Story 5 – Murder at the lodging house

“Murder!” One of my children knocked frantically on our bedroom door. “Ma, someone’s being murdered in the back room.”

Dashing out of bed in my nightgown, I lit a candle and moved quickly down the hallway following the child.  At the doorway to the back room, I called out nervously, “What’s the matter?”

Someone inside the room replied. “Get a light missus, one of the men is being murdered.”

On entering the room, I saw a man, later identified as Richard Furlong, kneeling at his bed and stooping over it, holding his hands to his stomach. He had been stabbed but he was not yet dead. The woman he called his wife was sitting up in bed. This couple and another man had arrived at the lodging house about three hours earlier. All three were rather drunk when they arrived but they stayed up, sitting in the kitchen. About 9.30pm the man and his wife went to bed.

The other three beds in the back room were also occupied but I only knew the name of the woman Eliza Kelly or Higgins. She was now standing in the kitchen, screaming. Richard’s mate, dashed out the front door and ran to get the doctor.

I went to check the other bedroom where six more men were sleeping but one bed was empty. Where was that man? Had he committed the murder and then run away?

I remembered hearing Richard’s wife talking to the absent man earlier that evening. “Hello, what fetched you here?” He replied, “I only came here today.”

Source:  

1861 ‘THE LATE STABBING CASE AT EVANDALE.’, Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 – 1899), 23 February, p. 4. (MORNING.), viewed 17 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38757954
Background: The woman Isabella Colgrave nee Watkins is my great great great grandmother.

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?

 

Story 4 – Garshooey townland

An ancestor of mine Anne Jackson (I think this is her married surname) lived in an area called Garshooey. This townland in Donegal, Ireland is just over one and half square kilometres in area. In the 1911 census there were only 64 people living there of which 23 were 16 and younger. Ten years earlier, out of the 86 inhabitants, 40 were 16 years or younger. Even in 2011, there are still only 66 inhabitants in 24 households.

So why were there so few people living in Garshooey townland? Looking at the historical maps of 1840s, there was a Presbyterian Meeting House and National School House west of the little town of Garshooey, a corn kiln to the north in Garshooey Upper and a flax mill to the south in Garshooey Lower.  There were lots of trees to climb, planted along the sides of the lanes in the townland. There was also a couple of mill ponds, maybe a chance for swimming or paddling on hot days. Through the centre of the townland was the main road between Londonderry (now called Derry) and Newtowncunningham.

By the 1850s, less flax and corn was being grown so there would be less cottage industry work for the women of the townland. There would also be less farm work for the men.
This may be a reason why the Jackson family resorted to theft during the 1840s, that finally resulted in transportation.

Story 3 – A New Adventure

Is this going to be my life for the next few years? Living in a couple of rooms, walking to my job as a gardener in Enfield or do I want some adventure?

Reading the local London newspapers, I see advertisements for emigrants to Van Diemen’s Land. That is a new British colony thousands of miles across the seas on the other side of the world. This might be my chance to eventually develop my own business rather than work for someone else.

After visiting the bounty immigrant office mentioned on the advertisements, I have now been assigned to Mr John Leake who lives in the Midlands in VDL. The immigrant agent told me Mr Leake was very important in VDL; he was a member of the Legislative Council and had the ear of the governor.

Surely a person of this stature would have need of a gardener and if I worked extremely well, maybe he could give me good references for future gardening jobs.

Travelling on the ship Fortitude with about 140 other immigrants, I arrived in Hobart Town early in 1855. Disembarking quickly, six of us were met by a servant of John Leake. George Jobson, who arrived with his wife Harriet and two young sons, was a coachman while both James Axton and I were gardeners.

It took two days by horse and cart to travel on the well worn road from Hobart to Campbell Town, a total of 82 miles. What was this property we were going to work at like?

My new adventure was about to begin.

…………………………………………

This was my first story written in first person rather than third person. Two students commented mentioning the tense changed from past to present a couple of times. They also said I needed to get more of his feelings and thoughts rather than all the factual info. Maybe I am trying to include too much in a short story.

This is about my great great grandfather, William Chandler, who began the Chandler’s Nursery in Hobart. Read more about it here http://www.chandlersnursery.com.au/our-history.html

Readers: Where else could I improve this writing? As it is only going to be published on this blog, feel free to re-write whole paragraphs if you want.

Story 2 – Notorious Jackson Gang

It is a cold, dark night in April 1846. Members of the Jackson family are inside the Monglass home occupied by Caldwell Motherwell.

“Da, hurry up,” whispers Rebecca. She listens intently for any sound coming from the bedrooms above.

“Don’t you be worrying, me girl,” William replies, “We still have plenty to get from here.”

“But, da, we all have a coat or cloak to wear. We don’t want to wake up Mr Motherwell with any sudden noise.”

Rebecca slowly edges to the doorway with her younger brother William, who was wearing a macintosh, and her friend Mary Jane Gallagher, who was wearing a cloak.

William the elder, Anne Jackson and Jane Steele, who were also members of the notorious Jackson gang, picked up the last of their stolen goods and followed the children out the doorway.

Quickly and silently they headed over the fields that should have been filled with potatoes, towards their home in Garshooey, about a mile away. But with the potato famine happening all over Ireland, there was little in the way of food to eat. Pawning the pieces of clothing meant food in their stomachs for another week or so.

Eight months later, Anne reports the thefts to the local sub-constable James Lowe. William, his son and daughter and Jane Steele are convicted of theft and sentenced to transportation. Thus begins a new life in Van Diemen’s Land for my great great grandmother Rebecca Jackson.

Source:

Report of court trial at Lifford Quarter Sessions, Donegal,  1 January 1847. Found in the Court of Petty Sessions records for Newtowncunningham held at Donegal archives, Lifford.

…………………………………………..

Two students replied to this story mentioning a bit of confusion with the two William – father and son. Also to maybe set the scene more with lots more description.

Readers: Where else could I improve this writing? As it is only going to be published on this blog, feel free to re-write whole paragraphs if you want.

Story 1 – whale chase

“Thar she blows.”

Captain William Smith was at the wheel of the whaling barque, Marie Laure. Below him, on the deck, he could see his brother-in-law, Domingo Jose Evorall, readying the small rowboat. William knew the danger involved in chasing and harpooning a sperm whale.

“Lines in the boats.”

William remembered a time many years previously when he and his fellow shipmates were putting the lines carefully in place, fixing the pins and adding the harpoons. Boats were lowered, swinging dangerously close to the side of the rolling barque. Near the waves, the boats were quickly unhooked, sailors got oars ready to push against the sides if they got too close to the barque. It was then that the dangerous work began.

William, as mate, had been in charge of the chase and kept watch for the whale. The oarsmen pulled steadily. No time to look over their shoulders. The green hands, on their first chase, were they frightened or excited? Spouts were seen close by.

“Heave to.”

The iron was thrown; the flukes suddenly hit the water and sprayed the sailors.

“Stern for your lives.”

Boatsteerer making sure the boat doesn’t overturn; harpooner ready with a knife to cut the slack line if needed; the whale sounding or diving deep.  A drogue was now attached to the line to slow the speed of the diving whale. The line going slack but where is the big cetacean? Suddenly, great jaw open, he breaks the surface just in front of us.

…………………………………………………

Much of the language for this was taken from a PDF document of an actual whale chase that William took part in in 1862. I had four students leave comments mainly about not knowing where and when the present time and the thoughts of William changed from one to the other. They said they got very involved with the story and could feel the excitement of the chase.

Readers: Where else could I improve this writing? As it is only going to be published on this blog, feel free to re-write whole paragraphs if you want.

Letter S challenge

I know what you’re going to say – where is the letter R challenge? I will write that one when the results of my DNA testing come in.

Stories

Writing your family history unit at UTAS involves writing short 250 word stories about an event or person in your family history. I am finding this unit very difficult. I don’t mind writing factual reports or timelines of a person’s life and including the referencing as I go. That is what I think a family historian should do so others can check the sources to verify facts mentioned.

Personally I feel once I start putting words into the mouth of my ancestor or writing about what their life was like or could have been like, then I am no longer writing family history but am writing fiction or narratives that can’t necessarily be proven.

But I did mention to the Facebook group I am a member of that I would include my short stories here, so they could leave comments about where I could improve. Click on the link for each story as each is a new post.

Story 1 about a whale hunt that relates to my great great grandfather William Smith

Story 2 about my great great grandmother Rebecca Jackson

Story 3 about my great great grandfather William Chandler

Story 4 about the townland Garshooey in Donegal Ireland

Story 5 about a murder story from Trove

Story 6 another about William Chandler

As I complete each story I will add the link.

Readers: How are you finding this unit? Can you recommend anything for me to read that might help me improve my storytelling skills?

 

 

Letter Q challenge

 

Character Question Mark

Creative Commons License One Way Stock via Compfight

This one is easy especially with me having just had DNA tests done on myself and my parents.

Q will be for questions of which I will have many once the results come through.

But to help me answer these questions I have joined a Facebook group on DNA genealogy in Australia and New Zealand. They have lots of links of other places to go to get help. Naturally I also have Mr Google to turn to.

UPDATE UPDATE – Just found the admin of the Facebook group has a list of resources on her blog – they are fantastic.

But firstly, it is recommended to upload the DNA results file to GEDMATCH where you are given a number code so you can see who else you might be matched to with DNA.

Personally, I feel this is going to be extremely interesting and I hope to find out more on my father’s side. I have spent a lot of today on Ancestry and Trove trying to find out about his great grandparents on his mother’s maternal side – SOMERS and O’KEEFE around Georges Bay, Tasmania.

Readers: Have you had your DNA tested? What have you learnt since getting the 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

Talking to Aunty Marg

As part of the Oral History course, I interviewed my Aunty Margaret, my mother’s sister. I recorded on my iPad then edited using the Wavepad program on my PC.

We had to submit a three minute recording with a transcript – I received a score of 88% but was mentioned I should use more ellipses … when the voice trails off in the recording.

Here is the actual edited recording and the transcript.

 

Interviewee: Margaret Phillips [MP]

Interviewer: Suzanne Wyatt [SW]

Date: November 16, 2016

Place: Her lounge room in West Moonah.

As Margaret is nearly blind, I read the information and consent forms to her. The interview is solely for family history purposes.

This starts at 16 seconds in on the audio file.

SW: Marg, do you give verbal consent for me to interview and record your responses?

MP: I do.

SW: What’s your full name, your date

MP: Marg

SW: of birth and your present address?

MP: Margaret Grace Phillips or do would you want England?

SW: No, that’s OK.

MP: 7/4/28 I was born. Unit 3/17 Sawyer Avenue, West Moonah.

Three minute interview starts here  00:31

SW: So how would you best describe your father? I’ve got some photos here in front of you. One here, they’re in a running race, and

(Both speaking at the same time)

MP: that was the city

SW: there are some birds

MP: That was the City Council, they the City Council had a picnic day once a year and this was down at Long Beach, just round about where the uh roundabout is [pause] I think the roundabout down there now isn’t there?  Well that’s where it was, round about that area.

SW: So how did he go in the races? Was he a good runner?

MP: Yes, he was.

(Both speaking at the same time)

SW: and

MP: He won that if I’m not mistaken.

SW: Oh right.

MP: He got, he got some little thing.

SW: Oh it might be mentioned in the newspaper. I’ll be able to look it up.

MP: He uh always wore his watch with the chain on it, the fob watch. He always had that on where every where you wore a collar and tie.

SW: And some of these these other photos, he’s there with some birds. Is that in your back yard at

MP: Yes we had pigeon, pigeon loft and dad’d get the pigeons out and I would run up to Fitzroy Gardens and stand in a special place. I’ve let the pigeons go and dad would see who got home first, me or the pigeons. That was re about a weekly [pause] weekly um thing that he did. Yep.

SW: Oh right. And there’s another one there of. It looks like you and my mum and your dad in a rowboat.

MP: This one?

SW: Mmm.

MP: That

SW: Yeah.

MP: That’s dad and yeah Phyllis is in the middle and me on the end. That’ll be, I reckon, about the first time I went out in it.

SW: So did your dad go out rowing often?

MP: Oh, every weekend he went down to Sandy Bay baths to fish. And he had a little fish, he had a little uh what do you call’em now? Over the boat’s um  [long pause] He was known.  When you went to Long Beach on the trams, us kids would all go upstairs on the double decker tram and when we got to Wrest Point, “There’s Uncle Harry out there!” Everybody knew dad.

SW: Right

MP: And um he used to tell us.  I was only telling someone the other day. He always took a little bottle of water. He couldn’t swim and he never had a life jacket or anything in the boat. He took a little bottle of water with him every time and when the fish started to bite, he’d go round like that [fading voice as she turns to the side] to some …[inaudible] to come back,  he’d just put,  “I’ve just put the oil of catchem in the water,” he said. And that’s how they caught their fish. But dad with his oil of catchem. They never ever woke up to it. When we went on the trams down they’d say, “Uncle Harry, Uncle Harry!” and everybody would wave. He was well known in Sandy Bay.

……………………………………….

Readers: Have you ever formally interviewed a relative? What was the most difficult part of the interview?