Sunday, 26 July 2015

The Curse of Common Names

I am trying to pin down my 4th great grandparents, Mary Clifford and John Green. They are ongoing vexations and I've written a little about my searches previously.  Right now I am trying to track down Mary's death which I am assuming occurs sometime after her arrival in the colony in 1833 and John's death in 1868.

Thirty-nine Mary Green's died in the colony between those years. Some can be immediately crossed out given their age listings but that still leaves a lot of Mary's to seek out and discount. She's not listed in the family bible, on John's death certificate or Louisa's marriage certificate. I'm waiting on Louisa's death certificate and trying to track down the death of the other daughter Ann. Their son Thomas died in Tassie as a convict so he is no help in this instance. This may take awhile.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The natural son of Napoleon Bonaparte?

If every there was a reason to not ignore the non-related associates when researching your family history... In my research they serve up the juiciest stories.

A few weeks ago I was following a lead on my maternal side for my 5th great grandmother Mary Ann Gunther (b. 1815 d.1903), the baptisms of her and her siblings in the Wesleyan Church in 1821, when I noticed an seemingly associated record and as I am want to do, followed the breadcrumbs.

It seems that Mary Ann's father Ebenezer Brown Gunther's (b. 1785 d. 1827) second wife - Charlotte von Escher - was a widow. Nothing terribly unusual, but google, fabulous google, threw up this fabulous tidbit for her first husband from the Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser:

INSOLVENT DEBTORS' COURT, April 23. EXTRAORDINARY CASE. General John Maximilian Von Escher was opposed by Mr. ANDREWS and Mr. ADOLPHUS, for three creditors. The prisoner, examined by Mr. Andrews, staled, that he had come to England in February, 1816. He had lodged at first with Mr. King, at the White Bear, in Basinghall- street. He had lodged with a Mr. Cottle, in Windmill- street, and he also lived with a Mr. Arundel. There were some papers of his buried in Mr. Arundel's kitchen. He believed what was buried there consisted of old music. He buried this papers in the kitchen on the solicitation of Mr. Arundel, for his own security. He had had a valuable case with three locks on it. He had never told Mr. Arundel that he had any valuable effects whatever. He had made a hole in a chest of drawers, from the top to the bottom, and put a wire through it. He had money when he came to England, and was in expectation of considerable remittances from abroad. He had mentioned the house of Perigeaux, in Paris, to those with whom he lodged, but he never had a farthing of money in their hands. When he came to England he had references to Sir Joseph Banks and to the Right Hon. George Neville. He had no doubt but the Learned Council might hear of him if he should in- quire of Sir Joseph Banks. He had been recommended to Sir Joseph by Mr. Mendoza and a Mr. Solly. He had also had a letter from the Duchess of Saxe Coburg. He had never said that the Prince of Saxe Coburg had served in a regiment which he had commanded. He had seen the Prince of Saxe Coburg, but was not per- sonally acquainted with him. As far as he recollected; it was in October last that he went to prison. The duplicates which he had in his possession at the time lie went to prison were sold he believed for £ 6. Sir W. Achard was the name under which he had signed a bill of exchange 6n the 6th of April. The paper signed General the Count de Ferrari was never given to any person by him. His debts amounted to about „£ 323. He had bor- rowed money of Mr. Cottle. Mr. Cottle lent him money to buy the marriage certificate, he did not know how many dresses his wife had from Mrs. Pearson after the marriage. He had requested Mrs. Pearson to come to the Court, but had never persuaded her to stay away. He had been iu the service of Murat, and it was in cousequence of the change of affairs in the French Go vernment that he had come to England. It was to secure his personal liberty that he had come to this country. He had signed a Treaty which was conclud- ed for the protection of the Neapolitan Government; his name might be found on it. Mr. John King called by Mr. Andrews — Remember, cd prisoner coming to lodge with him in February 1815, he thought the 7th or 8th. He lived very frugally when he was at his house, which was in Basinghall- street.— He remembered his saying, that the Prince of Saxe Coburg had served under him, and he would bring him some day to dine with him at his house. - Mr. M'Lawin, an American merchant, had come with him to his house. He knew Mr. M'Lawin, but he had been informed by that gentleman that prisoner was a stranger to him when he came in his company to the White Bear. Mr. Cottle, called by Mr. Andrews, deposed, that prisoner had brought a case with three locks with him to his lodgings, and informed him that it contained a number of valuable papers, which were worth £ 1000. lie had given him a watch as security for the re- payment of money, which he had borrowed of him. On witness's getting the watch examined, he understood it was not worth more than three pounds, seals and all, whereas it had been represented to him to be worth 40/. Prisoner had stated to him, that he had a great sum of money iu Messrs. Perigeaux's hands, at Paris, but lie could not recollect how much. Mr. Andrews submitted, that from all the circum- stances which had been stated, the Court ought to remand the prisoner. After some observations from Mr. Serjeant Running- ton, the four creditors, Messrs Pearson, King, Cottle, and Arundel, were excepted, and prisoner of course remanded till he should be able to pay their debts. [ Report states this prisoner to be a natural son of Napoleon Buonaparte. The only evidence in favour of the report is his countenance, which has all the tire snd expression of the Ex- Emperor, and possesses a great general resemblance.]

Now having found her marriage record on ancestry I knew this was the right man, and really when faced with something like this who could possibly resist a further dig? That further dig turned up this:

Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser, 29 July 1819

So not the natural son of Napolean then, but an imposter. Even better! Alas, this is as far as my search has taken me so far but rather than sating my curiosity it has whetted it.

The moral of the story being: Never ignore the collaterals that appear in your research they add so much colour to the narrative.

Friday, 10 July 2015

My SpitKit(tm) has arrived

The Charlemagne Factor part deux, Or dude I am totally Royal

I've posted about this before but another couple of hours following published family trees of the Royal and famous has turned up another gem. Robert the Bruce is not only my 22nd Great Grandfather x 2, but he is also my 23rd Great Grandfather.

It goes like this:

  1. Me,
  2. My Mother,
  3. Her Mother,
  4. VM Tulloch, daughter of
  5. LW Tulloch, son of
  6. LT Tulloch, son of
  7. John Tulloch, son of
  8. Ann Elizabeth Sutherland, daughter of
  9. Anderina Jamieson, daughter of
  10. Ann Tarrell Fordyce, daughter of
  11. Andrew Fordyce, son of
  12. Hugh Fordyce, son of
  13. Andrew Fordyce, son of
  14. Alexander Fordyce, son of
  15. Margaret Bruce, daughter of
  16. Elizabeth Gray, daughter of
  17. Marion Ogilvy, daughter of
  18. Helen Sinclair, daughter of
  19. Henry Sinclair, son of
  20. William Sinclair, son of
  21. Elizabeth Douglas, daughter of
  22. Margaret Stewart, daughter of 
  23. Robert III of Scotland, son of
  24. Robert II of Scotland, son of
  25. Majorie Bruce, daughter of
  26. King Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce)
So the point of pedigree collapse between these two paths is Margaret Bruce who traces back to Robert the Bruce through both her mother and father, to a daughter by his first wife and a daughter by his second.

So dude. I am TOTALLY Royal!

But then, if you are of western extraction so are you. The internet is full of handy dandy charts and people with better maths skills than me, and as you can see by the time you are talking 22nd Great Grandparents you potentially have over 16 million of them. But most people's pedigrees begin to collapse around 10 generations back, because let's face it the marriageable pool for our ancestors was pretty small given ideas of race, class and low levels of human migration. So everyone currently alive on this planet is at least 50th cousins or something and your tree isn't so much of a tree shape... 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Still alive, honest.

I've just been a little busy what with my new job and all.

Yes that's right, I started a new job at the end of March working for a transcription company who does court reporting etc, and I love it. Generally it is only a part time role but there was a big project I was assigned to so for five weeks I left home at 7:30 in the morning and got home at 8:30 at night completely exhausted. Weekends I slept, or this last weekend, threw myself head first in to getting the project done by Monday as it was due on the 1st.

What has this got to do with genealogy, history or research you ask? Well it has had some flow on effects:

  1. Disposable income. I've ordered my AncestryDNA kit and have been splashing out on BDM transcriptions. I've also brought a lot of books because, well I like books. 
  2. A renewed interest in legal proceedings and associated records. Perfect timing considering the release of all those juicy criminal records on FindMyPast this month. I'm learning a lot of legal terms and also where to find legal information in my job so it is certainly useful when it comes to dealing with those convict cousins.
  3. Being back to part time means yes, I have enrolled in UTas's free Introduction to Family History unit. Given my BA(Hons) in history I doubt I will do the full Associate Degree in Arts as it is a bit redundant but I never can resist further study.
SO basically I hope to have lots of new and interesting discoveries to share in the coming months.