Saturday, January 4, 2014

Bucket List 2 - These are MY boat people

There is much anger and angst nowadays about boat people arriving on these shores seeking to remove themselves from danger, or to improve their own economic future. But somehow or other, we all came here by boat to improve our own economic future. I know that is how my ancestors arrived on these shores.
Joseph Puckeridge (24) and Ann Maund (23) whose two children died on the way on the "Earl Cornwallis" in 1801
Thomas Hughes (23) by the "Perseus" in 1802
Susannah Smith (24) by the "Wanstead" in 1814
William Chapman (19) by the "Susan" in 1834
Charlotte Webster (19) by the "John Renwick" in 1838
John (27) and Hannah Selby (25), and their sons John (4) and Thomas (2) (and possibly Christopher born on voyage) by the "Spartan" in 1839
John (34) and Jane Tonkin (32), and their children Robert (10), Caroline (8), John (6), Jane (5), and Andrew (3) by the "Swiftsure", 1857
Stephen Cole (34) by the "Red Jacket" in 1860
Hannah Cole (42) and her children Charles (8), Mary (5) and Steven (3) by the "Swiftsure" in 1862,
Ann Howell (19) - vessel unknown - into Brisbane in 1864,
William and Annie Davies by the "??" into Sydney between 1869 and 1887 and
Margaret Hughes (23) by the "Megantic" in 1920.
Yes, my ancestors came with tickets or with leg-irons - meaning, I guess, by authorised means.

The ships involved were:
"Earl Cornwallis", 1801
"Perseus", 1802
"Wanstead", 1814
"Susan", 1834
"John Renwick", 1838
"Spartan", 1839
"Swiftsure", 1859, and 1862
"Red Jacket", 1860
"Megantic", 1920
But look at their ages! Those who were transported were obviously in dire economic straits. It was only the later arrivals who could read and write. There is a neat division of convict and immigrant in that list; the transported ancestors I have highlighted in red. Each of them arrived into Sydney:
Joseph as a brickmaker from Brentford, London
Thomas as a blacksmith in Warwick, Warwickshire
Susannah as a laundress in Kings Lynn, Norfolk
William as a conman in London, but from Bury-St-Edmunds,Suffolk
Charlotte as a nurserymaid in Bath, Somerset
The next six were all unassisted migrants save two:
  • John Selby was a carpenter who joined the Bounty Migration scheme sailing into Sydney (assisted)
  • John Tonkin was a carpenter and ironmonger who hoped to catch the tail of the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s and '60s.
  • Stephen Cole was a labourer cum carpenter who was also attracted by the goldrush.
  • Hannah Cole was a semptress who followed her husband.
  • Ann Howell was a wilful lass who ran away from home.
  • And Margaret Hughes, although from Wales, was a maid living in London (assisted).
Let's look at the ancestors who were NOT convicts. They came mid-century, after the 1845 Enclosure Act and around the time the effects of the first industrial revolution were being fully felt (1830).
  • John Selby came from a line of 'papermakers". In reality, they worked in drudge roles. He was the first "Selby sawyer". Many, many were to follow his lead. Born in Maidstone, he was living in plague-infected South London when he migrated. Lucky, for his descendents that he made that choice.
  • John Tonkin's father was a ship's chandler in Penzance, Cornwall. His son did a carpentry apprenticeship, then lit out for London where he married and emmigrated within weeks of his father's death.
  • Stephen and Hannah Cole were from Dursley in Gloucestershire. He worked as a farm labourer, she sewed in a "big house".
  • Ann Howell was from a struggling household with boarders galore according to the 1861 census. She fled from Barton-St-Michael in Gloucestershire.
  • William Davies was Welsh and he and Annie struggled in Poplar, beside the Thames.
  • And finally, Margaret Hughes came from a large Welsh family who entered "service" at the beginning of WW1 in London.
So, a pattern?
Inner London alongside the Thames, Cornwall, rural Gloucestershire, and Wales. Essentially, "West Country". Shopkeepers, carpenters, labourers, and domestic goddesses.

"The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus might even be appropriate here:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
With this socio-economic bracket, family photographs are not plentiful. The ones I have I will include in the individual stories. And as you can see, there are still a few gaps in JUST HOW they each got here. I cannot pin down Ann Howell,but think she lived in a world of her own creation. I cannot get travel details for Ada Davies save she was born besides the Thames in 1869, and died in Sydney in childbirth in 1904. Both her parents are also buried here. So, more sleuthing required.

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