Wednesday, November 26, 2014

From Margate to Melbourne : In Preparation for the Long Voyage

These last few months I have been sorting through the many documents and photographs that belong to my husband. All of us who have ancestors that made the long voyage from Britain to Australia must wonder what they endured on this long voyage. Amongst the papers my husband has are two known letters from his Great Great Grandfather William Robert Brown to his wife Anna Bradshaw, that had previously been transcribed by a family member; but who that was nobody knows, nor does anyone know what happened to the original letters. Transcribing this transcription of the first known letter, I was astounded at what it contained – it is basically tips on how his wife and child should prepare for “The Voyage” and what to expect both onboard and on arrival – advice we would find strange these modern times.

William Robert Brown
(From the Ancestry Member Tree " Kim Mountfords Family Tree")

Anna Bradshaw
(From the Ancestry Member Tree " Kim Mountfords Family Tree")

William Robert Brown was born on 25 September 1829 in Margate, Kent, England. William Robert married Anna Bradshaw on August 17 1852 at the Old Church Saint Pancras in London aged 22.

Four months later in December 1852 he was aboard the ship “Barrackpore” on his way to Australia, arriving in Melbourne on 17 February 1853. At this time Anna was pregnant with their son, Willie [William Robert Brown Junior] being born in Margate, Kent on July 11 1853. Whether either husband or wife was aware of this fact upon his leaving is unknown. 

It was however to be 10 years before William Robert was to be reunited with Anna and his son, Wille. During his time in Australia William Robert had worked at a number of properties, finally settling near Maryborough in Victoria. In the 1851 UK census, William Robert’s occupation had been an ostler (a man employed to look after the horses of people staying at an inn), and his father a stable keeper, so it was most likely that he was employed in looking after the horses at whatever property his was engaged at. 

By 1862, he must have saved enough money to send for his wife and son to join him in Victoria. At the time he wrote to Anna organizing her voyage to Australia, he was working on the property “Norwood”, owned by Alfred Joyce

I am unsure of what kept them true to each other, and his letters do not display affection, though they certainly show concern for her welfare. To me, it seems he took a lot of pains in writing his letters, but I will leave the reader to make what they will of William Robert Brown’s character an the nature of his relationship with his wife. How Anna felt about this journey can only be guessed at. Anna and Willie arrived in 1863 aboard the “Merrie Monarch” The family  settled permanently in the Maryborough area in Victoria where two more children were soon born. I do hope that Anna found the wrench from her family and homeland worth the difficulties she must have faced alone on a long voyage to a strange land.

Norwood August 23 1862

Dear Anna,

            I received a letter from you a few days ago dated June 18. I was glad to hear that you and Willie were quite well. I am quite well myself. I am glad to hear that you are ready to start for Australia. At present I don’t know whether I shall be able to send you the passage ticket by this mail or not. I was in to Maryborough to get it two days ago and I had to send the money to Melbourne (8 pounds for you and Willie), and I may not get the ticket back in time to send by the Mail which leaves in two or three days time, but whether I get it on time or not, I must begin to write instructions for you. I shall enclose a draft for 20 pounds in this [letter]. You will have nothing more to pay for your passage. The ticket that I shall send will bring you from London to Melbourne. I shall have to write you instructions how to act to get on board the Ship when I get the ticket. 

With respect to the 20 pounds, I wish you to do as follows; 5 pounds, I wish you to spend on Books for me as I have directed you in another place, 8 pound with what you have left of the 5 pound I sent you last month, I think will be enough for to buy what things you will want and pay your expenses until you get on board of the Ship, and 7 pounds, you will want to take on board the Ship with you, for I think it will cost yourself, Willie and the luggage 5 pound to get from Melbourne to where I am. I shall not come to Melbourne to meet you, for it will be only loss of time and money, for it would be useless for me to go to Melbourne before you arrived there, and whilst I was coming, to you, you could come to me. Melbourne is very different now than when I arrived there. You will not have to stop in Melbourne more than one night after you leave the ship (and you can stay on board the ship 7 days after it arrives, if you like.) There will be a railway open to within 30 miles where I am when you arrive. I would not take less than 7 pound on board the Ship with you if you can possibly help it. If you leave England in November, it will be summer in Australia when you arrive, and after you have left England a fortnight, you will get in to warm weather and it will be warm all the way out.

Now I must tell you a few things what you must buy, of course you know what money you have got to spend. I don’t suppose you have got a very large stock of clothes, what under clothing you want, you will know best, but I would not buy much; any old things will do to wear on board the ship. I would recommend you to buy two new dresses, one common and one good one, but I would not make them until you arrived. If you have one decent dress to wear when you arrive it will do. I would like you to appear a little bit respectable when you come, but I will leave that to you. I would not attempt to do any needlework on board the ship; no more than you have need to repair what you are wearing, and if you have any good things, don’t take them out of your box on board. If you do, the sea air will spoil them. I would advise you to buy two pairs of good boots (I don’t mean men’s Knee boots), but cloth boots for yourself, and two pairs of shoes for Willie. Mind they are plenty big enough for him for him, for recollect that he is growing. Let him wear his old ones on board the ship. You may reckon on being 12 or 13 weeks coming out. Wear all your old underclothing. First wear them as long as you can, and if they are not worth much, throw them over board. Don’t attempt to wash any thing on board. I don’t know whether you are a teetotaler or not, but don’t take any thing to drink of ale, wine, porter or liquors from any one, nor do not let Willie have any if you can help it. I need not tell you to be civil and obliging to every one on board the ship, as far as lies in your power, but you will have to keep your eyes open and look after your own or perhaps you will have sometimes to go hungry. Don’t make to intimate with any one, or tell them too much of your affairs, and be careful of your money, or you will lose it, for there are most times thieves on board every ship. I would advise you to sew 6 sovereigns up your stays until you get on shore at Melbourne. Don’t go to the fore part of the ship no more than you are obliged to go to the cook house, and keep Willie away from there if you can. You will have to keep a good look out for him, or you may lose him overboard. If you have the money to spare, buy a good large strong box, and put all the things in it you do not want on the passage, especially the Books you get for me. Wrap them up in flannel to keep the damp away from them. You will be allowed to have one or two small boxes in your cabin. Have a lock on one of them, and keep it locked while you are away from it. It is better to be sure than sorry. I know there was a good many persons complaining of losing things in the Ship that I came in.

With respect to the things that you will want on the passage in the eating way, a few apples and oranges are good in case of sea sickness. I would advise you to get a few pounds of soft biscuits and get some thin slices of bread and toast them; they will keep for a few weeks, and get about twenty pounds of flour in a calico bag, and take on board with you, for puddings are about the best things you can get cooked on board. When you make a pudding, make it early in the morning and take it to the cook soon after breakfast, or you will not get it boiled enough. When I came out, we used to make puddings every day. We used [to] break some biscuit into small pieces and soak them in fresh water all night with about as much flour as biscuit mixed well up together with suet, and well boiled, makes a good pudding to eat with preserved meat or soups. With respect to bed clothes, you will want about the same on board the Ship as you want at home in the winter; you will know if you have enough or not.

When you know what Ship you are coming by, you will write and let me know the name of the Ship, and the day she is to sail, and when you arrive in Australia, have a letter written to send on shore the first opportunity (I will enclose a stamp to put on it), directed to Mr. Wm. Robt. Brown, Alma, Nth Maryborough, and as soon as I get a letter from you, letting me know the name of the Ship, and when it is to sail from London, I shall write to you, instructing you how to act to find me. The letter will be directed, Mrs. Anna Brown, Passenger per the name of the ship, Melbourne. You will send for it as soon as you arrive, or if the Ship is a long side of the pier, you might go on shore for it yourself. I would advise you to stay three or four days on board after you arrive, and have sent a letter to me, to give me an opportunity of getting your letter, and then go on shore. You will have my letter then, telling you what to do, but if you should not get a letter from me, I would advise you to go to the Wesleyan Home, 40 Drummond St., Melbourne, and write to me again, and if you don’t hear any thing of me in six days after you arrive, you may make your way to where I am now living, and if you do not find me, you will hear something of me. The name of the person I am now working for is Alfred Joyce Esq., Norwood, Near Maryborough. You will write and tell me what day you are going to start from Melbourne two days before, so that I might be able to meet you. You will leave Melbourne by the first train in the Morning. Book yourself and luggage for Maryborough. It is seven miles from where I am living.

I wish you would bring all the books you can, for I am fond of reading, and if you can get a few pictures of the Exhibition, bring them. I suppose you will go to Margate before you leave. If you do, I wish you would ask Mrs. H. Gore [one of his five sisters] for me for any Books or papers she can spare. I don’t think I shall be able to write to her this month. Give my kind love to all of them. It is quite possible that we shall not meet again in this world, but we have a hope of meeting in a better. August 23; I have not received the passage ticket from Melbourne yet, so shall have to send this letter without it, and you will have to wait another month for it. I would not spend much money before you get another letter from me, for I may have to send you more money for you to pay your own passage. It is not certain until I get a letter from Melbourne. If I get the passage ticket and send it by the next Mail, you will have to go to London as soon as you can after you get it. You will have to take the ticket to the shipping office, and they will tell you the name of the ship you are to go by, and the day she is to sail. They must find you a ship within a month. It may be in 1, 2 or 3 weeks after you show them the ticket. I expect they send a ship away once a month, so it will depend (how long you will have to wait) on the last ship that sailed. I would not waste more time than you can help, but don’t start before you are ready.

I cannot think of anything else to tell you this time. I think I have told you nearly all I can at present. I have not said anything to Mother or anyone else the reason why I altered my mind, and I shall not do so unless they give me occasion to do so. I told them that circumstances had occurred to cause me to alter my mind and that I was able to get a good living in Australia and to save money, and that I thought it was folly for me to return home, for I could not see how I was to get a living in England. I expect they will think you have told me something, but you need not mind what they think, or what they say. I really believe that relatives are best apart.

I shall not send you the list of Books I wish you to get for me until next month. I sent you a Post Office order last month for 5 pounds. I hope you got it safe. Write again as soon as you get this. My address is Mr. Wm. Robt. Brown, Alma, Nr. Maryborough, Victoria, Australia. You need not put “late of Margate, Kent” anymore. My kind love to Aunt & Uncle Brown, Mr. & Mrs. Naylor and all friends [and] your Mother. Give my love to all the girls. I will write to them all soon.

I have told you all I can this time. I will commit you to Him, who is both able and willing to guide, guard and direct you. Do not forget to ask constantly for that assistance which you stand in need of. I feel assured that all things are working together for our good, and it is my daily prayer that God will guide us with His counsel and afterwards receive us to glory. Give my love to Willie.

Remaining Yours,
W.R. Brown

NOTE:  This transcription has spelling and punctuation corrections, as well as paragraph breaks to enable easier reading though sentence structure has remained faithful to the original.

In further posts I hope to deal with the second known letter from William Robert to Anna, and the sad circumstances of his death, back home in Margate for a holiday in 1891

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Ancestry online trees and Synching to FTM for Mac problem

OR… How to stop myself from tearing my hair out

I have spent the majority of today on a steep leaning curve. Though I purchased FTM for Mac v.2, about 12 months ago, today was my first attempt at uploading the changes made on FTM to my online ancestry tree.

Before doing this, I spent many hours cleaning up the FTM database; deleting unrelated people who were added by son no. 2, last year when he first started showing an interest in his family history – he added anyone with his surname that he could find. I guess I should have emphasized the need to ensure they were actually related, but I was too thrilled with his interest to interfere too much.

I also spent an extra couple of hours resolving place names, and deleting place names that had no person attached.

I used this file to experiment with, as it was relatively small with 1152 people. I reduced this today to 832. However, once synched I have noticed an anomaly. The FTM file shows the correct 832 people, while the online tree still shows the original 1152! I notice when synching that it seems to go both ways, even if the only changes were made in FTM.

What am I doing wrong? How do I get rid of those unrelated Ottery family members without doing the same process on my Ancestry Member Tree? It is easy, though time consuming, to do in FTM but almost impossible online.  One of the reasons I purchased this software was so that I did not have to repeat my research or corrections in two different places. So should I delete the online tree and upload the new and cleaner tree (I still have a bit of work to do deleting multiple facts, such as “Residence” for the same 1851 English census, which appears two or three times on various individuals)

And that is besides the irritation of the original 303 media files not downloading when I first started this process 12 months ago, and which caused my original despondency and lack of confidence in continuing with this process until now. Or do I put it away for another 12 months while my hair grows back?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Australia Day Challenge 2014 : Climbing my Family's Gum Tree

 Here is my attempt at this challenge as set by Cassmob

My first ancestor to arrive in Australia was: James Lefroy from Cork arrived on the 6 September 1832, aged 28 years. James was tried in Co Mayo for stealing a watch. A jockey and coachman by trade, he was sentenced to 7 years and sent to Port Jackson aboard the ship "Eliza".
Note: the latest arrival was 1862, so within a 30 year period, my ancestors were all settled in Australia
I have Australian Royalty (tell us who, how many): I have 6 convicts in my direct family line, 3 males who partnered and married 3 female convicts. James Lefroy married Olive King in Sydney; Fanny Norman married Henry Nicholls in Hobart; John Roberts married Sophia Lawrence  in Maitland, NSW
I’m an Aussie mongrel, my ancestors came to Oz from: Mainly England, then Ireland with a few Scottish and two Welsh thrown in. I have absolutely no idea of where my 3x Great Grandfather Owen Smith came from.

Did any of your ancestors arrive under their own financial steam? Some came as convicts, some as Bounty immigrants, some as assisted passengers and only a couple came as unassisted passengers, while some swam.
Note: My GG Grandmother, Agnes Jane Johnson, was keen to note her occupation on her marriage certificate as “Free settler’s daughter”
How many ancestors came as singles? 14 
How many came as couples? None as far as I can tell
How many came as family groups? 5, one woman came with her 5 children after her husband had died, the other couples had between 2 and 6 children with them
 NOTE:  For the above 3 questions, these are only figures for the people I can account for - as many swam, I am unsure if they had the support of a spouse or family
Did one person lead the way and others follow? I  do know that GGG Grandfather, Michael Dillon sponsored his brother Patrick who arrived in 1855.
What’s the longest journey they took to get here? As Ralf McTell says:
“It's a long way from Clare to here 
It's a long, long way 
It gets further by the day 
It's a long, long way from Clare to here”
Did anyone make a two-step emigration via another place? Not that I am aware of.
Which state(s)/colony did your ancestors arrive? 16 arrived in NSW; 2 were sent to Van Diemen’s Land, and 3 landed in Moreton Bay in Queensland, but all very quickly settled in NSW. Unsure of others as I am yet to find their arrivals.
Did they settle and remain in one state/colony? Yes, New South Wales
Did they stay in one town or move around? My father’s family all settled in the New England Tablelands and many are still there, while my maternal line nearly all settled around the Hunter district, before moving to Sydney, while a few stayed in Sydney from the time of their arrival
Do you have any First Australians in your tree? Only by marriage. My cousin married an indigenous boy whom she went to school with. He went on to captain Australia in our Rugby Union team, the Wallabies, but their children would be my 1st cousins once removed. The mother of the husband of my father’s aunt, Susan Hill, was also an indigenous woman, so his cousins would be of aboriginal descent
Were any self-employed? My Morgan forebears, who came from Wales were skilled iron Moulders. After settling in Wallsend, near Newcastle (NSW), they set up a foundry business that seemed to do quite well. It is an area I need to research in more depth.
What occupations or industries did your earliest ancestors work in? Drayman, Painter and decorator, Coachman and Jockey, Iron moulders and miners, “Man of Wars Man” i.e., a Royal Navy steward, Tobacco twisters, then lots of farm labourers.
Does anyone in the family still follow that occupation? Most of the occupations that employed my ancestors no longer exist. There were two exceptions; my father’s cousin was one of the few descendants to stay on the land; taking up part of the original station, “Booroolong”, near Armidale until his death in 2005. The family had effectively worked on this station continuously from around 1850. My Roberts family also worked in the tobacco industry in its many forms from the 1840’s until the mid 1970’s.
Did any of your ancestors leave Australia and go “home”? Not really, though I do wonder what happened to the convict Henry Nicholls who had a wife and children back in Canterbury, England. He disappears soon after his last child is born in NSW, and I can find no record of him dying in Australia.
The brother of my Great Grandfather, though born in Australia, went to live in England when he was a young man, dying in Surrey in 1971.

What’s your State of Origin? New South Wales - C'arn the Mighty Blues and Glory, Glory to South Sydney..
Do you still live there? No, but I still feel like a Sydney girl, actually I still call myself a Malabar girl; the suburb I grew up in – the area is ingrained in my soul – my true home is the landscape beneath the new homes, the rocks and cliffs and surrounding ocean.

Me on he rocks at Malabar, c1960
Where was your favourite Aussie holiday place as a child? We didn't have many family holidays, as we didn't have a car until I was about 10 years old. Then Dad liked to travel to his home town of Glen Innes and surrounds.I preferred to stay home over the summer holidays to be near the beach and my friends. I liked the beach and there were too many trees in the country!
Any special place you like to holiday now? Each year I like to travel to the Central Coast of NSW to attend my Roberts’ family reunion. We always stay at the same holiday house at Forresters Beach.

View from the Forresters Beach  House

Share your favourite spot in Oz: Any beach, with golden sand, warm water, preferably with surf with lots of sunshine and no or only a few people:
Any great Aussie adventure you've had? Travelling to Katherine in the NT with my husband who had to work there a few weeks after the flood in 1998. The whole experience was surreal but amazing. After his month of work was finished, we spent another couple of weeks exploring Kakadu and other amazing places in the Northern Territory, even though it was still technically the wet season.

Katherine in flood, January 1998
What’s on your Australian holiday bucket list? Broome and the Kimberley coast; A trip around NSW visiting and retracing places my family lived – especially in the New England Tablelands – I had planned to do this last year, but health issues prevented us. I can only hope that my husband becomes able to tolerate travelling distances once again.

How do you celebrate Australia Day? Now, it’s really just another day, so nothing special. I have never been particularly nationalistic in my outlook or behaviour. Many years ago all of hubby’s aunts and cousins and their children would come to our place for a BBQ, but now the aunts have passed away and the children grown, and the cousins more dispersed

I am glad I finished this geneameme; it has taken some time and was quite difficult, but it showed just how much I don't know about so many of my direct ancestors - so thanks Pauleen, I really do have quite a bit of work ahead of me!