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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;

Edwin Vivian Stevens was born in Redruth, Cornwall in 1828, baptised on 27 October of that year.  His parents were George Facey Stevens, a parish clerk, and Honour Langdon.  He was one of five boys out of a family of eleven children.  An older sister had died before he was born.

Redruth was a town in a tin and copper mining region.  In 1801 it had a population of close to 5,000.  Redruth’s boom period was said to be from the 1730s to the 1860s when the population had doubled to over 11,000, but then dropped when copper mining went into decline and a lot of miners emigrated.

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Marker indicates Trevingey

In 1841 the family of twelve were living in Trevingey, Redruth.  Edwin, at the tender age of 13, was listed as a miner, as was his older brother, John, age 15 (copper miner).  It must have been a tough life.  As you can see from the map, there were a lot of mines.  It would be hard to pinpoint which one they might have worked in.

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Below is a view from Camborne looking towards Redruth in 1890.  Not a pretty sight.

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By 1851, Edwin’s father had died.  Six of the children were still living with Honour in Trevingey, but the youngest was 16, so no great burden (by then anyway).  Two of Edwin’s brothers were no longer at home.  Edwin (age 22) and the remaining two brothers were listed as copper miners.  The sisters were involved in clothes-making.  Included in the 1851 census is Honour’s granddaughter, Emma Stephens, age 8.  I have not been able to find out who her parents were – the father either John or William (common names).

Edwin married Elizabeth Ann Dart on 20 February 1854 in Redruth.  About two weeks later they were headed for Australia.  Another researcher said that three of Edwin’s brothers also emigrated to Australia but I have been unable to find out when.  So it may be that John had already gone to Australia and invited Edwin to join him, or Edwin decided to join the many wanting to try their hand at finding gold in Australia’s south-east.  Either way, Edwin and Elizabeth left Plymouth on 6 March on board the “Trafalgar” and arrived at Port Adelaide on 28 June.

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Adelaide Times

From then I can only follow the couple’s movements from where the children were born.  The first, a daughter, was born in January 1855 at Spring Creek near Beechworth in Victoria, a long way from Adelaide.  A son was born in 1857 in Beechworth.  Beechworth was famed for its gold-mining.  Its heyday was shortlived, between 1852 and 1857.

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Marker indicates location of Beechworth

The family stuck around, the next child being born in Indigo in 1861.  Indigo appears to be a region which includes Beechworth, so hard to identify where exactly the boy was born (perhaps Indigo valley).  From there the family headed to Binalong, New South Wales, where the child died.

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Marker indicates location of Binalong, NSW

The following  year they were in Young, New South Wales, a day’s walk to the north-west of Binalong.  Here another daughter was born in 1863.  Gold had been discovered there in 1860, when it was known as Lambing Flat (known for the anti-Chinese riots).  It was renamed Young in 1863.

The family didn’t stop there.  They moved on to Cadia, New South Wales (about 20 km south of Orange), where a copper mine was opened.  The next two children were born there in 1865 and 1867.

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The next four children were born at Icely, another mining district close to Orange, from 1869 to 1875.

Edwin’s wife, Elizabeth, died 10 years later in 1885 at the age of 51.  Edwin remarried six years later, marrying Cecilia Dawson in Orange on 4 February 1891.  I have no information on her at all.

If Edwin and Elizabeth hadn’t had so many children (10 in total), I wouldn’t have been able to track their movements across the south-east of Australia from Adelaide to Orange.  The information is otherwise scant.

Edwin died in Orange on 29 November 1908, age 80 (although a brief death notice gave his age as 82) – a pretty good age for having worked in mines most of his life.

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National Advocate, 30 November 1908

 

Sources: Google maps; localhistories.org; findmypast; cornwallinfocus.co.uk; cornwallheritagetrust.org; Trove; theshipslist.com; wikipedia; bonzle.com;

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 ancestry.co.uk 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.