Category Archives: Showler
I obtained the death certificate of a Thomas Showler who died in 1860 at Cooma NSW in the hope that maybe it would show if he was the Thomas Showler, who was born in 1797 Aylesbury Buckinghamshire, who was the cousin of my GG Grandfather John Showler/Shoulders.
The Thomas Showler listed on this death certificate was listed as being of ‘about 50’ years of age, which would make his birth around 1810 but the informant could have just guessed his age. His parents were unknown and he died on or about the 7th November 1860. I’m not sure if this death certificate is for my Thomas Showler. This is another death recorded for a Thomas Showler at Liverpool Asylum in 1897 listing the parents of William and Amelia. I did a search of the NSW Birth Indexes and there is no birth for a Thomas Showler (or variants) to a William or Amelia. So I wonder if this death is the correct one, though the names of the parents do not match.
Now when I look at the death certificate for Thomas Showler who died in 1860, I was rather amused so see the cause of death being: “Exposure to cold whilst in a state of nudity being at the time labouring under temporary insanity”. The informant was Robert Dawson, police magistrate, Cooma.
Under Other comment was: ‘This man was well known in the district as ‘Tom the Groom’ and generally supposed to be of unsound mind’.
I’ve done a search on Trove, to see if there are any reports on the death to see if there was any other information but no such luck.
The Thomas I am looking for received a ticket of leave in 1838 in Goulburn. According to the convict indents he was married before he arrived in NSW in 1831.
I am only able to find one marriage for a Thomas Showler to a Hannah Beckett in 1818. Checking the Baptism records for Aylesbury, it appears that Thomas & Hannah had no children.
Now to make things unclear, another Thomas Showler was born in 1798 in Aylesbury (both Thomas’s were cousins). The second Thomas died in 1832, within days of his father William and his grandmother Elisabeth. They were all buried on the 2nd March 1832. A few websites I found indicated that an outbreak of Cholera in Aylesbury killed 50 people.
Hannah Showler (nee Beckett) is listed in the 1841 census as living with a Richard Holt and two of his children from his first marriage. Richard & Hannah later marry in 1848 and Hannah is listed as being a widow. So was she the widow of the Thomas that died in 1832 or was she the ‘widow’ of the Thomas who came to NSW as a convict?
Last week I visited the NSW State Records at Kingswood and one thing I wanted to check was the Ticket of Leave & Certificate of Freedom for John Showler & Thomas Showler, who were convicts that arrived in 1828 and 1831 respectively. On the convict indent, Thomas indicates that he had a cousin John already in the colony. From my previous post back at the end of November last year, I wrote that I thought that maybe John Showler was possibly my ancestor John Shoulders. Even though I haven’t been able to find any positive proof as yet, I do think that John Showler is John Shoulders, despite the apparent age difference, they were both from Aylesbury Buckinghamshire and secondly John Showler has also been found in some records as John Shoulder. Thomas Showler is also listed on his ticket of leave as being Thomas Shoulders.
Summary of information about John Showler/Shoulders
John Shoulders who married Mary Ryan in 1851, was 40 in 1856 and born at Aylesbury Buckinghamshire. This makes his birth year to be 1816
John Showler age at trial in January 1828, is listed as 21. But on his arrival he is listed as being only 20, making his birth year to be 1807 or 1808
John Shoulder listed on the NSW Gaol description Entrance Books (1818-1930) – Admitted to Stone Quarry 8th January 1835 and disposed 4th May 1835
John Showler - Countess of Harcourt 1828 40/0846 15 May 1840 Certificate of Freedom [4/4358; Reel 1006] TL 33/758
John Showler - Countess of Harcourt 1828 33/758 Ticket of Leave [4/4090; Reel 920] District: Inverary; Tried: Bucks QS
John Shoulders – died in May 1858 at Hernani, near Armidale NSW.
The Certificate of Freedom for John Showler is as follows:
Ship: Countess of Harcourt
Date of Trial: 15/06/1828
Sentence: 7 years
Height: 5 foot 4 & ¾ inches
Complexion: Ruddy & Freckled
General: Small Scar left eye, two scars left, IS SH bleeding heart, 1828, wreath hope & anchor on left arm. Man, Woman, Mermaid, SH on right arm.
I wonder what the IS, SH mean? Were they initials of his parents perhaps or someone else? Thomas also had letters on both his arms, having WICSRTS & EIHPY on his right arm. On his left arm he had a name L Hawkins. Could they be clues to other family members?
Summary of information about Thomas Showler
There appears to be no marriage for Thomas Showler (or variant spellings) in the NSW indexes.
There are two recorded deaths for ‘Thomas Showler’s, one in 1860 at Cooma and the other in 1897 at Liverpool. From the NSW State Records index, we can see that the Thomas Showler who died in 1897, died at the Liverpool Asylum.
Thomas Showler – Georgiana 1831 38/1157 Ticket of Leave [4/4121; Reel 930] District: Goulburn; Born: Bucks; Trade: Ploughs; Tried: Bucks QS
Thomas Showler is listed on his Ticket of Leave Passport in 1843 as ‘Thomas Shoulders’. (SHOULDERS Thomas - Georgiana 1831 43/314 21 Mar 1843 Ticket of Leave Passport [4/4249; Reel 971]
Thomas Showler - Georgiana 1831 49/0225 11 May 1849 Certificate of Freedom [4/4412; Reel 1026] TL 39/1157
The Certificate of Freedom for Thomas Showler is as follows:
Date of Trial: 4/01/1831
Sentence: 14 Years
Height: 5 foot 9 inches
Complexion: Pale & Freckled
General: Slight diagonal scar and mole on left eyebrow. WICSRTS, 1828, EIHPY on Right arm. L Hawkins, Sun, JHEVL on left arm.
Baptisms Records – Buckinghamshire
Looking at the baptism records for Buckinghamshire, I found the following ‘POSSIBLE’ baptisms for John Shouler/Shoulders.
23 Dec 1804 John born 26 Nov 1804 son of James & Esther SHOWLER – Aylesbury Buckinghamshire
27 May 1810 John son of Samuel & Ann SHOULER – Padbury Buckinghamshire
1 Jan 1815 John Samuel born 31 Dec 1814 son of John & Mary SHOULER – Whaddon Buckinghamshire
I suspect that the first one in 1804 might be the most likely one considering that this is the only baptism for a John being born in Aylesbury between 1804 & 1816. I cannot be sure if this is the correct one, unless I find some other information on who John’s parents were.
Looking at baptism records, for Thomas Showler, I note the following possibilities.
1 Oct 1797 Thomas born 18 Jun 1797 son of Thomas & Maria SHOWLER – Ayelsbury Buckinghamshire
23 Feb 1798 Thomas born 8 Feb 1798 son of William & Elizabeth SHOWLER – Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
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.