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George Facey Stevens was born in 1790, baptised on 20 October in Illogan, Cornwall. He was the son of Andrew Stevens and Honor Facey. He had five siblings that I know of (two brothers and three sisters).

Illogan

I can’t find much of interest about Illogan. It was named after an obscure Cornish saint. The population in 1801 was 2895 (compared to 5404 in 2011, the population rising to 10304 in the 1970s before falling again), so never a large town, but a centre of mining.

George married Honour Langdon on 20 April 1814 in Illogan. Honor was born about 1792, possibly baptised on 22 October in Illogan, daughter of Nicholas and Elizabeth.

The couple had 11 children over 19 years. The first three were girls: Elanora Penrose (born about 1815, possibly named after George’s paternal grandmother), Mary (1821), and Elizabeth Langdon (1822). The family moved to Redruth at some stage where John Knill was born in about 1823 (probably named after George’s maternal grandmother), baptised on the same day as Lavinia Penrose (1823) who died the following year. Next were Ellen Francis (1826), William (1827), Edwin Vivian (1828), and another Lavinia born between 1829 and 1832. Finally there was Vivian (1830), then George Frederick (1834).

In 1841 the family were still living in Redruth. George was a parish clerk. All ten children were there, the three oldest boys working as copper miner and masons.

George had a short life, dying in 1844 at the age of 54. He was buried on 19 March.

In 1851 Honour was a widow living in Trevingay with six of her children and a granddaughter, Emma, age 8. Emma was possibly John’s daughter. I found a baptism for 1845, daughter of John and Martha in Redruth. Elizabeth was a dressmaker, Ellen a milliner, and Lavinia a tailoress. Edwin, Vivian and George were copper miners. Missing from the list were Elenora, Mary, John and William. I haven’t been able to find John or Elenora in the census. Searching for a Mary Stevens is nigh impossible for census, marriage, or death. Nor have I been able to find William.

Edwin married in 1854 and sailed to Australia with his wife, no doubt to try his hand at gold minning. I was told that John, Vivian, and George (all miners) also moved to Australia but I don’t know when. Any Australian descendants who can enlighten me, please get in touch!

Unfortunately, I don’t even know when Honour died. It’s a pain that the age at death is not given on the index so I could rule out some. She may have died in 1862. (The only other death I could find was Honour Maria in 1854.) How am I to know without an age?

So lots of missing information for this family.

Sources: findmypast; familysearch; genuki.org.uk; Google maps; Wikipedia; Cornwall OPC database; http://www.blaxland.com/ozships/

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The further back I go, the less information I have so some entries (like this one), will be rather brief.

John Grunsell (also spelled Grundsel, Grunsel, Gruncel, etc) was born in about 1792, baptised on 12 August, at Micheldever, Hampshire. His parents were Thomas Grunsell and Mary Chariot. He was the eldest of 11 children that I’m aware of (six brothers and four sisters).

He married Sarah Exel on 19 October 1822 in Overton, Hampshire. I don’t have any information on Sarah. The only baptism I could find was for a Sarah Exal born in Tadley, Hampshire, in November 1796, to David and Leah Exal.  According to the 1851 census “our” Sarah was born in Whitchurch. The names, David and Leah, don’t appear in children’s or grandchildren’s names either so it seems unlikely, but not impossible.

The couple had five children that I’m aware of, born in Overton from 1823 to 1836: Elizabeth (1823); George (1824); Thomas (1829); Henry (1832); and Mary (1836). Elizabeth died in 1836.

John was a journeyman tailor in 1841. The family were living in Southington (a tything in Overton parish). George is not with them and I have been unable to find him. (He wasn’t dead as he went on to marry in about 1847.)

Unfortunately, John died in 1848, buried on 26 May. He was only about 56. This was obviously bad news for Sarah who, in 1851, was listed as tailor’s widow and a pauper. With her is 18-year-old Henry, an agricultural labourer. Thomas, 21, appears to have been working as a shepherd in Sherborne St John. Among the other servants listed was George Miles, 18, farm hand. I suspect it was George’s sister, Mary, that Thomas married in 1852. The couple then sailed away to Australia in 1853. Mary also married in 1852 to Charles Kercher.

Sadly, Sarah died on 31 August 1857 in Overton. With their parents dead and Thomas in Australia, the rest of the children also migrated to Australia – Mary and her family in 1859, Thomas (now a widower) and family in 1866. I haven’t found when Henry emigrated – some time after his mother’s death perhaps.

 

Sources: findmypast; familysearch; http://www.myancestors.com.au/passenger-lists-and-immigration; Wikipedia

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

Charles Kercher was born in 1830 in Overton, Hampshire.  He was baptised on 14 March, the baseborn son of Frances Kercher.  Frances Kercher married Joseph Beale just two months later, so I can only assume he is the father.  We’ll never really know.

Overton is a large village to the west of Basingstoke.  The region has been inhabited for thousands of years but the village developed about the 10th century.  The river Test runs through it.  Alongside the river were corn, fulling and silk mills.  The region was primarily agricultural.

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Overton was involved in the Swing Riots.  In November 1830 there was rioting in the village as agricultural labourers demanded money, food and higher wages, so it was not an easy time.  Joseph Beale, a labourer, may well have been one of the rioters.

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By 1841, Frances had had another six children, so she had seven children under the age of 12 by the time of the census.  Charles’ surname is listed as Beale, along with the other children (four boys and two girls).  The family lived next door to Frances’ brother, Charles, and his family in Bridge Street.  The street is full of agricultural labourers.

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Google streetview of Bridge Street

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Bridge Street in 1915

Charles’ mother died in 1844, so Joseph was left to bring up six children (another had been born in 1842).  Charles appears to have kept the Beale surname and in 1851 was listed as a railroad labourer in Southington.  In the same area lived widow, Sarah Grunsell, with her youngest son.  Sarah Grunsell’s daughter, Mary, must have met Charles several times.

They married on 5 June 1852 at the parish church in Overton.

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St Mary’s church, dating to the 12th century

Interestingly, on the marriage certificate, Charles now called himself Charles Kercher, but listed his father as Joseph Beale.  The witnesses are not family members.

Mary was heavily pregnant and gave birth to their first child, Elizabeth, in July 1852.  In 1854, a boy, Charles, was born, then in 1856 another boy, George.  George died as an infant.  In 1858 another boy, William, was born.

Mary’s brother, Thomas, had emigrated to Australia with his wife in 1853.  There must have been some correspondence, Thomas encouraging his sister and family to join them.  He paid £15 for their passage over.  So on 18 March 1859, Charles, Mary and their three children boarded the “Queen of England” at Liverpool and sailed for Sydney.  The passage took just under four months, but, sadly, William died on the journey.  He was one of four that died on the voyage.  The ship arrived in Sydney on 8 July 1859.

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Thomas Grunsell was living in the Goulburn/Tirrannaville area, so that’s where the family headed.

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Charles and Mary’s next child, Arthur, was born in Goulburn, NSW in 1860.  The next five children (one girl, four boys) born between 1861 and 1870, were born in Tirannaville just to the south of Goulburn.  Charles became a gardener to Mrs Gibson at Tiranna House.

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Tiranna House in 1865

I have no other information for Charles other than his tragic death on 25 March 1871.  He died of strychnine poisoning.  The verdict was suicide but there’s no evidence that he wished to kill himself.

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Sydney Morning Herald, 30 March 1871

What’s weird is that it seems to have been the way to end one’s life in Tiranna:

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Sydney Morning Herald, 1859

Strychnine was used for pest control, but it’s a horrible way to die.

That left Mary with six children under 12 to care for.  Her two eldest were near enough to adults so could help out.  I turn to Mary next.

 

 

Sources: wikipedia; family archives; overtonparishcouncil.gov.uk; Google; overtonpictures.com; powerhousemuseum.com; Trove

Mary Kate Reeve was born on 8 March 1866 at 15 Alma Terrace in Ipswich, Suffolk (which no longer exists).  She was born to Gabriel Benjamin Reeve and Hannah Wright, one of 11 children (two boys, nine girls: Emma, Hannah, Sarah, Elizabeth Sarah, Emma Maria, Mary Eliza, John Benjamin, Ruth, Harry Joseph, Mary Kate, Katherine Alice).

Mary Kate was five years old by the time the next census came around.  The family were living at 9 Orford Street in Ipswich (Mary with her parents, and siblings: Hannah, Elizabeth Sarah, Ruth, Harry, and Katherine).  Five children weren’t listed in the census;  Emma, who died age two; Mary, who died age three; Emma Maria; Sarah; and John Benjamin.  I found a Benjamin Reeve, aged 12, as a boarder at Christ Hospital School with 14 other boys of similar age.  I know he hadn’t died, as he appeared in subsequent census returns.  Emma Maria might also have died and Sarah could be confused with Elizabeth Sarah (I wish they hadn’t used the same name for subsequent children). Typically, the residential address listed in the 1871 census is now a carpark.  Here is the view down the street from the approximate position.

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Mary’s father was a merchant’s clerk and her older sister a draper’s assistant.

Ipswich, incidentally, is one of England’s oldest towns, or at least the oldest continuously inhabited town, seemingly beginning with a Roman fort.  One of my favourite painters, Thomas Gainsborough lived and worked in Ipswich, and Dickens’ “Pickwick Papers” is set there.  In the nineteenth century, Ipswich was the centre for the making of agricultural machinery and iron and also of brick-making and brewing.

Ten years later, in 1881, the family were still living at the same address.  Mary lived there with her parents, John B, Sarah, and Katherine (so some confusion with Sarah and Elizabeth Sarah).  Her father was a commercial clerk at the iron foundry, as was her brother, John.  Mary was a linen draper’s assistant.  Mary’s older sister, Sarah, was 28 and unemployed, with a note to say that she was an invalid from birth.  Ruth, not listed, was draper’s assistant at a draper manager’s establishment with 40 other workers. Mary’s older sister, Hannah, was by this time, married and living with her husband, Robert Stammers and three children. I was not able to find the others.  I know that Harry or Joseph was still alive as he appears in subsequent census returns.

Mary Kate met John Rose and they married on 20 June 1887 at the parish church of St Matthew’s in Ipswich.  Two years later, the first of six sons, Harold, was born and they moved to Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex. Three more sons were born in quick succession: Edward 1891, Reginald 1893, and Horace Charles 1894.  The last two sons, Alfred and Donald, were born in 1898 and 1901.  Then came two daughters, Madge and Ruth, in 1905 and 1909.

As mentioned in an earlier post, Edward emigrated to Australia in 1911.  When war broke out, Edward, Reg, HC, and possibly the teenage Alfred enlisted.  It must have been hard for Mary Kate to have four of her sons involved.  (Amazingly all survived and went on to marry and start families.)  Only one of Mary’s children remained in Ipswich.

HC moved to Australia in January 1922.  Mary, John, and the two girls left in November that same year aboard the Euripides.

At first I think they lived at Pendle Hill, New South Wales.  In 1935 they were at 28 Cecil Street in Ashfield, then moved to 33 Kenilworth Street in Croydon.  Again, this is the only photo I have of Mary Kate.  Unfortunately, she’s looking down.

MaryKate

Thanks to a lack of census information and electoral rolls (I could only find one for 1935), I know nothing more, which is sad.  Mary Kate died at home on 24 July 1951 and her remains were cremated.

 

Sources:  findmypast; Google; Wikipedia; information-britain.co.uk; family archives

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I haven’t achieved much since the last post.

I’ve been making spreadsheets.  One of them is a summary of what I have in the way of birth, death and marriage certs and census returns.  I can tell at a glance what I need to follow up with.  Another is a timeline from the 17th century to the 20th, which is rather interesting, comparing families and national (British) events.  The third is an ancestor chart showing direct links only.  I designed it to give to my brother at Christmas.  I hope he finds it useful or interesting.

I came across a transcript of a shipboard diary written in 1861 of a traveller journeying from London to Auckland.  I found it very interesting.  It got me to thinking of my two ancestors who emigrated to Australia – one to Port Adelaide and another to Sydney.  I can’t find specific diaries for the ships they were on or the years, but I did find an interesting book called “Life and death in the age of sail: the passage to Australia” by Robin Haines.  The library had an electronic copy and I tried to download it (for a seven-day period).  However, first I had to make an account, then I had to download Adobe Digital editions, then I couldn’t get it to work.  I gave up.  Instead I found a  hard copy selling online, so purchased it.  I’d much rather have the physical book to browse through when convenient.  I read excerpts from the online version and it’s fascinating reading.  It makes me wonder how my ancestors found their voyages.  One of them lost a baby on board – how heartbreaking that must have been.