Assisted Emigration

Here I am in Canberra for the 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry. For those of you also attending, particularly if you are users of Legacy Family Tree software, do stop at the VicGUM stand and say hello.

Here at the Congress I am particularly looking forward to Day 1, Session 1 Simon Fowler’s session Shovelling out paupers: researching assisted emigration in English archives.

I have a handful of ancestors who were able to come to the Australian colonies because of assistance received from the government (mostly) or privately (one or two). Each have their own stories but I view their journey mostly from the prevailing conditions in the colonies and their experiences once they got here. Not from the point of view of the government who made it possible.

The most notable emigrants were my two greats grandparents Francis Baulch and his wife Ann Bowles. They, with their families, emigrated as bounty migrants arriving in Tasmania in 1842. Francis came with his brothers Charles and Enoch Baulch. Also aboard was Charles Bartlett and his family. Francis Baulch and Charles Baulch were granted funds by the Pitney, Somerset churchwardens to help them prepare for emigration. It was the Tasmanian landowners who sent Henry Dowling to select suitable agricultural labourers. It was as agricultural labourers that they later found success around Tower Hill in south western Victoria – when the labour there left for the goldfields in the early 1850s.

It is a no brainer as to why Lazarus Watts left his employment as a young chimney sweep in Nottingham after his mother died in 1858. He came with his sister Lydia and his brother in law William Porter. Both men found work in the goldfields – William as a shoemaker and Lazarus as a sawyer.

Similarly, Thomas Wild would have found his trade of blacksmithing useful in the Victorian colonies. But less so his brother in law, and my two greats grandfather, Brian Abbey a weaver from Elland, Yorkshire. He initially found work as a colporteur.

Which leads to a question. What part did religion play in the emigration of these families? Was it mere coincidence that couples may have met as part of the Methodist Church or did the Methodist Church play a more significant part in the lives of these very poor people?

Enabling my ancestors wasn’t confined to government assistance at the time of emigration. Following the death of his father my great grandfather Charles Salter was sponsored as a pupil of Christ’s Hospital Blue Coat School. This subsequently led to his employment with Royal Insurance Co initially in England but after 1873 in Melbourne where he spent the rest of his working life still with Royal Insurance.

Charles Salter’s experience as a beneficiary of private philanthropy has me wondering about the means by which my two greats grandfather William Newman may have emigrated to Victoria to marry Ann Cathcart, an Eliza Caroline Irish orphan, in November 1852. At the time of the 1851 England Census William was a lodger at the New Model Lodging House in Westminster and his sister Emma was a pupil at the Grey Coat Hospital School nearby. Did he receive government assistance to emigrate or was he the recipient of some private emigration scheme that helped him, and his sister, following the death of their parents?

Even after all these years of doing family history research it seems that I have only looked at the tip of the iceberg. Understanding the circumstances from which my ancestors came also includes understanding how they were able to, or were encouraged to, take advantage of, in particular, government emigration schemes.

Let the Congress begin.

Genealogy Do Over – DNA (1)

The results of my first foray into DNA testing arrived in time for consideration as part of GDO Week 10 DNA considerations. My first request was not for myself nor for my brother but for a cousin of my father’s as she is a direct maternal descendant of my two greats grandmother Lydia Watts.
I have over the past three weeks paused to reflect again on my Genealogy Do Over so far. I have come to the conclusion that until the Do Over I have been beguiled by the ease of access electronically to many sources. This has caused me to churn my research. To do the same searches over and over again. With the same results. I may not have brick walls at these places at all. I have been trapped into looking at the sources that are easy to access rather than those that are most likely to give me some results.
Way back in Week 1 of the Genealogy Do Over we were advised to set aside our genealogical research so far, to abandon our bad habits and start over. What good advice! My perceived brick walls may not be brick walls at all. I have been just too lazy to put together a research plan that, while it may involve some actual work by me, is more likely to yield my hoped for results.
I was particularly struck by this when I asked for a review of where I was at with my Ralston ancestors at the recent Glasgow and Strathclyde region library research day at the Genealogical Society of Victoria. All that is lacking is a little actual work on my part. Something that I would have done years ago before the advent of personal computers and online databases. I should be searching a little further afield than just at Ralston, Renfrewshire. Not churning through the Paisley registers again and again. The information contained therein is exactly the same as what was there last time I looked.
Sure, there is a lot of planning and there is some actual research to do. Sure most of the information may only be available in various repositories and not online. Yet isn’t this now I went about my family research before the 1990s?
Similarly, I have doubts about the Charles, son of Roger Baulch and Elizabeth Gaylard, who was baptised on 25 Jan 1767 in Muchelney, Somerset, being my ancestor for a Charles Baulch was buried just over a month later on 8 Mar 1767 at Muchelney (see http://www.freereg.org.uk/). But have I searched those surrounding parishes not yet indexed on either FreeREG, FamilySearch or Somerset Online Parish Clerks (http://wsom-opc.org.uk/)? No. I just took fright at the number of parishes yet to be searched.
On the other hand at least I have started gathering information about John Bourke Ryan. So easy to search for as he always used his full name. I have found some rich archival material which I have transcribed. Nevertheless before I start churning my online research here I do need to stop and think about the information so far gathered. And how that all fits in with the economic and political climate at the time.
Which brings me to Mary McCade or McCord, the mother of Lydia and Lazarus Watts.
The 1841 and 1851 England Censuses indicate that Mary was born in Foreign Parts (that is, she wasn’t born in the British Isles) although, as I have found, that information isn’t necessarily correct.
The question now is – was Mary of British ethnicity or was she of the ethnic background of wherever she was born? Or someplace else for that matter.
Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to daughter. The test results I have just received yielded an mtDNA haplogroup of J1c9 – a classification that is confined to the United Kingdom. This haplogroup had been passed to my father’s grandmother, Eliza Ann Porter by her mother Lydia Watts. Lydia Watts would have received this haplogroup from her mother Mary McCade or McCord.
While Mary may have been born in foreign parts it is possible that she and perhaps her family returned to the United Kingdom and, as their children didn’t arrive until after George Watts was pensioned out of the British Army, it is also possible that George Watts and Mary McCade married, not in foreign parts, but in England.
Another brick wall for which I must stop churning and start creating a research plan that may actually yield some results.

Genealogy Do Over – Week 3

Land Registers at the Public Record Office of Victoria
Land Registers at the Public Record Office of Victoria

TRACKING RESEARCH

Why is it necessary to track my research?

Mainly because I have unwittingly doubled up on my research. More often than I care to admit. Often more than twice for the same information. Also, I have ignored obvious sources of further research. I have frequently been distracted by those Bright Shiny Objects (such as my favourite Land Registers pictured above). So let me just admit it. My research process has just grown haphazardly over the years. And it shows. If I had only taken more care updating my processes for keeping track of my research I would have saved so much time.

Genealogy Research Log

In 2014 I set aside my pen and notebook for a tablet and Legacy’s To-Do List.

So I have been rather dismayed to read of the enthusiasm for using a spreadsheet based research log. Just something else for me to lose track of I thought. My sister agreed. Keep everything in the one place she said.

What in ever was I worried about? In listening to Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do Over webinar for Legacy Family Tree I found my post decision justification.

With very little tweaking I have now created a general Legacy To-Do Item template containing all the elements I wish to include in a research log. Particularly new is the note to remind me to add any relevant file names or links. Thank you Thomas MacEntee for that tip.

Now it’s just a simple matter to copy the template to a new To-Do Item. This is analogous to a creating another line in a spreadsheet based Research Log.

Furthermore, I have done a couple of other things to clean up my research process. First, I have aligned the To-Do Item Categories to the names (or Categories) of my top level Media folders. Well, mostly. If necessary, this adjustment should make it even easier to find my Media files. Next, I have the one place – in Legacy’s To-Do List – for the three levels of my planned research:

  1. The top level To-Do Item will outline my research plan for a three month period. My current research plan, for example, is my plan for the Genealogy Do Over. One element of this plan is to establish my connection to my three greats grandfather, George Watts.
  2. The second level To-Do Item is more specific. For example, the goal here is still to establish my connection to George Watts. But at this level I have listed the birth, marriage and death information I am relying on to establish this connection. These include birth and marriage information for myself and birth, marriage and death information for:
    1. Donald George Baulch,
    2. Parke Egbert Baulch,
    3. Eliza Ann Porter and
    4. Lydia Watts.
  3. The bottom, or more detailed, level of my To-Do Items is creating a To-Do Item that is equivalent to a line in aspreadsheet based Research Log. At this level I have a To-Do Item for each step in establishing my connection to George Watts. These are:
      1. in my record, a To-Do item for establishing my connection to Donald George Baulch,
      2. in the record for Donald George Baulch, a To-Do item for establishing his connection to Parke Egbert Baulch,
      3. in the record for Parke Egbert Baulch a To-Do item for establishing his connection to Eliza Ann Porter,
      4. in the record for Eliza Ann Porter a To-Do item for establishing her connection to Lydia Watts and
      5. in the record for Lydia Watts a To-Do item for establishing her connection to George Watts.

    I like that, at this level, my Individual To-Do Item (or line in my Research Log) is attached to the relevant Individual in my family database for easy access and not in a spreadsheet somewhere else.

Conducting Research

So, with all these To-Do Items created I was ready to conduct my research. New in 2015, and as part of this Genealogy Do Over, is my resolve to apply one of my Genealogy Golden Rules to assign SOURCES to the relevant To-Do Item FIRST. I then assigned Sources and linked Media to the relevant Individual Events. This is done as part of the initial research process and before any further consideration. No more leaving Sources and Media until last. In the past leaving Sources and Media to last has meant that information I am relying upon has been lost somewhere on a computer drive or somewhere in a box of papers! Such a practice is now history.