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I am sitting here wondering if I should get excited or just stay calm.  I’m wondering if after 20 odd years, I’ve actually found when my ancestor John Shoulders arrived in NSW.

All the information that I know up today, was that he married Mary Ryan (Ryan is on the marriage certificate but actual maiden name was Hanratty), in 1851 at Armidale.

John & Mary had 4 children, of who the youngest Ellen Shoulders was my GG Grandmother.  According to her birth certificate in 1856, John was aged ‘40’ and had been born in Aylesbury Buckinghamshire.

John died in May 1858 at Hernani, New South Wales.  His death certificate stated that he was 42   and had been in the colony for 26 years, making his arrival to be about 1832 and therefore making his age to be about 16 when he arrived. I’ve never been able to find what ship he arrived. With his age and the year of arrival, I always wondered, was he a convict?

A few weeks ago I requested a research service from the Buckinghamshire Family History Society to provide a list of all the baptism’s, burials & marriages for the surname of Shoulders, spanning from 1750-1850 across Buckinghamshire, using all possible variant spellings, including Shouldar, Showler, Shouler, Shouldar. With this, there were a few possibilities with baptisms in Aylesbury ranging from 1804 to 1816.

I then did a search on the NSW State Record Online Index for John, using a number of different variant spellings, which I had not considered doing before.

This is what I find:

  • SHOWLER        John     Countess of Harcourt   1828     33/758  Ticket of Leave            [4/4090; Reel 920]          District: Inverary; Tried: Bucks QS
  • SHOWLER        John     Countess of Harcourt   1828     40/0846  15 May 1840    Certificate of Freedom   [4/4358; Reel 1006]            TL 33/758

I then checked the UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849 Record for John Showler and find that he was tried at Aylesbury Buckinghamshire on the 15th January 1828 for stealing bacon, and pork. Another record shows that John was 21 and that he is listed as being in custody before and of ‘bad character’.  His NSW convict indent in 1828 though shows that he was only 20.  He arrived in April 1828 but does not appear in the NSW 1828 Census.

From checking the baptism records a John Showler, the closest possible baptism is one that is recorded in 1804 to parents James & Esther both of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

Despite this John Showler being about 10 years older than John Shoulders, could he actually be John Shoulders?  There are no records of John Shoulders prior to his marriage in 1851 in NSW or any of the other Australian states and apart from the TOL and CF that John Showler received in 1840, there appears so far to be no other record of John Showler in NSW. I note that at this  present time I am in no way confirming that John Showler is John Shoulders but just putting it out there that MAYBE they might be the one and the same. So if you are connected to the Shouler/Showler family in Aylesbury Buckinghamshire, let me know and maybe we might be able to confirm the connection.  I am the type of person who will not confirm a connection until I have positive proof.

I also note that a Thomas Showler, also arrived in 1832 on board the Georgina. On his convict indent, it states that he had a cousin John Showler living in the colony for 3 years.

  • SHOWLER              Thomas                 Georgiana                             1831       38/1157              Ticket of Leave      [4/4121; Reel 930]        District: Goulburn; Born: Bucks; Trade: Ploughs; Tried: Bucks QS
  • SHOWLER              Thomas                 Georgiana                             1831       49/0225                11 May 1849        Certificate of Freedom                [4/4412; Reel 1026]            TL 39/1157

 I’ve also found reference to a James Shoulder born Aylesbury, who had served in the 11th Dragoons. From checking James’ military record on Find My Past, James had enlisted in 1817 and was discharged in 1838.  He is in the 1841 census and living at Aylesbury, also in the household is a Mary Showler (45), Thomas Wheeler (20) and Joseph Freman (10).  The next census I find James is in the 1871 census and he is living at Chelsea London with his wife Elizabeth (60) and with two children Henry (20) and Sophia (19). From checking and comparing the baptism records for Aylesbury, it appears James’s parents were Thomas & Mary or Maria and is ‘possibly’ the brother to Thomas Showler, the convict who arrived here in 1832, as his parents appear to have been Thomas & Maryann.

Last weekend I spent two days at the History and Genealogy Expo at Parramatta, which was well run by Unlock the Past.

Over the two days I attended five talks.  In all, the two day event was excellent and I took away with me some knew found knowledge and some excellent new resources that I bought, such as some books and software.

From each of the talks I attended, I talk a great deal of notes and in summary I provide the following links relating to 3 of the talks I attended:

Caring for Your family history archives

 

Discover Scottish Family History

 

Tracing your Irish Ancestors to their Homeland

  • Find your ancestors in Australia first before trying to find them in Ireland
    • Check Shipping Records
    • Birth, Death & Marriage Records
    • Once you know where they came from:
      • What is a townland
      • What is a parish
      • Why did the leave Ireland?
      • What was the agricultural situation like?

 

My Grandmother – a treasure

Posted: September 29, 2010 in General

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball.  Sometimes you know the curve ball is coming but it still hits you hard.

Last Sunday I spent 3 hours with my Grandmother. It was just the two of us talking and spending time together.  I asked her about her mother and father.  I already knew their names but talking to her and getting my Nanna to talk about them as people and who they were was special.   My Great Grandmother was Daisy Harris.   Daisy died when my grandmother was 13 in 1932 and Nanna said that even though she did not have a photo of her, ‘I still remember her long black hair as if she was standing here in front of me’.  My Great Grandfather, Ernest Mitchell was a character.  I already knew that he was the trainer of the 1921 North Shore Bears SFL (AFL) winning team but she said that her and her sister used to go to North Sydney Oval with their father, just so they could get to eat the oranges he took to the team.  He also performed in a number of plays in the 1920’s and 1930’s in Sydney.  My Grandmother said that he played the ‘Black Fella’ in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I already knew that he had been in Uncle Tom’s Cabin but to have acutally been the star of the play, that I didn’t know.  He also played Captain Milton in another play, which I think is ‘Currency Cash’.  Ernest did not use his real name when performing but had stage name, which my grandmother couldn’t remember.  When I left, I said goodbye, told her I loved her.

Today sadly, my grandmother passed away at the grand age of 92 years. I will no longer get the chance to talk to her again but I’m glad I spent that time with her on Sunday. I will treasure those 3 hours every day of my life.  I am sure she is now with her sister and their sitting down having a cup of tea and having an old chin wag just like they used to.

Bookings for the History & Genealogy Expo Sydney 2010 have now opened.  As quoted on the Unlock the Past Site:

“The Expo is unique opportunity to see many societies, libraries and commercial product and service suppliers in one place and to learn from the many expert presenters. A significant focus will be on introducing newcomers to history and genealogy, but we expect to have something for researchers at all levels”

At a cost of $10 for both days, I have prebooked my ticket, as well as pre-booked for the following talks:

Date Details
Friday 22 October Discover Scottish Family History – Paton
Friday 22 October FamilySearch: Ancestors At Your Fingertips – Parton
Saturday 23 October Researching Families In British India – Murphy
Saturday 23 October Immigration From Ireland – McIntyre

This will be my first Genealogy Expo despite over 20 years of researching my family history.  It will be good to meet other genealogists, as well as after all these years, I just might learn something new. :-)

This is a continuation of from my two other posts on my endeavour to find the birth/baptism record of William George Baker. My previous posts are birth of William Baker and Baker, Baldwin, Rice.

SamuelBake, as mentioned in my previous post, was married to Sarah King on the 18th May 1831. As I explained in both of the above posts, I concluded that William Baker was the son of Samuel & Sarah Baker, because all records here say that William’s parents were ‘Samuel & Sarah’ but also because the parents of William’s brother in law – James Rice, (Samuel Rice & Mary King) had been married at the same place and date as Samuel and Sarah King.

Unfortunately I am no closer to finding William’s birth, but since writing my last post on this, I have been in contact with a connection in England that is a descendant of Henry Baker (born 1824, Boxford, Suffolk).  Henry was the younger of Samuel Baker. Samuel and another brother John (born 1813), had been sentenced to transportation for ‘life’ in 1835 for sheep stealing. They were tried at the Suffolk Quarter Sessions in January 1835 and arrived on the ship ‘England’ in September 1835.

Samuel’s convict indent:

  • Samuel Baker
  • Age 25
  • RW
  • Religion: Roman Catholic
  • Status: Married
  • Children: 1 Male, 1 Female
  • Former Conviction: 2 years
  • Height: 5 Foot 4
  • Blue Eyes
  • Brown Hair
  • Ruddy Skin
  • Sentence: Life

Other: Mouth Small, Scar upper, Tattoos: Sun, Flower Pot, two diamonds, anchor, SBSS 1833 on lower left arm. Ring fourth finger of left hand

It is confirmed that Samuel & Sarah had, a daughter named Sarah, who was baptised in December 1834, but there is no record of any other children being born to the couple. I also note that Samuel’s previous conviction was for 2 years, which from what I’ve been advised Samuel was tried and convicted in the summer of 1832 for larceny. This leads us to think the male child listed above in the indent would have been born either before marriage or sometime in 1831.

If the male child as indicated on Samuel’s convict indent, is not William, then who was he and when was he born?  Also does this mean that Samuel & Sarah had a third child, being William born after Samuel left England?

If the male child was William George Baker, then this means he was born before Sarah, in at least 1832, but this does not coincide with the ages that William gives on the various documents found here in NSW.

Also, why aren’t Sarah and her children in the UK census? I have checked the 1841 & 1851 census for Suffolk but can find no record of them.  Did Sarah remarry, considering that there was no possible way for Samuel to return?  We know that from the shipping record for when William arrived in NSW in 1865, his mother Sarah is living in Woolwich Kent so that means that Sarah did not join her husband.

More questions than answers right now, but I do still think that Samuel & Sarah are William’s parents considering the connection between the Baker, Rice & King families but trying to find his baptism record and where he is in the 1841, 1851 & 1861 census, is frustrating, to say the least.

I will be undertaking further research on Samuel Baker, the convict to see where he went to once he arrived here. Did he remarry, did he have other children and when did he die, will a fluke occur and will his death certificate indicate the names of all of his children? Or will this remain one of those puzzles that we can only guess at, making assumptions based on what information we can find on the available records?

I’ve wanted to delve more into my UK ancestry for some time and if I wanted to continue I had to at least think about how I was going to do that, So on Thursday, I signed up for the premium monthly subscription through the www.ancestry.co.uk (which is where my original account was set up).  So there, I did it even though I was hesitant about hitting the submit button.

Anyway, I digress from the original topic of this post.  Please be with me, as this is a long post, but I just had to write down my research and notes as I went along over the last couple of days. Hope it’s not too confusing and overall the end should show some true findings on the Baldwin, Baker, King and Rice Families connections in Suffolk, England.  The sites I used were as follows:

Whilst searching for information on my ancestor, William George Baker (c1836-1881) and his wife Susan Baldwin (1842-1920), I saw that a number of trees had Susan’s parents different to what I had.

Most of the trees I found, had Susan’s mother to be Sarah Munnings, one has Sarah (no surname) and another Sarah Chambers and most also have the same ’6′ children attached to them. There is a marriage in Dec 1825 between a John Baldwin & Sarah Munnings and from what I can see on the census records, John & Sarah Munnings had 6 children, one a Susan Baldwin born in 1845 in Suffolk, which is why there is some confusion. I do believe that this marriage and the associated children are not connected to my John & Sarah Baldwin. (The children were: John 1832, Charles 1836, Ann 1840, David 1843, Susan 1845 and Mary 1850).

I do think the following marriage between John & Sarah is the more likely marriage for my ancestors:

Parish Records Collection: 1538-2005

  • Date: 26.11.1826
  • Parish: Bures St Mary
  • Place: Newtown
  • County: Suffolk
  • Source: Suffolk Marriage Index: 1813-1837 (FindMyPast)

I have not found a record for a marriage between a John Baldwin & Sarah Chambers.

Here is a list of information that I already had:

  • Records in Australia show that Susan’s parents were John & Sarah Baldwin and she was from Bures, Suffolk and born around 1844.
  • On the shipping record for when William George & Susan Baker arrived in NSW in 1865, William is listed as having an ‘Uncle George King’ already living at Bundarra. I’m yet to find any shipping record of a George King arriving here prior to 1865 but there is a George King living at Bundarra in 1872.
  • On the marriage certificate of William & Susan in 1863, one of the witnesses is “MaryAnn Rice”.
  • For William Baker, his parents were Samuel Baker & Sarah King. A marriage was found in 1831 at Boxford, Suffolk.
  • I have a death certificate for a Sarah Baldwin died 4th June 1856 at Bures St Mary, Suffolk. She was 54 years and was the ‘wife of John Baldwin, agricultural labourer’.   Now that I’m looking more into this, I did find another two deaths for “Sarah Baldwin’” in the same area of Suffolk, both in 1859. One in Sudbury (4a/285) and the other, Bury St Edmonds (4a/337). I’m thinking now that maybe the death in 1856 is not the death for my Sarah.  I’m thinking the one in Sudbury is the more likely one. Sarah would have died after 1851 & before the 1861 census, as John is listed as a widower in 1861.
  • I can find no record of John & Sarah in the 1841 UK Census
  • John & Sarah appear in the 1851 UK census, along with two daughters:
    • John Baldwin (46) Born Bures, Suffolk – listed as ‘Pensioner – Chelsea’
    • Sarah Baldwin (47) Born Boxford, Suffolk
    • Maryann (11) Born Bastead, Suffolk
    • Susan (8) Born Stoke, Suffolk
  • John appears in the 1861 UK census along with daughter Susan
    • John Baldwin (55) Born Bures, Suffolk –listed as ‘Chelsea Pensioner’
    • Susan (17), Born Stoke By Nayland, Suffolk
  • In the 1871 UK Census, John Baldwin is shown as being a lodger with James & Mary Ann Rice at Assington, Sudbury, Suffolk and is 65, occupation is ‘Soldier – Pensioner’ and was born in Bures, St Mary.

John Baldwin died 28th June 1871 at Assington, Suffolk. He was 65 and his occupation is listed as ‘Chelsea Pensioner’.  I found John’s military record over at FindMyPast the other night and even though it is a little hard to read he states he was 18 years old and was born at Bures, St Mary and enlisted on the 14th November 1825 and served until 1846, which is probably why John & Sarah are not in the 1841 UK census as he served in the East Indies for almost 12 years, though I’m not sure of the date he left & returned at this stage.

  • James Rice married MaryAnn Baldwin in 1860 (4a/629) at Sudbury, Suffolk.

Further research on Ancestry and FamilySearch shows:

  • James Rice christening information:
    • Name: James Rice Gender: Male Birth Date: abt 1838
    • Christening Date: 28 Jan 1838 Christening Place: Assington, Suffolk, England
    • Father’s Name: Samuel Rice Mother’s Name: Mary
  • James married Maryann Baldwin in 1860 at Suffolk
  • A number of public trees have James’ parents as Samuel Rice & Mary King. On one particular tree, Mary King’s parents are listed as:

I find the surname of King of interest here, seeing that William Baker had an Uncle George King already living in the colony, when he arrived in 1865. As yet, I have not found a shipping record that matches to this George King but I do think that this King family is related as Samuel Rice & Mary King were married on the same day in Boxford, Suffolk as Samuel Baker & Sarah King, the parents of William George Baker.

Name: Samuel Baker Gender: MaleSpouse’s name: Sarah KingMarriage Date: 18 May 1831Marriage Place: Boxford, Suffolk, EnglandRecord source: Suffolk Marriage Index (1813-37) Data provider: Suffolk Family History Society Name: Samuel Rice Gender: MaleSpouse’s name: Mary KingMarriage Date: 18 May 1831Marriage Place: Boxford, Suffolk, EnglandRecord source: Suffolk Marriage Index (1813-37) Data provider: Suffolk Family History Society

So from these two marriages I conclude that:

  • Sarah King (1809) & Mary King (1811) were sisters.
  • William George Baker (bc1836) and James Rice (bc1837) were cousins and they married Susan & Maryann Baldwin who were sisters.

So in all, a rather productive few days of research on my UK ancestors.  I’ll write more on the King and Rice connections another day.

Ancestry and Public Trees

Posted: August 17, 2010 in Ancestry, Resources

Today, I was looking at Ancestry at the local library to see if there was any information or public trees on my George Thomas Mathews.  George was born around 1840 at Prospect NSW and died sometime after 1894. I have looked at every death of a George Mathews/Matthews who died between 1894 & 1920 in New South Wales (when his wife remarried) but to no avail. You can read more about George and his ‘disappearance’ here and what I have done to try to find out when he died (which I get that I’m never going to know), in the hopes that maybe one day I’ll find out his parents’ names. I have 5 birth certificates of George & Ellen’s children and in all of them George was the informant and his birth place is listed as Prospect, New South Wales. Therefore I have to believe that he was born in NSW.

Today I found a number of public trees with George Mathews and his wife Ellen Shoulders with children. Now for the life of me, I don’t understand is why the public trees I found with George Mathews have incorrect information.

  • One tree has their Daughter Susan Jane Mathews, who married Robert Tailby, with a death date of 1955.  Wrong!  I have her death certificate and she died in 1916.
  • There are a couple of trees that had George’s birth to be around 1836 or 1840 and with the parents of Henry Mathews & Susan or Susannah Morris. I thought cool; someone must have found some information but I’m not so sure. Some had no source citations but one of them did as follows:
    • Source Detail for George’s birth was: A shipping record, he is listed as age 5, on a ship called Victorian, which arrived in NSW in 1841 and he was travelling with Thomas Mathews (aged 24) and Sarah Mathews (aged 35). Yeah, maybe George was born outside of Australia (which is probably why I cannot find his birth in NSW but then again, I don’t know the name of his parents and yes, I have checked the corresponding births in NSW and cross them out for various reasons) but that does not solve where or how someone was able to work out that this shipping record relates to my ‘George Thomas Matthews’.
    • When you click on the father’s name Henry Mathews, the source details for Henry & his wife Susan, are connected to a 1861 UK census and living at: Guilden Morden, Cambridgeshire, England. Henry, age 61, Susan Age 61, George, age 21, and Eliza age 18. Me is now confused. I also note that this family also appear in the 1841 & 1851 UK Census.

I can’t help but think someone has picked up some information and just attached it without bothering to verify the information and then everyone else has just followed suit. So therefore, I conclude that the parents of Henry & Susan that are attached to George Thomas Mathews in the trees I found, and the source information of the 1861 UK census is incorrect and the family above are not related to my George Mathews.

Why don’t people verify the information they find on the Internet?  Why is it so hard to do the actual work to trace your family history? Tracing your history means, getting information and verifying information, such as obtaining Birth, Death & Marriage certificates. Why is this so hard for people to do? I have done a lot of the leg work over the last 20 years and am happy to provide and exchange information with people. In some cases, things don’t seem quite right and you just have to take it that what you find is more than likely correct but I still put a disclaimer on what I have found if I am still not 100% sure.

I guess, I’m still at square one.  Right now, I believe this one will always stay a mystery, especially considering that I have no proof of the names of George’s parents.

I have been going through my parents photos and photo albums looking for old photos of my parents, their parents and other family members.

Below is one of my Paternal Great Grandfather Ernest Mitchell born in Adelaide South Australia in 1882 and died in NSW in 1945. The photo was taken in the late 1930′s. On the back of the photo it says “Grandad in Stage Costume”.

Ernest apparently appeared in a number of plays, including ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. I’m yet to find any other information on what other plays he would have been in or what thearte they were performed in. Ernest and his wife Daisy were living in Northy Sydney during the 1920′s. Maybe one day I will find some additonal information.

Postcards of Sydney

Posted: August 14, 2010 in Photos
Tags:

Today I was sorting through some family photos and came across the following two postcards that I must have bought at some time and thought I would share:

The first one is of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, in April 1930.  On the Back of the post card it says:

“This was the great era of the Sydney Harbour Ferries. The multidude of steam ferries at berth and crisscrossing the harbour linked the north shore with the city. The Harbour Bridge seen five months from the closing of it’s arch was still two years from completion’.


The second one is of the Pyrmont Bridge Sydney, dated 1902. On the back of the post card, is reads:

“Looking east across Darling Harbour to the city. Clearly the traffic jam is not a modern phenonemon!”.

In Search of the Birth of William George Baker

This is the first post of a series that I intend to write to show my research into finding the UK birth record of my GG Grandfather William George Baker.

William George Baker married Sarah Baldwin in Woolwich Kent in 1863. They came to New South Wales with their young son, William George, on the ship ‘Trebolgan’ in 1865.

On a number of records found here, William’s birth appears to be between 1836 and 1840 and his parents were Samuel & Sarah Baker.

On the shipping records, his age is listed as 27 years old. This makes his birth year to be around 1838. His native place reads Sudbury Suffolk. His parents are listed as Samuel & Sarah, with his mother living at Woolwich England. He is also shown to have ‘an Uncle George King’ living in the colony. I’m have not yet found any record of George King nor have I found a shipping record that matches to a George King coming from Suffolk. I did find a marriage between a Samuel Baker and a Sarah King in 1831 at Boxford, Suffolk. (M13246-1).

On the birth certificate of his son Albert Samuel, in 1870, William was 31, making his birth year to be 1839.

On the birth certificate of his daughter Emma, who was born in 1874, William was listed as 37, making his birth year to be 1837 and born at Bures, Suffolk, England.

On the birth certificate of his son Ernest, born in 1876 he is again shown as being 37, making his birth year to be 1839 and he was born at Bures, Sudbury, Suffolk, England.

On William’s death certificate, his age is listed as 45 born in Sudbury Suffolk. This makes his birth year to be around 1836. His parents are listed as Samuel Baker & Sarah Sampson. (The Sampson, I believe is incorrect or maybe Sarah remarried).

Anything is possible considering the different ages he is across the various documents. He could have been born as early as 1835 but I’m sure he was born in Bures (or surrounding districts) Suffolk.

I have over the years checked parish, civil & census records on FindMyPast, Free BDM, Ancestry UK and as yet not found a definite match.

With the changes on FindMyPast and the ability to now be able to in more detail on the Birth Indexes, I performed a search on William Baker born between 1837 and 1841 and this produced 13 results, 2 of which I can discount due to the child’s middle names, so that leaves the following. The advanced search would be better if you were able to include the names of both sets of parents.

BAKER William Wangford Suffolk 1837
BAKER William Blything Suffolk 1838
BAKER William Hoxne Suffolk 1838
BAKER William Bosmere Suffolk 1838
BAKER William Plomesgate Suffolk 1839
BAKER William Cosford Suffolk 1839
BAKER William Woodbridge Suffolk 1840
BAKER William Woodbridge Suffolk 1840
BAKER William Hartismere Suffolk 1840
BAKER William Hartismere Suffolk 1841
BAKER William Wangford Suffolk 1841

A search using just ‘George Baker’ brings up 9 records, of which one ‘Henry George Baker’ born at Sudbury, Suffolk in 1841 could be a possible relative.

Checking the 1841,1851,1861 UK census finds no record of the family in Suffolk.