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At a loss as to what to search for next, while I have a sub at findmypast, I turned my attention to Christopher Dart, born around 1800, probably in Devon. Very few Christopher Darts were born around that time. I had a list of about five, one born in Calstock, Cornwall, and the rest in Devon.

I detailed everything I knew about all the Christophers, including their parents, their siblings, locations, etc. I looked at census returns to try and track down any Christophers and/or their siblings. I was able to eliminate two Christophers, as they appeared in the 1841 census, “my” Christopher having died before then.

I found no Christopher Darts in the census for Cornwall, and no other Christophers in census returns for Devon apart from the two eliminated. So I still couldn’t eliminate three of them. Two of them died in 1838 and 1841 respectively, in Okehampton and Newton Abbot, so that appears to mean that the remaining Christopher out of the five, is “the one”.  I’m still rather confused though.

I tend to favour the Christopher born in Tavistock as it was a mining district and this Christopher’s father was a miner. However, it seems the two brothers, John and Thomas, were agricultural labourers. I would guess that Christopher followed in his father’s footsteps and sought mining in Cornwall where he met his wife. I haven’t found much about mining in Devon or whether miners there sought work in Cornwall. I suppose so. Miners went where there was mining.

I wish I could say with certainty though. Names don’t help. Christopher’s surviving children were named John and Elizabeth. The Christopher in Tavistock had a brother called John and a sister, Ann. It might have been Elizabeth Ann, (the name of his daughter) as there was an Elizabeth who married a William Jago in 1837. A Thomas Dart Jago, age 7, was visiting his uncle, John Dart, in 1851. It’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to knowing.


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.


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.


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.


South Australian Register, 29 June 1854


Steerage, South Australian Maritime Museum

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


Port Adelaide in 1846


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.


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:



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.


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:; Cornwall OPC database; Google;; Trove;; wikimedia commons;;; findmypast; family archives

It’s all very well saying I’ll detail my searches in a spreadsheet, but often I’m not at my home computer when I’m searching so I don’t have the spreadsheet to hand.  Often I’ll think of something “just to see” and veer off in a different direction, without any methodical follow-up.  It’s a mess.  Then I read past posts on this blog and often can’t remember what I found or how I got there.  It’s really bad.  It all takes time and focus, which is difficult when you have a short period (maybe an afternoon) in which to do it.  No wonder I end up doing the same searches all the time.

I was idling away and thought I’d do another search on Christopher Dart in Redruth.  I haven’t been able to find his birth in Cornwall.  Well, today I happened upon a forum with someone saying they suspected he came from Devon.  Ah!  Interesting.  But why the suspicion?  Is it because there are a lot of Darts in Devon?  Very possible.  With that in mind I did a search for Christopher Dart outside of Cornwall and the nearest I found to 1801 was one baptised 3 January 1799 in Hatherleigh, Devon, son of Roger and Herriot.  Hmm.  Children are often named after grandparents but there are no Rogers or Harriet(?)s in Christopher’s family.  There must be more than one Christoper Dart in the whole of Devon for that time, but it appears to be an uncommon first name, if the results are to be believed.

And this is where I make another complaint about search results.  It’s no wonder I draw complete blanks time after time on ancestry and familysearch.  Familysearch, in particular, is a nightmare.  For example, I might enter the name Joe Bloggs, with a date and place and perhaps even parents, and what happens?  I get a list of results with Joe Bloggs listed as the father at a christening for that period.  WTF?  So, I usually end up leaving the first name blank and trawl through heaps of results.  I once entered the father’s name as the name of the birth or christening I was looking for (when it was his son I was looking for) and only then did I get the correct father, and had to search through heaps of irrelevant results.  That’s another thing.  Why ask for a date range if you’re going to show me results 50 years later than what I wanted?  It pisses me off.

Ancestry is just as bad.  Why show me a load of totally irrelevant results?  If my person died in 1850, why are you showing me results for a person born in 1870?  WTF?  I get so irate.  It’s just wasting my time.

I’ve been thinking about the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge.  It might help get me focussed, although I know it goes against the grain to focus on one person at a time – I want all the answers now, for everyone!  Naturally, for such a challenge, I do not want to wait until January – why wait for some arbitrary start time?  There are 52 weeks in a year regardless of when the year starts, so I thought of doing it from 1 July.  It probably would be a challenge as there would be other interests and events to distract me AND I’ve just sent off my DNA sample, so there’s that whole huge learning curve with DNA matches and trees, etc, but  I think I’ll do it anyway.  It could actually be a challenge to find 52 ancestors that I can write anything about, but it doesn’t have to be a lot.  I could also just write about my search for more information or focus on a sibling instead.  I’ve decided I need to know more about siblings and perhaps searching for them will uncover more.  Past searches have proved that right.

Anyway, I’ll start on Friday. have changed their website and I’m not sure I like it.  It’s not intuitive, and you have to look all over the page to see the search button.  Pages are slower to load as well.

They seem to want people to sign up and start a tree and add photos.  I was reluctant at first but decided, in the end, that I would.  I thought it would make for easier searching, but no.  It forces you to enter some details twice, as well.  While entering details about one ancestor, including parents and spouse, you then get to the tree to find you have to enter parents and spouse again.  What a pain in the proverbial.

I did,  however, find some details on the Scottish side with a possible birth date and place for John Sutherland (taken from another member’s tree).  However, when I try to search for confirmation of those details, I can’t find any.  This is a common problem when trying to verify details on others’ trees.

I found another tree for Elizabeth Cornelius with details going back to 1700 and on various linked families to 1640.  Fascinating stuff if correct – all apparently based in Redruth, Cornwall.

Finally, I found some descendants of some Grunsells, but could not add these to my tribalpages website as it’s playing up, showing just a blank page – very frustrating.

I do like the fact that you can get proper birth or marriage details at familysearch (when you can find an entry), rather than just an index.  This is totally useless when the index lists only one name and a vague date.  There’s no way of verifying if it’s the right one if you can’t enter a spouse or parent’s name.  There are several Richard Jones dying in 1864 in Shropshire, for example.  There’s no way I can purchase death certificates for all of them – really stupid.

Anyway, very time-consuming, and I don’t really feel I’ve achieved much.

There are no more useful ‘tips’ on, so it’s just as well I’m cancelling the sub, but where to now?

I had meant to update before now on the searching I’ve done recently, but I forgot and have now forgotten the specifics.

I ordered and paid for the death certificate of Christopher Dart, an ancestor on my father’s maternal line.  He was a Cornish miner, and died in 1837 of consumption, a common thing for miners.  He left a widow and several young children.

While briefly going through some files, I discovered I did not have the birth or marriage certificate of my maternal grandfather, surprisingly.  I rectified that.  They didn’t give me any new information but it was important to have.

I have cancelled my sub which expires next month.  I’ll give it a break for a while then sign up again to the Australian site to fill in some gaps on the Aussie side.

I really must stop searching records on impulse.  The trouble is, I have temporarily mislaid my search log so couldn’t recall what I’d last searched for exactly.

I tried initially to search immigration records for the 1920s for when my grandfather and his family moved to Australia.  No luck.

I then went on a different tack entirely and did a bit of searching on the Stevens line in Cornwall until I realised I’d already done a bit of searching on them.  Ditto for Dart which I didn’t really search much.

From Dart to Darlington and I did a search for Elizabeth Darlington of Cheshire.  Previously she’d just turned up on searches for her husband with the surname of Asher.  I searched for her in census returns.  I was delighted to find her parents and herself with eight siblings!  Yay!  Her father was born around 1809 but I can’t get further back than that, unfortunately.  I thought the discovery might lead me to further finds, but no.  Never mind, I’ve now fleshed out her family.

I might go back to the Dart family next.  But first, I must look for my search log notebook and note down what I did.  I also need to buy more paper to note down discoveries.  I have updated my online family trees though.  I do like having stuff down on paper though not only for future reference, but also to help sort things out in my head.

I found something useful on

I found Edwin Stevens in the 1841 census in Redruth, Cornwall.  He was 13 and lived with his parents and 9 siblings.  His father was a parish clerk (I knew that) and an older brother was a copper miner.  I knew there were several miners in the family – it’s what took them to Australia.

I also found the family of Edwin’s wife, Elizabeth Dart.  They too were living in Redruth.  Elizabeth was just 6 years old and it appears her father was dead by 1841.  She, her older brother, and her mother appear to live with an uncle, Martin Cornelius (Elizabeth’s mother was Elizabeth Cornelius).  Martin was a mason.

I found nothing for Edwin Stevens in 1851.  He and his wife didn’t move to Australia until 1855 so they were somewhere, perhaps not in Cornwall.  I can’t trust the records completely.  I know for certain that another family member, Joseph Beal, was in the 1851 census and yet there were no results for him.  So no results doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not there, which is a pain in the arse.  It may be because of transcription errors.  I found two such errors.  Vivian Stevens, a boy, was transcribed as Lavinea.  Betsy Dart was transcribed as Besay.  It pays to look at the original even though it costs extra credits!

Anyway, that’s all I have time for today.  It’s more encouraging actually having found something.