Showing posts with label Van Diemen's Land. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Van Diemen's Land. Show all posts

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Incredible Hulk

Success - hulk similar to where George was imprisoned.
No photographs of the Ganymede appear to exist.

After a bit of a break I ventured onto the Ancestry site and noticed that they had 'new' prison hulk registers and letter books. I found that my ol' pal, George WHITE was held on the Ganymede while awaiting trial and/or transportation to Van Diemen's Land in 1834.

[click to view larger image]


The Ganymede was originally the French frigate Hébé  which was captured in 1809. She was converted to a prison hulk in 1819 and broken up in 1838 (source: Wikipedia) (AND the Index of 19th Century Naval Vessels).  Hulks were not nice places to be and it seems George was lucky enough to stay in one for under a year.


The Intolerable Hulks by Charles F. Campbell seems like a good read.

UPDATE:
In response to a couple of comments below (always welcome) about the fate of the prison hulk Ganymede, I feel I should mention the possibility there are OTHER ships/hulks also named the Ganymede.  The ship I refer to was formerly

The French L'HEBE taken by Capt. SCHOMBERG in LOIRE in the Atlantic on 5 January 1809. Broken up in 1838 (source: Michael Phillips' Ships of the Old Navy - http://www.ageofnelson.org/MichaelPhillips/info.php?ref=0998)

I have found reference to ANOTHER Ganymede - an iron clipper-barque built in 1868 which was hulked in 1912 (source).  

Although I don't claim superior naval knowledge, it is more likely that the Ganymede my commenters refer to as being used as a convict vessel in 1839, is a DIFFERENT ship to either of these as ship names were often REUSED.

I feel I should also add here that wikipedia was not my only source. The Index of 19th Century Naval Vessels also contained this information and I have updated my source in the post to include this link.

However, if you feel you have evidence that proves these ships are in fact the same vessel I would be really interested to hear about it.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Using Convict Records to Go Back

The wonderful Tasmanian Archives site has a wealth of records available online - particularly for those researching their convict ancestors. 

My ancestor, Elizabeth ALLEN arrived in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) aboard the convict ship, Margaret in 1843.  The details given by her where recorded upon her arrival.

Coming from a large city like Birmingham, with a relatively common name, I had lost hope of finding who Elizabeth ALLEN's parents were. For some strange reason - perhaps I was having trouble reading the handwriting or deciphering the code used - I didn't realise how much family information was contained on my ancestor's arrival record when I first viewed it. After looking again at her arrival record, I could now see that the information I needed was there waiting for me.

(Male and Female Convicts image via National Archives of Australia)



Allen, Elizabeth
Height: 5/2 1/4
Age: 20
Calling: [Domestic Servant] & Needlewoman
Where Tried: Warwickshire, Birmingham Boro QS
When Tried: 21 October 1842
Sentence: 10
Native Place: Birmingham


Married or Single: S
Children: [blank]
Religion: CE
Read or Write: R
Relations - Apprenticeship - Where Last Residing: F Isaac at Churchill 2B Josiah & Wm 1S Mary Ann with my father; 9 [months?] on the Town
Ship Character: Fair
Offences: Stg a shawl [from? Gt?] Hampton St; once for same 3 mos

My interpretation:
F = father Isaac at Churchill
2B = 2 brothers Josiah and William
1S = 1 sister Mary Ann
These siblings (or at least Mary Ann) are living with her father in Churchill. 

('9 months on the town' seems to indicate that Elizabeth had also been prostituting herself).

Using Family Search, I searched the IGI for the birth of Elizabeth ALLEN around 1822, including her father's name Isaac.  I found an appropriate entry for 29 Sep 1822 in Harborne, Staffordshire. Harborne was so near to Birmingham that it became a suburb in 1890 (source).


To check this was the right record and accept her mother's name as Ann, I then searched for her siblings birth entries.  I was able to find Josiah and Mary Ann, also born in Harborne (no record of William as yet).  Ann was recorded as Ann PHILLIPS on Josiah's record, Anne Philis on Mary Ann's and simply Ann on Elizabeth's.

I was also able to find the likely marriage record for Isaac and Ann - 26 Aug 1821, Halesowen, Worcester - Ann was recorded as Ann Phillis GEALEY/GALEY.  So was Phillis another Christian name or a mistranscription of Phillips?

Next Steps:

  • Find ALLEN birth entries in Harborne parish registers

  • Locate family members on 1841 census (and beyond)

  • Find marriage record in Halesowen parish registers

  • Determine Isaac and Ann's birthplaces/dates

Sunday, 14 March 2010

I Feel the Need... the Need for FOCUS

I've been MIA the last few weeks as I travelled back to Australia for my brother's wedding (which was lovely).
Sadly, my grandmother's health has deteriorated and she has now moved to Sydney to be closer to my uncle. (Interestingly, she is a direct descendant of the BUCHAN lunatics I've been blogging about and is also suffering from senility). 

However, this move uncovered many photograph albums that I think even grandma had forgotten existed.  She told me once that she had thrown out all her old photos because she didn't think anyone was interested (!).  Happily, this has turned out not to be the case and I pored over loads of antique photographs of her life (which until now I had never seen).  More on those when I have access to a scanner...


image via doubleday

In other news, I am currently reading a new book entitled, 'Tasmania's Convicts' by Alison Alexander, which I found whilst in Australia.  I am less than halfway through but find it addictive reading and am happy to recommend it to anyone researching convict ancestors in Van Diemen's Land.  It even mentions my ancestor Elizabeth ALLEN (very briefly) who was transported there in 1843 for stealing a shawl.

My brother has just returned from his honeymoon in Tasmania, where he had spent part of it 'researching' at Port Arthur. I hope to receive some information from him in the near future.

My head is swimming with genealogy right now so I've decided to focus on my convict ancestors for a while to give me a bit of focus.  No doubt when I get this scanner, I'll be flitting around again though.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Black Sheep Sunday

Hobart Town from the New Town Road by J.S. Prout (1844)
via NotoriousStrumpets.com.au

Carrying on from last week's Black Sheep Sunday post. I have managed to have find some more snippets of information of my Black Sheep duo - George WHITE and Elizabeth ALLEN.
World Vital Records offered free records until the 18th (tomorrow) so I took them up on their offer. I must say, I do find the site a bit of confusing. Searches for records of specific places (such as UK, Australia and New Zealand) tend to also include the American records in the results. This may be something an experienced user can combat but for me, time is of the essence!
Tucked away in the Hobart Town Gazette of 1844 were 2 references for each of my beloved convicts.

Hobart Town Gazette - 8 March 1844
Elizabeth Allen, Margaret, to Zachary Pocock, Hobart



Hobart Town Gazette - 16 August 1844
George White, George III., from J. & R. Meikle, Murray-street,
to Thomas Allcock, Hobart Town.


Hobart Town Gazette - 12 November 1844
George White, George the Third, by Thomas Allcock, Liverpool-street,
2 months, 21st ditto [October]




Hobart Town Gazette - 8 October 1844
Elizabeth Allen, Margaret, by George Lewis, Restdown, 1 month, from 10th ditto [September].


These snippets refer to whose private service they entered as a passholder.

From 1840 convicts usually served an initial period of "probation" in government work gangs, before becoming "passholders" who competed in the labour market. In the context of high unemployment, this meant that thousands of serving convicts joined ticket-of-leave holders and emancipists to roam the island in search of work. The sight of these workers, who by necessity or choice often lived rough in the bush, horrified and frightened the free settlers... (Source: Van Diemen's Land by James Boyce - found via Google Books).

Next steps:
  • Search for other issues of the Hobart Town Gazette
  • Research the employers listed for some background information