Monday, 3 December 2012

Our new book has arrived!!

A group of us Genies Down Under podcast listeners decided to publish our convict stories in a book
which was launched a couple of days ago on the December podcast.
"Cheers!" she says, holding up an imaginary glass of champagne to our tireless leader, Maria Northcote, who steered us through the painless process, and to all the other authors: Andrew Black, Ros Escott, Dot Elder, Jennifer Goodwin, and Gill McMillan.
My story is about Esther Salamon (or Esther Spencer), who I wrote about in a previous post.

Friday, 26 October 2012

For a Pittance photos

At the Easter weekend last year I had the privelige of being chosen by Mine Konakci to be photographed for her "For a Pittance" gallery of work, and the results are below. Mine's photography skills are amazing, if you want to check them out see . She had advertised in the Australian Family Tree Connections magazine for anyone with convicts in their family who might be interested. Seeing as I have 5 of them (Australian Royalty - hand chosen by the finest judges in England!), I thought I'd honour one of them in this way.

Here's what she wrote about her inspiration for the project:

“Most convicts transported to Australia were convicted of petty theft, the majority of which were considered to be minor crimes by today’s standards. Stolen items varied from shoes to fabrics, coats to pocket watches, purses to sheep, and jugs to yarn. More than 160,000 people, an overwhelming number, were transported ‘beyond the seas’ between 1787 and 1868 to serve their sentences, which were usually seven or 14 years.

As a photographer, what interested me was the impact that the theft of objects—most of a relatively small value—could have on people’s lives. As a result, the photographs depict the descendants with a representation of the item that their ancestors had stolen; with the items providing a link between the ancestor and descendant.”
Mine Konakci

My ancestor chosen was my 5x great-grandmother, Esther Spencer, who I have blogged about in an earlier post. According to the Old Bailey she was “indicted for stealing, on the 17th of July [1794], two silver salt holders, value 18s. two silver salt spoons, value 2s. two silver pepper castors, value 1l [sic. Shilling maybe?]. a silver table spoon, value 14s. the goods of Jacob Ruffy.”  Initially she was sentenced to death, but that was thankfully reduced to transportation for life instead. Lucky for me!!

The bottom photo includes my daughters, Kate, aged 7 (on the right) and Georgia, aged 4.
We don't have the items that Esther stole at the time - they would have been returned to their Mr Ruffy I presume -  so we improvised with various other bits of silverware.
Thanks to Mine Konakci for permission to use the photos in this way.
PS Next time I have such an important photo taken I'll make sure my fringe is cut straight ;)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Third Fleet Transport - Albemarle

If I could make any sense of how to post this message to the Ancestry message boards I'd put it there, but seeing as it's like navigating blind, I'll post here instead:

I've just bought a copy of a book called:

Third Fleet Transport
An Alphabetical Listing of Convicts, Masters, Crew, Naval and Military
Compiled by Merrilyn Minter (RIP)
Published by the Newcastle Family History Society Inc.

Anyone who wants a look-up from the book, just message me any time.
My own ancestor is listed: Thomas Stubbs.

Nothing wrong with this picture!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

My favourite convict, Esther (Salamon) Spencer

I have 5 convict ancestors, and following is my account of my favourite, Esther Spencer (nee Salamon), who was a most remarkable woman. I hope someone out there knows more about her story and can fill in some blanks for me!

Esther was born sometime between July and October 1775, presumably in England. Sadly the UK census doesn’t start until 1841, by which time she is in Australia, and it’s impossible to find a missing person gap in a census. I have no details of her baptism because she was Jewish, and the birth of Jewish girls wasn’t usually recorded. Consequently I have had 20+ years of fruitless searching for her parents.

Sometime before she turned 19 she married a Mr Spencer (the marriage record can’t be found, either), and then was convicted of theft on 16 July 1794 at age 19, and tried at The Old Bailey. She was “indicted for stealing, on the 17th of July, two silver salt holders, value 18s. two silver salt spoons, value 2s. two silver pepper castors, value 1l. a silver table spoon, value 14s. the goods of Jacob Ruffy.” The Newgate Prison entry book describes her as being “19, 5’4”, dark hair, dark eyes, dark complexion, London, married woman Jewess”. Originally she was sentenced to death, but this was commuted to transportation to Sydney for life. In her appeal against the death sentence she said she was pregnant (as you would!) but this may have been a fabrication. She spent a couple of years in Newgate before sailing.

Esther arrived in Sydney on the Indispensable in 1796 where she had quickly took up with fellow convict John Fitz, with whom she had her first two children. She had her first child, Susannah, baptised twice, a year apart, and with a different father listed each time! Her second child, Joseph, died as an infant and was buried in the cemetery where Sydney Town Hall now stands. Fitz then disappears from the records and in 1800 Esther takes up with fellow convict and builder, Englishman Thomas Stubbs. They have nine children together, the first being my 4x great-grandmother, Mary Anne (Marian) Grace Spencer Stubbs. Their second son, Thomas, was a well renowned auctioneer, composer and musician.

Governor Hunter gave Esther land in Phillip Street in 1797, not long after her arrival, where she ran a boarding house. She and Thomas were also known as “dealers” which involved selling goods from arriving ships.

Esther and Thomas Sr were never married, presumably because Esther was still considered married to Mr Spencer, even though they were to never see each other again. Esther and Thomas had a colourful life in the centre of Sydney, being involved in a few court cases, one where Thomas allegedly threatened to strike a man with a tree branch who was stealing quinces from their tree.

Thomas died at the young age of 41, and within a year Esther started a relationship with Joseph Bigge, who had been the coachman for Elizabeth Macquarie. He arrived as a free man in 1809 on the Dromedary. They had two children together, and “Joe the Coachman” as he was known also apprenticed one of Esther and the late Thomas’ sons to him at the livery stables. Sadly Joe died at age 65 in 1833 of horrific burns after falling into his bedroom fireplace at their house above the stables in Phillip Street, Sydney, where the old Police Station building is, down near Circular Quay. According to newspaper reports he had been insane for some time prior to this.

Esther sold off the livery business after his death and used the proceeds to establish the first bathing house in Sydney for ladies and children, at the site of the Andrew “Boy” Charlton Pool at Woolloomooloo Bay. She charged “1 pound per quarter for a lady and three children – for a single lady ditto 10s, and a single baths 6d.” The site was a natural rock shelf into the Harbour where Aboriginal people have been bathing for centuries. As well as providing a bathing service there was also a religious need being met by these baths, as it is Jewish custom for the bride to bathe in sea water on the day of her wedding or the day before, as a form of purification before the ceremony. So Esther was helping keep alive her Jewish traditions in a predominately Christian Sydney. All of her children were baptised in the Anglican Church, presumably as there was no other option available to Esther at that time.

Esther was never granted a Pardon, or Ticket of Leave, and died at age 80 in 1855 and was buried in the Jewish section of the Devonshire Street Cemetery. In 1901 the cemetery site was needed for Central Railway Station, and Esther’s remains were re-interred at the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, known then as Bunnerong. Unfortunately there is no headstone to mark her grave.

She had a very long and colourful life and I’m proud to be descended from such a strong and resilient woman.

Hopefully there are some researchers out there who see a gap in their Salamon family tree and realise now who fits in the spot!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

How to Calculate the Cousin Relationship

Having made contact with a few distant relations this past couple of months has always resulted in the question: "So how exactly are we related?"

Here's how to figure it out.....
  • First cousins are the people in your family who have two of the same grandparents as you.
  • Second cousins have the same great-grandparents as you, but not the same grandparents.
  • Third cousins have in common two great-great-grandparents and their ancestors.
When cousins descend from common ancestors by a different number of generations they are called “removed.”
  • Once removed means there is a difference of one generation. Your mother's first cousin would be your first cousin, once removed. She is one generation younger than your grandparents and you are two generations younger than your grandparents.
  • Twice removed means that there is a two-generation difference. Your grandmother's first cousin would be your first cousin, twice removed because you are separated by two generations.
Still confused??

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Cruckshank wedding photo

This photo has been in my family since it was taken in 1913, 1914 or 1915, and I now seem to be the lucky custodian. It does need some restoration, though, as it's looking a bit spotty in parts.

Does anyone recognise the people in it? I know the older woman on the far right is my paternal great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Lorne CRUCKSHANK (nee BRACKENREG) - (also sometimes spelled Cruickshank). Her husband, John CRUCKSHANK, died in 1912 and Elizabeth is wearing mourning black, and John's not in the photo, so I presume it was taken since then.
Three of Elizabeth's four sons all married in 1914 or 1915, and a daughter in 1913.

So the contenders are these four of her eight children:

a) Ruby Clare CRUCKSHANK marrying Percy A JONES (1913 - West Maitland)
b) Sidney Herbert CRUICKSHANK marrying Maude Annie BENNETT (1914 - Hamilton)
c) Leslie George CRUCKSHANK marrying Louisa Elizabeth HALL (1915 - Narrabri)
d) Cyril Douglas CRUCKSHANK marrying Minnie Florence METCALF (1915 - Cessnock)

Does the placement of the mother-in-law mean anything? If she's standing next to a man does that indicate that he's her son? Or maybe just the best man, possibly unrelated? Her flower is the same as the buttonhole on the man she stands beside, but I don't think he's the groom. I think the groom would be the other seated man with roses in his buttonhole which seem to better match the bride's bouquet. Also, he's sitting in a much fancier chair - surely the groom would get a flashier chair than the best man! I presume the bride always stands in wedding photos so as to show off her dress at it's best.

Any/all ideas welcome :)

Update: well the verdict is in, and it is actually option (e)!!, Ida Ellen MAHER (nee CRUCKSHANK) marrying Wilmott Herbert BAILEY in 1915. My uncle, Kevin COLLINS, recognised Mott BAILEY as he always wore a moustache, which was rare for those times. Mystery solved. (Sigh of delight and relief.)

Friday, 7 September 2012

My biggest genealogical wish (apart from a time machine, of course)

This is my great-grandfather. He was born on 13th November 1885 at the Sydney Benevolent Asylum, which was like a hospital for the destitute, where Central Railway Station now stands. His birth was registered twice by his mother (which is fraud, sorry Ada!), once in Sydney, and once when he was six weeks old, in Jesmond, near Newcastle, NSW. His father was not Willam BARRETT who was Ada's husband (who was in Goulburn Gaol for the attempted murder of their infant son, Andrew's older half-brother Willam - a story of it's own!). 22-year-old Ada (nee MORRANT), with her husband in Gaol and a toddler in tow (ahem!) 'found comfort in the arms of' Newcastle miner Henry Burgess GIBB, and the Benevolent Asylum has his name as Andrew's father, a fact which we would never have known if it was not for another researching relative, Sandra. Collaboration is the key to overcoming brick walls, I believe. Andy's middle name in the second registration below is another clue to his paternity.

The NSW Births, Deaths, Marriages has him listed twice, and I have a copy of both certificates.

Registration/Last Name/Given Name(s)/Father's/Mother's Given/District
Number                                               Given Name(s)  Name(s)

3889/1885 BARRETT  ANDREW GIBB                             ADA    SYDNEY

Known as Andy, he was a coal miner, husband to Rosanna KING, and father to six sons. Born as a BARRETT, but fostered by the COLLINS family in Newcastle as a baby, he named his foster-parents as his parents on his wedding certificate. I have only found out about this skeleton in the COLLINS closet because my great-aunt by marriage, and Andy's daughter-in-law, told me about the COLLINS-BARRETT story in 1989. I'm sure she had no idea about the even bigger skeleton named Henry GIBB! If she hadn't let that cat out of the bag I would have been completely stumped and would never have found Andy's birth once, let alone twice!

So, onto my wish: I wish there was a website where everyone had a number as well as their name, like the registration number of their birth. So Andy might be #1885/3889 (with a link to #1885/3731), then when he married Rosanna KING (maybe #1890/4850) we can track who these people are in relation to their births - that we have the right Andy, not another man by the same name (all you Smiths out there can thank me later). Then when Andy dies, that event is linked to #1885/3889 as well, so we know it was him the death refers to. Births of their children could also be linked to these numbers as well. We could attach our own name and email address to these people as descendants &/or researchers, so that other people looking at Andy would be able to contact me or another family researcher if they wanted to.

Sound good? Hopefully people like the state BDM's won't mind? Do they own that registration number?? So if anyone has the ability/money/time/expertise/inclination to set this all up, feel free. Just remember me in the royalties when the big names in internet genealogy come knocking for inclusion into their searches. Thanks!
PS Andy was apparently a teetotaller, but it looks mighty like a schooner of beer in his hand. Busted!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Michael Stewart aka The Genealogy Widower has entered his 10 More Minutes song in a competition. If you'd like to vote for his song, cut & paste this link into your browser. Thanks!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

This is a beautiful poem written by that prolific poet known only as Anonymous, given to me by my friend, travel buddy, and relative on the Cruckshank side, Marguerita.
Feel free to pass it along.

If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row
Would you be proud of them or not
Or don't you really know?
Some strange discoveries are made
In climbing family trees
And some of them, you know, do not
Particularly please.

If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row
There might be some of them perhaps
You wouldn't care to know
But there's another question, which
Requires a different view:
If you could meet your ancestors
Would they be proud of you?

Thursday, 17 May 2012

10 More Minutes song by the Genealogy Widower, Michael Stewart

I hope you get as much of a laugh from this song as I did. I dedicate it to all the long-suffering partners out there, the ones who'll wait (or even help!) while we trawl through a cemetery looking for a headstone that's "just got to be here somewhere!"

Here's a link to the song, and below are the lyrics:

10 More Minutes by The Genealogy Widower.
I get home from work to the same routine
I'm the one making dinner, my wife stares at the screen
I'm watching the evening news, she's following up some lead
I say "Lets go to bed?' and she ignores she says
"Ten more minutes, I'll be right there!"
Then four hours pass on by
"Ten more minutes!" She just found something
She'll be staying up all night
When the weekend comes I hope to hit the scenes
But she's in hot pursuit that means she's glued to her seat
There's this great big fire building up in me
I must admit, I want to burn all those shaking leaves
Every time she says...
So we live out the same scene almost everyday
We may be in the same room but she's
miles and miles away
Chorus out

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Just starting out with the ancestor list, so many of them!!

Welcome to my first ever blog posting! My aim is to mention and tell some of the life story of my ancestors, a few at a time. Hopefully I'll hear from other descendants - fingers crossed!

Here's a list of all my first ancestors to step foot on Australian soil, and I'll be gradually chatting about all of them. Once I've done my side of the family I'll move onto my husband's side as well.

From my father's side:
  • John GIBB b.1831 Liverpool, England.................arrived Sydney between 1856-1858
  • Ellen Lester MOLLOY (his wife) b.1829 Liverpool, England..................................ditto
  • William George John Hilton MORRANT b.1836 Camden Town, Surrey, England.........arrived Sydney 1866
  • Emily Jane SCRIVEN (his wife) b.1838 Coombe Heath, Croydon, Surrey, England...............................ditto
  • Patrick John O'NEILL b.1794 Hacketstown, Co.Carlow, Ireland.......arr'd William Metcalfe Sydney 1844
  • Esther O'BRIEN (his wife) b.1820 Ballybrack, Co.Wicklow, Ireland.......arr'd William Metcalfe Sydney 1844
  • Patrick MOONEY b.1803 Modreeny (near Thurles), CoTipperary, Ireland....died on the journey David McIvor 1852
  • Julia HOWE (wife of Patrick MOONEY) b.1814 Modreeny (near Thurles), CoTipperary, Ireland....arr'd David McIvor Sydney 1852
  • Henry CRUCKSHANK (or CRUICKSHANK) b.~1815 London (?), England......................arr'd Tasmania 1836-1841
  • Thomas DIXON b.1801 Raby, Sunderland, England.....arrived Tasmania
  • Helen BROWNLOW b1801 Raby, Sunderland, England..............arrived Tasmania
  • James BRACKENREG (or BRACKENRIG) b.1758 Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland........arrived Sydney in 1790 as a soldier on the Second Fleet's Neptune
  • Catherine EADES (nee MILLER) b.1765 Warwickshire, England...............arr'd with soldier husband Jospeh Eades on the Second Fleet's Surprise 1790 to Sydney, & later married James Brackenreg
  • Thomas STUBBS (convict) b.1774, London, England (?).............arr'd Sydney 1791 Albermarle
  • Esther SALAMON (convicted as Esther SPENCER) b.1775 England (?)......arr'd Sydney 1796 Indespensible. Esther is my favourite ancestor as she led such a colourful life, although her life before her conviction as a 19yo married Jewess remains a mystery
  • Samuel BAILEY (convict) b.1792 London, England (?)...............arr'd Sydney 1817 Lord Eldon
  • Sarah SMITH (convicted as Sarah MORRIS) b.1799 England.........arr'd Sydney 1826 on Princess Charlotte with daughter Jane Morris
  • John KING b.1815 Co.Clare, Ireland......................................arr'd in Victoria 1841 on Neptune
  • Mary ANGLIM (ANGLEUM?) b.1815 Co.Clare, Ireland.......arr'd in Victoria 1841 on Neptune
  • James AMBROSE b.1816 Co.Limerick, Ireland............arr'd in Victoria 1841 on Branken Moor
  • Mary McGRATH b.1823 Co.Limerick, Ireland.................arr'd in Victoria 1841 on Mary Nixon
From my mother's side:

  • James GABRIEL b.1862 St Finnbarr's, Co.Cork, Ireland...........arr'd Victoria 1888 with the British Royal Navy
  • Minnie Louisa TURNER b.1857 Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.....arr'd Victoria 1888 on Potose
  • Henry MILLARD b.~1813 Surrey, England...........................................arr'd by 1842 in Victoria
  • Jane CORBETT b.~1815 England (?).....................................................arr'd by 1842 in Victoria
  • Martha Ann CORDELL's parents or grandparents - whoever they were!!!
  • Henry TUCK b.1810 Isle of Skye, Scotland (allegedly).......................arr'd Tasmania ~1822 (?). Henry's another mystery person in my tree. Was he really born in Skye? No proof available either way.
  • Catherine FALVEY b.1813 Co.Cork, Ireland..................arr'd Tasmania in 1829 on Bussorah Merchant as "wife of a sawyer" who was Henry Tuck, but no mention of Henry on the same ship. Their marriage date (according to the family bible) is also a mystery, as it's 14 Feb 1829 which would've been before they boarded in Cork to come to Tasmania. Why was Henry in Cork if he'd come out here 7 years before? No record in Tasmania, Victoria, or the IGI.
  • Patrick KENNEDY b.1797 Co.Tipperary, Ireland.................arr'd Victoria 1859 on the Lightning
  • Anne ?? (wife of Patrick Kennedy) b? presumably Co.Tipperary.......................................ditto
  • William Walter CLEAVE b.1808 Devon, England...arr'd Victoria 1844-45 on the "Theresa"
  • Dorothea DRIVER b.1809 Co.Wicklow, Ireland................................................arr'd before 1852
  • Andrew RICHEY b.1788 Downpatrick, Co.Down, Ireland........................arr'd 1839 on Garrow
  • Mary HARPER b.1789 Downpatrick, Co.Down, Ireland...........................arr'd 1839 on Garrow 

So there you have it, all of my "people". At least 4 of them were convicts, but whatever else they were - they were bloody brave!

Enough for one night. As my patient husband says: "they'll still be dead tomorrow".