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.

Letter A challenge

National Film and Sound Archive

Archives

I used to spend hours in the local archives in Tasmania before they started digitizing the records. I was part of RAOGK (Random Acts Of Genealogical Kindness) and would research convicts for anyone who asked me through my email or rootsweb mailing lists.

Much of the research for my great great grandfather Captain William Smith needs to be done at the Tasmanian archives – looking at lots of Marine Board records. While visiting Samoa a few years ago, I went to their archives to look for birth records of William Smith who is half Samoan. I was very concerned to see the original record books were just kept in storage in a room, not temperature regulated and that I didn’t need to use gloves when touching the original documents. Some of them were crumbling under my hand when I tried to turn the pages that were stuck together by heat and dampness.

When researching my great great grandmother Rebecca Jackson while I was travelling in Ireland, I visited the Donegal county archives in Lifford to have a look at local court records. I found lots of interesting information there about the offences that caused Rebecca to be sent to Van Diemen’s Land as a convict in 1847. Here is a link to all archives in Ireland.

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

letter A

Lifford Gaol, County Donegal

So from the Outrage Papers of County Donegal in 1847 I have found out the following:

  • William Jackson Senior is the father of William Jackson Junior and Rebecca Jackson.
  • Jane Steele is a member of the Jackson family somehow – maybe William’s sister?
  • Ann Jackson gave evidence against members of her family which led to their conviction and transportation – is Ann William the elder’s wife and Rebecca and William’s mother?
  • They were tried on 1 January 1847 at Lifford Quarter sessions by the Magistrates of Newton Cunningham Petty Sessions.
  • They were being held at Lifford Gaol.
  • Ann Jackson has had a passage to Quebec paid for her and her two young children aged 10 and 6.

As part of my trip I headed to Lifford Gaol to find out a bit more about it. I was lucky enough to have a guided tour once one of the archivists found I had had a convict relative staying there. The only part of the old gaol remaining is down in the basement and what is now the Lifford Courthouse and Museum. If ever you visit, I recommend the meal at the old Courthouse.

In surfing the web today, I found a report of what the gaol was like on 6 January 1847 when it was visited by the inspector generals of prisons in Ireland. There is a three page report and my Jackson family will be in the number of convicted felons mentioned.

The archivists sent me some images to use when writing about the gaol. Here is one of them:

IMG_1603.JPG

 

I took this while touring the basement area:

IMG_1602.JPG

 

I enjoyed the humour when entering the archivists room.

IMG_1601.JPG

 

But unfortunately, they had nothing more about my Rebecca Jackson, so where was I to go now? I still had not seen any court records explaining what was stolen by this group of thieves. The archivists suggested the heading to Donegal County Archives about 100 metres around the corner. I might find the court records there.

Donegal Outrage Papers

Outrage Papers consists of reports to the Chief Secretary on crimes and disturbances around the country. These are arranged in county order from 1835-52 and are held at the National Archives in their original format. If you get permission from the archivist you can take photos of the papers but you need permission to publish them on the internet. There are papers after 1852 but not in county order.

So I started checking those for 1846 – nothing then 1847 – the year my great great grandmother Rebecca Jackson was tried for stealing wearing apparel.

The first mention I found was:

William Fenton – Governor of the Gaol of Donegal on 23 March 1847 – not sure who he was sending the letter to?

Also that James Sharkey above named was the means of bringing to justice William Jackson Senior and his family four in number, by discovering the pawn tickets concealed on the person of William Jackson the older, the whole family been sentenced to transportation in January last before the Assistant Barrister.

So from this document I now know that William, William, Rebecca and Sarah are all related – probably father, son, daughter and maybe married sister??

Next was report James Sharkey sent in to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on 6 April 1847

The memorial of James Sharkey, Turnkey in Lifford Gaol, County of Donegal, most humbly sheweth,

That on the 21st December last William Jackson Senior, William Jackson Junior Rebecca Jackson and Jane Steele and Mary Jane Gallagher were committed to said gaol charged with various larcenies – that William Jackson Senior (the father of the other two Jacksons and principal leader of them all) had managed to conceal from the Constabulary (who had searched him previous to his committal) a number viz. twenty one Pawn Office tickets which Memorialist found concealed in the waistband of his trowsers at the time he was committed and which led to the discovery of various articles which had been stolen and finally to the conviction of four of the party as the charges for which they were first committed were not sustained: – That Memorialist was examined before the Assistant Barrister at last January Sessions when the aforesaid were tried and convicted and sentenced to be each transported for seven years. Memorialist prays His Excellency will be graciously pleased to award him such remuneration for said service as His Excellency may think proper and as in duty bound Memorialist will ever pray.

Now I have more information William is the father and William Junior and Rebecca are his children. There were actually 5 people committed but only four were convicted. They were convicted because of the pawn tickets found proving to be from stolen articles rather than from the various larcenies charges.

The next document was from A McClintock and John Ferguson to the Under Secretary, Castle Dublin

Newtown Cunningham Petty Sessions, County Donegal 25 May 1847

We the Magistrates of the Petty Sessions District of Newtown Cunningham County of Donegal beg leave to call your attention to the case of Ann Jackson, and to request of you to lay the same before the Lords Justices; the said Ann Jackson became an approver on behalf of the Crown, and gave evidence at the last January Quarter Sessions held in Lifford before Jonathan Henn Esq Q.C. Assistant Barrister of the County of Donegal, against four persons members of her own family, who had been guilty of repeated acts of Larceny, and who were convicted upon her evidence and sentenced to be transported for seven years, and she, having been frequently threatened with personal injury by other members of her family who remain here in the country, and being a Pauper with two children of the respective ages of 10 and 6, and unprotected, has been importuning us to make application on her behalf, that she may be with her two children sent out to one of the colonies at the expense of the Government.

The said Ann Jackson was a member of a family that had for the last twenty or thirty years been committing depredations in this part of the country; they had always escaped detection until she came forward and gave information against them, and was the means by which they were brought to justice: four persons, namely, William Jackson the elder, William Jackson the younger, Rebecca Jackson and Jane Steele were arraigned upon six Bills of indictment at the Quarter Sessions, and principally upon the evidence of the said Ann Jackson were found guilty upon two of the charges and sentenced as before mentioned.

The conviction and punishment of these offenders have been most beneficial to the community, and they might never have been detected but for the information given by this woman: from the character of those members of her family who have been threatening her, we consider them capable of doing her injury, if in their power, and under  these circumstances we recommend her application to the favourable consideration of the Lords Justices.

The next document is very blurry and I can’t read it properly from my iPad. I think it is from Mr Barrett from Riversdale Ardara dated 31 May 1847  The source is labelled 7/181

I have carefully read the annexed and it is perfectly correct – Ann Jackson became an Approver as stated, and gave such information as led to the conviction of William Jackson the Elder, William Jackson the Younger, Rebecca Jackson and Jane Steele, who were severally transported for seven years. I consider the recommendation entitled to the favourable consideration ….

Other notes on the same piece of paper but written in red ink include

I … and inform the Magistrates that their … have sanctioned their recommendations as to the … of Ann Jackson and her two children. Report/Request/Regret?? therefore that they will ………

The final document I copied is from R Ramsay from the Government Emigration Office Londonderry 24 June 1847

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 22 Instance respecting the providing passage for Ann Jackson and her two children and to arrange for 5 pound to be paid her on arrival at the port of Quebec. Have received from H McMahon Esq fifteen pounds for the purpose of providing such passage and remitting the five pounds – I shall provide the passage and remit the pounds to the Emigration gent at Quebec.

So what did I learn from the Outrage Papers and where do I go now? That will be another post.

 

Tripping off to Ireland

One of my hard to research ancestors is Rebecca Jackson. As I was going to a conference in USA in June 2014, I decided to divert to Ireland for three weeks prior to the conference. No good just spending a week overseas when you have to travel to and from Australia. You have to make the most of travelling time.

What did I know about her before I left?

Rebecca was tried in County Donegal on 1 January 1847 for stealing wearing apparel. There were three other people tried for the same offence. William Jackson Senior, William Jackson Junior and Sarah Steele. She was Presbyterian, could read a little and her native place was County Donegal. She departed Dublin on 19 July 1847 on the ship Waverley with Sarah Steele onboard as well.

So where do I go from there? What do I need to find out?

I knew that many records from Ireland had been lost in a fire in Dublin many years ago, but what was left to use? With so much online now, I decided to contact the Donegal Archives on Facebook to get some clues from them. I knew I would be visiting there at some stage of my journey. They said all convict records were at the National Archives in Dublin. As I was flying into Dublin I decided to stay a week there and spend lots of time at the archives, library and museum. I was also visiting schools as part of this trip but you can read about that on my other blog written by a little Tasmanian Devil soft toy.

National Archives of Ireland

Checked the convict records there but they were exactly the same as those I could find here in Australia as part of the AJCP. Disappointed I had a chat with the archivist on duty when I registered for my ticket to use the resources at the archives. He said if Rebecca and the two Williams were all from the same family then their crime might be mentioned in the Outrage papers for Donegal. I had never heard of these but they were a godsend. I checked for 1846 and 1847 seeing as they were on trial early in 1847.

What I found out will be my next post.

UPDATE UPDATE  UPDATE UPDATE  UPDATE UPDATE

Just re-read the convict records and noticed Jane Steel at age 53 was single(not widow) so she can’t be William’s sister, maybe she is the sister of his wife ….

Rebecca Jackson

Rebecca is one of my ‘hard to find out anything about’ convicts. All I know is that her native place was county Donegal in Ireland. She was Presbyterian and could read a little. She was convicted of stealing wearing apparel. It was her first conviction and Sarah STEELE (?) was also on board for the same offence. She was an exemplary convict according to the surgeon’s report.

Her description says she was 5 feet 1 inch tall, age 17, with a fair complexion, large head and mouth, small nose and chin, brown hair and eyebrows, blue eyes, an oval visage and high forehead.

She was tried at Donegal on 1 January 1847 and departed Dublin on the ship Waverley 3 on 19 July 1847. On arrival in Van Diemens Land on 25 October 1847, she was assigned to the ship Anson which was moored in the Derwent River. After 6 months she was given 3rd class status, her ticket of leave on 2 July 1850 and her certificate of freedom 3 January 1854. Marriage to John ENGLAND was approved on 20 September 1854 and they did the deed on 16 October 1854 at St Georges Church, Battery Point, Hobart.

STOP PRESS      UPDATE           STOP PRESS       UPDATE

Since my recent trip to Ireland I have more news about Rebecca. She is no longer labelled ‘hard to find out anything about’.