Marriages of Summers or Somers

Still trying to find Thomas Somers, my fathers great grandfather. So decided to create family group sheets for every Summers or Somers marriage in Tasmania pre 1900. Luckily all these records are digitised and online at the LINC website via the Tasmanian Names Index.

As I am looking for a surname of Somers or Summers, I only created them for males and single females who gave birth to sons named Thomas or given name not recorded.

So far, there are 56 marriages. There are 7 Thomas as the father and 11 sons with Thomas as first or middle name. There are also 7 unnamed males.

The marriages are from east coast of Tasmania, Hobart, Launceston, Emu Bay (Burnie) and Cressy/Longford area.

I have also added children, marriages and deaths gathered from the Index.

Next step is to create a family tree linking together the many from Emu Bay, Cressy/Longford etc.

I also checked if there is a one name study for these surnames, but no such luck. With this work I am doing, I will be putting copies of the family group charts in folders to give to the archives if they want them.

Letter Z challenge

Throughout this diploma course, I have had to zigzag across oceans, around countries and within states to find information for my assignments.

We had the chance to zigzag through the library databases at UTAS, whether it was using Ancestry Library edition or the British Newspapers or finding scholarly articles for our assignments.

We were lucky with the fantastic lectures and resources given to us by the organizers of each unit within the diploma. We learnt about the value of primary and secondary sources as well as referencing even though this was updated for each unit.

I thought I knew a lot about researching family history when I started this diploma but my eyes have been opened to the value of doing more than just names, dates and places in my software database.

So it is now time for a sleep (maybe a short nap only) before I start updating my resources list on this blog and organizing my research both online and in folders or filing cabinets.

Thank you all for participating in this challenge over the last couple of years.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with Z that relates to your family history or your research.

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Letter Y challenge

Excellent letter for nearing the end of the challenge and for those finishing their diploma. I want to ask:

Why?

  1. can’t I find my father’s father’s birth?
  2. can’t I find Rebecca Jackson’s mother?
  3. is it easier to find records in Tasmania than in England?
  4. is it difficult to understand DNA?
  5. can’t I date photos very well?
  6. is there no Polynesian ethnicity in my father when his grandfather is supposedly half Samoan?
  7. can’t I find which of 7 John Davey’s in Devon is mine?

I am hoping understanding DNA more might help me answer some of these questions.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with Y that relates to your family history or your research.

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Letter X challenge

The letter X usually marks the spot on a treasure map. For genealogists X usually marks the place where all the resources can be found when researching your ancestors.

So now that I have finished my subjects for the Diploma of Family History, I am going to take the time to update my list of resources in the page above the header of this blog.

I will have the basic “Introduction to family history” resources on one page, then a separate page for “Convict resources” and another for “Military resources”. Are there any other specific sections you think I should have as separate pages?

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with X that relates to your family history or your research.

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Final essay for diploma of family history

After 3 years of online study, I have now completed the 8 units required for the Diploma of Family History at the University of Tasmania. Here is my final essay as part of the Families at War unit.

My feedback included that I had not used enough scholarly secondary sources, that a thesis statement was not mentioned and there were some errors with the footnotes. I agree with most of the feedback. I received a score of 30/50 giving me an overall score of 74/100 for the whole unit including the quizzes.

I would like to thank all those students who have been on this journey with me over the last three years and hopefully I will meet you in person at the August or December graduation in Hobart.

Letter W challenge

As many of you know, my father’s side of the tree is holding me back. I am trying to find proof using DNA matches but it is hard to do unless they are a first or second cousin. As I don’t know surnames going back more generations, it is very tricky to prove.

What’s in a name?

My paternal grandfather is either William Alan WYATT or Alan William WYATT. Born between 1900 and 1905 in either England or Sydney or Georges Bay, Tasmania. I have no sources to prove the actual birth. It is believed he married 3 times; twice in Tasmania and again in NSW where we think he died.

My paternal great grandmother on my grandmother’s side is registered at birth as Nellie SOMERS in 1889. I have also found other siblings being born with the surname SOMERS but no father mentioned on the registrations. Using FamilySearch I have found baptisms where the surname is now CLARK(E).

1889 – Nellie Somers – daughter of Thomas Somers and Alice O’Keefe – Georges Bay

1893 – Kate Clarke – daughter of West Clarke and Alice Somers formerly O’Keefe – Gould’s Country

1895 – William Henry – son of Alice Somers – Lottah – no father mentioned on birth reg.

1897 – Jessie May – daughter of Alice Somers – no father mentioned on birth reg. – baptised Clark in St Helens

1898 – Joseph Edward – son of Alice Somers – Lottah – no father mentioned on birth reg. – baptised Clark in St Helens

1899 – Charles Archibald – son of Alice Somers – Campbell Town – no father mentioned on birth reg.

Someone on FamilySearch says Alice O’Keefe married Thomas Somers in 1882 and had 4 children before she then married Wes. Clark and had six more children. I still don’t have proof of marriages as they are not mentioned on the Tasmanian Names Index. Looks like I need to visit the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office to check out the baptisms in St Helens which is Georges Bay area.

ReadersPlease leave a comment about my post or something beginning with W that relates to your family history or your research.

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Story 7 – So far from home

Many people wanted to know more about Ann Jackson. So while I was in Ireland, I tried to find proof if she was my great great great grandmother (mother of Rebecca). Unfortunately I still don’t have proof, but for my major assignment in Writing my Family History, I used information I had gathered from various repositories and books. Hope you like the story even though it is still very factual.

………………………………………

“Excuse me, can I have some water please, a drop will do? Just to wet my lips.”

As I lie on the wooden boards that have been set upon the ground as hospital beds, I look at the other people nearby, moving around and moaning. Has it only been a week since our ship Superior arrived in the river near this quarantine station? We had to wait in line with about 15 other Irish ships, for doctors to come aboard and check passengers for signs of contagious diseases.

Eighteen Irishmen, women and children had died while on our  51 day voyage from Londonderry. Not that it was a rough voyage. Many of us were thin and starving before boarding the ship. This was due to potato blight and our English landlords selling all the corn and other vegetables we had grown. There was nothing left for us, the tenant farmers, to eat. We had to provide our own supplies for part of the voyage but we had so little. Food and water supplied by the captain didn’t last long. Some passengers ate too much too quickly. Very soon the hold where we all slept held a foul smelling stench.

The ship wasn’t large enough for all of us to live comfortably. Diseases were passed between the steerage passengers as we were sharing bunks with three other adults. Many of my fellow passengers ended up with dysentery. My children and I slept in our clothes even though they were wet and smelly from fluids dripping down from bunks above us. We tried to keep warm by huddling together on the same bunk.

“Thank you. Can you check this man lying next to me? He hasn’t moved over the last few hours.”

I am worried what might happen to my children, Mary Ann and Robert, once I am dead. I hear the doctors talking about typhus and the thousands of Irish immigrants who have died from it this year on Grosse Ile.

Luckily my children kept going up on deck in the fresh air so they haven’t been afflicted. Until the doctor checked me out, I thought I was also well. But when I mentioned I had a headache and often felt cold, he decided to send me to the hospital area on the island. Because the children had shared my bunk, but weren’t showing signs of contagion, they were sent to the emigrant shed instead. Maybe they will survive but I worry what will happen to them in this new land without a mother to guide them.

Since getting off the ship, I noticed I have a rash over my body and it is feeling itchy. Listening to the doctors, I know this means I have, at most, a couple of weeks to live as the rash will keep spreading, then I will go into a delirium, maybe a coma and die.

Two men have just taken away the man who was lying next to me. I think he succumbed to the typhus during the night. His body had been thrashing around and he had been talking about ridiculous things. I have seen the same two men digging huge trenches about 200 yards away from where I am lying. Every couple of hours I see them putting bodies into the trench. That will be me soon.

“Is there any gruel or bread that I could have, please?”

Perhaps we would have been better off if we stayed in Ireland.  But ever since the patriarch of the family William senior and his daughter, Rebecca, and son William junior had been sentenced to transportation, I have been harassed and threatened.  The remainder of the Jackson families in my townland didn’t think it was right that I had reported William and his gang to the constable but I hadn’t been punished. You see, I had also been part of the group stealing from houses around Carrigans in Donegal.

Since the trial, I have been terrified for both myself and my children. After begging the magistrate, Mr McClintock to do something, he wrote a letter to someone in Dublin asking if we could be sent to one of the colonies at Government expense. We were told we could go to Quebec and there would be five pounds for us to use when we got there. Just to ask the Emigration Agent. I thought we would be able to start a new, safe life here but …

“Nurse, nurse. Can you find my children Mary Ann and Robert? I need to hug them once more before I depart this earth.”

Have I done the right thing in bringing Mary Ann and Robert to this new country so far from their homeland in Ireland? What will be their future? Have they been infected like me or will they end up in an orphanage? Maybe they will find a nice family who will look after them, feed them well and allow them to develop into a strong woman and man within this colony. Perhaps they will find their way back to Mother Ireland and visit the haunts of their childhood around Carrigans.

I need to sleep. I’ll just close my eyes for a while till the children come.

“Bob, Jim, can you please move this body to the grave area?”

 

Bibliography

Irish Genealogy Toolkit, Coffin Ships, http://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/coffin-ships.html

National Archives of Ireland, Donegal Outrage Papers 1847, relating to Ann Jackson, digital copies held by author http://suewyatt.edublogs.org/2015/05/30/donegal-outrage-papers/

O Laighin, Padraic, The Irish in Canada: The Untold Story, excerpt online http://gail25.tripod.com/grosse.htm

UPDATE  UPDATE

Just thought I would mention I received 80/100 for this assignment. Feedback included great research showed throughout the narrative, emotion and tragedy of the piece shine through. Improvements could be integrate sources more smoothly eg 18 Irishmen etc and some dialogue is outside the narrator’s voice.

Overall I am very pleased with this piece of work as I know I am not a very good narrative writer, more a factual researcher.

Story 6 – Pride in Growth

What a difference ten years could make? Standing proudly at the horticultural fete, William remembered back to his youth in the old country. There he was in Enfield, a basic gardener learning the skills of weeding, pruning, growing seedlings and preparing the earth for growth of future plants and trees.

“First prize for a magnificent collection of pears goes to William Chandler.”

But by the early 1850s, he could see the demise of the market gardens where he worked and the build-up of residential housing. All because of the new railway making it so easy to get into London.

“First prize for a dish of Standwick nectarines goes to William Chandler.”

When he had the chance to come to Van Diemen’s Land in 1855, he took it very quickly. A chance for a new life in a new colony. No pollution, lots of new plants to study and maybe, just maybe, a chance for his own garden.

“William Chandler takes out three prizes for a dish of grapes.”

The past few years had seen a lot of changes in his life including marriage to his darling Caroline. They were so lucky to have her mother with them now that their family was growing.

“Second prize for collection of greenhouse plants goes to William Chandler.”

So here he was in Autumn of 1868, standing with his fellow Hobartian gardeners winning awards for those fruits and vegetables he had been growing with his own hands. Maybe not his own garden yet; that was going to be his future.

“Silver medal for collection of vegetables goes to William Chandler, gardener to his Excellency.”

Source:

1868 ‘AUTUMN, HORTICULTURAL FETE.’, The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), 1 April, p. 2. , viewed 24 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8851383

Letter V challenge

This week has brought to mind that one word that is so important in genealogical research. It has come about because of a DNA match with one of the other students in the UTAS cohort. We are trying to find the link or most common recent ancestor in our trees.

Verification

For many years I have always believed that Caroline Bryant, who married William Chandler in 1859 at St Georges church in Hobart, was the daughter of Benjamin Bryant and Charlotte Bryant (nee Bull). But how was this verified? I had used information from a relative but did they actually have proof.

This is what I know from documents:

  1. Caroline Bryant aged 17 arrived in Hobart Town via Sydney on the steamer La Hogue then the ship Tasmania in January 1856.
  2. Charlotte Bryant (presuming this is mother) aged 51 and a widow arrived on same boats.
  3. R.W. Nutt was the sponsor of their immigration to Tasmania.
  4. On birth certificates of William Charles Chandler in 1863, Robert Henry in 1865,  the informant is Charlotte Bryant, grandmother and living at Government Gardens.
  5. On birth certificate of Mary Ann Eliza in 1867, Caroline Louisa in 1870, Ada Ethel in 1878, the address of informant is Government House.
  6. On birth certificate of Sarah in 1872, George Edward in 1874, the address of informant is Glenorchy.
  7. On birth certificate of Fanny Ethel in 1882, the address of informant is “The Grange”.
  8. On birth certificate of unknown female in 1860, the address of informant is J Winter friend Battery Point. This child was later named Julia Charlotte and is my great grandmother.
  9. On 1859 marriage certificate, J Winter is a witness.

But as you can see, there is no Benjamin among Caroline’s children. This has worried me as naming patterns were often used in the mid 1800s. So where to next?

  • I am currently trying to find records from Government House about employment records in the 1850s. Perhaps there will be more information about Charlotte and Caroline there especially as they were the only two bounty immigrants on those ships.
  • I have researched RW Nutt and he was a pre-eminent lawyer in Hobart during the early 1850s. Maybe the governor of the day asked him to write a letter to bring out Caroline and Charlotte especially. Did they have a friend or relative already working at Government House? As William Chandler worked there as a gardener, did he already know Caroline and her mother from back in England?
  • Are there any letters from the Governor of the day asking for Caroline and Charlotte to come out as bounty immigrants?
  • Check out the 1851 census in England for any Charlotte Bryant aged about 46 with a daughter Caroline aged about 12. Check out the names of Caroline’s siblings in the census results. What is name of father?
  • Check 1841 census for similar things as above.

 

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My great grandmother, Julia Charlotte Chandler born 1860

Readers: Do you have any other ideas of what I could do to verify back in the old country, who is Caroline’s father and when did Charlotte marry him?

Letter U challenge

Understanding

Completing the different units for the Diploma of Family History has certainly helped in my understanding of how to research well, how to present that research in an interesting way and how to organize the information I find during my research.

I am starting to better understand some of the DNA data. I am putting together a list of Kit numbers, high cMs and low MCRA that have a relationship to my father as he is the person in my family who I have least about. I would love to find someone within three or four generations to link into his side of the tree. I don’t know who his father was and I only know about two generations back on his mother’s side.

If I find someone close in generations and with a high cM then I will contact them to see where he might fit. I have started sending messages via Ancestry for the close member matches there relating to my father.

Terms

cM – centiMorgan – a measurement used with DNA – the higher the cM, the more DNA you have in common with that person

MCRA – Most Common Recent Ancestor – this is shown as roughly how many generations you are away from the other person – the lower the score the better.

Readers: Please leave a comment about my post or something beginning with U that relates to your family history or your research.

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