Looking for my John Davey

Back in 1990, after 10 years of teaching full time, I earned the right to Long Service Leave so took off for three months around the world. West coast America to see Disneyland and the canyons, Alaska to fly above the Arctic Circle and visit an inuit town, Europe to see the large towns and famous buildings like Eiffel Tower and Leaning tower of Pisa, sail in the Greek islands, travel down the Nile and climb in the Pyramid of Giza but most of all visit the country of my ancestors Great Britain.

Very little was digitized at this time, many records were on microfilm or in original records. So I spent a few days at the Devon Archives when they were located in the middle of Exeter. I was trying to find out who my John Davey was, where he came from, who were his parents and siblings. I stayed in a B&B in Clyst Honiton.

What did I know about John Davey before I left?

  • John was my great great grandfather who married Annie Dixon in 1859. He was 26, she was 18. Until his death in 1888, they raised seven sons and five daughters to adulthood. They lived in English Town, near Evandale, Tasmania
  • 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 aged 20 on 13 February 1855 on board ‘Wanderer‘.  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.

By the time I had finished my research at the Devon Archives, I had the feeling that my John Davey was born in Coffinswell in 1836. In fact, I started with a list of 50 John Davey born around 1835 in Devon and by the end of my research was down to 7 possibilities but the most likely being the one born in Coffinswell. I added this to my tree on Ancestry and of course, it has now been copied by many relatives onto their trees.

I now know better than to do this.

Since that trip to England 30 years ago, I have been to New Zealand to visit cousins there – one of John Davey’s daughters married and moved to New Zealand. She had a birthday book which she handed down through her family so I asked the current owner if they could send me any names relating to the Davey surname.

One of these was John Davey born 21 January 1834. Could I assume this was my John Davey? But the Coffinswell John Davey was born in 1836? How to prove who was my real John Davey?

Thirty years have now passed

If only I had checked those John Davy (note different spelling) births in Devon, I would have made an immediate hit but instead it has taken me 30 years until a match in mum’s DNA linked back to a person who had an ancestor Luke Davy in Devon. How was this Luke Davy related to my John Davey?

They were siblings. So mum and her DNA match named Ivor are 3rd cousins sharing 99cM across 5 segments.

This John Davy was born  21 January 1834 in Clyst Honiton, Devon, England. He was one of  12 children born to John and Mary Anne Davy nee Jennings in Heavitree area of Devon, England.

My reminder from this is to search all probable spellings of a surname. Sometimes my John was a Davey other times a Davy.

Readers: Have you made a mistake with a person on your tree? How did you go about fixing it?

No new posts for a while

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Sorry I haven’t written any new posts, including #52ancestors, on this blog for the last couple of months. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing family history research.

One of the students who had recently completed the Diploma of Family History offered to run some sessions on using WordPress for creating a family history website. I decided to have a go even though Edublogs also uses WordPress but I am using blocks rather than the visual editor I am used to in Edublogs.

I started a new blog that is dedicated just to biographies of my direct grandparents. So far I have written about:

Maternal:

Working on great grandmother Julia Charlotte Chandler at the moment

Paternal:

Will be finding it difficult to write on further paternal grandparents as little is known about them. Trying to connect with relatives through DNA who might be able to give me more information.

I might eventually extend this new blog to biographies of other relatives but I still have quite a few of my maternal ancestors to write about yet.

Readers: How do you share information about your ancestors with your relatives?

Passing names down the generations

I knew I had Francis Colgrave as a name passed down at least three generations as he is one of my direct ancestors.  But I had to check my home database to find out some statistics for this post to see if names passed down happened in other branches of my trees. I’ve only included those with three or more names the same.

BLYTH, Edwin Tabrum – born 1888, 1937, 1961

BOXHALL, Anne – born 1810, 1840, 1959

BOYD, Frederick – born 1855, 1861, 1880

BROWN, Adam – born 1846, 1890, 1894

CHANDLER, William Charles – born 1829, 1863, 1895, 1923

COLGRAVE, Francis – born 1770, 1806, 1843, 1866, 1903, 1925

COLGRAVE, Joshua – born 1859, 1883, 1986

COLGRAVE, Louisa – born 1863, 1881, 1914

COLGRAVE, Samuel – born 1804, 1829, 1847, 1867

COLGRAVE, Thomas – born 1602, 1640, 1663, 1694

DAVEY, George – born 1865, 1898, 1902, 1930

DAVEY, Harry – born 1878, 1908, 1941, 2012

ENGLAND, Elizabeth – born 1830, 1857, 1900

ENGLAND, Mary Ann – born 1805, 1825, 1861

KILPIN, Richard – born 1724, 1790, 1831

MARU, Eliza – born 1829, 1846, 1863

SMITH, William – born 1840, 1883, 1911

SWAIN, Clement – born 1810, 1825, 1831

SWAIN, John – born 1783, 1808, 1815

Any births from about 1840 onwards will probably be in Tasmania also known as Van Diemens Land. Those prior to 1840 would be mainly in England – the COLGRAVE name in Bedfordshire, the ENGLAND name in West Yorkshire around Rotherham, the KILPIN name in Bedfordshire and the SWAIN name in Kent.

Readers: What name has been passed down in your family? Were you named after an ancestor or close relative?

Family Snaps

This week in #52ancestors the theme is “Family photos”. Unsure if this meant any photos taken by a family member or photos of families, I thought I would add a few of both in this post as a gallery of snaps. Many of these photos have been used in previous posts.

 

Maru – an unusual name

Like many of the other participants in this #52ancestors challenge, my DNA is mainly Irish and English. So I have the most common Christian names like Mary, Margaret, John, James and William. When looking through my 10,000 person database which I have on my home computer, I remembered a great great aunt who married  Alladean MARU. Both Christian and surname are unusual compared to my other ancestors.

Much of the information in this post is from an email received from Jenny Murphy, a descendant of Alladean.

Alladean, born 28 May 1858,  was one of eight children to Abdallah Edgar MARU (1817-1896) and Eliza HAYWARD(1829 – ) His siblings were Louisa Elizabeth (1845-1877), Eliza (1846-c1862), William (1848-c1864), Alice (1850-c1862), John known as Jack (1854-1922), Robert (1861 – 1911) and Fanny (1864 – ). 1

Abdallah was of Indian origin born in Bombay in 1817 while Elizabeth was born in 1829 in Kent, England.  They married in 1844 in Adelaide, South Australia where their first four children were born. The next four were born around Eaglehawk near Bendigo in Victoria, Australia. This area was growing as a gold mining centre during the 1850s and 1860s. I wonder if Alladean ever found any gold fossicking in the creeks around his home?

SepiaSovereignHill

By 1887, Alladean was living in Tasmania and on 25 June he married Selina Anna DAVEY at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Ulverstone. 2 Both were of full age. Witnesses were Winfred Cox and his wife Julia Charlotte Cox nee Thomas.

1887 ‘Family Notices’, Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas. : 1883 – 1928), 6 July, p. 2. , viewed 19 Jan 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article149542468

Over the next 16 years, the couple had eight children.

  • Elizabeth (Annie) Jane born 15 May 1888 3
  • John Edgar (Jack) born 3 February 1890 4
  • Mary Alice born 20 September 1891 5
  • Charlie William born 22 April 1893  6
  • Amy Helen born 9 March 1895  7
  • Jessie May born 30 June 1897
  • Frank Robert born 15 August 1902
  • James Arthur (Jim) born 5 November 1904

The family resided at Mabel Street, Ulverstone and possibly Alladean was involved in the early tram and railway systems which opened in this area of Devonport – Ulverstone – Burnie. Post Office and the children’s birth records showed they lived here from 1887 until 1907.

The Don River Railway workshop

The entire family left Ulverstone for New Zealand on 16 October 1907 arriving in Stratford 9 days later. By 1911, he was on the electoral roll at Broadway, Stratford with an occupation as engine driver. Earliest records state they lived in Toko, Stratford and Ohakune. Several railway systems were being developed  in the Waimarino area and this allowed opening up of country with better transport.

In 1915, his son John was declared  medically unfit due to foot problems. 8

In 1918, his son Charlie died of wounds during World War I and was buried at Hebuterne Cemetery. Charlie was part of the 1st Battalion, Wellington Regiment of the New Zealand Enlisted Forces. He survived Gallipoli but died during battle on the Western Front. 9

In 1918, a large fire burnt through the town of Raetihi destroying nine sawmills, 150 buildings and killing three people. According to Jenny’s email they survived this fire but the Maru homestead burnt down.  A relief train had been sent from Ohakune. The bush was dense near the Raetihi railway station and the whistle had to be blown almost continuously to scare cattle on the tracks. Many residents went down to the banks of the river and into the water. By the time the train returned to Ohakune, the winds had died down and soft rain was falling.

Raetihi

By 1923 the family were living at Ohakune Road, Raetihi in the Waimarino division. Alladean was a sawmill machinist, his son Frank Robert was a farmer and another son John Edgar was a labourer.

On January 10, 1927 Alladean passed away suddenly while visiting his daughter near Christchurch on the South Island. He was aged 69 years. 10

After Alladean’s death, Selina went to live with her daughter Mary SOWERBY in Ashhurst near Palmerston North. She lived 14 more years and died 24 September 1941 of Chronic Brights disease.

These are copies of photos shown to me when visiting Maru family in Raetihi in the 1980s. I do not know who the people are in the photos and would love some comments from Maru relatives who might read this post.

Readers: What is the most unusual name you have found in your family?

  1. Home database
  2. Marriage certificate, TAHO
  3. Birth certificate, TAHO
  4. Birth certificate, TAHO
  5. Birth certificate, TAHO
  6. Birth certificate, TAHO
  7. Birth certificate, TAHO
  8. NZ war records, NZ archives
  9. NZ war records, NZ archives
  10. Death notice, New Zealand Herald, New Zealand Herald, Volume LXIV, Issue 19533, 12 January 1927