Monday, November 22, 2010

'Presented to Mr James Boyd by the teacher on the Emigrant Ship Australia..."

How I 'found' James Boyd in a Second Hand Book Store

I almost overlooked the little book entitled "History of England', as it sat on the dusty shelf of a second hand book store. With a faded dark green cover, it sat, tucked in between the large colourful picture books in the 'British Isles' section of the store. Because it appeared to be very old, it aroused my curiosity at once. As soon as I opened the front cover, I realised that I had discovered a treasure. Written in pencil in beautiful flourishing handwriting, were the following words:

" Presented to Mr James Boyd by the Teacher on board the Emigrant Ship Australia as a small token of esteem and as a testimonial of his good conduct on board the ship, and also in appreciation of his amicable character and .... and obliging disposition .... Signature .... June 11th 1853."

On the opposite inside cover page, had been written at at a later date, in blue ink, "To Connie Boyd From Mother." I knew at once that I had to buy the book and could hardly believe that the price was only $5.50. It seemed to be true that 'what is one man's rubbish is another man's treasure.

It happened that whoever had priced the small history book had not seen the transcription inside it, so, instead of placing it amongst the rare books, had accidentally put it in the general part of the book store. I had found a bargain and this book is most surely one of my most treasured purchases. The book entitled, 'History of England' was an Educational Book, Historical Series No. 1, published in London in 1852 by The Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. In the book, illustrating the text, are fold out maps. Especially interesting, is a fold out Royal family history beginning with King John, father of Henry 1 (pictured below left).

Most of the pages of the small book are yellowed and obviously well read. The musty smell that comes with age, makes me love this book even more. Intrigued by the inscription written inside the front cover of the book, I set out at once to discover who James Boyd was, and to learn something of his life. As I began my search for the original owner of my book, I wondered how this special treasure that had been thoughtfully presented to young James on his arrival in Australia, had ended up on a shelf in a book store rather than being cherished by a family.

My first task was to find a passenger list for the ship Australia. I discovered that this ship had arrived in Sydney from England, on June 11, 1853, the same date on which the inscription was written in the book. At the NSW State Library, I found the passenger list for the ship Australia. On the list were the Boyd family from Templecrone, County Donegal in Ireland. Adam Boyd ( born in County Donegal) aged 43 and his wife Mary aged 41 (born in County Leitrim) travelled to Australia with their nine children, Elizabeth 22, Mary Jane 20, James 19, Margaret 17, William 15, Anne 13, Robert 11, Adam 9 and Susan, 7 years. The passenger list stated that Adam Boyd, senior, was an agricultural labourer. Now, some years later, has put the Unassisted NSW Passenger List 1828-1898 online and this record can be found on this site.

I was very excited to have found James and his family and, importantly, to have verified the validity of the message in the front cover of the book. I had established from the passenger list that James Boyd, owner of the book I had purchased, was born in Templecrone, County Donegal, Ireland, in about 1834. I also knew the approximate date of birth for his parents, Adam and Mary, and his 8 siblings from the passenger list. The next step was to discover where the Boyd family had settled in Australia. Since I knew that the family had arrived in Sydney, I searched the NSW electoral rolls. On the NSW Australian Historical Electoral Rolls 1842-1864, I found Adam Boyd living in the Kiama area at Broughton Vale (years 1855-6).

The 1872 Broughton's Creek Post office Directory ( pictured right) lists the following entries for members of the Boyd family: Adam Boyd - Farmer, Broughton Vale, Boroughton's Creek; Hugh - Farmer, Jasper's Mount, Broughton's Creek; Daniel Boyd- Farmer, Jasper's Mount, Brouhgton's Creek; James Boyd- Farmer, Broughton's Vale. Broughton's Creek; Robert Boyd- Farmer, Broughton's Creek; Robert H - Farmer, Broughton's Creek; William - Farmer, Broughton's Creek.

A search of the NSW Historical Births Deaths and Marriages found the deaths of James parents, Adam and Mary Boyd in 1879 and 1875 respectively. A death notice in the Sydney Morning Herald ( courtesy of Trove) also reported that Mary died on "October 5, 1875, at her residence, Broughton Vale, the beloved wife of Adam Boyd, Esq, JP, and Mayor of Broughton Vale, late of County Leitrim, Ireland, aged 70 years". A death certificate revealed that Mary Boyd was born Mary Whitten, in about 1812 to parents, William Whitten and Elizabeth Stevenson. her husband, Adam Boyd was born in County Leitrim in Templecrone, County Donegal, Ireland to parents Daniel Boyd and Mary Virtue.

Now that I had discovered who James Boyd was, I decided to try to trace the person named 'Connie Boyd' who was the later recipient of the 'History of England' book. I found a marriage for James Boyd to Eliza Ann Walker, in Kiama in the year 1886 and then set about searching for children born to this couple. I hoped to find Connie amongst them, or amongst their descendants. James and Eliza Ann Boyd had the following children - Adam J. W 1868, Mary Ann 1870, Eliza Jane 1871, Robert Erwin 1875, Maggie Caroline Susannah 1878, William Albert 1880, Frederick E 1882 and George Leslie 1887. After searching for the marriages and children of each of James' sons and daughters, I was still no closer to finding Connie Boyd the previous owner of the book I had purchased.

Having found no 'Connie' amongst the descendants of James Boyd, I searched for marriages for all of James' siblings however I was unable to find Connie Boyd. Assuming that 'Connie' was a shortened version of the name Constance, I searched the NSW electoral rolls without success and a search for a death and marriage also failed to find any sign of Connie Boyd. One Constance Boyd in Stockton, Newcastle, NSW, proved disappointingly, to be no relation to the Boyd family who had arrived on the ship 'Australia' in 1853.

Because online searches of historical births cut off at 1909 in NSW, I looked for deaths of possible children of James Boyd and his siblings. The person named Connie Boyd, whose mother had presented James' book to, however, still managed to elude me. I searched the NSW electoral rolls for Constance Boyd but with no result. Finally, widening my search to variations of the name Constance (and by now, thinking that perhaps Connie might be my mystery book owner's real name), I searched and .... I found Connie Boyd. On the 1936 and 1937 electoral roll Connie Heather Boyd resided with her parents, Daniel Wesley ( farmer) and Maggie Caroline Susannah Boyd, at Main Road, Dapto, NSW. Connie's mother, Maggie was the fifth of James and Eliza Boyd's children. Her father Daniel Wesley, was the second child of James' sister Mary Jane Boyd and her husband Daniel Boyd. Connie's parents were first cousins and Connie was both the grand daughter and great neice of James Boyd. My next goal was to attempt to find the descendants of James and his grand daughter, Connie, the two owners of my now cherished little book. The more history that I discovered about the book the more I treasured it.

I easily found a marriage for Connie (now that I was searching under Connie and not Constance as I had previously done). She married John Frederick Miller in 1945 in Wollongong, NSW, however when I looked for her death I discovered that Connie had married more than once, as she died in 1975 in Wollongong under the surname of Halls not Miller. The 1949 electoral roll shows Connie Miller living at 263 Princess Highway, Dapto near Wollongong where she had married John Frederick Miller four years earlier.

I have been unable, as yet to trace any direct descendants of James Boyd through his daughter, Maggie Caroline Susannah or his grand daughter, Connie, but will continue to try to trace descendants through James other children. I am pleased to have learned about the boy who travelled to Australia in 1853 on board the ship 'Australia' and who was given the gift of a small history book as a token of the ship's teacher's esteem and appreciation.

The story does not end here. The book has travelled from England to Australia and is a valuable part of the Boyd family history and significantly, a treasured piece of evidence in the history of New South Wales. I will make certain that it is left in safe hands so that it will become accessible to everyone.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Frederick Watkins Diary Friday October 19 1885

Frederick Watkins was born in Ashwater, County Devon, England on October 25 1865. He wrote this diary as a record of his journey by ship to Australia in 1885. Frederick was one of 10 children born to Thomas Watkins and Elizabeth Ann Crabb, both born in Devon. This is his diary entry for the day that he boarded the ship 'Victor'. Frederick arrived in Maryborough, Queensland, in January 1886. here is his diary continued...

Friday Morning October 9th, 1885

I was in a good heart to be off for Queensland. All though I enjoyed my self at the home at Blackwall - for I look it nearly as home. I used to help wash the dishes with the girls and young men. Well, I left London for gravesend at 11 o'clock by the Victor when she had come to graves end and then we entered the [Silhet?] at one o'clock which when we had got in was left for our journey the same boat towed us out and at the light house (more there) dropped anchor. it is very fine weather there is land on each side of us which is very grand to see, we are anchored Saturday 10th.

Sunday October 11th

This is Sunday and a good rough morning. we started at 7 o'clock morn. I have had a good round of sickness the waves are coming in over the deck very fast the men and women are all sick today the waves are sweeping over the men one on the other we passed Dover at 3.30 had it rough from the north (dizziness) Got at easting 6.30 Had a good prayer meeting tonight.

Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday I was sick oh so sick if you could see me you would say I was not going to live so far as Queensland but after all my sickness I enjoy the sea for to see the fish is most delightfull We have left all the English coast. I shall be glad when we get to maryborough The food is so funny you can't think but it is not bad sort of stuff for they that like it Today it has been fine The people are enjoying themselves but me, poor me s done right up for the want of food, I do not know what the end will be if I do not alter, I am sitting in my favourite place that is in the sheeps pens this is where I sit every day as I have given you some hints of the last 4 days

Family Recipe Friday

Family Recipes

Whilst cleaning out some boxes in my garage recently, I came accross a small old address book. When I opened the well used little book, I was surprised to find that it contained, not addresses, but a collection of receipes written by my great aunt Dorothy, who was born in 1910 and died in 2001. I am not sure how the notebook came to be in my possesssion but as I read through the hand written recipes I noticed that my aunt had dated each one and in many cases written the name of the person from whom she had acquired the recipe.

Looking at the left slanted writing, I realised that I had never known that my great aunt was left handed like myself. When I got to know her well, she was a widow of advancing years who did little cooking. I did not ever sample the recipes in the litttle notebook, however, I can now imagine the dinner parties, that she must have hosted, being the wife of an army Major. Reading through her obviously much used, recipe book (food stains on a page are always the sign of a much loved and well used recipe), I realised that my aunt must have had an adventurous love of cooking. The recipes, which date from 1941 to 1975, were a collection of warm and hearty foods as well as quite exotic foods, many of which were boldly unusual for the 1940's and especially for the war years. This possibly reflected that great aunt Dorothy's husband Alexander had served in Malaysia and Japan in the Australian Army, during the second world war. Living in Asia, my great aunt had experienced new and interesting dishes which she herself cooked.

As well as dating the recipes, my great aunt had very kindly (for me) written where she was living at the time. I now have record of her whereabouts between 1941 and 1975 when the entries in the recipe book ceased. I did not know this aunt very well, since, for most of my life she lived either abroad or in a different state to myself. Through her recipe book and through her cooking, I feel that I am getting better acquainted with this interesting lady.

It was after watching the movie, Julie/Julia that my interest in blogging blossomed. I have always been an avid reader and writer however, it seems appropriate, now, that through a film about two women, years apart in age, who shared a love of cooking, one writing a French Cook book and the other younger woman blogging about the same book, that I am blogging about my great aunt, whose love of cooking shines through her own recipe book.

I want to discover, now, who was Sally Mann, who gave my great aunt a recipe for Ice Cream ( 17-6-46) when she lived in Sydney NSW. I am intrigued as to more about M Bishop, who passed on to my great aunt a recipe for Chocolate Pudding on July 7 1975 at Surfer's Paradise in Queensland. Sue Hing's recipe for glazed carrots was written in the little book 0n September, 9, 1960 in Taiping, Malaya (Malasia) along with other recipes from people in America. I can see a new journey for me ahead tracing the origins of these recipes.

I am determined, also, to try to cook some of the recipes from the small note book where my aunt has left not only a legacy of delicious food for me to cook, but a narrative of her life and her friends. The first recipe that I have decided to attempt, is a Banana Queen Pudding dated, 6-11-1948, Sydney. It sounds scrumptious and I am certain that my family will love it.

Reading through this book of old recipes has brought back to me so many memories of foods lovingly cooked by my mother and grandmother.

I have found several recipes in this book which my great aunt must have passed on to my mother and which I still make today. It makes the dishes much more special to know where they came from.

Food always seems to conjure some special memories. memories of Christmases with special food lovingly and festively prepared. Memories of birthdays with decoratively iced cakes. My memories of my paternal grandmother are very much asssociated with her wonderful Irish dishes such as Irish Bap which was greatly appreciated by all of her grandchildren. Only two weeks ago, I kindly recived by mail from an aunt, some of this grandmother's most loved recipes, including that of her Irish Bap. I am planning to cook it soon, along with her delicious Caramel Custard and Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream, 'Paddington Heights' Pumpkin Scones and Scottish Shortbread, (a recipe given to her by her mother-in law from Glasgow Scotland). My family may have to join a gym or take up running, as I blaze a trail through my old family recipes but I have no doubt that through these lovingly cooked meals, delicious desserts and cakes and I am going to come to better know my ancestors. Move over Julie/Julia!
P.S. I'll let you know how I fair with the Banana Queen Pudding and I am going to get started straight away, on my own hand written recipe book to pass on to my children.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Family Wedding Photographs

Family Wedding Photos

Family photographs which celebrate family events such as weddings are important social documents for family historians. As well as recording events which shaped the lives of the families who we are researching, wedding photos can provide us with a pictorial narrative about family relationships and so much more. Wedding photographs make an important statement about the social context within which the family existed, for example, whether the family was wealthy, of a working class or perhaps an ethnic background. Wedding photographs are also a relevant representation of social change, fashion, the places where and the way in which our forebears lived.

The clothes worn by the people in wedding photographs reflect much about fashion and the times in which they lived. Weddings are a special event for all families to which 'best' clothing was, and still is, worn. Wedding photographs from the two World War periods or the Great Depression are a reflection of how our families fared during these times of great hardship. The clothes worn by the Bride and Groom, provide vital information which helps us to define who a person was and much about them. From the wedding photograph pictured right, taken in Lancashire, in 1917, during World War 1, we have an immediate pictorial narrative about this couple. The groom, Bill Eckerley is wearing an army uniform. Research finds that he is a Private in the A.O.C. ( Army Ordinance Corps). The bride, Winifred Agnes Quinn is wearing day clothing as many women did during the war years when there was a shortage of money and materials. The fuller skirt and jacket which was fashionable in the pre 1918 years (after which, skirts became straighter) records this young bride as a fashionable young woman of her time. The photograph is taken in a studio, indicating that there was sufficient money to be spent on an official wedding portrait.

The wedding picture of Stanley Galik and his bride Mel, (below right) taken in 1945 in Norfolk England where Stanley was stationed is typical of many war time wedding photographs. There was a shortage of money and weddings were often arranged in haste as partners were sent off into battle.

Day clothing and uniforms were typical apparel for a wedding in England during World war 2. These two wedding photographs are a pictorial record of changing fashions as we see the women's skirts become shorter and straighter and the groom's uniform tells us that he served in the Navy.

Not only are wedding photographs, a significant record of the social and economic lives of our families, but they also make an important statement about the people in them. There is a saying that' clothes define the person'. Often the clothing worn in a wedding photograph defines who the wearer is. In the photograph, below right, in which I am Flower Girl (1958) I can see that my aunt felt confident enough about herself to wear a daringly (for the times) fitting wedding dress. Knowing that my grandmother was a wonderfully talented seamstress, I know that the wedding dress would have been hand made by her. My own mother made the little flower dress dress for myself. There is a certain psychology to 'reading' family photographs, and in particular, wedding photos are a wonderful insight into how our ancestors and relatives perceived themselves. A less confident bride may have worn a looser fitting gown.

Celebrations such as weddings are times when many family members gather together and are quite often the only pictorial record of many relatives and ancestors. They have, therefore, a significant place in the recording of our family history and are important resource material for anyone researching family history.

If you are fortunate, your family wedding photographs may have names written on the back to enable you to identify the people in the pictures and the place where your ancestor was married.
The wedding photograph, below right, is a treasured record of the wedding of my parents who married in 1954. Since they both died fairly young, I cannot ask them about their special day, however, I have a beautiful pictorial narrative of this family celebration, where the guests are dressed in their best clothing and the ladies in the fashion of the 1950's, are wearing hats. My mother sewed her wedding gown and veil and my grandmother made the bridesmaid's dresses as both girls were sisters of my father. I know from writing on the back of the photograph (written by a great aunt who sent the picture to another relative) that the marriage took place at St Paul's Church, St Paul's Terrace, Brisbane and that the reception was held at 'Whytecliffe'.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Frederick Watkin's Diary Tuesday October 4, 1885

Tuesday October 6 1885
[page] 2. Up from bed this morning at 5.30 washed and dressed and then I went up in the street for a walk after which was something to be seen Ragged Boys and Girls as well as a lot of men and women
I continued untill Friday looking and running about enjoying myself very well