses brothers, with their mother, continued to run the bakery and general store until William eventually took over what was then known as the Hawkesbury Stores. William was involved in local activities including serving on the local council and being a member and sometimes president of the Windsor School of Arts.

William was also head of a musical family. Articles in Trove show that, particularly in the late 1800s, it was common for community concerts to be held at the church hall or school, often to raise money for a specific project. When looking at the programs detailed in the articles, the Moses family was always involved:

The concert arranged by Mr. W. Moses attracted a large and fashionable audience to the Church of England Schoolroom on Wednesday evening last, and the general verdict, at the close of the entertainment, was that nothing could have been more enjoyable. The instrumental music was of the highest order of merit, and the excellent manner in which each item was rendered demonstrated the fact patent to all-that the most careful study must have been indulged in by Mr. Moses and his talented family to attain such a remarkable state of proficiency. Windsor and Richmond Gazette, 23 February 1889 page 4).
William and his wife Elvina had twelve children and most appeared to play a musical instrument, often violin, flute or piano. However it was Stanley Moses (1878-1902) who attracted the most attention with his ability in playing the violin.

On 13 October 1888 Stanley (aged 10) played the 'Stephanie' gavotte with three other children in a children's program at University Hall in Sydney. He later played a duet. His sister, Josephine, also participated in the concert.
Conservatoire de musique, Brussels

Five years later Stanley was in Brussels where he had won a place to study at the Conservatoire of Brussels. Regular reports followed of performances given by Stanley at concerts in Europe. By 1900 he was playing First Violin with the Cologne Orchestra at the Paris Exhibition. It looked as it a brilliant career was available to Stanley until his unexpected death at Nice, France on 19 February 1902. Stanley was only twenty-three.
Stanley Moses 1893-1896
Stanley Moses  1897
Stanley Moses 1898-1902

Another discovery made when researching this branch of the Moses family was that William's eldest son, William Mountford Moses (1875-1940), married the Australian opera singer, Elsie Mary Fischer, known by her professional name Elsa Stralia.
Elsa Stralia Sunday Times 30/1/1927
Elsie and William travelled to Europe in 1910 where she Elsie studied in Milan and London. She made her debut at Covent Garden in 1913. After the War Elsa travelled and performed in many countries of the world including Europe, the USA and Australia. The marriage between William and Elsie was not a success and they divorced in 1934. William had returned to Australia some years previously.
Elsa Stralia - Australian Dictionary of Biography

Monday, 31 December 2018

Music and the Moses Family

Some of the articles located in Trove relating to the Moses family.

On Saturday afternoon last, a Matinee Musicale, under the auspices of Herr Kretschmann, specially organised for children, was given in the University Hall, Sydney. The entertainment was a great success. Amongst the most successful items was the " Stephanie " gavotte, in which Master Stanley Moses, son of Mr. W. Moses, of Windsor, and who really promises to become a splendid player, took part. The S. M. HERALD says:- 

The favourite ' Stephanie ' gavotte was then played by a small string band, the violins all being played by youthful performers, four of whom were of very tender years, and all, save one, of the gentler sex. That the little violinists were well drilled in their parts was at once evident, and a very good render ing was secured, the intonation being generally accurate and the phrasing judicious, while every bow moved together with almost mechanical uniformity." Later on, a " Mazurka " by Wieniawski, for two violins, was played by a young girl and Master Stanley Moses, who showed fair command over their instruments, coupled with intelligent understanding of the music. Miss Moses also played in the orchestral parts and acquitted herself admirably.
Windsor and Richmond Gazette Saturday 13 October 1888 page 4

The concert arranged by Mr. W. Moses attracted a large and fashionable audience to the Church of England Schoolroom on Wednesday evening last, and the general verdict, at the close of the entertainment, was that nothing could have been more enjoyable. The instrumental music was of the highest order of merit, and the excellent manner in which each item was rendered demonstrated the fact patent to all-that the most careful study must have been indulged in by Mr. Moses and his talented family to attain such a remarkable state of proficiency. The violin, which is a favourite instrument just now, may be said to be only second in importance to the human voice, while so an orchestra without a violin would be as devoid of tone and balance as a picture without light. It alone has the powers of expression and tone-painting, of sympathy and musical speech, with which only the human voice can compare, and on hearing the delightful strains, when one of these instruments is artistically handled, one is led to feel that the superstitions of music in the past were not without foundation. Space will not permit of our going into details, but it is only just that reference should be made at length to some of the more prominent numbers. The concert opened with a waltz, " Meadow sweet " (Florence Fare), played by the orchestra, comprising the following instru mentalists: Master W. Moses (flute), Miss Moses, Stanley Moses (1st violins), Mr. J. Herman New ton, Master Kirk (2nd violins), - Webber (viola), J. Tout (cornet), - Armour (2nd cornet), W. Iiaggar (clarionet), F. Hannabus (euphonium), W. Moses (double bass) ; accompanyist, Mrs. Moses. This was followed by " Souvenir de Naples " (R. Gylla), flute and piano, by Mrs. and W. M. Moses, an item which obtained much well merited applause. Hilton M. Moses succeeded, and this little fellow handled the bow, and played a solo, " Norma" (Charles Duncla), very fairly indeed for one so young. Then came a song, " La Serenata," with violin obligato (Braga), by Miss Primrose and Stanley Moses, the music being fairly well treated, the item as a whole coming in for a round of well-merited applause. Miss Moses treated the audience to a piano solo, " Thalberg." and the precision and skill which marked her manipulation of the instrument was much appre ciated. Petits Trios No. 6 for three violins (Miss Moses, Stanley Moses, and J. Herman Newton) was substituted for the cornet and piano item, Mr McMahon's absence being apologised for. A song by Mr. Piddington, " The Bedouin love song" (Ciro Pinsuti), was one of the most enjoyable numbers on the programme. Mr. Piddington's rich and powerful voice was heard to great advantage here, and he really deserved the high encomiums passed upon him by the audience as a body. Stanley Moses brought the first part to a close by with a violin conce. to, 7th, (Charles De Beriot), and this he played very carefully indeed, and with a degree of skill and ease which points to greater achievements in the future. Part 2 opened with a govotte, " Kensington " (C. H. R. Marriott), played in splendid style by the orchestra; and Mr. Piddington once more treated those present to the song, " Beauty's eyes " (F. Paolo Tosti), with violin accompaniment by Miss Moses, A duet violin, " Chauson polonaise" (Wieniawaski), by Miss and Stanley Moses, was a highly successful and pleasing number, whilst the violin concerto (Chas. De Beriot) by Miss Moses was certainly treated in a manner which re flected the highest credit upon the taste, touch, and sympathy of the player, who, if she progresses at the same rate as hitherto, will make an exceptionally clever violinist. Master W. M. Moses (flute) was acccorded the warmest applause for the solo, " Petit Bijou de Jetty Treffz," and he really earned it. Mr. J. Herman Newton simply made his violin speak when playing " Blue bells of Scotland " and "Campdown races" (J. Herman Newton); in fact he proved himself to be a master of his instrument throughout. The " Toy symphony " (Romberg), a quaint and highly successful item, one of the most pleasing of the evening, brought the entertainment to a close. We trust to have the pleasure of again seeing Mr. and Mrs. Moses and their really clever family on the platform once more ere long. Mr. J. Herman Newton acted as conductor during the evening.
The committee of management in connection with the Masonic Lodge, for the benefit of the hall of which body the concert was given, worked well and assisted in making the audience comfortable.
Windsor and Richmond Gazette Saturday 23 February 1889 page 4

Nicholas Nubbles Says: Henri Kowalski's grand concert will be given in the Centennial Town Hall, Sydney, this (Saturday) evening, and amongst the advertised list of contributors to the programme, we notice Master Stanley Moses billed as " the Wonderful Australian violinist." Miss V. Moses is to be the violin soloist at Kowalski's concert to-night, and Master Stanley Moses contributes a violin solo.
Windsor and Richmond Gazette Saturday 25 October 1890 page 4

Windsor Musicians in Sydney.
At Henry Kowalski's Concert on Saturday evening last, Miss Moses and Master Stanley Moses appeared. From the " Telegraph " we take the following highly eulogistic reference to Miss and Master Moses:

The concert opened with a largo by Handel, affording great scope for the strings, of which full advantage was taken, and the beautiful theme was clearly played, the solos being well and crisply given by Miss Moses and Mr. Stevenson. Two of the features of what was throughout a high-class concert were the appearance of a boy violinist, Master Stanley Moses, and a girl pianist, Miss Edith Kinminster, 10 years old, of Manly. The former is a musical enthusiast, possessed of genius, and his playing of the difficult tith concerto of Spohr was wonderful, both for its breadth of tone and brilliancy of execution. The pianoforte accompaniment was played by Mr. Kowalski, and the little fellow seemed to throw his whole soul into the inspired music of the composer. He was enthusiastically recalled and repeated the last movement.
The " S.M. Herald " is somewhat milder in its praise of Master Stanley, but still it acknowledges the lad's undoubted ability:

The remaining soloists were instrumentalists, both of them children of tender years. Master Stanley Moses has in him the makings of a good violinist, and is apparently not troubled by any nervous peturbation, such as often militates against the public success of older performers, he has, for his age, a free style of bowing and seems likely to gain a broad quality of tone, while his fingers appear lissom enough to facilitate the acquirement of ready execution. At present, however, he has not attained to accuracy of stopping, and consequently not even admiration for the evident cleverness of the child could check a feeling of regret that his performances were not still confined to the practice-room.
Windsor and Richmond Gazette Saturday 1 November 1890 page 3

Entertainment at Wilberforce.
In point of numbers the concert; given under the auspices of the Wilberforce Pro gress Association (the object of the entertainment being to raise funds to fittingly celebrate Arbor Day at the local Public School), which eventuated on Friday evening last, proved eminently satisfactory -a result which must be very gratifying to the promoters, chief among whom were Messrs H. R. Bultsworth and Murray, ably assisted by Miss Bowd, and Messrs. E. Bowd H. Nicholls, and H. Stevens. The programme was long, varied, and well chosen, and the performance as a whole was thoroughly enjoyable. The instrumental items of Masters William and Stanley Moses -as also the comic songs and music hall ditties- were much appreciated, but we were surprised to see that the higher class vocal items-all thoroughly-well rendered-failed to please. In our judgment, the treat of the evening was the perfor mance of Master Stanley Moses. We have a modest estimate of our capabilities as a critic of the violin, but we are quite sure that the talent-patent in every movement of the bow and every note produced during his too brief stay with the audience, presages a career such as few who undertake the violin ever attain to. Master W. Moses, brother to the coming violinist, is likewise developing unusual proficiency on his own instrument-the flute-also left the audience with some recollections not easily to be dimmed, and both these young per formers received flattering orations at the conclusion of their respective pieces. Miss Primrose sang two solos, fully sustaining her reputation for excellent and cultured vocalization ; and Mr. B. S. Bennett, who journeyed from Sydney to assist in the praise-worthy cause, being in good voice, contributed two baritone numbers in capital style. Miss Pitt also sang two solos in a pleasing manner, and little Master Cobcroft was loudly applauded for his song. The accompaniments were played by Miss Eather, Miss Pitt, and Miss M. Dunstan. Miss Moses accompanied her brothers in their instrumental pieces. Following is the programme in extenso:-Class-song, by the children of the Wilberforce Public School; song, "O'er the hills with Patrick," Miss Pitt; flute solo, Master W. Moses; song " Queen of the Earth," Mr. Bennett; comic " Ask a Policeman," Mr. G. Mortley; song " The Little Hero," Master R. Cob croft ; violin solo, Master Stanley Moses ; solo, " The song that reached me Heart," Miss Primrose; song " The Maid of the Mill," Mr. A. Cobcroft; comic, Mr. W. Mortley, " Never Again"; recitation " The Lover's Sacrifice," Mr. W.Bowman; comic song " Many a Time" Mr. C. Davies; ballad "Some day I'll wander back Again," Master E. Dunstan; class-song, " In the prison Cell," by the children; recitation, "Shamus O'Brien," Professor Rex, who was encored and gave A. L. Gordon's " How we beat the Favourite"; song " Kathleen Mavourneen," Miss Primrose; song " Midship mite," Mr. Bennett; comic "Up to Date," Mr. C. Mortley; serio-comic " What a wicked young girl you are," Mr. A. Cobcroft; comic, "That's good enough," Mr. W. Mortley; recitation, Mr. W. Bowman. Mr. R. H. Buttsworth proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the performers, which was seconded by Mr. E. Bowd and carried by acclamation.
Windsor and Richmond Gazette Saturday 16 July 1892 page 6

A complimentary concert is to be tendered Master Stanley Moses at the Church of England School-room on Tuesday evening next, on which Mons. H. Kowalski and Mons. Poussard will contribute to the programme, which will be a first-class one in all respects. The same evening, a testimonial, - the proceeds of the concert being devoted to the purpose-will be presented to Master Moses. At the Sydney Quintette Society's concert on Thursday evening (says the " Daily Telegraph') " Master Stanley Moses, one of M. Poussard's cleverest pupils, and who leaves for Belgium on the 27th inst., displayed his skill as a juvenile violinist to advantage in Mendelssohn's Andante and Finale, the fanciful Finale being better in point of enunciation than the melodious Andante.
Windsor and Richmond Gazette Saturday 18 March 1893 page 4

Thus "Rip" in the "Nepean Times " of Saturday last, referring to the concert in connection with the Richmond Methodist Church : Mr. Hilton Moses, son of Mr. W. Moses, of George-street Windsor (and brother of the world-famed Stanley Moses), was there with the violin, and received vociferous applause for every item. That Mr. Moses has another ' star ' in , Hilton is beyond question ; and I trust the young and promising violinist will be sent to places where he will be able to attain the topmost round in the ladder, and that, after doing so, he will be spared many years of life to reap his reward. Often have I lingered in days gone by to listen to the Moses family in their home. Itwas elevating-it was soothing. I am afraid it would be a very difficult task to accurately describe this young violinist's performances.
Hawkesbury Herald Friday 23 January 1903 page 4

Friday, 28 December 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 52 - Resolution

Well the year is almost over and time to reflect on what has been achieved and start planning for next year's possible rearch projects.

Complete the2018  #52Ancestor challenge
Undertaking the #52Ancestors challenge has highlighted some of the areas where I would like to / need to do further research. But first I have eight more prompts (29 - 36) to write about that I left out when we were were overseas.

Organise my collection more effectively
A major project is to sort through the material that I have been collecting since I started researching the family history at the age of 17. Much of the material is in folders relating to families but there is also other material that I have not had time to sort properly. When I retired I was given a voucher for Archival Survival so need to order some more boxes and organise the material so it is easier to find what I want when I want to find it.

Further research
In my blog, Family Connections,  I have written posts on some of the themes that reoccur in my family history, particularly sport, music, theatre, art and writing and plan to investigate these areas further.

A major aim is to collect all the stories in my blog relating to specific families so I can start compiling histories of those families.

I need to do further research into members of my father's family, particularly members of the extended family. As many members of the Moses family lived in the Hawkesbury area articles in Trove provide a wealth of information.

Eight of my convicts lived in the Hawkesbury area so I need to do further research into what it was like living in the region in the nineteenth century.

Several years ago I did a great deal of research into the life of George Guest and Mary Bateman who moved to Hobart Town from Norfolk Island in 1805. I still need to investigate the story where George allowed the army to use a couple of buildings that he owned and they then sold off the land when he was in Sydney. Needless to say George was not pleased. I suspect that George may have also had some additional land in the Hobart area apart from his main properties at Risdon, on Macquarie Point and the Seven Stars Inn.

Several years ago I was sent information about family connections with India but have not had time to read it properly and do further research. Hopefully 2019 may be the year.

Perhaps the most important resolution for 2019 is to concentrate on working on a particular project and not become side-tracked by investigating what Thomas MacEntee refers to as Big Shiny Objects. Easier said than done!

It will be interesting to revisit this post this time next year and see what progress has been made on some of these research areas.

#52Ancestors - Week 51 - Nice

Continuing last week's theme of Naughty and Nice, in conjunction with the Christmas season, this week the emphasis is on Nice. Nice has many meanings in the online dictionaries including marvellous, good, pleasant, agreeable and kind.

Family history research creates many challenges especially when one of the ancestors is John Smith. Annie Smith is also a challenge to locate. Fortunately John Smith used more distinctive names for some of his children including the name of my great (x2) grandfather, Charles Septimus Smith.

My research has been assisted via my public tree on Ancestry and my Family Connections blog which have put me in contact with a number of people researching the same family and needless to say we are only too ready to share information that we uncover. Every little bit helps.

Earlier this year I received a communication via my blog from a researcher who discovered the name, Charles Septimus Smith, when researching her great (x2) grandmother, Mary Huskins. Mary had been arrested after attempting suicide and Charles Septimus Smith had paid the £50 bail money for her release from prison. The record was reported in a court record dated 23 August 1889 which I have not yet seen but there are references to Mary and her court case in Trove which provided background for the story. Below are some of the notes I made when investigating the story:

Charles had a large family - he and Sarah had fourteen children (one died when a baby). The family appear to have travelled widely, especially in NSW - Maitland, Singleton, Wollongong, back to Singleton, Newtown, Camperdown, Marrickville, then Glenbrook where he died. In 1889 he was probably living in Marrickville.

In the articles in Trove Mary was taken to Newtown Police Court and the doctor who spoke about the incident was from Croydon.  Marrickville and Croydon are in a similar area.

Looking in Trove, Mary attempted suicide on Thursday 20 June 1889 at Edwin Street, Croydon. (Sydney Morning Herald 22 June 1889).Mary was almost 60 years old when she attempted suicide and was charged. She subsequently went to court and was sentenced to 6 months good behaviour.

Apparently Adelaide had been very ill for some time and Mary had been looking after her.If her daughter, Adelaide, married John Shepherd, Adelaide died on 30 June 1889 and lived at Turner Street, Ryde. (Evening News 8 July 1889). [BDM NSW 1790/1883 Marriage John Shepherd to Adelaide Hukins]

It is possible that members of the Smith family and Huskins family may have met at some time. I am sure that Charles did not have sufficient funds to regularly pay bail for people so there must have been an association. One day we may discover what that association was and also locate more information about Charles and other possible good deeds.

In the meantime we must admit that it appears to have been a nice or kind or compassionate act of Charles to assist Mary when she was in need.

Some people just want additional information for themselves and are not interested in offering any information in return. However my experience has shown that many researchers are only too happy to keep in touch and share information. The sharing of information among family history researchers often provides additional layers to a story and to the character of the person being researched. The internet has certainly provided additional opportunities for family history research.
Gritty Newtown - Historic Walking Tour

Thursday, 27 December 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 50 - Naughty

In the festivities before Christmas my two school age grandchildren could be heard singing enthusiastically parts of the song,  Santa Claus is Coming to Town which includes the line - He's going to find out who's naughty and nice. My six year old grandson was reminded on several occations that he would end up only with a potato in his stocking if he did not stop being naughty.

The theme for the third last post in this series of #52Ancestors is Naughty. Looking at definitions of naughty in a number of online dictionaries the word usually refers to children in the context of being badly behaved, disobedient or not doing as they are told. Frequently young children learn by pushing the boundaries, sometimes with unfortunate results. Competition between siblings can sometimes end in disaster as this childhood recollection from my mother, who lived on a sheep station in south western Queensland, illustrates:

I had a very lonely childhood I suppose though I didn't think so at the time. There was only my brother, Michael, who was three years older. We did not have much in common. I guess I was my father's little girl until four or five, then I was run over.

The story as I remember it was I was with Mother and Huhu, who was driving. Michael and I were in the back (of the car). Not far from the homestead we came to a gate and we both wanted to open it. We had an argument. The door was opened and I somehow managed to fall out of the car. The car went over my leg above the right knee. It was not broken but a broken leg may have mended better. Fortunately Huhu, being a nurse, knew what to do. I was rushed into hospital and was in hospital for a couple of weeks. I still have a nasty scar. I remember walking around proudly with a large bandage on my leg.
The above incident would have occurred around 1930. Reading between the lines in the above tale both the children were no doubt being naughty and probably ignored the adults in the front of the car who would have been trying to keep the peace. I suspect that there were rules about taking turns to open and close gates. I know that many years later my sister and I would sometimes have discussions as to whose turn it was to open the gate when we were visiting my grandparents' farm. My two older grandchildren have constant arguments in the back of the car. Times do not change.
Mum and Uncle Michael when not arguing

Sunday, 9 December 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 49 - Weather Down Under

The prompt for this week's post is Winter but as the temperature reached 38 degrees Celsius in Melbourne on Friday followed by a hot and muggy day I have decided to look at the experiences of the convicts, especially those of the First Fleet, who arrived in New South Wales at the end of January 1788.

The ships of the First Fleet had left England in the middle of May with summer approaching. By the time the ships reached New South Wales it was mid-summer while back home in England it would have been mid-winter. The convicts and their minders were plunged into a climate very different from that experienced at home.

A number of reports written by first settlement participants provided their view of the climate. It wasn't just the heat but the sudden thunderstorms that concerned the new arrivals.

Lieutenant Ralph Clark recorded on 31 January  - what a terrible night it was of thunder and lightening and rain. (Hill p161)

Lieutenant Watkin Tench described the hot summer winds as being like a blast from a heated oven. (Tench p232) He recorded that one day the temperature peaked at a hundred and nine degrees fahrenheit, which killed some of the vegetables that had been planted.

Generally Tench seemed to approve of the New South Wales climate. The climate is undoubtedly very desirable to live in. In summer the heats are usually moderated by the sea breeze, which sets in early, and in winter the degree of cold is so slight as to occasion no inconvenience. However he later provided additional information regarding the storm experienced by Clark. Ere we had been a fortnight on shore we experienced some storms of thunder accompanied with rain , than which nothing can be conceived more violent and tremendous, and their repetition for several days, joined to the damage they did by killing several of our sheep, led us to draw presages of an unpleasant nature. He then added - Happily, however, for many months we have escaped any similar visitations. (Tench p76-7)

Tench was interested in the differences in temperatures experienced in Sydney compared with  Rose Hill and provided reasons for the possible cause of this.

After living in the colony for two and a half years Watkin Tench appears to have become used to the new weather patterns and observed:
It is changeable beyond any other I ever heard of ... Clouds, storms and sunshine pass in rapid succession. Of rain, we found in general not a sufficiency, but torrents of water sometimes fall. Thunderstorms, in summer, are common and very tremendous, but they have ceased to alarm, from rarely causing mischief. Sometimes they happen in winter. I have often seen large hailstones fall. Frequent strong breezes from westward purge the air. These are almost invariably attended with a hard clear sky. The easterly winds by setting in from the sea, bring thick weather and rain, except in summer, when they become regular sea-breezes...

To sum up: notwithstanding the inconveniences which I have enumerated, I will venture to assert in a few words that no climate hitherto known is more generally salubrious, or affords more days on which those pleasures which depend on the state of the atmosphere can be enjoyed, than that of New South Wales. The winter season is particularly delightful. (Tench p235)
Thanks to the records kept by Watkin Tench and other officers we are able to see how the early Europeans became used to and eventually adapted to the different climatic conditions experienced in Australia compared with England.

Tench, Watkin. 1788: comprising A narrative of the expedition to Botany Bay and A complete account of the settlement at Port Jackson. Edited and introduced by Tim Flannery. Text Publishing, 1996

Hill, David. 1788: the brutal truth of the First Fleet. William Heinemann, 2008