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I  happened upon a link (on Facebook) to websites to look for books or PDFs of family or county histories. Included amongst them was a link to familysearch’s books. I idly searched for Cornelius (only because it is an unusual surname). I found a PDF of over 100 pages long (“History of the Cornelius family in England : starting from the past to the present of the Cornelius line”) of a researcher’s attempts in about 2003 to follow the line down on several branches! She was very thorough, looking at alternatives and eliminating some based on sound evidence.

It confirmed my belief that the “We’re related” app was wrong in the parentage of an ancestor, thereby linking me to several different “famous” Americans.

So today I have been reading this amazing document and making notes on my tree, searching on Cornwall OPC and Findmypast (currently subscribed to for a short time) to confirm. The author included snippets from actual microfilmed documents so there’s no arguing the authenticity.

I haven’t even begun to search for other documents out there. It will be interesting if there is anything else on one of my branches.

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I haven’t updated lately, but that’s not to say I haven’t been dabbling.

I belong to a few genealogical pages on Facebook (and they’re’ the only reason I visit Facebook these days). You learn some interesting stuff there. I found out about ancestry’s “We’re related” app, which I thought would be bogus but interesting to see. When I finally got the thing working, it came up with six so-called famous people, three of whom I had never heard of, five of whom were American. It will take a bit of time to verify, especially as they claim that my ancestor Mary Poor was the daughter of someone called John Preble. They all reach back to the 16th century which also seems dubious. We’ll see.

More interesting, however, is familysearch’s version “Relative Finder”. Again, “famous” American people I’ve never heard of but I’ve looked at a couple and they do list ancestors I’m familiar with but reaching back another four or five generations, so I will verify those also – a much easier task as it’s all there in familysearch with sources. I can always double-check with the Cornwall OPC (yes the interesting Cornish ancestors yet again).

As a result, I’ve just spent all morning adding details to the Cornelius and Johns family (the parents of Elizabeth Cornelius, who married Christopher Dart, were John Cornelius and Ann Johns) with more to do. Somone has done a lot of research linking children and parents, going back to the 1600s.

Considering the many different surname changes from the supposed common ancestor to the famous person (through female lines), it’s no wonder I can’t find names in common when trying to link DNA matches. It’s extremely complex.

Christopher Dart was born in around 1801 but I don’t know where. He was a miner in Cornwall and married there but Dart is an unusual surname for Cornwall, originating, instead, in neighbouring Devon. I have been unable to find a birth or baptism for a Christoper in Cornwall except for in Calstock, 1809, which seems a little late, but not impossible. One that seems more likely is a baptism in Tavistock, Devon (not far from Calstock) on 23 December 1800 to Thomas, a miner, and Loveday. However, there’s no way of knowing. I only found about six other Christopher Darts in Devon and pretty much none at all for the rest of Britain. I would have to systematically research each one in order to eliminate them.

Christopher married Elizabeth Cornelius on 27 October 1827 in Redruth, Cornwall. Their first child was named John Cornelius and was baptised on 30 June 1828. Next was Elizabeth Anne who was born in about December 1832, and was baptised on 29 August 1833. Sadly she died at age 10 months, of measles, and was buried on 1 September. Just over a year later, the second daughter was born and also called Elizabeth Ann. She was born in about November 1834 and baptised on 6 June 1835. Finally, in 1837, another son, James Johns, was born, baptised on 12 August.

Sadly, Christopher died just four months later on 3 December. Consumption was the cause of death. He didn’t live long enough to witness the death of his youngest son in 1838 at the age of one. Such tragedy to befall Elizabeth.

Since Christopher’s life was so short, and I have no information on him, I’ll turn to Elizabeth. She was born in about 1805, baptised on 19 September in Redruth. She was the daughter of John Cornelius and Ann Johns and had 10 siblings.

In 1841 she was living in Fore Street, Redruth, with her two surviving children in the same household as a probable brother, Martin and his family. Elizabeth was known as Betsy.

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Fore Street, Redruth

In 1851 Elizabeth was a greengrocer, living in Miners Row with her children. Her son, John, was a stone mason, as was his uncle living next door.

In 1861 Elizabeth was boarding in Fords Row with a woman six years her senior. She was still a greengrocer. I don’t know what happened to John. Daughter, Elizabeth, of course, had married and emigrated to Australia.

I have no further information on Elizabeth. I don’t know when she died. I have not been able to find any Elizabeth Darts in the 1871 census in Redruth. There is one in Bodmin which is quite far away – a pauper in an asylum, who died there during that decade.

Lots of further research needed.

 

Sources: findmypast; familysearch; Cornwall online parish registers; Old Cornwall in pictures Facebook page;

Elizabeth Ann Dart was born about November 1834, and was baptised on 6 June 1835 in Redruth, Cornwall.  Her parents were Christopher Dart and Elizabeth Cornelius.

Elizabeth was one of only four children as her father (a miner) died young.  She had an older sister, also called Elizabeth Ann(e) who was born, but also died, in 1833.  Her other two siblings were brothers who I know little about.

By the 1841 census Elizabeth’s father had already died and only Elizabeth and one brother are listed with their widowed mother.  The youngest brother died in 1838.  The family were living in Fore Street in Redruth, a short, hilly road which appears to be the main shopping street of Redruth.  They appear to be living with 13 other people (it’s hard to tell in the 1841 census as there’s no head of household noted), among whom was Marten Cornelius, age 35, mason, and his wife, Grace, age 40, and family.  It’s likely Elizabeth senior was related to Marten (a brother?).

In 1851, Elizabeth Ann was living with her brother and mother in Miner’s Row, just around the corner from Fore Street.  Her brother was a stone mason and Elizabeth was a tailoress apprentice.  The street was full of miners and stone masons.

In 1854, Elizabeth was living in Ford’s Row in Redruth, just down the road from Miner’s Row.  She married Edwin Stevens at the parish church in Redruth on 20 February 1854.

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St Euny church, Redruth

The 1850s was the gold rush era in Australia, and Edwin, being a miner, joined hundreds of others who emigrated from Cornwall, with his new wife Elizabeth.

They boarded the barque “Trafalgar” at Plymouth, Devon, on 6 March 1854.  Also on board was one James Cornelius, age 19, and wife, from Redruth.  I have no idea if he was a relative.  I think the Cornelius family was a large one.  The passengers experienced some heavy weather.

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South Australian Register, 29 June 1854

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Steerage, South Australian Maritime Museum

However, the ship arrived safely at Port Adelaide on 28 June.

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Port Adelaide in 1846

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South Australian Register, 25 July 1854

Gold had been discovered at Spring Creek, Beechworth in 1852, so Edwin and Elizabeth must have headed that way almost immediately.  This was where their first child, Elizabeth, was born in January 1855.  Two years later, their son, Edwin, was born there in March 1857.

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Gold miners, about 1858

More tantalising evidence that related Cornelius’ could also have emigrated to Australia is this advertisement (one of three in 1858) in the Murray and Ovens Advertiser:

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The next son, John, was born in Indigo in 1862 but had died in Binalong the following year.

By 1863 the family had moved over the border into New South Wales and were living in the newly renamed Young in New South Wales (previously Lambing Flat).  By this time the infamous Lambing Flat riots were long over, although the issue still simmered and there were bushrangers in the area, led by John Gilbert and Ben Hall.

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The Golden Age, 1861

Elizabeth gave birth to another daughter, Ellen.  However, gold was on the way out, so the family moved on to Cadia, NSW where there was a copper mine, something Edwin was more familiar with.  The next two children were born there:  John Dart in January 1865, and Emma in June 1867.  They still didn’t settle, moving on to the mining region of Icely, where the last four children were born: Lavinia in December 1869; Alfred in July 1871; Mary Ann in May 1873; and Louisa Jane in February 1875.  In October of that year, Elizabeth’s daughter, Elizabeth, had married Lot Hammer.

Elizabeth had had 10 children, at least eight of whom grew to adulthood and married.  There is no further record of her.  The youngest child was just ten years old when Elizabeth died on 26 April 1885 in Orange, New South Wales.

 

Source:  cornwalls.co.uk/Redruth; Cornwall OPC database; Google; miningchurch.uk; Trove; theshipslist.com; wikimedia commons; guides.slv.vic.gov.au/gold/people; goldtrails.com.au; findmypast; family archives

Just a week ago I signed up for a “free” trial with findmypast.co.uk and in that time, with just two days of research, I have filled in numerous gaps.  Their search engine is vastly superior to ancestry and familysearch.  They only display relevant results which makes a vast difference!  I don’t waste my time clicking on results which do not meet my search criteria.

I had a word file of particular details that I wanted for a range of different ancestors.  Slowly, I have made my way through them and crossed them out as I got a positive result.  I have noted the positive and negative results on my “research log”.

Last week I found the births or baptisms for Thomas Mudd, Elizabeth Potter (also her death), and clarified births, marriages and/or deaths for some of the Rose family.

Today I met with even more success, finding the baptism (and parents) of Mary Chariot and the marriage of those newly found parents, the marriage of John Beale’s parents, the burial of John Cornelius, the burial for Thomas Gruncel, the likely baptism and death of Sarah Kercher (nee Lee), and a baptism for Sarah Barnett.  For years I had been searching for the baptisms of Sarah Exel and Esther Webb, never having found anything remotely possible, but today I found a possible baptism for a Sarah Exall AND I found Esther (aka Hester) Webb!  That was the biggest prize, finding Esther.  Those records were probably sitting there all this time, buried in all the irrelevant results from stupid search engines.  Even when I know exactly what I’m looking for and that it exists, I always drew a blank on both ancestry and familysearch.  Findmypast also has British newspaper records with a good search engine so I have started to find little articles such as John Rose standing for council.

I recently received my DNA results from ancestry.  The ethnicity is not a surprise but ideally I need a subscription to view any matches.  I’m reluctant to give ancestry any money.  I’ve usually found them disappointing (see above comments re search results).  I think I’ll wait until my findmypast sub expires and then think about it.  I’m no hurry.  In the meantime, I have uploaded my results to Gedmatch but don’t really know what to do.  It’s all gibberish to me with its 31.6 cM 4th cousin match.  What is one supposed to do with that information?  Presumably the person you match has a tree with similar surnames?  Who knows?  I need a “DNA for genealogy” for dummies, with them spelling out exactly what to do.  The help I’ve received so far still doesn’t help.  When it comes to numbers, my brain freezes.

In the meantime, I’m happy enough continuing with the more traditional search on findmypast.