John Davey – but which one?

As soon as I saw this prompt from #52ancestors, I knew who this post was going to be about.

Two groups of people arrived in Van Diemens Land in the 1800s – convicts and free settlers which included military. The government in Great Britain at that time was great for record keeping, at least for the convicts. From the time of their trial, through transportation, their offences, who they worked for, their freedom and any offences after freedom.

But it was a different story for the free settlers – you will get a ship passenger record, BDM records then if they did something worth recording it might be in a newspaper.

So the background to my John Davey and how the census fits into the story.

Like all good genealogists, you always start with yourself and work backwards generation by generation. My maternal grandmother was a Davey, her father George Davey and his father John Davey – my problem free settler.

John Davey died aged 55 on 26 December 1888 of jaundice.[1] He left no will but his wife Annie Davey (nee Dixon) took on the administration of his estate and chattels etc. In her letter to the Supreme Court of Tasmania, she believed that the cost of his estate did not exceed 687 pounds. Two of her sons, George and William John, helped organize an inventory of the property of her deceased husband.[2]

John Davey and Annie Dixon were married at the Manse at Evandale, Tasmania on 18 July 1859. John was a bachelor aged 26 while Anne was a spinster aged 18. Witnesses to the marriage were Hannah Dixon and William Costley.[3]

Over the next 29 years until John died, the couple raised seven sons and five daughters to adulthood. They lived in English Town, near Evandale, Tasmania. The photos show the house and the newspapered walls inside the house as taken in 1987. At least two generations lived in this house including my grandmother.

   

So far we have a death record showing John born around 1833, a marriage record also showing born around 1833 but we don’t have a birth record anywhere. My cousins in New Zealand have a birthday book owned originally by Hannah Selina Davey, daughter of John and in it is mentioned the date 21 January 1834 as the birth of John. But how to prove this and where was John born?

There was no marriage permission found in the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office records so neither John nor Anne were convicts at the time of their marriage.  With the last Tasmanian convicts arriving in 1853 when John would have been about 20 and the shortest sentence being 7 years, this means if John had been a convict he would have arrived in the 1850s. Searching the records, no John appears. Hence he must have been a free settler or born in Tasmania.

Next I searched the arrivals index for John Davey or Davy – 3 were there – one in 1833 so I could rule him out, one in 1855 and the other Davy in 1856. As my John had always used an ‘e’ in his surname, I looked into this person arriving in 1855 as my great great grandfather.

This John was born in Devon, England. He was brought out to Tasmania as a farm servant to George Meredith on the East Coast of Tasmania.  John was Church of England and could read and write. He arrived in Hobart Town on 13 February 1855 on board ‘Wanderer‘.[4]  John was occasionally mentioned in the ‘Meredith papers’ which are housed in the State Library Archives in Hobart.  He was recorded last at ‘Cambria‘ in January 1857.  His wages at this time were 7 pounds and 10 shillings per quarter.[5]

This is where the census now comes into my story.

Looking at the 1851 English Census there were over 50 possible John Davey born around 1834. This did not include any name variations. How was I going to narrow it down? I began this research back in 1990 while on holiday in England and spent hours at the Devon Record Office checking out marriages and deaths between 1851 and 1855 when John came to Tasmania. This was mainly using microfilm, microfiche and books. Since that visit and using online records, I have narrowed it to a possible 8.

I still have more research to really verify my John Davey BUT:

Four are sons of a family, one is a nephew and three are servants – a farm servant, a house servant and an ag lab.

On the shipping record, my John was a farm servant – so maybe I have narrowed it down to one now.

This John Davey who was a farm servant was aged 17 in the 1851 census. His birth place was Collumpton, Devon. He was working for Humphrey Pitts at Garlanshayes, Tiverton, Devon.[6]

Maybe the modern technology of DNA will help me narrow my search even further. My mother has two pages of matches with Devon in the birth location but with the surname of Davey in the tree, only 8 matches and I already know where they fit on my tree. Maybe when more people add their trees, I might find that elusive John Davey in Devon.

Sources:

[1] Death records, RGD35/1/57 no 227, Tasmanian Names Index

[2] Wills, AD961/1/7/1599 p 665, Tasmanian Names Index

[3] Marriage records, RGD37/1/18 no 712, Tasmanian Names Index

[4] Shipping records, CB7/12/1/3 Book4 pp 152/153, Tasmanian Names Index

[5] Meredith papers,  NS 123/1/69,  TAHO

[6] 1851 English census, HO/107/1888, Folio 138, page 4 FHL film:0221038

Readers: How have you found the records of free settlers compared to convicts in your family? How has a census or muster or electoral roll helped in your research?

My Aunty Marg

This post is a combination of the eulogy at the funeral of my aunty Marg, my mother’s remembrances (Marg’s sister) and also my talks with aunty Marg.

Margaret Grace Phillips nee England

1928 – 2017

Margaret was born early in April 1928, the second daughter of Hannah and Henry England of Sandy Bay. Her older sister Iris died at the age of 9 when her younger sister Phyllis was only 3 weeks old.

Margaret and her older sister, Iris

Margaret and Iris (above), Margaret and Phyllis (below)

Margaret looks after her younger sister, Phyllis

Margaret was educated at Albuera Street Primary School and Ogilvie High School. This was not an enjoyable experience for her.

Her first job was for pocket money where she washed out pots for flowers at Chandler’s Nursery. Margaret’s grandmother was a Chandler and the nursery was over the back fence of their house in Sandy Bay.

Margaret joined the Brownies and Guides. She loved being outdoors especially going fishing with her Dad, Harry, down near Sandy Bay beach. Marg, though, did not like the water and this carried on throughout her whole life.

Margaret and Phyllis fishing with their dad, Henry

She was always very pleased when her cousin Eileen Davey came and lived with them as she now had someone her age to go to socials and dances with. Margaret was a member of both the junior and senior church choirs at Princess Street Methodist Church.

After leaving school, Marg’s first big job was at Tattersalls and then at the University of Tasmania where she worked in the Refectory from 1966 until 1989. Marg still kept in contact with her friends from Uni, attending monthly lunches at various pubs around Hobart.

Marg married Norm (Ken) Phillips from Sorell in 1949 and in 1950 they built a home in Lenah Valley. Whilst living here, their two children Bronwyn and Leigh were born. But unfortunately the floods of 1954 washed away their outer sheds.

They did rebuild, but Norm’s health had suffered a shock, so they moved to a home in Duke Street, Sandy Bay.

In 1965 Margaret and her family travelled with Phyllis and her husband Bob, and children Suzanne and Philip. They drove through the eastern states of Australia as far north as Cairns, then across through outback Queensland and up to Darwin, down the centre to Alice Springs, Adelaide and back home to Tasmania. This was a trip of 4 months in a caravan towed by the trusty old FC Holden while Phyllis’s family were in a Kombi van and tent.

Margaret did volunteer work with several groups. She was a keen knitter, making rugs, scarves and jumpers for various organizations.

Margaret and Max

She stayed in Sandy Bay until the death of Norm in 1968 when she sold up and bought a unit in Davey Street, where she was very happy . After many years, she moved to Max Jones’s house in South Hobart when they became partners. They later bought a house together in West Moonah where they spent many happy years until Max’s death in 2009.

Marg’s daughter Bronwyn passed away suddenly in 2013.

Marg continued to live in West Moonah, however, due to an increase in health problems, it was decided she would move to a nursing home. After a period of respite, she moved into Queen Victoria Home at Lindisfarne for a period of 7 months prior to her passing. Although she would not admit it fully, she was very happy there and enjoyed not only the friends and company that she had, but also all the activities that were arranged.

Margaret’s much loved family included:

Bronwyn, Margaret and Leigh

2 children – Bronwyn and Leigh

A younger version of Kelli, Kaide and Shannon

5 grandchildren – Kelli, Shannon, Kaide, Chantel and Shawn

Four of the great grandchildren

9 great grandchildren – Jaxsen, Taylia, Kyah, Blake, Manon, Joseph, Hugo, Nate and Luke.

 

As part of my Oral History unit, I recorded aunty Marg talking about her father, Harry.

She also spoke about her mother Hannah, war and holidays.

Relatives:
If any of you have photos of Aunty Marg with the kids or just being herself that I could add to a slideshow and put on the blog, could you please send me a copy?

Readers:

What is a great memory you have with my Aunty Marg? If you didn’t know my Aunty Marg, what is a great memory you have with an aunty?

Bryant family

Been doing more research on the BRYANT family.

Caroline Bryant was my great great grandmother who married William Chandler my great great grandfather. What do I know about this family so far? Check out this post I have already written back in January this year.

But what new information have I found out?

I now know about J. Winter, the witness on the 1859 marriage certificate of Caroline and William.

J Winter is Caroline’s sister Julia.

London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Pancras Parish Church, Register of marriages, P90/PAN1, Item 104

When did Robert and Julia arrive in Tasmania?

They were sponsored out by Charlotte Bryant and arrived on the ship Woodcote in 1856 along with Robert’s parents.

 

Tasmania, Australia, Immigrant Lists, 1841-1884

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.

letter Z

Letter T challenge

Now that I have my DNA results and I have uploaded them to gedmatch, I need to work out the

Terminology 

Here are some words I have seen but need to find out what they mean. It is like a totally new language.

  • Autosomal
  • centimorgans
  • admixture
  • phasing
  • X-DNA, Y-DNA, mtDNA
  • haplogroup
  • SNPs
  • types F2, V2,V3
  • chromosome browser

Once I have done a 1:1 comparison, what makes a person the best possible connection?

I know that one of the columns relates to generations that person is away from me. They would certainly be the easiest to find on my tree.

I looked in Gedmatch and they had some Beginner Guides so I looked at the following video (nearly 45 minutes) which I found very interesting.

The video then sent me to a genetic genealogist blog that included this chart showing the number of cMs between different relationships. Think this might come in handy when trying to work out how many generations people might be on my family tree database at home.

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

 

letter T

Letter R challenge

They’re in! They arrived this morning!

Results

My DNA results arrived this morning. Was I surprised with any of the results? Well…. yes I was. Below are the ethnicity results for myself, my mother and my father.

Other regions were:

  • Sue: Europe West, Great Britain, Iberian Peninsula, Europe East, European Jewish and Finland/NW Russia
  • Mum: Scandinavia, Great Britain, Iberian Peninsula and Europe East
  • Dad: Scandinavia, Great Britain, European Jewish, Iberian Peninsula, Europe East and Asia Central

Mum’s and mine were about what I thought they would be – Ireland,  Great Britain and Western Europe.

But the greatest surprise was dad’s results. I thought he would have some Pacific Islander DNA as he is supposedly 1/16th Samoan. Maybe this DNA comes through the Asia Central trace but that is <1% so nearly negligible.

The next thing I did was to upload the raw DNA data to Gedmatch. These are the gedmatch numbers in case one of my readers makes a connection.

  • Sue A702006
  • Dad A380974
  • Mum A141289

The letter A in the front means they were from Ancestry DNA. I have already had someone email me through Ancestry saying her husband, who was adopted, is a match to me but only very small.

Readers: If you have had your DNA done, were there any surprises in your results?

 

Letter P challenge

Another unit I have been doing at UTAS is called

Photo Essay

Whenever I write a blog post I try to include at least one image that relates to the topic of the post. But this unit taught me more about telling stories using images and captions.

I always thought a caption was like the little description underneath an image or the title of the image, but in this unit a caption was between one and three sentences per image.

We had to decide on the story-line for our photo-essay, take photos using the new skills we learned in the first few weeks and then write captions for the images we were using.

As this unit could be used as part of the Family History course, and many students who took part in the first Intro to Family History unit are nearly at the stage of graduating in August next year, I decided to make that the theme for my photo-essay.

I saved my photo essay as a powerpoint and have uploaded it here for you to look at. It hasn’t been marked yet by UTAS markers, so I wonder what they will think of it.

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

letter P

Annotated map

As part of the Place, Image and Object course we had to create an annotated map relating to our family history. It could be a town, a house or even a room in a house. The idea was to build layers on your map.

As I am not an arty person, I decided to go with technology and used Prezi. It was a few years since I had used this tool so had to do a bit of a run through first to make sure I was using it well.

Here is the final result:

 

I decided to look at the homes around Hobart that were important to us as a family. So began with the grandparents in Sandy Bay and West Hobart, then our family homes in Glenorchy and Lindisfarne and finally my home as an adult in Seven Mile Beach.

It wasn’t until I did the evaluation and reflection that I realised so much of it related to travelling and how the homes were there to come back to after spending time overseas or on holidays.

 

Where is Isabella in the census?

August is National Family History Month and Tuesday I head to the local library for an hour and a half session on resources in the Tasmanian library setup and perhaps more in just the Sorell library.

But Tuesday is an important night in Australia. It only comes once every five years. We the citizens have the chance to fill in our census form and become part of the statistics of people in Australia. We mention names and addresses, numbers in family, religion, wages and many other bits of info that will help the government plan better for education, health, transport etc in Australia.

Alex Daw has set up a challenge for Aussie family history bloggers during the month of August. Our first post is due this week and relates to a census.

As most of my English ancestors arrived in Australia pre 1851 census, I am trying to find more info about their families by using the 1841 census.

My one problem person so far is Isabella Watkins. If you have been reading my blog recently, you will know I am doing the University of Tasmania Diploma of Family History course and one unit was on a convict ancestor. I chose Isabella.

According to convict records, Isabella was tried on 29 March 1841 at Surrey Assizes and sentenced to seven years transportation. She arrived in Hobart Town on 10 October 1841. My problem was when did she actually leave England?

According to one website the ship left England on 14 June 1841. Another website says 23 June 1841.

My first task was to find out when the actual census night was in England that year. Found that – 6 June 1841. So she should still be in England according to the dates when the ship supposedly sailed. So why can’t I find Isabella in the 1841 census? Why were there two different sailing dates?

If she was convicted in March and the ship sailed in June, where was she held in between those dates?

Next step was newspaper records trying to find where and when the ship docked in London. I have not been able to find her on any prison records for that time so maybe the ship was at anchor from March to June until all the female convicts were finally on board. She might have gone directly to the ship after being sentenced. The county of Surrey borders on the river Thames and the Custom’s House, where the ships would need to come in to pay customs and duties, was about a kilometre from the main Surrey Assizes.

  • First record is entering outward for loading at the Customs House in London on April 12. [1]
  • Second record is of a Dorothy Woodhead being delivered to the ship at Woolwich from her prison in Derby. This meant the ship was in Woolwich on the 2nd June or earlier. [2]
  • Third record was vessel cleared outwards with cargo (presumably the convict women) from the Customs House on June 4. [3]
  • Fourth record was the ship sailing from Gravesend on June 18. [4]
  • Fifth record was arriving from the river (Thames) at Deal on June 23. [5]

From these reports the ship was docked in Woolwich by 2nd June with female convicts arriving at any time after April 12. So on the night of the census, Isabella was sailing down the Thames on her way to Gravesend.

More questions to find answers for:

  1. Would she now be considered not an English person as she had left its shores on her way to Van Diemen’s Land and Australia?
  2. Would they have filled in the census on the boat and delivered it at their first port of call eg Gravesend?

Newspaper sources

[1]  The Standard (London, England), Tuesday, April 13, 1841; Issue 5247. British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800-1900.

[2] The Derby Mercury (Derby, England), Wednesday, June 2, 1841; Issue 5682. British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900.

[3] The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Saturday, June 5, 1841; Issue 22317. British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900.

[4] The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Saturday, June 19, 1841; Issue 22329. British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900.

[5] The Standard (London, England), Thursday, June 24, 1841; Issue 5309. British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800-1900.