Saturday, September 12, 2015

Grandfather Toulson -- genealogy bonanza

It's been a week of genealogy bonanzas.....and today was the ultimate!!!  On a visit to see my 94 year old Uncle and his 90 year old wife, I gleaned some great nuggets about my Grandfather (who died long before I was born), and even a PHOTO!!!!

I'd always heard the story that my Grandfather was about to emigrate to Australia, but met my Grandmother, got her pregnant, married her and stayed put in California.  My Uncle said (completely unprovoked about this story), that as a young Farm Boy, he and a friend had flipped a coin to determine whether they'd emigrate to America or Australia from England.  America won the coin toss, but maybe Australia was never far from his mind (or after 20 years in America, he was ready for a new adventure).

This means I could've been an Aussie!!! Which may explain my obsession with Oz!!!  I've been there 6 times and absolutely love it!

When quizzed about what she remembered about my Grandfather, my Aunt said "I think he's in my wedding photos" --- what???!!!! OMG!!!!  We finally found her wedding album from 1945, and lo and behold there he is!!!  I'd never seen any of these photos, and I'd never seen a photo of my Grandfather without a hat on!!!

She said he was shorter than his boys, thin, wiry, quiet but very friendly. She also said that he was convinced his first Grandchild, my cousin was going to be a champion jockey, since he was small with bandy legs and lots of energy!  (That didn't turn out to be true, but I think he was projecting -- since he loved the horses, and died on his way to the track!)

This is the same Aunt that also produced an Autograph Book that my Grandmother had brought over from England in 1915!!!  What other treasures does she have???!!!!

Bottallack Mine Disaster -- Poldark popularity and my ancestors that died there

With the popularity of the BBC and PBS drama "Poldark" there has been much interest in the scenic Cornish coastline where it was filmed.  A central theme of the show is the mining industry and the hardships of the miners.  One of the mines used in the show is the Bottallack mine, near Pendeen, Cornwall.  This was the site of a mine disaster in April 1863, where 7 men and 1 boy were killed by the breaking of the drawing chain.

Those who lost their lives were:-
John Chapple aged 50 years of Naucherrow who left a widow and several children. He was a widower and his wife a widow when they re-married.
John Chapple aged 16 years, his eldest son.
Peter Eddy aged 17 years of Nancherrow, the son of a widow with six or seven other children. Michael Nicholas of Botallack who left a widow and seven children. (His widow, Elizabeth Ann Thomas - my 7th cousin 4x removed)
John Eddy of Botallack aged 18 years.
Thomas Wall aged 46 years of Carnyorth who left a widow and several children.
Richard Wall aged 19 years, his son.
Thomas Nankervis of Trewellard. He had worked in the Wheal Hazard part of the mine but this was his first day in this mine. (My 6th cousin 3x removed)
Richard Nankervis of Bojcwyan

I can only imagine how this affected the whole community.  There was a collection fund for the widows and orphans, but money can't replace a loved one.  Some of the Nicholas family, without benefit of a Father, did what many did -- emigrate to Australia.

Another mine disaster, at the Levant Mine in 1919 affected even closer family members.  My 1st cousin twice removed (Mt Great Grandmother's niece), Gracie White lost her husband John Kevern (he my 4th cousin twice removed).

Mell Family

Another random message via Ancestry --- someone inquiring about my Mell family.  Turns out she has PHOTOS!!!! Love when that happens.  She just sent over five photos -- including one of a 1st cousin 3x removed, Thomas Wesley Mell.  He was the son of my GG Grandmother's half brother.  Thomas was born about 1846 in Aunsby, Lincolnshire and died in 1926 in Iowa.  The family emigrated to Canada in the mid 1850's, and he lived in a variety of places, Canada, Kansas, Illinois and finally Iowa.

There are also several photos of his daughter, Emma Blanche Mell Ruple, who died in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Always so interesting to put photos to names!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Mary Toulson to Australia.....a long journey with a sad ending

I love when a random inquiry comes in via Ancestry --- just the other day I had a message from a woman in Australia, asking if her ancestors marriage to a Mary Toulson was possibly one of my Mary's.

I had a quick look at the possibilities and did find a Mary Toulson that had "disappeared" after 1861.  I'm not sure if I'd assumed she married and didn't look very hard for a marriage or what. Because, lo and behold I immediately found a marriage for her in the Summer of 1862 in Grantham, to James Alexander Stow.  Makes perfect sense, as he lived in Caythorpe, and she lived in Hough on the Hill (neighboring villages).  It also makes sense, as her sister Alice Toulson married Samuel Stow, a brother of James Alexander Stow.  So, we have 2 Stow brothers marrying 2 Toulson sisters -- keeping it all in the family.

It looks like they married and immediately left for Australia.  Not sure if it was a "paid emigration" scheme by a Parish (to remove the poor from their rolls), or if it was by choice.  In any case, sure enough there is James and Mary Stow emigrating on the Ivanhoe from Southampton to Melbourne and arriving in Feb 1863.  And shortly thereafter, in April she gives birth and dies.  The child, John Henry Stow, lives a month and then dies in May 1863.  A long journey with a sad ending.