Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Industrial Action leading to Emigration

Goodness knows where yesterday went - but I am sure that somewhere in the world it is STILL Christmas Day. I'm sure I just read that Hawaii is 23 hours behind NZ, and I know LA is about 19 hours behind, so my cousin there must still be celebrating after Santa's visit.

I had great intentions for this post after having rediscovered some events in my family tree. Three sets of my 2 x great grandparents were married in Christmas week. December 25, 26 and 27. My great great grandparents Sarah Elizabeth Laney and George Bartlett were first generation Kiwis when they married at Bartletts Creek, Marlborough in 1870 but the others were married in England. Maria Ann Horskins married Julius Fuller at St Mary, Newington, Surrey in 1859 and were bound for New Zealand just a few months later. Their youngest son would marry the daughter of Sarah Ann Daniels and Edward Mark Vose in 1901.

Sarah and Edward were married on December 25, 1862 - 150 years ago this Christmas Day - at St Margaret, Plumstead, Kent. Edward was the 3rd or possibly 4th son of Edward and Elizabeth (nee Weller) Vose. Edward snr was in the Royal Sappers & Miners, Edward jnr had been born in Ireland while they were stationed there surveying and mapping the country. Sarah was the 5th daughter of Josiah & Hannah (nee Carter) Daniels born in West Lavington, Wiltshire. Edward jnr and his brothers all seem to have found employment  of some sort at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, Edward was a labourer at the time of their marriage, but by 1871 was listed as a Gas Stoker on the census. Sarah moved to London perhaps with her sister Elizabeth by 1861, as both are employed in the household of Walter Mitchell M.A. Assistant Hospellier (?) at St Barts Hospital. I'm not exactly sure what that means but since his wife's occupation was given as "Clergyman's Wife", I'm guessing it is something along those lines. Sarah, aged 17 (18 on the census) was the nursemaid. There were eight children ranging from 12 down to 2 year old twins - I bet she was busy. Eighteen months later she was married.

In 1879, the little family with their four children emigrated to New Zealand. They came on the Stad Haarlem, a steamer and made the trip in 51 days. The Vose family became market gardeners in Canterbury at Prebbleton and Riccarton. Sarah was a well known local midwife in her new community - I wonder if she had worked as one in England before they emigrated. So, where does Trove come into all this ?

Well its all about the Stad Haarlem. I had read the diary kept on board through the voyage, and some snippets from local papers, but I found more on Trove which I hadnt seen before, and which give a bit more insight into the decision to emigrate that these people made, and of the "experiment" to take large numbers at once on a ship not actually designed to take so many.

Gippsland Times (Vic. 1861 - 1954) Wednesday 5 March 1879 page 3 article62026700-3-001

 South Australian Register (Adelaide SA 1839 - 1900) Thursday 13 March 1879 page 5 article42973041-3-001
The following was an article from Plymouth Thursday 30 January 1862, but published in Australia in March.

South Australian Register (Adelaide SA 1839 - 1900) Thursday 13 March 1879 page 6 article42973028-3-001

  The Argus (Melbourne Vic 1848 - 1956) Tuesday 15 April 1879 page 5 article5939453-3-001

Table Bay, I discovered is in South Africa - the stopover there was reported in the South Australian register as well, from the Cape papers - but appears to have been shorter than the eight days reported at her arrival in New Zealand.

South Australian Register (Adelaide SA 1839 - 1900) Monday 14 April 1879 page 7 article42970688-3-001

And the final decision about this "experiment" in emigration

 South Australian Register (Adelaide SA 1839 - 1900) Tuesday 27 May 1879 page 5 article42976128-3-002

So, there we go, Happy Sesquicentennial Anniversary to Sarah and Edward - and now I know a bit more about their voyage and their fellow emigrant shipmates.

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Wonderful Escape From Injury By Lightning

After my post  last week, I have been looking to see what else I might learn about the Graham family from Garryowen, near Queanbeyan. I came across this dramatic report of a lightning strike. The title of the article says it all really.

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842-1954) Tuesday 26 November 1872, page 4
Rebecca, from last weeks post will have been about four years old at the time of the lightning strike, her brother Robert though was about twelve.  I'm not sure I'd have referred to him as a little child, though I do wonder if I had a career in newspapers in a former life, because I seem to write in very long sentences just as they did !
 I have discovered other bits and pieces about this family which I will save for another time. But I have included the article immediately before the lightning strike report. Living in the Shaky Isles as I do, I like to read about how earthquakes were reported when there wasnt a great understanding of their cause, or how the shockwaves travelled, and how they were often reported as separate events in different locations, as if they had happened in isolation and werent in fact the same shock felt over a wide area. (It's a morbid fascination I have) 
 What a fortnight they had had in Queanbeyan though,  earthquakes, lightning strikes - I wonder if there was anything else out of the ordinary.

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A couple of shillings for a kiss

In a bit of a contrast to last weeks blog where it was "acceptable" in 1880 to marry off your fifteen year old daughter and have her thirteen year old sister sign as a witness to the marriage. This weeks find on Trove is a report from the Queanbeyan Police Court in 1878, where Frederick Chambers faced a charge of indecent behaviour towards two little girls.  The girls concerned were aged eleven and thirteen.

Perhaps there was a fine line around thirteen ? Were you a little girl or more of an adult ? Did society influence this ? Or was it a case of the circumstances determining the manner in which people behaved ?

Anyway, I came across the article when I was searching for tidbits about the McIntyre and Cameron families in and around Queanbeyan.

Annie McIntyre was 3rd of fifteen children of Alexander and Sarah Ann (nee Dickinson), who I have written about previously. Rebecca was her cousin - well really her father's cousin, which may have been why she referred to Rebecca's mother as Mrs Graham rather than as an aunt. Rebecca's mother was the youngest sister of Annie's paternal grandmother Margery (nee Cameron).

Queanbeyan Age (NSW 1867-1904) 23 November 1878 p2 article30674589-3-001

I wonder what sort of character Frederick Chambers was, how old was he ? He seemed to have a bit of loose change on him to try to lure young girls that day. Was it just a bit of "harmless fun" ? Or was he truly dodgy ? But seven days seems like a fairly lenient sentence to me.

I think that Rebecca and Annie were quite sensible and responsible young ladies. Annie was already working at what appears to have been babysitting. now we cant even leave a child under 14 years old in charge of children. How interesting that they actually appeared in court themselves and gave their account of the events - not someone appearing for them or reading their testimony on their behalf.

There was definitely a lot of good in the simple unbridled upbringings that our pioneering forebears (and a few of us) had that should be re-adopted today and less of the pc-ness that abounds

After I realised that there was a family connection and that Annie wasnt merely a friend tagging along with Rebecca that day, I've been able to add another family name to my search list for Trove. I also wondered whether Mrs Davis, referred to in their testimonies, was possibly the widow of Annie's grandfather Joseph Dickinson. Annie would have been seven when her grandfather remarried. His new wife may well have been known to her and Rebecca as Mrs Davis before that marriage took place - and possibly throughout the marriage and after Joseph's death by adults in their families. I dont suppose I will ever be able to be sure of that though.

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Child Bride

One of the earliest challenges with my family tree research was in finding some information about my daughters paternal 2 x great grandmother. I had purchased a copy of the birth certificate for her great grandmother, so I had the maiden name of her mother, and her father's name. Alice Hellesley and John Miller. Piece of cake, right ? Wrong. The information on the birth certificate for their 4th child Susan, told me that there were already 2 daughters and 1 son living, and that John was born in Scotland and aged 32, and Alice was born in Bulli, NSW and 23. It also gave me the exact marriage details; 13 September 1880 in Bulli. I couldn't find any marriage records with those names on the microfiche index, and I couldn't find a birth record either for Alice.

I think this was my first lesson in lateral thinking ! A helpful researcher at the Society of Genealogists research room in Adelaide suggested to me that perhaps the registrar had misinterpreted what John had said because of his accent. So I searched for John Miller's marrying anyone named Alice with a surname starting with H. At least I knew the date, so didnt need to search through multiple years. I found one eventually - and the surname Halsey which looked like it might be worth a shot. So I ordered the certificate and waited to see what I would learn next.

And there it was in the mail one day after work - John Swan Millar, 29 (note the spelling there) and Alice Halsey 17, married at the residence of Mrs Susan Halsey, Bulli. "The consent of Susan Halsey Mother of the Bride (her Father being dead) was given to the marriage of John Swan Millar with Alice Halsey the said Alice Halsey being under the age of Twenty one years." How did Alice feel about marrying someone 12 years her senior ? Where did she meet him ?

Recently on Trove I found their marriage notice in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Sydney Morning Herald 17 Sep 1880 article13468144-3-001

Using the birth index microfiche I started to piece together a family for Alice since I now had both her parents names. At the same time i looked for the other children of John and Alice. It seems (after a couple of wrong certificates were purchased) that some of their children were registered as Miller and others as Millar. But back to Alice - I found her siblings and ordered her birth certificate, as well as the death certificate for her father.

Charles Halsey had died aged 37 in August 1874, and left his young wife Susan with 6 children aged between 10 years and 4 months. Susan went on to have two more children before she remarried in 1884, which makes me wonder just how she was supporting her family. But that might be another story.

Alice's birth was registered in 1865 which would make her 14 or 15 in 1880, depending on which month her birthday was, when she married John - not 17. Could that be ? It would also mean, using the same logic that she was 8 or 9 when her father died - not 10. I opened the envelope and read the birth certificate - date and place of birth of child "December fourteenth 1864, Woonona". So, Alice was 15 when she married - still 2 months off her 16th birthday. She wasn't 17 going on 18 or even almost 17. Now I know that the age of consent has changed from time to time, but wow ! Perhaps for her mother it was a case of one less mouth to feed - or maybe it was a true romance, who knows ? They went on to have 8 children and were married for more than 40 years. It was also probably fairly commonplace to marry young. Most of the marriage certificates I have, have the consent of the bride's father give as they were under twenty one. But none of the others by quite as much as Alice.

Apart from the initial surprise about Alice's actual age (which by the way had corrected itself when her 4th child was born - 23 in June 1888) what surprised me even more, was that one of the witnesses to the marriage in 1880 was her younger sister Carrie (Caroline) who would have been 13 or 14. Was that legal ?

I have done a bit of research on the age of consent and discovered on this site that in 1880 in New South Wales it was actually TWELVE ! I still cant find if the minimum age to marry was lower then than it is now. For example, in NSW now, you can marry without consent of parents or a judge if both parties are 18 or over, but you can not be under 16. It seems that this minimum age to marry and the age of consent have not always been equal.

How times have changed. How many of us can imagine marrying off their 15 year old daughter in this day and age, and to a man who was not 12 years older than her as initially presented but actually was 14 years older - pretty much twice her age ? What about your 12 year old daughter ?

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen.