Thursday, 31 October 2013

The elusive John Green

Last night I was fortunate enough to be a participant in the first GeniAus Hangout on Air, it was a lot of fun and will be a great collaboration and learning resource. One of the questions I got to throw out into the ether was what do you do when you come across an absolute bog standard name, in my case John Green.

So what do I know about John Green.

John Green is the father of Louisa Green (b. 21 Jul 1821 - d. 27 Jun 1897)
Before he passed away, I was fortunate enough to be in contact with Ken Muffett who had devoted a lifetime to researching the descendants of Louisa and her husband Charles Robert Muffett in Australia. He had passed along some images of a Family Bible.
Muffet Family Bible, from the collection of the late Ken Muffet
Someone, and it appears to be a similar hand to that of the Family Register, has kindly written on the death information page.

Starting then with the information given about Louisa, there is a Louisa Green christened in Oakley, Bedfordshire to a John and Mary Green on 11 Aug 1822.1 There is a William and a Jane christened on the same day to the same parents.2  Now, I am not entirely convinced that this is a perfect fit, but with the information from the Bible it is at least plausible.

Now Louisa's husband was a convict. Being a convict there is Applications to marry for the couple, who were refused twice before obtaining permission. 
"Registers of Convicts' Applications to Marry, 1826-1851" State Archives NSW; Series: 12212; Item: 4/4513; p. 88
Looking now at the shipping record of the "Enchantress" "New South Wales, Australia, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1826-1922" [Database Online] /imaus1787_081196-0340 retrieved 31 Oct 2013
Mary Green. Ann Green 15 years of age. Louisa Green 11. Thomas Green 8. There is no John Green. There appears to be no male adult travelling with them at all. So why am I at least sure that John Green is Louisa's father?

Using the information from the Family Bible I ordered a transcription of John Green's death certificate via NSW Family History Transcriptions Pty Ltd (excellent service by the way, would highly recommend.)

John Green died 26 Aug 1868 at Rose Vale, Yarralaw District of Goulburn. He is a Farmer aged 81, therefore born approx 1787. Hi place of birth and marriage are listed as England but his conjugal status, age at marriage, name of spouse and children were left blank as was his time in the colonies. Information about his parents is listed as Unknown. The informant for his death is Charles R Muffet, Grandson, Rosevale, the undertaker Robert Muffet and the witnesses Charles R Muffet and Thomas M. Middleton, the place of burial Yarralaw. That Charles R Muffet is listed as his grandson supports the idea that he is Louisa's father as does the other witness who is one of Louisa's son-in-laws. Robert Muffet is one of the names by which Louisa's husband was known.

What we know is that John Green is the father of Louisa Green and he died in 1868.

This isn't the first time I'm tried to trace the Greens. The first aborted attempts were as a 15 and an 18 year old. I didn't get very far, but written on a scrap of notepaper in a big pile of group sheets I had at some stage jotted down the following information. Louisa Green had been in NSW 67 years at death. John Green was 43 years old on arrival. Green, John and wife Mary arrive 1/1/1835 from London listed as passengers Mary 21 years, John listed as soldier /50th Reg. Mary's maiden name was Clifford or Clifton.

Yeah, first thing I'd like to do is go back and slap my 15 year old self for not keeping better notes. Or any source notes. Although this was long before my history degree and the compulsive citation habits it imposed. The second this is a vague memory of some of this information coming from a phone call with Ken but him not being very sure himself. Too late now I'm afraid to ask him again. The last comment about Clifford/Clifton is also referenced in Ken's published family tree. I wish I knew where I got the 1/1/1835 from as a recent search identified this as the Henry Porcher and I could not find a John and Mary Green at all, although listed was stragglers and families of the 50th Regiment of Foot. Is this where that idea came from?

Where now?
I have started the slow process of going through every Green in the colony starting with the Argyle district, and the names John, Mary, Thomas, Ann, William or Jane.

I have Trove'd and continue to Trove. The Muffet's are constantly in the papers during this period. I might get lucky and find a Green reference.

I am considering the possibility of tracing the other immigrants from the "Enchantress" on the off chance they were travelling with another family.

Hope desperately that one of the other descendants has had better luck than me.

Find a Medium and ask.

Does anyone have any better suggestions?

1 "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 Oct 2013), Louisa Green, 04 Jun 1822
2 "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 Oct 2013), William Green, 17 Mar 1816, "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 Oct 2013), Jane Green, 16 Jul 1818.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Fromelles Project

Having worked in the same department as specialists on military history and being, in general, interested in history that makes the news; I was peripherally aware of the Fromelles Project and the attempts to identify the remains of the soldiers from this WWI battlefield. Today however, it became rather visible to me.

An elderly lady I visit received a phone call yesterday asking for her help (via DNA sample) in the possible identification of her Uncle as one of the unknown soldiers. She is rather pleased that he will (if identified) finally have a proper resting place and cannot wait to share this news with the rest of her family. I do hope for her sake that they manage to make a match.  

Monday, 14 October 2013

Amanuesis Monday: In Loving Remembrance of Eliza Muffett

As a codicil to the post Burial in the Bush, I offer the poem written by M.L.M in remembrance of the departed Eliza.

"Advertising." Goulburn Herald (NSW : 1881 - 1907) 11 Dec 1886: 5. Web. 14 Oct 2013 <>

In Loving Remembrance
Who departed this Life on November 9th 1886;
Aged 27 years and 11 months,

A life of suffering she bore
From infancy till death,
But now she is set free from all -
A home in heaven she hath,

Through all those many years of pain
Her loving parents o'er kept
A watchful eye, when she awoke
And also when she slept.

It would be very wrong to grieve,
To wish to have her here again,
For now we know she's safe above,
Where sorrow is unknown.

And when our life on earth is done,
 We hope to meet her there,
And with the angels praises sing -
In that bright land no partings are.

November 17th.                                                          M. L. M.

The M.L.M responsible for the poem could be her niece Mary Louisa Muffet or perhaps one of the related Middleton's.

Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers

Thursday, 3 October 2013

GEDCOM vs XML: Or Should I try out GRAMPS?

Was the topic of last nights "I can't get to sleep and my brain insists on being ridiculously chatty even though I am really tired" ramble. So I was pleased that when I googled it this morning bunches of articles came up.

Since I'm studying for my Masters in Archives & Records, XML is something I've come to be pretty fond of and honestly GEDCOM has always seemed unnecessarily complicated and inflexible. Is it enough however to convince me to change genie software? 

At the moment I switch between TMG and Family Historian, TMG for my 'serious' research stuff and Family Historian for when I am showing non-technical, non-historians my research. Cause it's prettier. TMG is for me, by far the better program. But I haven't tried GRAMPS and the open source nature of it does appeal being in general easier to migrate and preserve over a longer period of time than proprietary software. I mean who doesn't have inaccessible files sitting around because they no longer are supported by software or hardware and you can't find an emulator? My poor original PAF files will soon fall into this category *sniff*

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Trove Tuesday: Burial in the Bush

I did have a different item prepared for today - an article containing a lovely sketch of one of my forebears - however, during one of my general surname searches I came across this essay.

ESSAYS, SKETCHES, &c. (1886, November 20). Goulburn Herald (NSW : 1881 - 1907), p. 6. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from

Mr & Mrs Robert Muffet are my 3x great-grandparents, their eldest son Charles and his wife Mary Matilda (nee Reader), referred to in the article as Mrs Charles Muffet are my 2x great-grandparents. The funeral is that of their daughter Eliza.

There is a published tree of the descendants of [Charles] Robert Muffett & Louisa Muffett [nee Green], a copy of which originally helped to feed my love of family history (I'm on page 72). No mention of Eliza's disability is mentioned. I wonder if it was not known or just conveniently forgot?