Earl Grey’s Irish Famine Orphans (41)

FAMINE ROCK COMMEMORATION 2016

Famine Rock Memorial

In honour of the Famine orphans who arrived at Port Phillip, and the gathering at Burgoyne Reserve 3 pm 20 November 2016, let me present a few more of my family reconstitutions. It’s been a while since i looked at the demographic results. Maybe i should go back and have another look.  In the meantime, double click or pinch these to make them larger. I’ll try putting them in alphabetical order. I’ve added a couple for the occasion.

Ann Arbuckle per Derwent

Ann Arbuckle per Derwent

Sarah Arbuckle per Derwent

Sarah Arbuckle per Derwent

Margaret Britt per Eliza Caroline

Margaret Britt per Eliza Caroline

Rebecca Cambridge per Diadem

Rebecca Cambridge per Diadem

 

focorbenewliv

Helen Corbett  per New Liverpool

fodrumladykEliza Drum per Lady Kennaway
fodunbarpembEllen Dunbar per Pembertonfogalvinpemb

Margaret Galvin  per Pemberton fograydiadAnn Graydon per Diadem

foharrisdiadMarea Harrison per Diadem

folawnladykEllen Lawn per Lady Kennaway

folearyelizacJane Leary per Eliza Caroline

fomccartpembBridget McCarthy per Pemberton

fomulligadiadSarah Mulligan per Diadem

 

Eliza Nelligan per Pemberton

Eliza Nelligan per Pemberton

 

foryanelizcMargaret Ryan per Eliza Caroline

 

 

fostaffladykJane Stafford per Lady Kennaway

fouptonpembEliza Upton per Pemberton

My very best wishes to everyone at the gathering next Sunday 20th November, Burgoyne Reserve, Williamstown. And a special thank you to Debra Vaughan and Val Noone. Go raibh maith agat.

http://wp.me/p4SlVj-oE

Famine Rock Memorial

Earl Grey’s Irish Famine Orphans (37)

DIGITAL MAPS?

I’ve long had an interest in historical geography and historical atlases in particular. I remember well the impact a good map had upon my uni students in Jamaica. A map of the Atlantic Slave Trade and one showing the spread of Jesuit colleges in Europe during the Counter/Catholic Reformation were two of my favourites. Maybe that’s why I admire the work of cartographer, Mike Murphy, in the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine, Cork, 2012.

These days, living in a ‘Computer Age’, the creative possibilities are exciting. The map below shows the location of some of the Irish Famine orphans in 1861, that is, according to the birth registration of their children.

Irish Famine orphans in Eastern Australia in 1861

Irish Famine orphans in Eastern Australia in 1861

I wonder how difficult it would be to create an interactive map? If we were really ambitious we should try something like the projects at Stanford University, http://web.stanford.edu/group/spatialhistory/cgi-bin/site/projects.php

But maybe that’s too ambitious for the uninitiated. Could we do something simpler instead, such as clicking on the dots in the map above to bring up all the information we have about the orphan who resided there at that particular time?

We may be lucky enough to have a photograph.

Rose Sherry per John Knox

Rose Sherry per John Knox

Rose was living in Clare Terrace, off William Street, in Double Bay, Sydney, in 1861.

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Or a record of her marriage. This is Jane Troy‘s, in Portland,

Jane Troy marries George Smith, Portland, Victoria

Jane Troy marries George Smith, Portland, Victoria

You may remember Jane from an earlier post http://wp.me/p4SlVj-Di

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Maybe there are some probate records. I wonder how common it was for an orphan or her husband to make a will. I’d be surprised if even 30% of them did so. Here are a couple of examples, extracts only I’m afraid. I’m unsure about permission to reproduce such things. These are from Victorian records.

Re the family of an orphan from Leitrim

Re the family of an orphan from Leitrim

That was a sad story. The orphan, Jane Liddy, from Leitrim, married well but she and her husband died at a young age. Their considerable estate vanished in the maintenance and medical care of their nine children.

Another one,

Interesting effects

Interesting effects

The man knew his livestock, even by name, Boxer and Diamond and Fagan and Dandy.

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Let me demonstrate how this map business might work. Here is a map of the orphans in Queensland c. 1861. I’ve entered a few numbers. If we had an interactive map, what might appear if we clicked on numbers 1 and 2, at Ipswich?

blogqldorp61

It may only be a family reconstitution, no other material being available. If you click on the images you can make them larger.

So, number 1 is for Cicely Moran per Thomas Arbuthnot,

Cicely Moran from Galway

Cicely Moran from Galway

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Number 2 is for Mary Casey per Digby

Mary Casey from Longford

Mary Casey from Longford

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Can you find numbers 3 & 4 on the map?

Number 3 is for Bridget Murray per Lady Peel who was in Brisbane in 1861.

Bridget Murray from Roscommon

Bridget Murray from Roscommon

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Number 4 is for Jane Duff per Earl Grey

blogjdu

Jane is from Newtownards and is at Condamine in 1861.

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Number 5 is for Celia Dempsey per Digby(?)

Celia Dempsey from Dublin (Kingstown later Dun Laoghaire)

Celia Dempsey from Dublin (Kingstown later Dun Laoghaire). She is in Dalby.

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Number 6 is Margaret Plunkett per John Knox

Margaret Plunkett from Armagh/Newry

Margaret Plunkett from Armagh/Newry

The Armagh/Newry contradiction appears on the John Knox  shipping list. She was in Cadargo in 1861.

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Now where is number 7? It’s for Bridget McQueeney(ie) per Lady Peel

Bridget McQueenie from Leitrim

Bridget McQueenie from Leitrim

Bridget was in Laidley in 1861

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Number 8 is for someone we’ve met already, the spirited Margaret Stack from Ennistymon per Thomas Arbuthnot.

See the section ‘Moreton Bay District’ towards the bottom of  http://wp.me/p4SlVj-vf 

Here is a photograph of that feisty 14 year-old later in life, as formidable as ever.

Margaret Smith nee Stack from Ennistymon Co. Clare

Margaret Smith nee Stack from Ennistymon Co. Clare

 blogmstackIt looks as though she was at Baramba Station in 1861? My thanks to her ancestor who sent me this information.

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Number 9 is for Mary Ann Prendergast, once again per Thomas Arbuthnot

Mary Ann Prendergast from Galway

Mary Ann Prendergast from Galway

Mary was at Toowoomba in 1861.

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I’m sure it would be possible to create interactive maps such as these. But we’d need a website and a number of helpers. I wonder what resources the Great Irish Famine Commemoration Committee has these days. Probably nowhere near as much as they would like. Imagine tracing how far the orphans travelled in Queensland (and elsewhere). Maybe one could invent an app. to allow people to map the geographic movement of their orphan ancestor? —-for a fee of course, or a contribution to one of the GIFCC Outreach programmes, http://irishfaminememorial.org/media/filer_private/2012/08/09/brochurenew_detailsprint.pdf

I suppose it’s a case of “tell him he’s dreamin”. (Hope you’ve seen the Australian film,’The Castle‘).

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May I remind readers of the annual gathering at Hyde Park Barracks on the last Sunday in August, the 28th this year? See http://irishfaminememorial.org/

Scroll down that page for information. The Guest speaker is Tim Costello, a brilliant choice.

The featured image is ‘Bullock Dray Melbourne 1851’, courtesy of the Dixson Library, Sydney.

And for a link to the contents of my blog see http://wp.me/p4SlVj-oE

Earl Grey’s Irish Famine orphans (31)

Family reconstitutions-family histories

Just to complete my previous post, here are some more family reconstitutions for your perusal.

(See  http://wp.me/p4SlVj-zv for more information about this ‘revolutionary’ demographic technique. Scroll down the link to the “Introduction” of Professor Wrigley’s book).

Some Port Phillip arrivals; double click or ‘pinch’ to make larger

fofallon

Bridget Fallon per Pemberton 1849

 

foharenewliver

Sarah Hare per New Liverpool 1849

 

 

fomaroney

Ann(e) Marony per Eliza Caroline 1850

 

 

fonelligan

Ann Nelligan per Pemberton 1849

 

foenelligan

Eliza Nelligan per Pemberton 1849

 

 

foobrienpemb

Sarah O’Brien per Pemberton

 

Fanny Young per Tippoo Saib

Fanny Young per Tippoo Saib

 

Some who went to the Moreton Bay district

 

fodowdqld

Bridget Dowd per Thomas Arbuthot 1850

 

 

 

fofitzgibbonqld

Mary Fitzgibbon per Thomas Arbuthnot 1850

 

 

fokingqld

Bridget King per Panama 1850

 

fomcgarryqld

Jane McGarry per Earl Grey 1848

 

 

 

blogmoriarty1

Catherine Moriarty with husband Tom Elliott and other family members c. 1886. Thanks to Mike Vincent.

 

fomoriarty

Catherine Moriarty per Thomas Arbuthnot 1850

 

foweatherallqld

Mary Anne Weatherall per Lady Peel 1849

Earl Grey’s Irish Famine orphans (30)

IMPLICATIONS

 

St Stephen's Green, Dublin: Famine sculpture detail

St Stephen’s Green, Dublin: Famine sculpture detail

 

 

I wonder why we need to assess the contribution of the orphans to Australia. Is it just something historians do, deluded fools that we are? There have been a number of attempts already. The orphans were workhouse refuse/deadwood tipped out on poor unsuspecting colonists by British imperialists. Or were they ‘mothers to the Australian character’ whose ‘descendants enjoyed opportunities unheard of in Ireland’? There’s a great array of views about the orphans’ history on the Irish Famine memorial website that are worth pondering, at http://www.irishfaminememorial.org/en/events/  I wonder if speeches made at the Melbourne annual gathering in November are also available. Does anyone know?

I’ve even dabbled a little myself in the past, in the introduction to Barefoot and Pregnant?, volume one, in the magazine, History Ireland in 2000, and in the description of the Earl Grey scheme on the Irish Famine memorial website. See for example the penultimate paragraph at http://www.irishfaminememorial.org/en/history/earl-grey-scheme  I’d probably still hold to these views. Elsewhere, I’ve suggested we be wary of too sentimental a treatment of the orphans’ lives.

As Tanya Evans reminded me, I even posed one of those intractable questions a long time ago; ‘were the orphans disproportionately represented among the criminal classes, in suicide records, or among the inmates of destitute and mental asylums’? One might surmise that since the orphans lacked the same family support networks as other immigrants, they were more at risk of falling on hard times. Their demographic history, too,–many of them married older men and had long years of widowhood–may have increased their chance of ending up in an institution, later in life.

On one of my research trips to Melbourne, financed by Macquarie University, i searched for orphans among prison records. In the Public Record Office of Victoria there was a Central Register of Female prisoners at VPRS 516 and a Prisoner’s Personal Description Register at VPRS 521. They were in a very fragile condition and soon became only available on microfiche, thank goodness. Here’s the sort of thing I noted down,

PROV VPRS 521 vol 1  No 7 Catherine Ellis Lady Kennaway 1848 b. 1835 5’1″slender fair complexion dark brown hair grey eyes received into gaol 1 January-14 January 1851

ditto No 129 Amelia Nott New Liverpool 1849 b. 1827 Free three convictions drunk slender fresh complexion dark brown hair grey eyes neither read nor write two small scars on bridge of nose b Jersey RC married servant 20 October 1854 For medical treatment

ditto No 133 Susan Stewart Pemberton 1850 b. 1834 two previous drunk stout fair brown hair hazel eyes reads and writes imperfectly 5′ 2½” scar upper lip and right hand Ireland Catholic single idle and disorderly 1 calendar month 15/2-15/3/1856

ditto No 833 Mary Ann Tyrell Roman Emperor 1848 1835 once before 4″8½” Ireland Catholic married

You will appreciate the kind of problem this poses. Did some orphans deliberately provide false information or genuinely forget details of their arrival? What if we find no record of their marriage? Can we be sure this really is an Earl Grey orphan? Some of the examples above would appear to be so. But how many overall went to gaol? What percentage of the total? Were they in gaol only for a short period of their lives, or often, over the years?

If we go looking for orphans in institutions, in prisons, benevolent asylums, mental hospitals and the like, of course we will find them. But what we do here, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, is add the bias of expectation to the bias of the sources we use. We distort our view of things by focussing one-eyed on this aspect of the orphans’ history.

Still, it is important that we get an idea of how many orphans experienced such a life. I encourage anyone working in this area to continue doing so. If i remember correctly, Julie Poulter is researching orphans who went to Darlinghurst gaol in Sydney, in a thesis she is doing at the University of New England. Maybe people looking at these things will be willing to share their findings? I could include what you want to say in these blog posts. At least I think that is possible. I’m not sure how many people actually read the comments at the end of each post.

FAMILY HISTORIES

A similar caveat applies to my own painstaking family reconstitutions. They are weighted towards the orphans who generally lived in stable, life-long relationships here in Australia. That too may be a distortion of how we perceive the orphans’ contribution to Australian society. Nonetheless I shall continue using them. I intend appending more to this post. They are an important means of helping us write orphan family histories. And the more family histories we have, the greater the empirical data we have to assess what happened to the Earl Grey orphans in Australia. They will ‘thicken’ our description, an anthropologist might say.

SOME ETHICAL ISSUES

The common ground between family historians, professional genealogists and academic historians is sometimes a tricky one to negotiate. I particularly admire those who treat each other with tact and sensitivity. And worry that my own steel-capped boots will damage too many metaphorical shins. Yet for Earl Grey orphan histories to flourish, may I suggest cooperation is essential? Tanya Evans treats some of the issues I have in mind in her recent Fractured Families and resolves them with what she calls ‘shared authority’. Her book is well worth a read.

Let me outline some of my own concerns.

  1. What’s the best way to ask family historians how they confirmed there is an Irish female orphan in their family? There was, after all, an enormous number of young Irish females arriving in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia in the early 1850s. Are you sure ‘your’ Mary Kelly, Cathy Kennedy or Mary Ryan  is the one who came to Port Phillip in 1849 on the Pemberton and you’re not just making a leap of faith?

And to extend this a bit further, how do we know that this second or third or fourth marriage is our orphan’s? Can we be sure that this is her changing her name more than once? Reading orphan descendants write about frequent remarriages and name changes has really interesting implications. Did women at the exposed and vulnerable end of Australian society in the nineteenth century have to use these survival strategies, or life strategies, in order to get by? What kind of life must they have led? My not having read much about this sort of thing before may simply be a fault of my own. Has much/anything been written about it already, does anyone know?

    2. What if I discover something a family historian may not like to hear, that that orphan descendant beat his wife relentlessly, that that one molested children or that daughter was locked away in a mental institution for more than forty years? What other disturbing factor could there be…that she was constantly drunk and abandoned her children to an Industrial school?…that she committed infanticide? Maybe you can accept and acknowledge these things. As Alison Light put it, we don’t have to like our ancestors. But what if one person in the family objects to such things being publicized in their family history? Or perhaps there is disagreement over an interpretation you’ve made. Does that mean it should be censored or even shelved? I’d love to hear your view.

  3. Or what if it is as simple as someone objecting, “You can’t say that. No ancestor of mine was ever in a workhouse.” It has happened before.  It may even be an objection to something you include about the Famine. “The charge of culpable neglect of the consequences of policies leading to mass starvation is also indisputable.” (Peter Gray quoted in  D. P. Nally’s Human Encumbrances, p 226). Should one therefore cut that bit from the family history?

‘On you go now! Run, son, like the devil

And tell your mother to try

To find me a bubble for the spirit level

And a new knot for this tie.’  

(Seamus Heaney, The Errand in The Spirit Level)

I saved some material on my computer sent to me by orphan descendants some years ago. I must try getting in touch again, if they are still with us, D.G., as my friend Tom Power would say. I could begin by putting together a draft of a family history, ask for their input, and  show them the draft. If they gave their consent, I could then put it into the blog. I have a sense of these orphan family histories as more of a beginning than an end.

In the meantime I’ll put up some more FAMILY RECONSTITUTIONS. I’d like to return to them at a later date to suggest ways they can be used in a family history. I’ve made a selection of orphans who went to South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. And in order to emphasize the need for cooperation, I’ve gone back to some originals where orphan descendants filled out one of my forms as best they could, and I was able to add a bit more information.

First some family reconstitutions from New South Wales and South Australia. More to follow. Double click or pinch to make these larger.

fotierney

foboyleearlg

fobanks

fomarymcconnellearl grey

fobooth

foburt

fomdevlin

fobellromanemp

fohellenelgin

fotaafeinconst

To be continued…

key to blogs is at http://wp.me/p4SlVj-oE

Earl Grey’s Irish Famine Orphans (24)

Some more orphan family reconstitutions

I used to own a number of books on historical demography–by T.G. Hollingsworth, E.A.Wrigley, R. S Schofield at al.–from the days when I taught early modern European history. Students were always interested in ‘sex and death’. But wouldn’t you know it? These were the very books I gave away when I was trying to reduce my library. I thought I’d never go back to that stuff. They would be very useful now: I could use them to tell you more about the family reconstitution method used by historical demographers. Nonetheless, such are the wonders of the modern world that all we need do, is type ‘family reconstitution method’ into Google. And lo, there is a link to E.A. Wrigley’s English Population History from Family Reconstitution 1580-1837, CUP, 1997. Large sections are available to read for free. We can see what he has to say about family reconstitution in his introduction.  https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=oFQBvre0xoMC&oi=fnd&pg=PR12&dq=family+reconstitution+method&ots=6JefQO9N8e&sig=nDXcqQbL9gHov9s_pTxphVUwvng#v=onepage&q=family%20reconstitution%20method&f=false  It may be more than you ever want to know.

Anyways, here are some more reconstituted orphan family charts from my original files. Click on the image to make it larger.

 

blogagorman tippsaib

Alice Gorman per Tippoo Saib   

 

Ann Dowd per Tippoo Saib

Ann Dowd per Tippoo Saib 

 

Ann Dowd again

Ann Dowd again. This gives more details about her husband’s arrival. 

 

 B Penrose per William and Mary

Bridget Penrose per William and Mary 

 

blogcodonnellTipps

Catherine O’Donnell per Tippoo Saib 

 

blogekellyearlg

Emma Kelly per Earl Grey 

 

Eliza Geoghagan per Digby

Eliza Geoghagan per Digby 

 

Eliza Roughan per Thomas Arbuthnot

Eliza Roughan per Thomas Arbuthnot

 

 

Jane McGarry per Earl Grey

Jane McGarry per Earl Grey 

Mary Prendergast per Thomas Arbuthnot

Mary Ann Prendergast per Thomas Arbuthnot  

 

 

 

Mary Green per Inchinnan

Mary Green per Inchinnan 

Mary Jane GAalway per Earl Grey. Did she marry again?

Mary Jane Galway per Earl Grey. Did she marry again?

 

Mary Weatherall per Lady Peel

Mary Weatherall per Lady Peel 

 

 

Mary Fitzgibbon per Thomas Arbuthnot

Mary Fitzgibbon per Thomas Arbuthnot

 

M. Plunkett per John Knox

Margaret Plunkett per John Knox

 

Mary Power per John Knox

Mary Power per John Knox 

 

 

Mary Roughan per Thomas Arbuthnot

Mary Roughan per Thomas Arbuthnot  

Finally, a couple of graphs which put the orphans into a larger immigration context. They were drawn a good while ago.

The figures are percentages

The figures are percentages 

bloggraph3

 

As always, my sincere thanks to the kind people who sent me information and photographs to use. The photograph at the head of the post is of Catherine Elliott nee Moriarty from Dingle, County Kerry. She is with her family in Queensland c. 1886. See Kay Caball’s The Kerry Girls.

The link to the contents of my blog is at http://wp.me/p4SlVj-oE  I made a mess of posts relating to the orphans’ voyage. There are three at 7(a), 7(b) and 7(c). 7 (c) is the substantive one.

Earl Grey’s Irish Famine Orphans (23)

 Orphans and their families in Australia

As a brief coda to my previous post, here are twelve (out of c.300) of my orphan family reconstitutions. I’ve gone back to the original copies. They’re in a pretty primitive state. Click on them, or ‘pinch’ them, and they are magnified, and I hope, easier to read. I’ve included a few examples sent to me by family historians, to which I was able to add specific dates. The forms are selected at random from the folders in my filing cabinet. Alas, sometimes this demographic material is all we know about the Earl Grey orphans in Australia. But it is better than nothing, and one day, I’m sure we will know more. I’ve added a blank form at the very end, in case anybody would like to try filling it in.

blogfam

Mary Healy per Elgin

 

blogfamad

Eliza Ady per Diadem

 

blogfamadd

Mary Ann Adderley per William and Mary

 

blogfamash

Rosetta Ashmore per Inconstant

 

blogfamba

Mary Barrow per Pemberton

blogfambe

Annie Best per Earl Grey

blogfambea

Jane Beattie per Earl Grey 

 

blogfamha

Sarah Hare per New Liverpool

 

blogfamho

Mary Ann Howe per Pemberton 

 

blogfammc

Mary Ann McElroy per Pemberton 

blogfammo

Ann Maroney per Eliza Caroline 

 

blogfamtr

Jane Troy per Pemberton  

blogfamform

Earl Grey’s Irish Famine Orphans (15)

“BELFAST GIRLS”

This is just a short post in honour of Jaki McCarrick’s play, Belfast Girls, which opens this/next week (May 2015) at the Artemisia Theater in Chicago.

See the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1409959125987645/permalink/1429293680720856/

Volume two of Ray Debnam’s 3-CD set of The Feisty Colleens is a must for anyone interested in the history of these young women. Ray has researched the ‘Belfast girls’ per Earl Grey who were banished to Moreton Bay in 1848. He has done so with imagination and admirable thoroughness. See  http://thefeistycolleens.com/author.html 

Many of the orphans married former convicts which is hardly surprising given the history of the Moreton Bay settlement. Ray ‘s work however, shows much more than that. I was particularly interested in the support the young women gave each other, often turning up to each other’s marriages, as well as the differences between them. It is well worth a look. Ray has a good sense of historical context.

After Surgeon Henry Grattan Douglas’s scathing report on the ‘Belfast Girls’ —they were, in his words, ‘barefooted little country beggars, swept from the streets into the workhouse, and thence to New South Wales…notoriously bad in every sense of the word‘--thirty-four (34) of them were sent straight to Moreton Bay and seventeen (17) to Maitland without setting foot in Sydney.

In the John Oxley Library (Mss OM 68-18), in the James Porter Papers, there is an account of the Eagle steamer carrying orphans to Brisbane, towards “the latter end of 1849”. Obviously it’s not about our ‘Belfast girls’. In it, Porter claimed “about twenty of these girls were put on board as steerage passengers for Moreton Bay and although the lower classes in those days did not follow Paris fashions so slavish as now the girls to me presented a remarkable contrast. There (sic) hair had been cut short and the black fellow when he saw them for the first time in Brisbane called them “short grass” consequently they were afterwards called “short grasses”. Their dress consisted of  a plain blue cotton cotton gown with white spots which hung loose from the neck to the feet. These were covered with heavy hobnail shoes”.

I wonder if the ‘Belfast girls’ also had their hair cropped? It was a well-known form of punishment and humiliation for women in convict days. Perhaps the same attempt to control the Famine orphans was used by authorities?

Let me post a couple of photographs and a few family reconstitutions relating to the ‘Belfast girls”. I”ll put them up in alphabetical order. The first one is of Jane Clarke, allegedly a married woman. We’ve met her before. Unfortunately I haven’t come across many photographs of the ‘Belfasters’. Ray has Jane marrying Richard Bushnell, a former convict, with whom she has nine children. The couple lived on the Darling Downs, Warwick and near Gayndah. Jane died in Bundaberg in 1902.

Jane Clarke

fojaneclarkea

fojaneclarke

Eliza Frazer

The next is a family reconstitution of someone with a famous name in Australian history, Eliza Frazer.

foelizafrazerearl greyThere are another two probable children to the marriage.

In July 1850 Eliza was a witness at the trial of John Brown charged with an assault on a young servant, Mary Maddox. Another witness, Mary Sparkes, describes Eliza’s part in the affair, “… I know the little girl–and I know the prisoner he lodges at Humbys–Last night I was filling the kettle and I heard someone screeching–I listened and knew it was the voice of Humby‘s girl–the man was not naked but his trousers were unbuttoned–he said to the girl Hush! Hush! and I’ll give you five or six shillings…felt hurt and called to Mrs Dwyer  who came up and threatened to burst the door if he didn’t open it.–I remained at the back door–and Mrs Dwyer went to Mrs Humby and told her to be down quick for the girl was not being acted right by…” .
One of the ‘feisty colleens’ indeed,  as Ray calls them.

Eliza Greenwood

The next example is Eliza Greenwood. Note how far she travels during her lifetime.

foeliza greenwooda

foeliza greenwood

foelizagreenwoodearl grey

 Mary McConnell

Not all the ‘Belfast girls’ were banished to Moreton Bay. Some went to Maitland in the Hunter Valley. Here is one example, Mary McConnell, also alleged to be a married woman before she left Ireland. Mary never married her partner in Australia, William Ashton. All her children were registered by her as “illegitimate”. Yet they lived their lives and were married as “Ashtons”. As always, my thanks go to descendants who gave me information and sent me photographs. In Mary’s case, my sincere  thanks to Pat Evans and Brian Andrews. Maybe I can return to Mary’s family history at a later date?

fomarymcconnellearl greyTheresa Short

Finally, a family reconstitution for Theresa Short. Ray has discovered a possible fourteenth child.

fotheresashortearl greyNot all the ‘Belfast girls’ had such large families and apparently stable relationships. Some such as Georgina Mulholland or Mary Black appear fleetingly on the historical stage but they are given another fictional life, this time in Jaki McCarrick’s play.

https://twitter.com/artemisia4vr/status/591048220349964288

May it be a scintillating success and play to packed houses.

Earl Grey’s Irish Famine Orphans (12)

MAPS

In the last post I mentioned a possible use for completed family reconstitutions viz. maps showing the location of the orphans at particular times in their lives. Here’s a couple I used in Barefoot 2–the location of the orphans in Victoria in c.1861. This one is based on the birth records of their children. The second one is the location of the orphans in Victoria at the end of their lives c.1890-1901; this one is based on their death certificates.

Mike Murphy used some of these maps in that magnificent volume, Atlas of the Great Irish Famine, p. 554.  A couple relating to Queensland in particular also appeared in Irish Women in Colonial Australia, pp.112-3. Obviously the more information is gathered about the orphans the more these maps will need redrawing. Nor do you have to stick with the dates I’ve chosen.

Anyways, for your perusal…perhaps you can see the influence of the Victorian gold rushes?

Earl Grey Orphans in Victoria c. 1861

fosvic1861

Earl Grey orphans in Victoria c. 1861

Earl Grey orphans in Victoria c. 1891-1901

fosvic1891a

Earl Grey orphans in Victoria c. 1891-1901

As you can see, family reconstitutions have more than one use. Maybe you can think of others?

Earl Grey’s Irish Famine Orphans (11)

Family Reconstitutions

One of the research tools I used for the Earl Grey Famine orphans was a modified form of what demographers know as ‘family reconstitution‘. There is an accessible description of the technique in E. A. Wrigley’s Population and History, London, 1969, if you’re interested. It literally transformed historical demography.

Reconstructing a young orphan’s family in Australia can be a time-consuming task. How can I be sure this the correct person? Is the bride (the mother or the deceased) ‘our’ orphan, Jane Clarke or Margaret Ward or Mary Coghlan, and not another woman of the same name? Sometimes the evidence is purely circumstantial, age corresponds, birthplace generally corresponds, witness to the marriage was also on the same ship, place of residence is close to where she may have been. If precise information is available so much the better. We’re nearly home if we have something like parents’ names–and parents’ names for the orphans who disembarked in Port Jackson is exactly what we have. Even then, despite our collection of vital statistics being among the best in the world, especially for Victoria and New South Wales from 1853 and 1856, there are plenty of pitfalls– a husband can give the wrong information at the birth of a child, memory fails, information is unknown, the person providing information for a death certificate is unreliable. If we are fortunate, other sources can point us in the right direction.

Here’s an extract from my research notes to illustrate this. It’s for Margaret Williamson by the Earl Grey. Please excuse the scrawl. The numbers refer to State Records of New South Wales records.’Register’ is ‘Register and applications for orphans’. The second card refers to Birth, Death and Marriage records. Note the different spellings of her husband’s name.

fomargt williamson

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Below are some examples of reconstituted orphan families. I put together nearly 300 of these and I believe, had a very low margin of error. Yet, as noted in Barefoot, my results were weighted towards arrivals on the early vessels, and indeed, towards Protestant Northerners; they happened to be easier to find. Another limitation is that in making certain x or y really was an Earl Grey orphan, I searched and used birth records of their children. That tended not take account of childless couples, and hence our measure of the orphans’ fertility was biased. On the other hand, one could argue that after such a cataclysmic disaster as the Famine, the number of childless couples would be small anyway.

Have a look at these examples and see what kind of information can be extracted. There’s demographic information, of course– age at marriage; birth rates; age-specific marital fertility; completed family size; ‘illegitimacy’ rates; age-specific death rates and like. Is there more to see?

The first two examples are courtesy of Margaret Trotter of Wauchope. She sent it to me some time ago; my family reconstitution form was slightly larger in the early days–too big now for my scanner.

Frances Patterson

 

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The second form tells us more about the origins of Frances and her husband.

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Frances Patterson per Digby

 

I’ll add these next examples at will. They are in no special order. They should be legible.

 Ann Gordon

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Ann Gordon per Pemberton

 Cathy Durkin

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Cathy Durkin per Panama

 Dorinda Saltry

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Dorinda Saltry per Lady Kennaway

 

Jane McConkey

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Jane McConkey per Earl Grey

 

Cathy Kennedy

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Cathy Kennedy per Thomas Arbuthnot

 

 Margaret Dempsey

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Margaret Dempsey per New Liverpool

 

Mary Casey

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Mary Casey per Thomas Arbuthnot

Sarah Devlin

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Sarah Devlin per Earl Grey

There’s also information here that was used for maps that appeared in Barefoot  2 and in the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine, pace cartographer Mike Murphy.  Anyone like to try their hand at a bit of demography?