Friday, 9 November 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 45 - Bearded

When I undertook the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project in 2014 a number of the men featured in that series had prominent facial hair. Sometimes sporting beards, sometimes moustaches, portraits of these ancestors appear in this post.

I do not have images of all my ancestors, of course, however there are photos of four of my 2nd great-grandfathers.

Simeon Lord (junior) 1810-1892 would probably win the prize for the hairiest of my more recent ancestors. In this portrait he is shown with a splendid beard and moustache blending with his thick longish hair.
Simeon Lord 1810-1892
Simeon Lord was born in Sydney but moved to Tasmania in 1826, no doubt to look after his father's business interests. In 1831 he married Sarah Birch and they established the property Bona Vista at Avoca. In the 1870s Simeon and Sarah moved to Queensland where he had interests in a number of properties though he and his wife mainly lived in Brisbane.

Another gentleman with extensive facial hair was William Forbes Hutton (1816-1896). In the portrait below he has a rounded bushy beard, a moustache and thick sideburns.
William Forbes Hutton (1816-1896)

Colonel William Forbes Hutton was born in England but spent much of his life in the British Army in India. In 1871 he decided to settle in Australia and eventually purchased a property and built a large home for his family at Lilydale in Victoria.

John William Hillcoat (1828-1907, in the photo below, although he does not appear to have much hair on the top of his head has a thick rounded beard, prominent moustache and sideburns.
John William Hillcoat (1828-1907)
John William Hillcoat was born in Bath, England. He remained in England until November 1851 when, with his wife, he travelled to South Australia. John appears to have had a number of careers. In England his occupation was listed as Fundholder in the 1851 census. In South Australia he leased a property but was not successful at farming and was declared insolvent. The family returned to England and then some years later reappeared in Australia - this time in New South Wales where he owned a music store. He then tried his luck mining at Gympie in Queensland and must have made some money as he eventually purchased a property and raised cattle.

William Clifton Weston (1833-1889), in this photo which was later coloured, does not have a beard but he certainly has an impressive moustache and sideburns.
William Clifton Wilson (1833-1889)
William Clifton Weston was born in New South Wales. He was initially a surgeon and coroner at Sofala, a gold mining town. He also held a number of other public offices, including Clerk of Petty Sessions at Coonamble, and finally moved to Parkes where he was Coroner.

There are also photographs of two of my great grandfathers who had impressive moustaches.

Alfred Percy Lord (1852-1927) is the distinguished looking gentleman with the moustache in the photo below.
Alfred Percy Lord (1852-1927)
 Alfred Percy Lord was born at Avoca, Tasmania, and was the youngest son of Simeon Lord junior. In 1869 he headed to Queensland where he worked on family properties. With two of his brothers he became involved in a number of mining ventures. They also purchased a cattle property but he had to look for other employment due to a series of droughts in the 1870s. He found work in a bank and eventually became manager of the Gympie branch of Australian Joint Stock Bank. The 1890s depression saw him back on the land and he had a number of properties before eventually purchasing the sheep station, Victoria Downs, in south west Queensland. He also purchased a number of other properties for his sons. He spent the last years of his life in Manly.

James Campbell Thom (1863-1929) has a most impressive moustache in the photo below.
James Campbell Thom (1863-1929)
James Campbell Thom was born in Dunoon in Scotland and travelled to Australia with his family in 1877. He became a lawyer and in 1893 became the first Solicitor for Railways in New South Wales. He tried his hand at journalism for a time but eventually was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court. As the uniform in the above photo suggests James was also involved in the NSW military forces where he eventually became a Major. I also have a later photograph of James showing him clean shaven.

As can be seen from the above photos, the nineteenth century and early twentieth century certainly provided some men the opportunity to experiment with facial hair with a variety of styles are on show.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 44 - Frightening

This prompt is meant to tie in with Halloween including family ghost stories. However there are many occasions when life could be frightening, perhaps even more frightening than ghosts, for the settlers trying to make a living in the Hawkesbury area of NSW during colonial times.

We all know that Australia is a land where you can expect droughts, floods and / or bushfires somewhere in the country each year however this would have been unsettling for newcomers in New South Wales at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The land in which they were attempting to make a new home was definitely foreign and could be considered threatening compared to the natural environment of their former homeland.

Many former convicts had moved to the Hawkesbury area to establish small farms and associated businesses in the settlements that were gradually established. However in order to create land suitable for farming the land needed to be cleared and accommodation of some sort constructed from available materials for landholders and their families. They were surrounded by thick, alien bush. Large cliffs and mountains formed a barrier to the west. Then there was the river which meandered through the landscape, often a source of transport as well as a food source providing fish. However the river could turn into a destroyer during heavy rains forcing torrents of water downstream, covering the land and destroying all in its path.

Such a flood occurred in the Hawkesbury area in 1806. The river flooded the surrounding land frequently - there had been substantial floods in 1796, 1799, 1801 and 1806 and this pattern continued over the years. With five years between 1801 and 1806 some of the residents would not have experienced the effects of major flooding and in many cases were devastated when they watched much of their livelihood float away. Five people died due to the floods.Crops that had recently been harvested disappeared down river. Buildings were wrecked and livestock drowned.

The chapter, 'Seeding and Breeding', in Grace Karskens' book, The Colony: the history of early Sydney, provides a useful account of life in the early Hawkesbury River settlement including the effects of the floods with the rivers suddenly rising fifteen metres or on one occasion 19 metres. In 1806 the valley flooded three times. These floods were not only catastrophic for those living near the Hawkesbury River but also for those in Sydney relying on the crops grown in this region.

A search in Trove for newspaper articles about Hawkesbury flood published in 1806 provides 33 articles. A search generally for Hawkesbury flood 1806 provides many more articles looking back at the devastation of the floods in 1806.

Novels can also convey the experiences and feelings of people living in settlements along the Hawkesbury River in the early nineteenth century. In 2005 Kate Grenville published her novel, The Secret River, detailing the story of William Thornhill as he attempted to make a new life in the colony. (Reading and other pursuits blog).  This year historian Peter Cochrane has published a novel - The Making of Martin Sparrow - where the 1806 flood is the background for all that follows. (Reading and other pursuits blog). Cochrane graphically describes the devastation of the flood on the small community situated along the river.
Recent armyworm invasion in Tasmania - ABC 11 Dec 2017
Of course the European settlers on the Hawkesbury in Colonial times also experienced other challenges to their survival apart from floods. Karskens describes concerns faced when rains required for the crops did not come on time, when the wheat crop was affected by blight (a plant disease often caused by a fungus) or when there were plagues of insects  such as flymoth or armyworms (caterpillar plagues). Problems could also exist between 'types' of settlers - free men, convicts, former convicts, officers who often did not get along. Settlements were also on Aboriginal land which could result in conflict. Bushrangers also roamed the area.

Consequently there would have certainly been times when our ancestors living in the Hawkesbury region of New South Wales may have found life frightening.

Hawkesbury River Floods - Hawkesbury Heritage and Happenings

The Hawkesbury River Floods of 1801, 1806 and 1809 by JCH Gill Royal Historical Society of Queensland vol. 8 no. 4 (1969) pp706-736.

Hawkesbury March 27, Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 30 March 1806 pp2-3

Peter Cochrane novel The Making of Martin Sparrow set in the Hawkesbury - Hawkesbury Gazette 13 July 2018

Kate Grenville, The Secret River, Text Publishing, 2001

Peter Cochrane, The Making of Martin Sparrow, Viking, 2018

Grace Karskens, The Colony: the history of early Sydney, Sydney, Allen & Unwin 2009 pp 98-157.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 43 - Cause of Death

On Wednesday the 18th instant, an inquest was held at Parramatta, before James Wright Esq. J. P. in the absence of the Coroner, on the body of Charles Daly, late of Windsor, who was accidentally killed on the previous evening, on the road near Parramatta, by the wheel of a cart, laden with maize, passing over his body. The jury returned a verdict accordingly.

Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser 26 May 1831

The brief report of an inquest reported the death of my great x3 grandfather, Charles Daley
Charles died on 17 May 1831. The website Irish Convicts to New South Wales states that Charles died 1831 in Windsor Road, Winston Hills. Winston Hills is approximately 7 km north of Paramatta while Windsor is approximately 29 km north west of Winston Hills if travelling via Windsor Road.

Barbara Hall in her book, Of Infamous Character: the convicts of the Boddingtons, Ireland to Botany Bay, 1793, provides some additional information: 'Charles Daley died when his cart ran over him, whilst he was returning from the Sydney market. His son-in-law John Wood found the body'.

Three mentions of the death of Charles Daley each providing a clue or clues to his sad demise.
Winston Hills to Windsor (Google Maps)
The John Wood mentioned by Barbara Hall was the son of two convicts and was born in Sydney in 1798. In 1829 he married Mary Ann Daley (1811-1894), the second daughter of convicts Charles Daley and Susannah Alderson. John Wood's detailed obituary published in the Hawkesbury Chronicle and Farmers Advocate provides information about John's life including his occupation as 'principal carrier in Windsor'. The paper described what his job involved:
The storekeepers and farmers of the district trusted him implicitly with the conveyance of their goods to and from Sydney, and many were the important commissions he executed on behalf of his patrons. It was a serious matter in those days carrying on the Windsor and Parramatta Road. Over dreadfully bad roads in danger of bushrangers and marauders, it was at least a two days journey each way.
In 1831 the journey from Windsor to Sydney was a long one taking at least two days. Originally the favoured route from Sydney to Windsor was by water, particularly when transporting goods of any kind. A narrow track between the two locations was constructed in 1794 and it was gradually widened to allow carts to travel via this route (Old Windsor Road). When Governor Macquarie arrived he made the improvement of the road a priority (Windsor Road). Toll gates were introduced to pay for the construction and upkeep of the road. However, as suggested in the newspaper article, the condition of the road was not good.

We know from the 1822 muster that Charles owned land at Windsor, including 14 acres of wheat, 6 acres of maize and 6 acres of barley. He also had 70 hogs. The inquest states that Chales' cart was carrying a load of maize so he was probably taking the produce to (not from) the market in Sydney and decided to travel with John on one of his trips there.

We know that the accident occurred on the Windsor Road near Winston Hills, not far from Parramatta. The road would have been narrow and not in good repair. There was probably bush on each side of the road. It would also seem that Charles and John were travelling separately for a time. The width of the road would probably have prevented them travelling two abreast. Perhaps John lost sight of Charles' cart when they went around a bend.

We can only surmise how the accident may have occurred. Maybe the cart wheel become stuck in a rut or went off the the side of road and Charles was run over when trying to rectify the situation. Maybe the horse was startled by an animal and the accident occurred when Charles tried to calm him. Whatever happened it must have been a shock for John to discover his father-in-law dead on the road.

We also do not know if Charles had made this journey to Sydney before. If the farmers in the Windsor area were all planting similar crops it would probably be easier to sell the maize in a larger centre such as Sydney. The market in Sydney was origially located near the wharf as much of the early produce was brought to Sydney by boat. The market then moved into Market Square in George Street.  

There are obviously questions arising from Charles' death which will never be answered however it is possible, from the information discovered so far, to try and understand how this accident may have occurred.
Barbara Hall,  Of Infamous Character: the convicts of the Boddingtons, Ireland to Botany Bay, 1793, (2004).

The late Mr John Wood - Hawkesbury Chronicle and Farmers Advocate 26 May 1883

RoadsOld Windsor Road and Windsor Road Heritage Precincts - NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Windsor and Old Windsor Roads - NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Roads - Dictionary of Sydney

Australian agricultural and rural life - getting to market - State Library of NSW

Sydney's Paddy's markets - History

Sydney's early markets were far from super - Daily Telegraph 20 June 2018

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 42 - Conflict

The topic for this week's challenge, Conflict, provides the opportunity to look at the background of the Irish Rebellion of 1798. The words Conflict and Ireland often appear together, particularly in the twentieth century. However the conflict that occurred in Ireland at the end of the eighteenth century resulted in a number of Irish convicts being transported to Australia including my great x3 grandfather, John Pendergast.

On 11 January 1800 John Pendergast arrived in Australia aboard the convict ship, Minerva. The ship had left Cork on 24 August 1799. One hundred and sixty-two male convicts plus twenty-six female convicts arrived aboard the ship at Port Jackson. The Friendship, also carrying convicts from Ireland, arrived on the same day. The Anne, carrying convicts involved in the rebellion, arrived at Port Jackson thirteen months later. What caused this influx of Irish convicts to Australia at this time?
United Irishmen crest
In 1782 there had been some reforms regarding the Irish Parliament allowing Irish parliamentarians to make their own laws without reference to the English Parliament. However membership of the Irish Parliament was restricted to members of the Anglican Church and were therefore descendants of the English, rather than Irish, families. There were few elections and few people were able to vote. Changes in 1782 improved life in Ireland for some Catholics including provision of new Catholic schools and churches, Catholics were still excluded from political power and owning land was also restricted. Although some progress had been made, many people in the country decided it was time for a change.

The Society of United Irishmen was established in Belfast in October 1791. The aim of the group was to reform the Irish parliament and they planned to do this by uniting Protestants, Catholics and Dissenters in one organisation. The American Revolution (1776) and the French Revolution (1789) provided encouragement for the formation of the group. The leader of this movement was Theobald Wolfe Tone.

The initial plans were that this nonsecular group would lobby for the vote to be extended to Catholics and non-property holders. The motto of the group was 'to unite Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter under the common name of Irishman'.

Initially the group had some success. In 1793 Catholics received the right to vote (if they owned property worth more than 40 shillings a year), to attend university and serve in the civil service and in the military. However they could not sit in Parliament or hold public office.

However any gains were short lived when members of the group supported the French Republic, which was at war with England, forcing the United Irishmen to become an underground movement from 1794. The goal of the group then changed to achieving an Irish Republic. Riots in 1793 had resulted in more than 200 deaths.

The United Irishmen began training militia in preparation for a rebellion. They also began working with other groups including the Defenders (a Catholic secret society), and Protestant groups including the Orange Order.

An attempted invasion by the French army in 1796, encouraged by Theobald Wolfe Tone, did not eventuate because of severe  storms off the Irish coast. However this caused Parliament to pass the Insurrection Act. A new military force, the Yeomanry, was formed to fight the rebels. In reply the membership of the United Irishmen planned a national uprising for the summer of 1798. The plan was to overthrow the government, secede from England and form an Irish Republic.

In the end the rebellion was restricted to only sections of the county but fighting lasted for three months resulting in the deaths of thousands. The Irish Parliament was dissolved in 1800 and was not reinstated until 1922, after another rebellion. The plans of the United Irishmen were totally defeated.

John Pendergast's actual involvement in this movement is not clear. John was a Catholic and according to the convict records was a labourer. The leaders of the United Irishmen tended to be Protestant with a large proportion of the general membership being Catholic so John fits the demographics of the movement. John no doubt attended small group meetings, often held in pubs, and supported the aims of the organisation. Exactly why he was arrested is not known but it appears to have been before the actual planned uprising as he was in custody in April.

Once in Australia, John lived in the Hawkesbury area where he became a landowner - something that he would not have achieved back in Ireland.

Irish Story - 1798 Rebellion  a brief overview

BBC History - The 1798 Irish Rebellion website

Encyclopaedia Britannica - Irish Rebellion 1798 website 

Romantic Politics - Irish Uprising of 1798 - website

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 41 - Sport

Anyone investigating this Family Connections blog will notice, in the Labels column, a special section for Sport. Sport is definitely a theme in my family history. I have always been aware of sport, probably because my father was a sports journalist and sporting events were therefore definitely part of my life. Family history research, however, has also revealed many sporting connections in the family story.

Since the first horse race meeting in Sydney in 1810 there has been family involvement with horse racing including the trainer of Archer, the first Melbourne Cup winner, and owners of Poitrel, winner of the 1920 Melbourne Cup. Family members for generations have played, and continue to play, cricket including Harry Moses who played cricket for Australia in 1887. And then there is golf, another sport that family members have played.

Eleanora Mary Hutton (daughter of my great x2 uncle) for many years was a well known female golfer in Victoria. Nell, as she was known, was born in 1908 and, following articles in Trove, was playing competitive golf from the early 1930s into the 1950s.

An article in the Sydney Sun (23 August 1936) reported that 'Miss Nell Hutton, only in the early

twenties, has held the Eastern Club (Victoria) Club championship for the last four years'. Another article in the same paper (2 September 1936) reported that Nell would be a future champion:
If one combed Australia for future champions, one could not do better than pin faith to the prospects of the Victorian, Miss Nell Hutton. Although she went down to Miss Oliver Kay yesterday, Miss Hutton has been quite the most outstanding of all the Australians who took part in the open championship tournament in Adelaide. Ever since she hit off on Monday in the interstate match her game has demanded attention, for she has a command of every club. She is inclined to a 'starter's' complex and rarely warms up right from the start, but her future is quite assured. She plays golf with a smile, spreads encouragement to others less fortunate and her attitude of thorough sportsmanship makes Australia proud of her.
Nell's name frequently appears in the newspaper reports of golfing events throughout Australia during the 1930s. In 1936 she was a member of the successful Australian team which retained the Tasman Cup that year while in 1937 Nell was the winner of the Victorian Women's Amateur Golf Championship.

In 1938 Nell and fellow golfer, Bertha Cheney, left for a golfing holiday in England which included playing in the British Championships.
News (Adelaide) 31 March 1938
Another article on their proposed adventure appeared in the Herald 26 March 1938:

Two clever young golfers, Miss Nell Hutton and Miss Bertha Cheney, both members of Eastern Golf Club Associates, are off in the Orcades on Tuesday for a holiday abroad. They are taking their golf clubs with them, but their holiday is not to be primarily a golfing one, Miss Hutton tells me. "We shall play In the British championships," she said, "and then we shall forget serious golf and go sightseeing." They will get a car and motor through England, Scotland, and Wales, and are planning, too, a trip to Norway. All the golf they will have will be an odd game or two when they reach a town with a course which attracts them, and they happen to feel like playing.
The following year Nell married William Hamilton Smithett, a tennis coach and golfer. Their son, Bill, was born in 1941. From 1946 Nell's name starts appearing again in the sports reports. Meanwhile another member of the family was also learning golf.
Launceston Examiner 5 June 1946
In 1948 Nell was runner-up in the Victorian Amateur Golf Championship but she was announced  the top Victorian female golfer for the season winning the Victorian Women’s Champion of Champions.

For a number of years the winner of the Victorian Women's Stroke Play received the Nell Smithett Trophy. Currently the Horsham Golf Club awards the Nell Smithett Memorial Trophy for a ladies team event. Nell had moved to Horsham and was ladies' champion 1964-1967 and Wimmera Champion in 1965. Nell died at Horsham in November 1969. 

Selection of articles:
Miss Hutton a Future Champion -  Sun (Sydney) 2 September 1936
Tasman Cup Retained by Australia Age 4 September 1936
Miss Nell Hutton's Golf Title Argus 10 July 1937

Nell Smithett Memorial Trophy - Wimmera Mail Times 23 October 2016
Nell Smithett Memorial Trophy competition 2018 

Sunday, 7 October 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 40 - Ten

The challenge this week is to write a post with a connection with the number ten.
Branches of my family tree show that in the nineteenth century many of my ancestors had a large number of children with the number ten featuring frequently. Generally these families made a successful transition to life in Australia often acquiring large areas of land.  Many generations on I have had people suggest that we must have inherited some  of their wealth. I just laugh and state that these families had ten children who had ten children. Consequently the family fortune has been dispersed long ago.

In this post I am looking at two branches of the family tree that came together when Arthur Brougham Lord married Nancy Hazel Hutton on 1 February 1922. Arthur and Nancy were my grandparents.

Lord Family
The first member of the Lord family to come to Australia was  Simeon Lord, a convict who arrived on the third fleet. Simeon Lord and Mary Hyde, another convict, were married at St Phillip's Church in Sydney on 27 October 1814. By this time they had five children and in the next seven years had another five children - ten children in all.

However the reality was that the Lord family, at this time, consisted of thirteen children, all of whom lived to be adults. Mary already had two children from a previous relationship so she gave birth to twelve children in total. In 1796 Simeon had adopted an orphan, Johanna Short.

Simeon made his fortune largely through trading and manufacturing ventures and also owned large landholdings in New South Wales. When Simeon, and later Mary, died their fortune was distributed between all the family members, including the girls.

Simeon and Mary's eldest son, also Simeon, was born in 1810. He married Sarah Birch and they had ten children. Simeon was a successful property owner initially in Tasmania and later in Queensland.

Simeon and Sarah's youngest son, Alfred Percy Lord, was born in 1852. Initially Alfred worked as a bank manager in Gympie before eventually purchasing a number of properties. In 1877 he married Catherine Anna Louisa Hillcoat. They did not quite make the target of ten children, only having eight. Their youngest son was Arthur Brougham Lord born in Gympie on Christmas Day, 1893.
Hutton family
Thomas Hutton (1772-1856), a merchant with the East India Company married Janet Robertson (1780-1862) and they had ten children. For many years Thomas and Janet lived in India and Penang before eventually returning to England.

Their second son, William Forbes Hutton, was born on 25 February 1816. On 27 June 1849 he married Eleonora Mackillop. William and Eleonora had eleven children - but one died when a baby. William served in the British Army in India before settling in Victoria where he purchased a property.
George Hutton, born on 5 May 1850, was the eldest son of William and Eleonora. George and his wife, Annie Hardwick Weston were married on 8 January 1889.  They broke the mould of having large families as they only had three children. Their youngest daughter was Nancy Hazel Hutton.

This pattern of large families also occurs in other branches of my family during the nineteenth century. Fortunately in the twentieth century family sizes were greatly reduced.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 39 - On the Farm

Farming is one of the themes in my family history research. Most branches of the family tree have had connections with the land.

The first European settlers in Australia, through necessity, often became farmers. This was certainly the case with my convict ancestors who settled in the Hawkesbury region of New South Wales. There was a shortage of food in the colony so convicts and former convicts were encouraged, through grants of land, to grow food and farm animals for themselves and the other members of the colony.
Google Maps
 William Roberts and Kezia Brown, Charles Daley and Susannah Alderson, Uriah Moses and Ann Daley, John Pendergast and Jane Williams plus Richard Holland and Mary Ann Roberts, according to the various census reports had land holdings in the region near Windsor.

This did not mean that they were all full time farmers. Uriah was best known as a baker and owner of a general store in Windsor though he did own land on which grain was grown. Richard Holland owned land at Cornwallis but also owned a shop in Windsor that was recorded, on occasions, as a bakers or butchers shop.

In 2015 I wrote a detailed post about the challenges of farming in the Hawkesbury area in the early 1800s.

  • The land needed to be cleared for farming, no doubt a time consuming process especially as limited implements for doing this would have been available. 
  • The local Aboriginal groups were used to free access of this land (their land) and were not happy with the idea that the land was now restricted to the use of the English settlers. 
  • The convicts did not necessarily have previous experience in farming. Finding crops that would grow successfully in New South Wales was initially a challenge. 
  • There was the need to protect new crops from animals and insects. Fences were required to mark property boundaries and enclosures to protect farm animals. 
  • Then there was the weather. The seasons were out of kilter with the northern hemisphere and the climate was different and more extreme than experienced in England. The most dramatic climatic event being the regular flooding of the Hawkesbury River.
Despite these challenges my early Hawkesbury farmers generally managed to make a living from the land and support their families. Members of subsequent generations continued farming, usually on larger land holdings. William Pendergast and Sarah Roberts are one example of this and several of sons of Uriah Moses had large land holdings in the region.

Monday, 24 September 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 38 - Unusual sources

For many years I had a brick wall in my family history research.
I could find information about my great x3 grandfather, George Mackillop (1790-1860) in a variety of sources including documents. Often the name, James Mackillop, also appeared in the same documents. I was certain that they were brothers but I needed proof. I also wanted to know the names of George's parents.

One day I decided to do some lateral research and instead of searching for information about George I decided to research James. I knew that, like George, he was a merchant in India in the 1800s so I decided to search British Newspaper Archive available online via some library websites for any references to James. Apart from references to where he lived and that he had made a great deal of money as a merchant I found articles mentioning that he was, at one time, a member of parliament.

A search in Google for "James Mackillop" member of parliament took me to the following post on the History of Parliament website. I had hit the jackpot.

The first information provided was that James Mackillop was the first son of John Mackillop and Mary who was the daughter of Robert Downie of Kilmadock, Perth. James was unmarried and died on 27 January 1870. In the following biography it was stated that George Mackillop was almost certainly his younger brother and that they both worked in India for a time in the firm where their uncle, also Robert Downie, was a partner. I knew from other sources about their association with the Downie family but it was only when I discovered their mother's connection to that family that it all made sense. Both James and George had travelled to India when young to work, initially, in the family business. They then made their own way as merchants.

This is an example of the benefits of researching other family members, not just the direct family line, and also looking at a wide range of sources that may provide a missing clue.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 37 - Closest to your birthday

In 2015 I wrote a post with the above title where I used Family Tree Maker to locate family members with a birth date close to mine. I found five family members with a birthday either side of my birthday - a cousin, John Smith, Mary Farley, James Roberts and Thomas Sutcliffe.

John Smith (1800-1885) was my great x3 grandfather. He was born on July 26 1800 in Marylebone, London and migrated to New South Wales in the 1850s. The other people with birthdays close to mine, apart from my cousin, were either great aunts or great uncles going back many generations.

However other coincidences in dates can be found when investigating families.

  • In my immediate family 27 is a significant number as three of us have birthdays on the 27th of different months.

  • When I was shown the baby book my mother-in-law kept when my husband was a baby I noticed that he was baptised in England on the day I was born in Australia.

  • Some years ago a meeting was arranged for us to meet the parents of my son's fiancee. As we enjoyed morning tea the discussion, not surprisingly, turned to weddings. However we were all surprised when we realised that both sets of parents had married on exactly the same day. Robin and I were married in the morning while Larry and Ann were married in the afternoon. Now that is a family coincidence.
It would be interesting, one day, to have time to do a study to locate other statistical idiosyncrasies.

Monday, 23 July 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 28 - Travel

As I pack my suitcase to travel to England at the end of the week for five weeks, there is time to reflect on what it must have been like make a similar journey in the nineteenth century. I have written a to-do list, started packing the suitcase but I have the luxury of knowing that if I forget anything I will be able to buy it in England in a few days. The trip will take me less than 24 hours. By contrast it was not so easy for my great, great grandmother who travelled between England and Australia or England and India, by ship, many times.

In week 22 of this challenge - So Far Away - I wrote a post about how members of two branches of my family, the Mackillops and the Huttons, regularly travelled to India or to Australia. Another travel related post was written for one of my assignments for the Diploma of Family History where I wrote about George Hutton's voyage to Australia aboard the SS Somersetshire in 1869. George travelled to Australia on his own but what would it have been like to travel with a family aboard a ship on a voyage that could take months?

Eleanora Mackillop was born in Edinburgh in 1830. In 1832 her father, George Mackillop, and mother, Jean Eleonora Hutton, decided to take the family to India. George was a merchant in India and the decision was made to relocate to that country for a time to keep an eye on his business interests there. Both George and Jean had travelled between England and India previously. They had married in Calcutta in 1820 and their first three sons were born in India.They then returned with the boys to Edinburgh.

Five children accompanied their parents on the voyage in 1832. Eleonora was around two while her brother George was eleven, Charles was eight, John was six and James was a month or two old.
Example of a trunk used to transport clothes etc on ship voyages
As the whole family travelled to India, this was not planned as a short stay in that country. The family would therefore have packed trunks full of clothes and other possessions required for when they arrived. The Mackillop family was well off and staff would have accompanied them to assist on the journey, however it would still be quite an undertaking.

The family settled down to life in Calcutta. The British had been trading in India for more than eighty years and accommodation for British merchants in Calcutta could be described as comfortable with many staff.  However in July1833 James, now ten months old, died. This would have been devastating for the family and several months later they were once again on the move. This time the destination was Hobart Town in Van Diemens Land.

Of course, maybe the long term plan had always been to travel to and settle in Van Diemens Land where many families with ties to India had already settled. We will never know. However George obviously decided that this was the time to move again.

While the British had been in India since the mid 1750s, Hobart Town had been established as a penal colony only since 1804. However by early 1834 there were many opportunities for merchants, especially with ties to India, so George and his family moved into a large house in Davey Street.

In July 1834, a second daughter, Mary Rose, was born in Hobart Town followed by her sister, Georgina in April 1837. However tragedy had struck again in November 1836 when George and Jean's eldest son, also George died, aged 15.
St David's Cemetery
It was shortly after this that George first put the Davey Street house on the market with the intention of returning to Edinburgh. However this trip did not take place until about 1840. Once again George, Jean and their family boarded the ship for the long voyage back to Scotland.

While in Australia, George boarded a ship to Sydney in January 1835 before travelling to Monaro in southern New South Wales. From there he led a party of men to look for good land for pasture over the Victorian border. During the next few years he made a number of trips across Bass Strait and was one of the pioneers of the new settlement of Melbourne, though his home base remained Hobart.

Back in Scotland the family remained in Edinburgh for a number of years before moving to Bath in southern England.

In June 1849, Eleonora Mackillop married William Forbes Hutton, an officer in the British Army in India so the travelling began again.Their first son was born in England then Eleonora travelled to India with William. A daughter was born in India and when Eleanora returned to England in 1853 a second daughter was born. These three children remained in Bath with Jean and George when Eleonora returned, once more, to India. Another daughter and then a son were born in India before Eleonora and William returned to Bath. Two daughters and another four sons were born in England between 1859 and 1869.

In 1869, Eleonora's's eldest son travelled to Australia, followed by his father in May 1871. Eleonora made her final long distance voyage arriving in Melbourne with her younger children in May 1874.

There were many dangers travelling by sea in the nineteenth century as Eleonora knew. In November 1808 her grandfather, William Charles Hutton, a ship's captain, died at sea. Then, shortly after Eleonora and William settled in Victoria, a ship carrying their furniture was shipwrecked off the Victorian coast.