Wednesday, 28 January 2015
52 Ancestors 2015 - Week 6 - So far away
In 1967 Geoffrey Blainey published his book, A Tyranny of Distance, where he put forward the view that distance and isolation have shaped the history of Australia. This would have certainly been the case in the late eighteenth century and the nineteenth century.
Two hundred and twenty-seven years ago the ships of the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove and during the next few months the new penal colony of New South Wales was established as an outpost of Britain. The convicts who travelled on the eleven ships that made up the First Fleet had little hope of seeing England or their families again when the ships left Portsmouth on 13 May 1887. The ships arrived at their original destination, Botany Bay, on 18 January 1788 after a journey of 252 days however the plans changed and it was eight days later that they arrived at their new destination on 26 January.
We complain today about the long flight from Melbourne to London but the journey undertaken by the convicts of the First Fleet took eight and a half months, crammed in small ships with minimum space, minimum food and fresh water, no privacy and generally squalid conditions. There must have been times when they feared that they would not see land again especially when the ships encountered rough seas and storms. During the journey the ships called into Tenerife, Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town for fresh provisions - very different locations and weather conditions compared with England, even though the convicts would be confined aboard ship.
Prior to leaving the UK the convicts were in prison and / or prison hulks, sometimes for years before leaving the country. When the First Fleet convicts arrived at Sydney Cove they were greeted by bush and no buildings - a very different setting compared with the country they had left, particularly for those who lived in cities and towns. This was to be a penal colony but there was no need for prison walls as there was nowhere, initially, for the prisoners to go. There was only alien bush or the ocean.
The convict settlement at Sydney Cove was definitely isolated from England, particularly as communication was via mail carried by ships. When the ships that carried the convicts and their guards to Australia returned to England they carried communications from Captain Arthur Phillip reporting on the new colony and its requirements. It was not until the arrival of the ships of the Second Fleet in June 1790 that news was received from England. The ships did carry some supplies but they also carried additional convicts, many of whom were ill when they arrived.
For many years the colonies depended on deliveries of mail brought by ships from overseas. The arrival of ships was a much anticipated event and flagstaffs, such as the one erected in what is now the Flagstaff Gardens in Melbourne, were used to signal the arrival of a ship. Not everyone could read or write so many of the convicts, in particular, were therefore unable to communicate with family back home unless they could find someone to write / or read a letter for them.
People sending mail from Australia to overseas or from overseas to Australia needed to be aware of the departure date of ships. The weight of the mail was also a consideration. This point is illustrated in a copy of a letter that Jean Mackillop, in 1855, wrote to her daughter, Eleanora Hutton, who was living in India - also a place far away. She wrote that her grandson, George aged 5, would soon write to his parents: He is to write to you next, if he is a good boy – this goes via Marseilles and must therefore be brief and light. At the end of the letter she wrote: It is time I concluded this letter – for you will be puzzled to make it out. I would have entered more into details if I had been aware we cd exceed the ½ oz.
The twelve convicts in my family who came to Australia obviously travelled half way around the world because they had no choice. They made the best of their life and married convicts or children of convicts and had families of their own. Those who were married in England had to wait seven years from the time of their arrest before they could remarry. The convicts initially lived in Sydney before eight of them moved to the Hawkesbury area. Two went to Norfolk Island in 1790 and in the early 1800s transferred to the new colony of Van Diemen's Land. In each of the new colonies the settlement needed to be built from scratch. When the former convicts acquired land they had to build accommodation as well as prepare the land for farming. It would not have been easy but it was their new life and it could probably be argued that they had a better life in Australia than if they had remained in the United Kingdom.
The first family member to settle in Australia of his own will was Thomas Birch (1767-1821) who arrived in Hobart Town in 1808 as a ship's surgeon. When the ship was unable to make the return journey Thomas decided to try his luck in Hobart Town becoming a successful merchant. His daughter, Sarah, married Simeon Lord (the son of a convict) who had purchased property in Van Dieman's Land. At least two of the sons of Sarah and Simeon were sent to England for part of their education so there may have been some contact with family in England.
George Mackillop (1790-1865) brought his family to Van Diemen's Land, via India in 1834 where they stayed for about six years. George was a merchant in India and as well as conducting business in Van Diemen's Land he was looking for opportunities in the new colony of Victoria. George and his family returned to Edinburgh around 1840, the family finally settling in Bath. However two of George's daughters returned to Victoria with their husbands, also via India. Eleonora married William Forbes Hutton (1816-1896) and the family settled in Australia in the early 1870s. Georgina married Thomas Bruce Hutton and they arrived in Melbourne in 1872. These families kept in touch with the family in England and in 1873 William Forbes Hutton travelled to England to settle family matters and returned with two of his children in 1874. His wife and the other children arrived soon afterwards.
Other family members such as the Weston and Cox families started arriving in Australian as free settlers from the 1830s. The Hillcoats arrived in 1852 and after six years in the colony of South Australia, resulting in John Hillcoat running up debts he could not pay, the family returned to England for a brief stay before once again trying their luck in Australia - this time in the colony of New South Wales. Members of the Smith family came individually to Australia in the 1850s. In all the father, John Smith, and four of his children had migrated to Australia from England. The Thom family arrived in 1877 after William Thom had died, possibly because an older son was already in the country.
Over the years the time of the journey between Britain and Australia decreased as larger ships were built and steam ships started to be used during the 1850s. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 also reduced the time required for the voyage. However Australia still remained a country far away.
In the 21st century, however, distance no longer means isolation from the rest of the world. Today people from Australia frequently fly to England and other countries in Europe, usually taking about a day and a half to get there. Advances in communication such as telephone, wireless, television and now the Internet have allowed us to almost instantly know and see what is happening in other parts of the world. Email and social media tools, such as Facebook, provide us with the opportunity to communicate instantly with family and friends in countries on the other side of the world such as Britain and Canada. So although we are far away in distance those of us living in Australia, unlike our Ancestors, are no longer isolated from the rest of the world.
Saturday, 24 January 2015
52 Ancestors 2015 - Week 5- Ploughing through - The farmers on the Hawkesbury
|Google Map of Hawkesbury River|
William Roberts (1756-1820) and his family appear to be the first members of my family to have settled in the Hawkesbury District. Initially, in 1794, William received a grant of 30 acres of land near Sydney which he sold in 1800 for £60. This money no doubt helped him establish his properties in the Hawkesbury area where the family had moved after Governor Hunter had given William a grant of 50 acres at Mulgrave Place, near Windsor in 1796. In 1809 he purchased land from Thomas Hobby as well as purchasing land in Windsor.
John Pendergast (1869-1833) appears to have been living in the Hawkesbury area from the time of his arrival in New South Wales in 1800. In 1802 he and a fellow convict were renting 30 acres at Mulgrave Place. He later purchased Adlam's Farm, 80 acres at Upper Half Moon Reach, probably by 1806. In 1816 he was also granted land near Campbelltown.
The 1806 Muster shows that Charles Daley (1775-1831) owned 15 acres at the Hawkesbury (near Windsor). By the 1822 he had increased his landholdings to 26 acres.
Uriah Moses (1780-1847) was assigned to assist a landholder in the Hawkesbury area near Windsor (1806 Muster of Convicts) probably shortly after his arrival in New South Wales. By 1809 the Colonial Secretary's papers record that Uriah had delivered produce to the Hawkesbury government stores, indicating that he now had land of his own on which he was growing grain. Uriah increased his land-holdings and grain production and by 1821 had established a bakery at Windsor. He may have also have had a flour mill to process the grain he had grown.
The muster records can provide an indication of the crops being grown by family members in the Hawkesbury district. In 1818 Uriah grew wheat on three acres and maize on seven acres. He also had 14 pigs. William died in 1820 but the 1822 Muster shows that the land, now owned by his wife, had wheat growing on twenty acres, eight acres of maize, six acres of barley and half an acre of potatoes. There was also a garden and an orchard with the rest of land used as pasture for forty cattle plus fifty pigs. In 1806 Charles had six acres of wheat, two acres of barley, seven acres of fallow land and he owned one pig. On Adlam's Farm John grew maize and wheat and had cattle and pigs on the property.
Although the land was fertile farming in the Hawkesbury area had its challenges. The land had to be cleared and the ground ploughed and generally prepared for the planting of crops needed to sustain the new colony. The farmers had to become used to the Australian conditions - seasons, weather - which were different from England. Once the crops started growing they needed to be protected from native animals looking for a feed. There were also pests that needed to be kept from the crops and the stored grain when it was harvested. For example in 1814 there was a plague of caterpillars in the district.
The Europeans were establishing their farms on land occupied by Aboriginal tribes and it was not long before tensions arose between the two very different cultural groups, each trying to live on the same land. The Aborigines were hunters and gatherers and this was sometimes extended to the livestock and crops of the farmers. Tensions soon arose between the two groups sometimes ending in murder. The government stationed troops in the area from the early days of the settlement to protect the settlers and farms and generally maintain law and order.
Then there was the river. The Hawkesbury River was responsible for the rich soil that was suitable for farming. It also provided a transport route to ship the supplies back to Sydney. However the river flooded regularly. When looking at the map of the river it is easy to see how it curves and meanders resulting in a large flood plain that still exists today. A Chronological Table of Events in the Hawkesbury, published in the Windsor and Richmond Gazette 10 December 1910 provides a list of some of the floods. In 1806, for example the river flooded three times -
20th March, great flood at the Hawkesbury, crops destroyed, wheat 70/- to 80/- per bushel.The loss of crops and stored grain resulted in a steep increase in prices. These were followed by floods in 1808, 1809 and 1811.
7th September, heavy hail storm at the Hawkesbury.
24th September, earthquake felt at Richmond Hill. 19th October, 300 acres of wheat inundated at South Creek. 22nd November, £7 paid for one bushel of seed maize.
Michelle Nichols describes some of the conditions experienced in the Hawkesbury area in the first decade of the nineteenth century. Feen Adlam and his servant were killed by Aborigines in April 1805 and the farmhouse burnt. This was the property later purchased by John Pendergast. After the 1806 and 1808 floods many of the settlers, including the Pendergast family, experienced financial difficulties and in 1808 the Provost Marshall was instructed to sell two of the farms belonging to John Pendergast. As Nichols notes the sale did not go through, so John must have found the money to pay his debts.
This was all part of the challenge of living in the new colony. The crops needed to be harvested and taken to market. Livestock also needed to be sold. Goods could be transported to Sydney along the river or by road via horse and cart. Accidents, however, sometimes occurred such as the death of Charles Daley as reported in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 26 May 1831:
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.Despite the challenges the members of my family who settled in the Hawkesbury area did plough on and helped create a new settlement as well as a comfortable and profitable living for their families in their new country.
The novel, The Secret River, by Kate Grenville is set in the Hawkesbury district during the early nineteenth century and portrays the challenges of the times.
Websites relating to Hawkesbury:
Hawkesbury Library Museum Gallery - the library holds the local history collection for the region
Hawkesbury on the net - includes a list of resouces
Hawkesbury Historical Society blog - Hawkesbury River
Hawkesbury Australia.com - History
Hawkesbury People and Places
Friday, 23 January 2015
52 Ancestors 2015 - Week 4 - Closest to your birthday
One of my family history research goals for the year is to investigate more thoroughly how to use the features of Family Tree Maker which I purchased a couple of years ago to synchronise with the Ancestry files, thus creating a desk top copy of our family trees. There are many features of Family Tree Maker which I need to explore. Last year I purchased the booklet, So you are totally new to Family Tree Maker by John Donaldson and published by Unlock the Past and also the Victorian Gum DVD showing how to use the program. So far I have just experimented with making reports. It is time to learn how to use the program efficiently.
Before starting this challenge I already knew that my cousin has a birthday the day before mine and that she is three years older than me. However I decided to check the index for the People section of the program to see if anyone else, with a recorded birth date in the database, had a birthday close to mine.
In the Moses family tree I located Mary Farley born on 26 July 1716, James Roberts 28 July 1798 and John Smith 26 July 1800.
Therefore my cousin, John Smith, Mary Farley, James Roberts and Thomas Sutcliffe all have / had a birthday either side of mine.
Thursday, 22 January 2015
52 Ancestors 2015 - Week 3 - Tough woman - Empress Matilda
Empress Matilda initially married to Heinrich V of Germany who became Holy Roman Emperor. She later married Geoffrey Plantagenet of Anjou.
The theme for the Ancestry Challenge 2015 for Week 3 is Tough Woman. Looking through my family tree there are many women who would classify for this title including my convict women who made a new home for themselves and their families in a strange land. However I decided to write about the Empress Matilda who should have been Queen of England.
Several years ago when we used to watch Time Team each week night on the History Channel, a number of the programs made reference to Matilda, Stephen and the Anarchy - the Civil War in England from 1135 to 1154. At the time I did not know anything about these people and the events except for the part of the story that the archaeologists uncovered. Later, when I discovered that Matilda was on our family tree I decided to find out more about this woman who was prepared to fight for so long for the role she believed was hers.
Initially Matilda would have been educated in subjects such as reading and morals by the women who supported her mother. Later she and her brother, William, had a religious upbringing supervised by Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury. In the Middle Ages rulers of European countries arranged marriages for their children for political gain so in 1109 Henry arranged for Matilda to be betrothed to Heinrich V (1086-1125) of Germany. A dowry of 10,000 marks of silver was paid to Heinrich. A betrothal by proxy was held at Westminster Abbey on 13 June 1109 and the formal betrothal occurred at Utrecht on 10 April 1110. Matilda was now 8 years old while Heinrich was 24. Matilda spent the next sixteen years living in Germany and northern Italy. As part of the marriage arrangements she received land in the Utrecht area. Bruno, Archbishop of Trier, was appointed her guardian until she was old enough to be married. While Heinrich was in Italy securing his position in that country, Matilda remained in Utrecht learning the German language and customs.
Twelve was considered the age that Matilda was old enough to marry Heinrich so on 6 or 7 of January 1114 she and Heinrich were married at Worms. By this time Heinrich had been crowned Emperor so Matilda was crowned Empress at Mainz.
Matilda supported her husband by sponsoring royal grants and sometimes acting as intercessor when petitions were made to him. In 1116 she accompanied Heinrich on his second expedition to Italy. The aim of the expedition was for Heinrich to establish his position in Tuscany after the death of the Countess of Tuscany, also a Matilda, as well as seek reconciliation with Pope Paschal II. However the Pope and his followers fled from Rome when the German army, led by Heinrich, approached in March 1117. Heinrich and Matilda were to be crowned by the Pope in Rome but instead the Archbishop of Braga crowned them in the Basilica of St Peter. Another ceremony followed on 13 May 1117. As well as the titles Emperor and Empress, Heinrich and Matilda also called themselves King and Queen of the Romans.
Meanwhile there was a rebellion in Germany and when Heinrich returned to Germany Matilda remained with the army in Italy until 1119 when she rejoined her husband in Leige. In November 1122 Heinrich was again accepted by the church hierarchy. Matilda was expected to produce a male heir for the continuation of the family but she and Heinrich had no children, certainly no children who survived the birth. Heinrich was 38 when he died on 23 May 1125. Matilda, now 23, was well experienced in the political and ecclesiastical power struggles of Europe, an education which help her in future challenges.
Matilda could have stayed in Germany and perhaps married another German prince but instead returned to England in 1126. Her father wanted Matilda to be recognised as his successor as she was his only remaining legitimate child after her brother, William, had died in 1120 when his ship sank in the English Channel.
In January 1127 Henry insisted that the bishops and lords, including her cousin Stephen of Blois, who had attended the Christmas court should swear allegiance to Matilda. In 8 September 1131 the lords once again swore to recognise Matilda as the heir of Henry I.
On 17 June 1128 at Le Mans Matilda entered into another political marriage this time with Geoffrey of Anjou (1113-1151). Her new husband was eleven years younger than Matilda - being 15 when they married. Initially the union was not a great success and Matilda left her husband and eventually returned to England with her father. However in 1131 she agreed to return to her husband and had a son who was to become Henry II (b. March 1133) and a second son Geoffrey born the following year. A third son, William, was born in 1136.
Matilda was in Anjou when her father died on 1 December 1135. Before she could travel to England her cousin, Stephen of Blois, crossed the English Channel to claim the throne. Encouraged by Stephen's brother who was bishop of Winchester, the Archbishop of Canterbury crowned Stephen at Winchester on 22 December. Stephen then applied to the Pope for his support and in the following months gained the support of many of the other bishops and barons in England and Normandy.
Matilda was not prepared to allow Stephen to just take the position that had been promised to her. Initially she established herself at Argentan and gradually began to challenge the support for Stephen in Normandy. She also appealed to the Papal Court in 1139 arguing that she was the true heir of her father and that oaths of allegiance had been sworn to that effect. Stephen made a counter claim that her mother, who had been educated in a nunnery, had been a nun and Matilda must therefore be illegitimate and could not therefore be Henry's heir. As the Archbishop of Canterbury had performed the marriage ceremony for Henry and Editha, the Pope refused to rule one way or the other. Stephen, consequently, remained King for the time being.
While her husband and his army continued to gather support in Anjou and Normandy, Matilda and her half-brother, Earl Robert, landed in Sussex on 30 September 1139 and thus began her campaign in England. She did have support from some of the barons and her uncle, King David of Scotland, had invaded the north of the country. A number of supporters of her father joined her campaign. Attempts at mediation between Stephen and Matilda failed and 2 February 1141 Stephen was defeated and captured at the Battle of Lincoln.
On 7 April Matilda was accepted by the bishops as 'Lady of England' and plans were put in place for her coronation. It was assumed that she would rule until her son would be old enough to be king. However her support was only from sections of the country including the north, under the control of her uncle, the west of England, part of Wales, parts of the Thames Valley and Wiltshire. There was some nominal support in other areas but as Stephen refused to surrender the crown many of the barons and bishops were hedging their bets. Another complication was that Stephen's Queen, also Matilda, had an army moved to London and was prepared to confront the army of the Empress on behalf of Stephen.
The people of London refused Matilda entry to the city and she retreated to Oxford. Stephen was released on 3 November but Matilda was to keep the castles and land that she had captured. However Stephen laid siege to the castle where Matilda was staying in Oxford until she and some of her knights escaped to Devizes in December 1142. She remained at this castle for the next six years before returning to Normandy. During this time she appears to have given up the idea of ruling England but instead put her energies into securing the crown for her son, Henry.
For the next 19 years Matilda remained politically active in support of her son. On 25 October 1134 Stephen died and Matilda's son, Henry became king. For many years she remained in the background advising him, including in 1157 when he was in negotiations with the Holy Roman Emperor re the fate of the mummified hand of St James. At times she acted as his deputy.
Matilda spent her final years in Rouen. She died on 10 September 1167 and was buried at Fontevrault Abbey. Many of her possessions were left to the church.
Matilda must have been a formidable woman to have achieved what she did in a political world dominated by men. Although the bishops and barons agreed to make her her father's heir they objected, in principle, to the idea of a woman as ruler. Many of the chroniclers referred to her as being haughty but it is difficult to ascertain what she was really like as so many of the original records have been lost and often the reports that still exist were written by supporters of Stephen. Matilda may not have been queen in her own right, however she did ensure that her son and his descendants were king until the late 1400s. It is unfortunate that it took a Civil War and the deaths of many people to achieve this.
Further information about Matilda:
Marjorie Chibnall has written a detailed article in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. [This resource is available online via major library websites including State library of Victoria]
She-wolves by Helen Castor contains several chapters on Matilda
Life of Empress Matilda - Scandalous Women
Matilda also appears in fiction including the novel by Ken Follett, Pillars of the Earth. In this work she is referred to as Maud.
Matilda was my 26 x great grandmother
Monday, 19 January 2015
Searching for a grave
My husband received an email request to photograph a grave at Box Hill Cemetery so on Saturday we set out to locate the grave and test the app that he had downloaded to his phone. The day before our expedition I used the website of Box Hill Cemetery to find the location of the grave. The Find a Grave or Memorial button on the front page of the website took me to the search box where I entered the details for Walter Buxton.
Armed with the map we set out on our expedition. We parked at Whitehorse Reserve, where a cricket match was about to start, and then walked across the railway footbridge to the cemetery. If you happen to be accompanied by a two year old, the railway footbridge provides the opportunity to watch the trains (or toot toots) travelling to and from Box Hill at frequent intervals. Once in the cemetery we located Third Avenue and without too much difficulty found the grave. My husband took several photos of the site with his phone and I took took some with my camera as a back-up. We also made a transcription. Back home, my husband logged in to the website and uploaded the clearest image which is now online.
Billion Graves is one of a number of online collaborative projects that should assist family history researchers. There is no charge to search and view the content of the site but additional features are available such as no ads, global mapping, a virtual walk-through etc if you wish to subscribe.
Saturday, 17 January 2015
Collingwood Tully - breaking down a brick wall
|Part of the Tully family tree|
I had investigated this part of the family before but although Collingwood is an unusual first name I had never been able to find information about him. I decided to give it another go. The 'went to America' was a clue and as we now have access to American records in our copy of Ancestry.com I did a search, but without success. The comment 'no good' was also interesting. It would help if I knew who had prepared the tree to determine what this judgement might really mean. There was a similar comment for another person on the tree.
First the name, Collingwood. A note on the family tree stated that William's father was a Captain Tully who had served with Admiral Collingwood. The website of the Royal Navy Museum provides a biography of Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood (1748-1810) who succeeded Lord Nelson as Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet in 1805. I have not been able to locate information about Captain Tully in the Navy except that the Griffiths Valuations 1853 enter the letters RN after his name. When searching for our Collingwood Tully I also found another Collingwood Tully, around the same age in the UK, so the name might have been part of the family naming pattern in the nineteenth century.
What happened to Collingwood? We know that he was born in Hobart, Tasmania, on 18 September 1861 and that he would have moved with his parents to Queensland in 1863. The family was living at Holmedale, Milton in 1865 and 1866 when his younger sister was born and died. I could find out nothing else about him until I came across, in Trove, a report of a court case concerning the dissolution of the partnership of the Lord Bros in 1925 (Courier Mail 23 May 1925). Among the names mentioned as beneficiaries of the wills of AP Lord and Simeon Lord was a Collingwood Herbert Tully. Locating this second name was essential to uncovering the story of Collingwood Tully.
Back to Ancesty.com for a search for Collingwood Herbert Tully in America. No success with Collingwood but the name Herbert C Tully kept appearing in US Census records.
|Sources for Collingwood Tully in Ancestry.com|
From the census foms we learn that he arrived in the USA in 1885 when he was 24 - why he left Australia we do not know - and he was naturalised as a US citizen in 1917. When the 1900 census was taken he was living as a border at Dayton Illinois where he was a farmer. In 1910 his address was Washington, Indiana and he had a wife, Mary, and two daughters, Wilma and Mary. Checking the marriage records for Indiana showed that on 21 November 1900 Mary E Esworthy married Herbert C Tully. In 1910 his occupation was still connected with farming while in 1920 it was connected to the rail road shop. Unfortunately the writing in both these sections is unclear. In 1930 Collingwood was listed as retired. In 1920 the family was living at 60 North Dearborn Street, Indianapolis.The Indianapolis City directories confirm that the family was living at this address in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Herbert C Tully died in Indianapolis in August 1943 and was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery (Plot: Sec: 60, Lot: 488) on 10 August 1943.
So, once I discovered that Collingwood Tully had a second name which he used in preference to his first name plus the information that he had left Australia for the United States, it was possible to uncover at least part of the story of Collingwood Herbert Tully.
Thursday, 8 January 2015
Battle of Bannockburn part 2
The first part of this program was shown on SBS on Sunday 4 January and can be viewed on SBS On Demand until 18 January. The second part will be shown next Sunday, 11 January, on SBS at 7.30 pm.
This was one of several programs made to commemorate the Battle of Bannockburn between the Scots and the English on 23 and 24 June 1314.
Tuesday, 6 January 2015
52 Ancestors 2015 - Week 2 - King - Royalty in the family
Searching through some of my grandmother's papers relating to the history of her family, I found a copy of a letter written to her by a cousin providing information about the Hutton family, including a possible link to Robert the Bruce, James II of Scotland and Edward III of England. He was paying a genealogist in the UK to do some research for him. This was long before personal computers where much of the research can be done from home. In a letter written to another family member he noted, in passing, that there could be family connections to Alfred the Great.
In January 2012 I decided to test these theories. Methodically working back through the Hutton family tree I was able to establish some of the links. Two posts in this blog provide an outline of the research - Connection to royalty? and Royalty - King Robert II of Scotland. The grandfather of Robert II was Robert I, also known as Robert the Bruce.
In June, on the day marking the celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, I decided to continue the hunt for connections to royalty in the family. This time the search did lead to Edward III as had been suggested by my grandmother's cousin. However I decided to take the search back further through the Plantagenet family ending with William the Conqueror. This was written up in the blog post, Royalty connections continued.
The Plantagenet's, of course, were French and the blog posts, the French connection and French connection part 2, show some of the links to members of the ruling families in France including French royalty.
Following the ancestral path of William the Conqueror leads to Rollo, the leader of the Vikings who came to Normandy six generations earlier.
Following the ancestral path of Matilda, the wife of William the Conqueror, leads back to Alfred the Great and the Anglo Saxons.
I have found no connection to James II of Scotland however James I of Scotland married Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. Joan was the grand-daughter of Edward III of England.
Due to the intermarriage between the royal families of Europe you can have a lot of fun following back the family lines - male and female. On one line I traced back to Charlemagne (742-814). I suspect that, given time, I may find some other surprises.
Exploring the history of these families and their interconnections helps in the understanding of the history and the politics of the times. Thousands of people throughout the world can trace their families to royal links. It does, however add an additional layer of entertainment to family history research.
Sunday, 4 January 2015
52 Ancestors 2015 - Week 1 - Fresh start - My Family Convicts
In Australia, having convicts in the family is akin to a badge of honour. Transportation to Australia began in 1787 with the First Fleet arriving in January 1788. The final transport of convicts arrived in Western Australia in 1868. Consequently many Australian families have convict origins.
With twelve convicts in my family I guess that it could be argued that they all had a fresh start when they came to Australia, even though the conditions on the long trip from England to Australia would have been horrendous and, when they arrived in Sydney Cove, the settlement in which they were to spend the rest of their lives had to be established from scratch.
One of the first things that stands out when comparing the lives of my convicts was how young they were. Of the seven male convicts one was 17, two were aged 18 and one 19, while the other three were 23, 29 and 30 when they were arrested. Of the five female convicts, when they were arrested, one was 15, one 16 and one 18, while the other two were 25 and 26.
I only know the occupations of some of my family convicts before they were arrested, however the information that I do have, plus the information about their crimes as listed on surviving court and convict documents, suggest that most of them were representative of the many people displaced by the agricultural and industrial revolutions occurring in the United Kingdom at end of eighteenth century.
George (18) and Kezia (18) were listed as being labourers, Susannah (26) was a servant and Uriah (18) was a glass cutter. Simeon's parents had been involved in weaving cloth on a farm at Todmorden but his mother had died when he was 15 and his father died the following year. Three years later Simeon (19) was arrested in Manchester for stealing cloth. Uriah (18) and Richard (23) were also arrested for stealing cloth, Kezia (18), Mary H (16) and Jane (25) for stealing clothes and William (30) was arrested for stealing yarn. George (18) stole 10 pigs and a horse (a capital offence) while Charles (17) stole a saddle. Mary B was a 15 year old prostitute who was arrested after a client discovered his watch was missing. In 1798 John (29) was a participant in the Irish rebellion while Susannah (26) was arrested for perjury when she accused her employer, the local schoolmaster, of being the father of her son. Kezia (18) and Mary H (16) stole clothes from their employers.
It was normal for young children to be employed as cheap labour. From the trial transcripts we know that Uriah was living with his father in London when, at the age of 12, he started learning to be a glass cutter. However in 1785, a tax introduced on the employment of maid servants older than 15 resulted in many young women being dismissed. For many girls, the only option for earning a living was prostitution. Other factors affecting opportunities for employment included the end of the American War of Independence when much of the British Army was disbanded resulting in more men looking for work. This also further reduced employment opportunities for women.
Two of the convicts were married and had children when they were arrested. William (30) and his wife, Mary, had two children. A third child was born after his arrest. Richard (23) had a wife and a new baby to support when he stole a parcel of cloth and two promissory notes from the back of a cart in the middle of the day. Was this an act of desperation or did he do it as a way of escape knowing that he would be transported?
Most of the crimes for which you could be sent to another country on the other side of the world for terms of seven years, fourteen years or life seem trivial today - certainly the ones for which my convicts were tried and convicted - however the gaols were overcrowded and transportation seemed a valid option to the authorities. Establishing a British colony on the east coast of Australia before the French claimed the country was another incentive and a convict settlement was thought to be a practical way to do this.
All of my convicts had arrived in Australia by 1808, including two on the First Fleet (1778) and two on the Second Fleet (1791). Being transported to the other side of the world, where everything was so different from their previous life, must have been a shock to the convicts. Not only did they end up in a penal settlement but initially there was no housing or other buildings, roads or reliable water supply. Their survival depended on the stores brought with them on the ships and it was not known when the next ships would arrive. There was no need to fence the convicts in as there was nowhere for them to go. The vegetation was very different from home. The climate was different. The animals were different. Their new country was also inhabited by people who looked different and had a very different lifestyle. News from England would only be available the next time a ship came to the colony. To survive they had to build the initial settlement providing shelter and also start planting crops, which may or may not grow, in the hope that the colony could become self sufficient.
After they had served their sentence many of the convicts had the opportunity to own and farm their own land, providing additional produce for the colony. Simeon, who could read and write, was assigned initially to a soldier who he assisted in his business ventures. Once free, Simeon pursued his own business opportunities. The convicts married other convicts or children of convicts and had children of their own. Generally they became involved in colonial life. Eight of my convicts ended up living in the area near the Hawkesbury River in New South Wales. Two of the convicts, George and Mary B, lived and worked on Norfolk Island until the close of the first settlement when they transferred to Tasmania. Simeon and his wife Mary H remained in Sydney where their house was reputed to be more impressive than the house of the Governor. They also owned and operated woollen mills at Botany where they later moved and Simeon owned several large properties of land. Most of my convicts eventually owned substantial landholdings and some, such as George had other business interest including owning the Seven Star Inn in Hobart. Uriah also owned a number of business interests including a bakery at Windsor.
The convicts faced many survival challenges when they came to Australia but it can certainly be argued that coming to this country provided them with the opportunity for a fresh start which they accepted.
The twelve convicts:
Friday, 2 January 2015
Genealogy Do-Over - interesting blog posts
Website - Genealogy-Do-Over
Facebook - Genealogy-Do-Over - (Need to apply to join this group)
Bag the web - Genealogy-Do-Over- (This is an excellent site to read the blog posts and comments re this project)
Genealogy-Do-Over - Week 1 - (Participants can receive email reports each week)
Since the announcement a number of bloggers have provided, often useful information, on research techniques, programs they use, methods for organising paper and digital files and ways they could improve their research. Below are just a few of the initial posts.
Key genealogy categories for tackling your goals - AnceStories
Embracing my mistakes - Why I am participating in the Genealogy-Do-Over in 2015 - Accidental Genealogist
Research logs - The Anglers Rest
Using One Note for genealogy - For your family story
Tessa Keogh - You Tube for genealogy
Genealogy-Do-Over Week 1- Piney Woods & Prairie Winds
A Genealogy-Do-Over - my thoughts - Keogh Corner
5th blogiversary - reflections and goals - Family history across the seas
My Genealogy-Do-Over - Tracing my roots: who do I think I am?
Genealogy record keeping - Loveless & Lovelace family
It should be interesting to read the information provided and the ensuing discussion.
If nothing else, it should encourage many doing their family history to stop and think about how they are carrying out their research; if necessary, review their family trees (in some cases start again) and learn how to carefully read original documents.
Thursday, 1 January 2015
Reflections on a busy year - what next?
This, of course, is just the beginning. Working on the project showed areas where more research is required. It also showed a number of common themes within some of the stories which need further investigation and articles written. Putting the stories in the blog also means that I can select certain stories - members of one family branch for example - and expand and add to the stories as a separate project. Investigating brothers and sisters of direct family members is another project which I plan to work on this year in order to expand the family story. Researching the stories of other family members can sometimes provide a clue about a direct family member not available in regular sources. The major advantage in undertaking the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is that I have at last started collecting and writing the stories of my family.
During the past few week I have read a number of Facebook and blog posts about projects that genealogists plan to undertake to further their research and improve or revise their research strategies. One such project is the Genealogy-Do-Over initiated by Thomas MacEntee, an American genealogist.Thomas MacEntee recommends that he, and others who want to do so, should put aside their past genealogy research and start again. During the first thirteen weeks of the new year he is going to make suggestions as to how genealogists can work smarter, especially in organising and undertaking research in 2015, using the many new tools that were not available to researchers twenty, thirty or even forty years ago. A Facebook page has been set up for those wishing to undertake the project and it has been interesting to watch the many suggestions and questions from people as to how they may work differently. Recent blog posts have been concerned with establishing goals, file naming protocol, software for genealogy, especially for recording and evaluating sources, and backing up databases and files.
Thomas MacEntee on the Geneabloggers blog (29 December) though provides useful advice for researchers, including those who want to undertake his project, - slow down and think clearly about what needs to be done and how it should done before undertaking any research. His argument is that many genealogists rush to follow a lead, become side-tracked and may miss important information. His Genealogy Do-Over program aims to encourage genealogists to plan their proposed research, determine how the information is to be recorded and remain focused on the one piece of research - not become side tracked by other possible discoveries.
A post on the blog, Worldwide Genealogy, also provides good advice for those of us who have been undertaking family history research for many years. In the post, My three Years of Genealogy Research, Pauline Cass reminds us that we should periodically revisit, record and revise our research. These views are re-enforced by Jill Ball in her GeniAus blog.
Amy Johnson Crow has also expanded her 52 Ancestor challenge for another year but this time there are weekly themes people my choose to use when writing their posts.
So what are my broad plans for family history research 2015?
- Extend my research to extended family members and write some of their stories broadening my understanding of the families
- Research and write the background stories or themes relating to the history of my family
- Consider writing brief posts in the 52 Ancestor 2015 Challenge
- Re-organise the many articles and files of paper based information I have collected over the past 50 years and put them in an order where they can be more easily consulted
- Make a list of the family history related books I have, including their main topics, so that I can more easily consult them and not spend time checking the shelves for information I think I have somewhere in books
- Check the organisation of my computer files ensuring that they are in a logical order and that images and articles have not escaped into the wrong folders.
- Synchronise my Ancestry.co.au trees with Family Tree Maker more frequently
- Investigate more thoroughly how to use the features of Family Tree Maker
- Back up my computer records more frequently
- Revise sections of the family tree to ensure that sources have been recorded and check the accuracy of the information
- Investigate computer programs such as Evidentia as a means of organising and recording sources, Evernote etc, which are regularly mentioned, and decide whether I need to use them
- Continue to monitor the family history information made available via social media
- Continue to communicate with others with similar interests in family history in general, including techniques in family history research, or specific family branches
With the growing amount of information now available, including more resources becoming accessible online, it is increasingly important to focus on specific aspects of research and do a thorough job rather than just collecting bits and pieces, no matter how interesting they may be. However it is also important to remember why you are doing the research and also to enjoy it.