Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Trove Tuesday: Dirty linen

In 1858 Esther Honeyman (nee Beringham) 'obtained a living by taking in washing' according to the newspaper report below. And that's not all! It appears that she was a prostitute (or a woman of low moral character as another report states, neglecting to comment of the moral status of the men who visited her). She was married to Alexander Honeyman, a great-great uncle of my husband, in 1852 in Adelaide, but at the time of this newspaper report she was living by herself at Port Elliot and said she hadn't seen her husband for seven years. Those numbers don't quite add up but it appears they separated soon after marriage.

Esther has had two children, one fathered by an 'aboriginal native' and one presumably fathered by John Dent who is objecting to being ordered to pay maintenance because he wasn't the only man who had visited Esther, hence the court case.

The Richmond River Express and Tweed Advertiser, 6 November 1858,
In November 1858,the same month as the court case, there is a report of the Destitute Board published in the paper. Esther Honeyman is granted 'relief' (presumably some sort of financial support), and the Board recommended that 'the eldest child (by an aboriginal native) should be taken off her hands'. The child was put into an Asylum. I wonder what sort of place that was and where it was.

South Australian Register, 2 Nov 1858
Four years later there is another newspaper notice about the older child. A Mrs Wauchope, of Salisbury, applied to take the Honeyman girl and 'promised to educate and prepare her for earning a respectable livelihood'. The girl would have been about six or seven years old at that time but I suspect that Mrs Wauchope would have had her working in the house and garden and at sewing from a very early age. [I believe, but haven't purchased the certificates to prove, that the girl is Esther Honeyman, born 1856 Port Elliot, who had two illegitimate children herself and died at Port Adelaide when she was 33 years old.]

Destitute Board report, South Australian Weekly Chronicle, 21 June 1862
Esther and Alexander Honeyman must have reconciled at some point because they later had two children at Port Elliot and are both buried at Nhill in Victoria where they selected land for farming. Prior to reading these newspaper reports I had entered the older child into my database as Alexander's - just goes to prove that one should never make assumptions - and didn't have a record of the second child at all.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chaundy Family Bible

After writing the last blog entry where I mentioned Family Bibles I remembered that there was a mention of a Chaundy family Bible in the will of my great great uncle, William Henry Chaundy. I think this is the only will in my extended family that specifically mentions a Family Bible. So this morning I have 'wasted' several hours having another look at this area of my research.

William H Chaundy (I've blogged about him several times) died in 1882 and must have had a Family Bible in his possession. In his Will he leaves it to his sister Elizabeth (Round) and asks that Elizabeth's husband (William Round) make a new copy. Then he asks that on Elizabeth's death the Bible be passed on to his daughter Elizabeth (Stewart nee Chaundy).

Extract from the Will of William Henry Chaundy, 1882
The transcription reads: I give to Elizabeth Round his wife my Fathers Bible and Prayer book and also my large Family Bible for and during the term of her natural life and at her death I give the same to my daughter Elizabeth Stewart. I request the said William Round to complete and transfer from the old Family Bible the Register of my Family for the past three Generations.

This morning I've looked at the wills and probate of Elizabeth Round, William Round and Elizabeth Stewart - they are all online in digital format at the Public Record Office of Victoria - and unfortunately the aforesaid Family Bibles are not mentioned. So I don't know whether William Henry Chaundy's wishes were actually carried out. Two of Elizabeth Stewart's children married - her son George Henry Stewart, and her daughter Winifred who married Thomas Noble. And there are Round descendants as well so one of them may have a Bible.

I would be delighted if a descendant of either Elizabeth Round (wife of William, a law clerk) or Elizabeth Stewart (wife of George, a coachmaker) would contact me. I'd love to see the 'register of the [Chaundy] family for the past three generations'. Do the Bible or Bibles still exist, tucked away in someones cupboard?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sepia Saturday: A Birthday Book (or two)

The theme this week suggests Family Bibles but I can't do that. Well, I could, if I visited my dad who has several in his cupboard. But in lieu of that I'm highlighting a different type of book that is a keepsake, a birthday book. In fact two birthday books.

The first is called A Shakespeare Birthday Book and it was a birthday present to my husband's great-grandmother, Maggie McKernan, in 1890. It has quotes from Shakespeare on the verso page and spaces under each date on the recto page in which to write the names of friends and family. In this particular book Maggie has entered quite a few names so I have been able to add them to my family tree database.

Cover, Shakespeare Birthday Book
Daily Shakespeare quote and room for birthday names.
On the last page Maggie has written out a poem that must have appealed to her.
A birthday's just an open gate
By which you enter through
To brighter fields of happiness
Where hopes and dreams come true
And as today you pause beside
The gate to your new year
My wish for you the whole year through
Is good luck and good cheer!

In 1903 Maggie started a new birthday book, this time A Longfellow Birthday Book. This time the quotes are from, you guessed it, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. On one of the pages she has written the same poem and there are several other diary-like snippets in the back. ("Dad finished painting the lattice fence at the back 3rd July 1930." "Ina started at Bank of Australasia Friday 13th June 1930"  - 'Dad' was her husband and 'Ina' her daughter.) Under the birth date for her grandson, Allan Roy Phelan (19 December 1926), she has written "passed away at 'Rockville' Mitiamo 27th October 1927 buried at Pine Grove 28th October 1927".

The Longfellow Birthday Book, cover.

Birthdays of family.
Now I suggest you have a look at the Sepia Saturday website to see the keepsakes that other contributors have blogged about.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Old Dalby cricket match

Sometimes you just have to laugh.

Several decades ago a cousin of my mother published a history of Ephraim and Elizabeth Smith who migrated to Victoria in 1852 and lived at Warrnambool and then Dunmunkle near Minyip. In that publication she wrote: Ephraim was a very keen follower of cricket. In those early days, with few means of communication, while the test matches were being played, he would sand out on the main road until someone came along who could tell him the score.
Ephraim and Elizabeth were successful farmers and brought up their family with strong Christian beliefs. They were respected in their community.
Ephraim Smith
Today I was exploring The British Newspapers Archive which is a wonderful (and growing) online resource. You can do a search for free and filter the search results by decade and locality, and usually there is enough detail in the search results to see whether it is worth seeing the original online (each view costs 5 credits). I don't have a subscription but when I saw the combination 'Old Dalby' and 'Ephraim Smith' come up in an 1851 paper I registered and claimed my free 15 credits so I could have a look. Here's the result.

Leicestershire Chronicle, 8 Nov 1851. Accessed via British Newspaper Archive
It appears that Ephraim and his older brother Ornan were involved in a drunken fight after winning a cricket match. The Crown Inn, mentioned in the article, still exists.

The Crown Inn, Old Dalby
Ephraim was a married man at the time, 26 years old with two young sons. I wonder what his wife, Elizabeth, said to him when she heard what he'd been up to. Maybe the Judge's caution worked because I think Ephraim led a sober life in Australia.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Yum Yum

The theme photo this week gives a chance to show a sweet photo from a family album. 

Early 1900s, small town, country Victoria = make your own entertainment. Church socials, sport competitions, card nights and dances were all important ways for a community to relax. The Phelans and the Sims families lived in a town called Mitiamo and were members of the Methodist Church there so it follows that they would participate in church concerts or Pleasant Sunday Afternoons. 

Annie Phelan nee Sims, seen here on the left, and friends have dressed up as the 'Three Little Maids' (Yum-Yum, Peep-Bo and Pitti-Sing) from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, but I can't guarantee that they actually sang the famous song 'Three little maids from school are we'.

Three little maids, Mitiamo, 1920s
You can dance over to Sepia Saturday to see what others have blogged about on the theme.

Public family trees

We're encouraged to upload our family trees to the web and make them open to the public. The idea is that distant relatives will make contact and information can be shared, that images and documents can be easily shared and that information from other trees can be merged into your own.


On Ancestry (and other similar pages) there are thousands of public family trees and they are chockers with errors. Researchers have made assumptions without checking primary sources, attached spouses and children seemingly at random, merged erroneous data with their own, added places that are totally wrong (as in the wrong country e.g. Brighton, England instead of Brighton, Victoria) and added sources that aren't really sources ( e.g. other online family trees). It's too easy now to download the app to your phone or tablet and start building your tree by adding data from other online trees.

It's not all bad. There are some gems among the dross. I have made contact with relatives to our mutual benefit. I have found some wonderful photos and documents. I have even been able to extend some branches of the tree back a generation or two and add a few twigs. But I've learnt to be very, very wary.

Genealogy is a serious research project based on proof. There is absolutely no point in adding an ancestor to your tree unless you can prove that you have the right person. If that's what you like doing - adding random individuals just to make your tree look leafy - then then this isn't the hobby for you. Could I suggest you wander over to the fiction section of the library?

OK, got that off my chest. Now I'll go and have a coffee and settle down to some Troving to restore my usual equilibrium.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thank you 'Inside History'

Well, that's a surprise!

I just had a look at my stats and noticed that I was getting some referrals from 'Inside History'. I followed the trail and discovered that my blog has been listed in their article called '50 genealogy blogs you need to read'.

I'm delighted and honoured to be included in a list with some fantastic blogs that I regularly read and learn from. You can see the list here. (And you can while away a few hours following the links.)

Trove Tuesday: A bridge and a bridge too far

Dorothy, David (right) and Jim Wyllie, c1920

In 1922 my grandparents, Allan and Dolly Wyllie, were living at Drumcondra in Geelong when their young son, David, was diagnosed with TB (tuberculosis). They moved to Melbourne so he could receive treatment there and then to Barwon Heads on the coast because they'd been advised that salt water baths and the fresh air would be beneficial. This is their house on Flinders Parade overlooking the Barwon River estuary.

Wyllie home, Barwon Heads, Victoria c1926
My dad, born in 1921, started school at Barwon Heads and has fond memories of living 'on the beach'. He also remembers the bridge being built. It was a huge bridge. At least he thought it was, until he went back as an adult and realised that it wasn't so big after all. He remembers too that one of the workers gave him a cigarette to smoke! The bridge was completed in 1927 and allowed traffic to pass from Ocean Grove (and the Bellarine Peninsula) to Barwon Heads for the first time since the towns were established about 70 years earlier.

The Argus, 28 Jan 1927
The Argus, 23 Jul 1927
Early postcard shows Barwon Heads across the bridge. My grandparents' house was just to the right (out of photo). Original photo online at State Library of Victoria, accessed via Trove.
Tuberculosis was a terrible disease and it killed a lot of people. This newspaper article states that almost as many people died as a result of the disease as had died in the war.

Moree Gwydir Examiner, 26 Jul 1923
And the treatment of tuberculosis (or consumption as it was known) was often terrible as well. Sufferers were often separated from their families and placed in special isolation homes or hospitals called sanatoriums, where various remedies were tried, mostly to no avail. The newspapers report discussions about possible causes, from contact with sick cows or eating dairy products to poor living conditions, cold weather, crowded living conditions and many others. And there were just as many ' miracle cures' being advertised, but a regular treatment involved sea water or living next to the sea, sleeping in the fresh air. That's why my grandparents moved to Barwon Heads when David became ill.

Children in a sanatorium c1925-35. (San Jose Public Library)
Northern Star, Lismore, NSW, 18 November 1929
The Northern Star, Lismore,  6 Jan 1915
Sadly, this story doesn't have a happy ending. David died in 1926 when he was eight years old.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

William Round's memoirs

I'm on a roll with the Chaundy family. After my last blog, about William Henry Chaundy's letter, I dug out the file and rechecked some earlier bits and pieces - correspondence with relatives who have since died, photocopies from the early days when I didn't always record my sources, scraps of notes. One of the items I found was this:
Wilkinson Scrap Book No. 2, p10. Pamphlet 437
Chaundy W. H. [1]1852-4
A reverie concerning Oakleigh, by W Round[2].
...in the early part of 1852 I became a fellow boarder with W H Chaundy in King St, Melbourne. We speedily discovered that we came from adjourning counties, Berkshire and Oxford & accordingly we fraternised & became friends. In the month of July in that y[ea]r he became a happy man being married to the girl of his choice[3] at St James Church by the late Dean Macartney, having first provided a cage for his (live) bird in the shape of a two-roomed cottage in Chapel St, Prahran, the ground on which it stood, 28 ft frontage having been paid for with a pound of gold; the site is now the well-known dental est[ablishment] of French (formerly Webb). I was always a 'welcome guest' at the cottage in question, frequently spending Sun[day] there, walking to & from Melb... My first view of Oak[leigh] was in this wise: I had walked as usual on a fine Sun[day] morning from Melb[ourne] to Chapel St when, after a short rest, Chaundy asked me to join him in a walk to Oak[leigh], as he was desirous of spying out the land on the north side of Scotchman's Creek, with a view of becoming a purchaser of a small block. I well remember that it was a particularly hot day, at the end of 1852, & I was highly pleased on reaching the hostelry presided over by the then Widow Atkinson (afterwards Mrs Crawley) to obtain rest & refreshment. Afterwards, feeling like a giant refreshed, we crossed the creek, which, being summer time, was comparatively dry, inspected the land, & an acre lot was chosen; the price being the rather astounding one of £45 an acre; the owner was Collings & the agent T Ham...We then wended our way back to Prahran...C[haundy] afterwards erected a comfortable house on the land, & also purchased a 2nd acre, the number of trees on the spot the attraction. His brother [George[4] who lived] at Ferntree Gully 40 years also bought an acre & a relative, Thomas Green[5], purchased a 4th acre; the latter a few years after, wishing to sell, only obtained £5 for it. But alas a sad misfortune happened to the pioneer, for in felling a tree that was thought to be too near the house it came down on the house and smashed it in two. Fortunately his wife & 2 children were standing a safe distance away, so no one was hurt, & a fresh building was at once erected....In the middle of 1853, C[haundy]'s eldest sister[6] returned from a visit to Eng[land] & took up her abode temporarily with her brother, accompanying him on his removal to Oak[leigh]. She became my lode-star, the result being that every Sun[day] during the summer of 1853-54 I could be seen trudging along the track from Prahran to the township.

[1]  William Henry Chaundy (1830-1882)
[2]  William Round (1825-1909)
[3]  Elizabeth Lake (1833-1866)
[4]  George Chaundy (1837-1924)
[5]  Thomas Green, resident of Oakleigh, 1856 Electoral Roll
[6]  Elizabeth Chaundy (1832-1904)
I don't know where I got it but suspect that it was sent to me by a relative/fellow researcher. It must come from a historical society in Prahran or Oakleigh I think. The footnotes are mine. One day I'll chase up the original but in the meantime it provides some useful information about the Chaundy's early days in Victoria.

The approximate track walked by William Round and William Chaundy in 1852. The distance is about 11 km.
Source: Google Maps
And then I got to thinking about William Round. I've known that he married my great great aunt, Elizabeth Chaundy, that he was a law clerk, that they lived in the Prahran/Windsor area all their married life, that they had a large family. But I didn't know he was an interesting person until I checked Trove and found his obituary. This is just a small section of it but it shows he was passionate about local history and, judging by the scrapbook entry, had a sense of fun.

Extract from the obituary of William Round,
  Malvern Standard (Vic. : 1906 - 1931), Saturday 26 June 1909, page 3
Every now and again I have a nibble at trying to trace the Thomas Green mentioned in the notebook but so far without success. William Henry Chaundy's mother was a Green so I presume he was possibly a cousin. I'd love to contact a descendant.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A letter home to Oxford

You know those tricky years, the 1850s, when it's so difficult to find any paper trail to prove where your ancestors  were living and working? In Victoria it was a time of extreme flux as thousands of people, including a number of my ancestors, arrived from interstate and overseas to look for gold and moved around the state following rumours of more productive goldfields.

Well I had a little piece of luck. My Chaundy family arrived several years prior to the gold rush because the father, William, had been sent out here for stealing money. His family were left destitute and relied on their parish in Oxford for support. The parish eventually paid to send them out to Australia to join William.

The letter below was written barely a year after the family arrived, by the oldest son, William Henry Chaundy, and was published in the Oxford JournalThis part of the letter describes his father's house (I wrote a blog about this earlier) and what the various members of the family are doing. I wish he had gone into even more detail of course but am thankful for the snippets. William Henry Chaundy was about 21 years old when he wrote this letter and appears to have somehow received a good education despite the poverty of the family.

Dear Sir, - The following letter, received on the 6th instant from the Chaundy family, who left Oxford to join their father in Australia in the spring of 1850, may not be altogether uninteresting to your readers.Your's respectfully.             
W.B.St. Aldate's, April 14, 1852 
Mount Misery, Fairview, Wardy Yallack,Geelong, Port Philip, August 9, 1851.My kind Benefactress, - I am happy to avail myself of this opportunity of again addressing these few lines to you, trusting your father and your kind sisters are in the enjoyment of excellent health, and may the Almighty grant them that blessing till a peaceful grave is their lot, which one and all must come to, sooner or later. I trust your health, my kind friend, is again restored, and may you live long and happy to enjoy it. I am glad to inform you that my father, mother and all my brothers and sisters are quite well; and as my sister wrote to me the other day, in her usual joking style, she thought all their fortunes were being made. My father is in an excellent situation in a large establishment in Melbourne; my sister Elizabeth is in a very comfortable situation in a clergyman's family in Newtown; my brother George, and also little Anne, are out in service, and all of them earning good wages. My father, through our joint efforts, has a large piece of land, and a house built on it, at Collingwood, one mile from Melbourne. I am far away back in the bush, 120 miles from Melbourne, as stock-keeper on a large station...Jackson's Oxford Journal Saturday, April 17, 1852

William (junior) gives his address as 'Mount Misery, Fairview, Wardy Yallack'. I haven't been able to pinpoint this exactly. West of Rokewood there is a Mount Misery Creek and a Woady Yaloak River nearby, and I can't find a reference to 'Fairview'. In 1851 Ballarat didn't exist and neither did the highways and minor roads. The land was shared between several hundred squatters trying to run sheep on unfenced land so they employed shepherds like William to look after the flocks.

The area where Mount Misery Creek and Woady Yaloak River meet in western Victoria. Google Maps
Further on in his letter William describes his life on the sheep station, the excitement of the discovery of gold in the state and his plans to go goldmining with his brother, but I'll write about those another time.

1 William CHAUNDY b: 09 May 1806 in Stokenchurch, Oxfordshire, England; Stokenchurch was transferred to Buckinghamshire in 1896., d: 20 Jan 1863 in Richmond, Victoria, Australia.  Transported to Geelong, Victoria on 'Eden' 4 Feb 1849

... + Rachael GREEN b: 25 Jun 1810 in Eastrop, Highworth, Wiltshire, England, m: 06 Nov 1829 in St Lawrence, Reading, Berkshire, England, d: 20 Dec 1860 in Richmond, Victoria, Australia, Migrated: with children Sydney, New South Wales 11 Aug 1850 on 'Ramillies' to join William.

......2 William Henry CHAUNDY

......2 Elizabeth CHAUNDY

......2 Ellen Selina CHAUNDY 

......2 Frances CHAUNDY

......2 George CHAUNDY 

......2 Hepzibah Anne (Annie) CHAUNDY 

......2 Leah CHAUNDY 

......2 Emily Rachel CHAUNDY 

......2 Alice Julia CHAUNDY

......2 Richard CHAUNDY 


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