21 April 2014

The Smiths

I've recently been working on some Smiths. I've done some research on Smiths before, but they were on the maternal side of my family. These Smiths are on the paternal side - Susanna(h) Smith married James Ball at Hoxton St John, Hackney on 16 April 1835.

The surname of Smith can be an appallingly difficult one to research, especially if you have a John Smith and a Mary Smith in the mix, which happen to be the names of Susannah's parents. Helpfully, Susannah's parents made my research slightly easier because they were apparently great fans of alliteration and gave all their children names beginning with 'S' - Susannah, Samuel, Shadrach and Sarah, and possibly also Seth and Salina. I don't remember where I found the names of Seth and Salina, but I'm leaving them here as possible children because their names do start with S, but do be aware that they may not be correct. I have not been able to find any concrete evidence for their existence.

This Smith family seems to be from around the Bedford/Bletchley/Leighton Buzzard area. I have not actually been able to find any birth/baptism records for them. According to the records I have found, Samuel was the eldest child, born in about 1802 in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire (from the 1851 English census). Next was Sarah, born in about 1808, in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire (according to the 1851 and 1861 censuses). Shadrach was born in about 1811 in Bletchley (1851 census). And according to her immigration records (upon immigration to Australia in 1857) and the 1851 census, Susannah was born in Bedford, Bedfordshire in 1815.

John Smith was noted as a linen weaver from Leighton Buzzard on the birth record of his grandson James William Ball, (son of James and Susannah Ball née Smith). The record does not state whether John Smith was actually still living at the time of the birth in 1837. Certainly John and Mary are both recorded as dead when Susannah immigrated to Australia in 1857.

One of the reasons why it has been difficult to find information on the family is because at least all the children in the family were non-conformist in their religion - I don't know if their parents were. Although some of James and Susannah Ball's own children were baptised in the Church of England, some were not - James William Ball's birth is found on a non-conformist register. Immigration records list the denomination of the Ball family as "Independent", which is also known as "Congregationalist".

Susannah's unmarried brother Samuel was living at 16 Beaumont Square, Mile End Old Town in the 1851 English census and his occupation was "Minister of Religion (Independent) and Lecturer".

Shadrach lived with his wife Elizabeth just down the road from Samuel at 2 Beaumont Square. As far as I can tell, they had no children. Shadrach was a printer according to the 1841 and 1851 censuses, but he did much more than that according to the death notice his sister Susannah placed in the Sydney Morning Herald on 31 Aug 1860:

I don't know this for sure because I haven't yet managed to access any Congregationalist ministers records, but I am guessing Samuel may well have worked at the same church that Shadrach attended - the Mile End Congregational Church.

Sarah was a governess who married later in life, aged 40, to a twice-widowed man, William Griffith Marsh - I'm guessing she was governess to his children. I have not been able to find a record for their marriage apart from in the civil records, and it is my hunch that they married in a Congregationalist church and their marriage is buried amongst the non-conformist records. I have not found any records for Sarah having any children.

Susannah Ball née Smith (1815-23 Oct 1871) is buried in Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney, NSW. Sarah Marsh née Smith (c1808-Mar 1864) is buried in Abney Park Cemetery, a non-conformist cemetery in Hackney, in the same plot as her brother Shadrach (c1811-31 May 1860), and his wife Elizabeth. I've not yet been able to work out when Samuel died, but it was before Shadrach, and he is not buried in Abney Park Cemetery.

17 April 2014

A family heirloom - a hand embroidered doily

I was given this embroidered doily after the death of my great aunt - it had been embroidered by her mother, my great grandmother, Ellen Paterson Wilkey née Macindoe (1876-20 Apr 1967). I treasure it because of my own love of embroidery, and have it framed and hanging on the wall in my bedroom. One day, when I meet her in heaven, my great grandmother may well ask me why I stuck it on the wall in a frame instead of using it!

The other day I was looking through some books on Antique Pattern Library, and was stunned when I came across the pattern! There is only one small difference that I can find in the way my great grandmother stitched it compared to the pattern and I'm quite convinced it is the pattern she followed. The pattern is from a DMC pattern book, Drawn Thread Work, edited by Thérésa de Dillmont, and was published in about 1895. This definitely fits within the time that my great grandmother might have been stitching.

Why do I think this is significant? I'd been told of my great grandmother's sewing skills, but finding the published pattern shows me that ordinary women stitched these designs - it wasn't mass produced in a factory somewhere. She was definitely talented - it's not an easy pattern!

06 April 2014

How I am related to the embroidery thread company DMC

My sister and I are accomplished embroiderers, and I have been aware for some time that there was a good chance we were related in some extremely distant way to the founders of the embroidery thread company DMC. Last night my sister and I were talking about it, and she challenged me to work out exactly how we were related. I thought it would take ages. Happily it didn't!

DMC (Dollfus Mieg and Company) is a company that was founded in Mulhouse in 1746 by Jean-Henri Dollfus, an artist, Jean-Jacques Schmalzer and Samuel Koechlin, both businessmen. When it was founded the company was known as Koechlin, Schmalzer and Company. It was run jointly by Jean-Henri and his brother Jean Dollfus, and towards the end of the century Jean's son Daniel took over running the company. Daniel Dollfus married Anne-Marie Mieg in 1800, and added his wife's surname to his own, to become Daniel Dollfus Mieg. The company was given the new trading name of Dollfus Mieg and Company - D.M.C.

So how am I related to DMC? Jean-Henri Dollfus, one of the company founders, was the great grandfather of the wife of my first cousin 5x removed. To put it in a way that is hopefully slightly easier to comprehend, Jean-Henri's great granddaughter Sophie-Louise Dollfus married Médard Baumgarten, who was the nephew of my 4x great grandfather Gaspard Weiss.

So every time I sit down to sew with some DMC threads I will now be able to bask in the glow of my familial relationship to the company that made the threads!

30 March 2014

The Baumgartens in France

The other day I discovered that the Archives Départementales du Haut Rhin has birth, death and marriage records from 1798-1892 available for viewing online, arranged by town. They are civil records, not parish records, and contain quite a lot of information, often the dates of birth of people getting married, their parents' names and occupations, names of witnesses, if and how they are related, etc. Fantastic! Although considering they are written in French perhaps I should say "Fantastique!"

I've been looking through them and have managed to increase my Weiss family tree quite a bit, but the most interesting part has been finding all the Baumgartens.

Early on in my research on the Baumgartens in Mulhouse I was warned that "Baumgartner" was the name of a longstanding bourgeois family in Mulhouse, and perhaps that's who my Baumgartens were. From my research I have found that all my family in Mulhouse were actually Baumgarten, a totally distinct family from the Baumgartners, although they were sometimes misnamed as Baumgartners.

I already knew that Marie Baumgarten had moved to Mulhouse from London (where she was born) with her Mulhousien husband Gaspard Weiss. Her sister Lucinda Worrall Baumgarten had also moved there at some stage, and married a local Paul Blech, as had their brother William (often known by the French form, Guillaume, in the French records), who had married into one of the big bourgeois families by marrying Anne Catherine Schlumberger.

Trawling through the birth, death and marriage records for Mulhouse, I found three instances of a witness to three separate marriages, one Frédéric Baumgarten. There was even a record of his son Jean marrying. Interesting. Definitely Baumgarten, not Baumgartner. He was a dessinateur - a designer. I take that to mean he was associated with the rag trade - which was huge in Mulhouse - and designed prints for fabric. There was a Frederick in the English Baumgarten family, a brother of Marie, Lucinda and William's. He was born in about 1762, and baptised at St Andrew's Holborn, Middlesex, England on 20 May 1762. According to the listed age of the Frederic Baumgarten in the Mulhouse civil records, his age matches up with a birthdate in 1762. I think it is therefore reasonable to assume that the Frederic Baumgarten in the Mulhouse records is the brother of Marie, Lucinda and William.

Something I realised as I went through years of records was that some people were unable to write and just made their mark on the page. None of the families I am related to were in this category. Clearly, being from the bourgeoisie, they all could read and write. I'm not trying to claim any superiority here, just making the comment that there clearly were class differences, and my Mulhousien ancestry was quite obviously not from the lower classes.

I did discover one other intriguing thing whilst looking into Frederic Baumgarten and the Baumgartens in Mulhouse in general. I was Googling "Baumgarten" and "Mulhouse" in Google Books, and in one of the references to Lucinda Baumgarten and her husband Paul Blech (Maisons, villages et villas d'Alsace du Sud: études d'architecture et d'histoire by Louis Abel, published 1994 by the Société savante d'Alsace), it noted "Ce Paul Blech à son tour, épousa, en 1787, Lucinde Baumgarten, la fille de Frédéric." Why did it note that she was the daughter of Frederick (his full name was Samuel Christian Frederick Baumgarten)? Was he known in Alsace? Did he spend some time there? I haven't found anything else that refers to him in Mulhouse, but I wonder...

11 March 2014

Gaspard Weiss was married twice!

It had been right there under my nose (in his autobiography, though in my defence it is in German and French), but it was only the other day that I realised that my 4x great grandfather (Jean) Gaspard Weiss remarried after the death of his first wife (my 4x great grandmother) Marie Baumgarten.

On 25 November 1800, two years after the death of his first wife Marie, Gaspard Weiss married Judith Risler, daughter of Jean Risler and Marguerite Lauttenbourg, in Mulhouse. She was aged 59, he was 61. Unsurprisingly at their age, Gaspard and Judith produced no children. They were together until Gaspard's death in 1815. It's nice to think he had someone to share his life with again after the death of Marie.

Edited on 22 March 2014 to add:
I found a copy of the marriage certificate today in the Archives Départementales Du Haut-Rhin, and although it is handwritten, in French, I've worked out that his brother-in-law Paul Blech (married to his late wife Marie's sister Lucinda Worrall Baumgarten) was one of the witnesses. It would be interesting to know if other Baumgartens had attended the wedding, apart from Lucinda. Of course, I'll never know that!

The other interesting thing I noted was that Gaspard signed the marriage certificate using German script, using the German variation of his name - Caspar Weiß. I have only ever seen him sign his name as Gaspar(d) Weiss before, quite legibly in normal English-style lettering. I wonder if after Mulhouse reunited with France in 1798 whether he became "more German" and emphasised his German heritage. Below is a comparison of his signatures, the first from his marriage to Marie Baumgarten ("Gaspar Weiss", aged 36), the second on the death certificate of Marie ("Gaspard Weiss", aged 59), and the third at his marriage to Judith Risler ("Caspar Weiß", aged 61). If I didn't know it was definitely him I would dismiss the third signature as by a totally different person!

04 March 2014

A bit more information on the Beringers' mill in Rauenthal

A distant relative got in touch with me the other day, who is descended from another branch of the Beringer family. She is descended from Katharina Beringer, who is my 3x great aunt. Katharina's half-brother Adam Beringer is my 2x great grandfather, the one who emigrated to Australia in 1884, with his wife Caroline and brother John Valentine (also half-brother of Katharina).

Previously the only information I had for Katharina was that she was born in Rauenthal on 13 July 1845, and had her confirmation in Rauenthal on 23 July 1862 when she was 17 years old. Now, having contact with her descendant, I know that Katharina was married to Philipp Kneip on 13 April 1868 in Rauenthal. I also now know that what I suspected was true: Katharina (and her husband Philipp) managed the Lochmühle (a water mill) in Rauenthal after the death of Valtin Beringer, Katharina's father, in August 1867. In 1871 the Lochmühle was then passed on to Georg and Karoline Koch, as noted in this post.

Katharina and Philipp Kneip had seven children, the first two, Mathilde and Josef were born in Rauenthal (11 November 1868 and 19 March 1870 respectively), the next two, Robert and Adam, born in Schierstein (5 October 1871 and 4 Dec 1873 respectively). After that the family moved north, with quite a bit of time spent in Dillenburg apparently.

It is interesting to note that although Katharina and Philipp were married in April 1868, they were "together" before that as Mathilde was born in November of the same year. If Mathilde was carried to term, conception would have been in about February of that year. She was made legitimate by the marriage of her parents before her birth.

So the question remains: Why did the extended Beringer family give up the mill? The Kneips didn't stay long in Schierstein - Philipp's brother was apparently already running the Grorother Mühle there, but perhaps they stayed with him while they worked out their next move...

Many thanks to my relative for her assistance with the Kneip family information.

05 January 2014

A Google books snippet view teaser

I was researching on Google Books last night and I have possibly found something relevant to my Baumgarten research. The only problem is that the book in question is only available with snippet view and I can't see everything I really need to in the relevant section. Grrr! I'm going to have to see if I can borrow the book from somewhere - all I need to see is pages 13 and 14!

I was trying to find info on Samuel Baumgarten's German ancestry and it occurred to me to search "Baumgarten" and "Usingen" in Google Books, as Samuel's father Johann Nicholaus Baumgarten apparently had links with Usingen. If you're researching you need to have patience to trawl through lots of irrelevant information to find the little gems - on page 4 of the search results I found "Die Lehrer des Kreises Usingen" by Rudolf Bonnet, written in 1965. It referred to a Johann Nicholaus Friedrich Baumgarten. The title of the book roughly translates as "The teachers of the circle Usingen". Hmmmm... Samuel Baumgarten's father was a teacher...

So, the snippets I can read:

[page 13]

31. Baumgarten, Nicholaus, aus Sachsen, † 1754, Kantor und strumpffabrikant zu U. Sohn: Johann Nicholaus Friedrich; s. Nr. 33.
(31. Baumgarten, Nicholas, from Saxony, † 1754, Cantor and stocking manufacturer to Usingen. Son: Johann Nicholaus Friedrich, see No. 33)

32. Beckmann....

33. [impossible to read in the snippet, but refers to Nicholaus Baumgarten's son Johann Nicholaus Friedrich Baumgarten, as noted at 31]

[page 14]

40. Klein, Johann Philipp. * I. 3.10.1762 † Katzenelnbogen 30.10.1832 (sein Vater zuletzt Lehrer zu Heftrich). Vom 21-23. Lebensjahr S. I.; ½ Jahr dem Kantor Baum-.... [unable to access the rest in snippet view]
(40. Klein, Johann Philipp. * I. 03.10.1762 † 30.10.1832 Katzenelnbogen (his father last teacher to Heftrich). From 21-23. Age of S. I.; ½ years the cantor Baumgarten...) - it's possible that this doesn't refer to a person named Baumgarten, but maybe a place...

So what I think it is saying is that Samuel Baumgarten's grandfather was named Nicholaus Baumgarten, he was from Saxony, died in 1754 (which could fit with the dates known for his grandson Samuel Baumgarten - c.1729-1798) and was a cantor and made stockings - presumably men's stockings. That he was included in a book about the teachers of Usingen suggests that maybe he taught singing, related to his role as a cantor. His son Johann Nicholaus Friedrich Baumgarten was probably also a teacher, considering he is noted in the book also. This fits with previous information I have found on him.

I've not seen Samuel's father's name with "Friedrich" included in the middle names before, which could lead us to think he was a different person altogether. However, considering Samuel himself had "Frederic" as a middle name - Samuel Christian Frederic Baumgarten - it does suggest it could well be his father after all.

So, does anyone have access to this book? I'd be forever grateful...

23 December 2013

The naming of the Baumgarten children

It's interesting to see if it is possible to work out who the children in a family were named after. You can surmise who might have been a beloved relative or a treasured friend. Of course sometimes it's completely impossible to work out who (or what!) ancestors were thinking of when they named their kids! However, the children of Samuel Christian Frederic and Mary Baumgarten née Joynes seem to have names that were honouring friends and relatives.

Name of child Date of birth Date of baptism Parish of baptism Possible namegiver
Elizabeth Mary 16 Feb 1753 22 Feb 1753 St Martins in the Field The middle name of Mary is probably after her mother, but I'm not sure who the Elizabeth honours. I haven't found an Elizabeth amongst the Baumgarten or Joynes relatives so maybe she was a family friend. It's possible that it was for family friend Elizabeth Worrall - see Lucinda Worrall Baumgarten below.
Marie 21 Jul 1755 15 Aug 1755 St Margaret Westminster Probably named after her mother.
Charlotte 24 Feb 1757 28 Mar 1757 St Margaret Westminster Probably named after her maternal aunt or maternal step-cousin - her maternal uncle Samuel Joynes was married to Charlotte Tully, who had been widowed by the death of her first husband Stephen Downes. Charlotte and Stephen had at least three children, including a daughter, Charlotte, and a son, Tully.
Tully c1759 19 Dec 1759 St Andrew Holborn Probably named after his step-cousin Tully Downes.
Thomas c1761 7 Feb 1761 St Andrew Holborn Probably named after his maternal uncle Thomas Joynes.
Henry c1761 7 Feb 1761 St Andrew Holborn Probably named after his maternal uncle Henry Joynes.
Frederick c1762 20 May 1762 St Andrew Holborn Either named after his paternal uncle, Frederick Baumgarten, or after his father's second middle name.
William c1764 2 May 1764 St Andrew Holborn I've no idea who William was named after!
Frances c1765 2 Jun 1765 St Andrew Holborn Probably named after her paternal aunt, Frances Baumgarten.
Lucinda Worrall 30 Sep 1766 16 Oct 1766 St Andrew Holborn Lucinda Worrall's middle name was in honour of Elizabeth Worrall, spinster of Kensington, who was her godmother (noted in Elizabeth Worrall's will). The reason for the choice of Lucinda as her first name is unknown.
Joynes Philip c1768 7 Dec 1768 St Martin in the Fields "Joynes" is clearly derived from his mother's maiden name, no idea where "Philip" comes from!

It was a very helpful exercise to put all this information into a table - firstly, I had an idea that Thomas and Henry were possibly twins, but realising that they were both baptised on the same day, when none of their other siblings were baptised with another, makes it more probable that they were twins. I wonder if they were identical or fraternal (fraternal being hereditary).

Secondly, I originally had a problem with Lucinda Worrall Baumgarten - I had her birth year down as 1756, and yet she was baptised 10 years afterwards, unlike any of her siblings. Plus, based on that birthdate, when she died in 1859, she would have been 102 - which I felt was highly unlikely in that day. Add to that the fact that she was baptised at St Andrews Holborn, when the two siblings apparently on either side of her - Marie and Charlotte - were both baptised at St Margaret Westminster. However, if we assume that 1756 was a transcription/typing error, and in fact she was born in 1766, that all works much better.

13 December 2013

The Baumgarten brothers and the military

I am still intrigued by Samuel Christian Frederic Baumgarten (c1729-1798) and John Henry Baumgarten (?-1770), brothers, most likely of German origin, who lived and worked in London, England. The fact that so little is known about them makes me want to search and search to uncover as much as I can on them. I like the thrill of the chase!

I know from John Henry Baumgarten's will that he was the Quartermaster in the Royal Horse Guards Blue. I've been doing a bit of research on the Royal Horse Guards, and in 1782 the full pay salary for an officer at quartermaster level was £155 2s 6d - this seemed to be around the middle of the pay rates for officers. John Baumgarten died 12 years before that, but it gives us an idea of the pay rate he was on. There is every chance that John might have seen overseas service with the Royal Horse Guards - they were involved in the Seven Years War in Germany. Likely being a native German speaker, this may have made him quite useful during the unit's service in Germany. What made a foreigner like John Henry Baumgarten join the British Army is an interesting question...

Samuel Baumgarten was a professional bassoonist, but I discovered the other day that he also had military involvement. According to Daub's Music at the court of George II (1985) the noted bassoonist Samuel Baumgarten was one of seven hautbois (oboes, which in this context also included bassoons) from the First Regiment of the Foot Guards who signed for new liveries in June of 1755. Apparently there were a number of groups of musicians from military units who were called upon to participate in royal functions, including drums and hautbois. Interestingly, there were also musicians from the Royal Horse Guards who were involved as court musicians - I wonder if John Baumgarten was involved in this, considering there was definite musical talent within his family... Which makes me wonder if it was the military that appealed, or whether it was a means to an end, in having a salaried job playing music. It was most likely a more regular pay cheque than playing in professional concerts.

Daub also notes there was a "Baumgarden" who played the bassoon at King George II's funeral - most likely a misspelling of "Baumgarten". Presumably this was as part of Samuel's military musician duties.

On another note (pun intended), I have discovered that Samuel Baumgarten played in the performance of Handel's Messiah at the Foundling Hospital on May 3rd, 1759. He is once again noted in the list of performers as "Baumgarden", and was paid 10d 6s for the performance. He was one of the more senior bassoonists (the other was Miller) as there were two other bassoonists, Goodman and Owen, who were paid only 8d. (Cusins, W.G. 1874. Handel's Messiah: an examination of the Original and some contemporary MSS. Augener and Co., London.)

12 November 2013

Trove Tuesday: Miss Mary Merrick

I've been researching some of the Merrick relatives recently, particularly James William Merrick, whom I will write about in a future post. Today I've been trawling through Trove, finding out what I can about James William Merrick, and then I sort of strayed onto other Merricks as well. Including Miss Mary Merrick.

Mary Merrick's birth is not recorded in the NSW BDM, although there is nothing to suggest she wasn't born in New South Wales. Her parents were John Thomas Merrick and his wife Margaret (maiden name unknown). Mary Merrick is my first cousin, three times removed.

My great uncle told me ages ago that she worked for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, and he thought she was on the board. My research says that she was a librarian and stenographer, so it is unlikely that she was on the board! However, as I myself am a botanist, I was absolutely delighted to find that in 1925 J.H. Maiden (a big name in NSW botanical circles) and W.F. Blakely named a eucalypt in her honour.

Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Aug 1925

The plant was named Eucalyptus merrickiae, a name which is still current. It is native to Western Australia, in the Esperance region, and is considered vulnerable because it is rare. Take it from me, having a plant named after you is a very special honour. She must have been well liked and good at her job. According to the paper in the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales (1925, issue 59) in which the name was formally published, "This species is named in honour of Miss Mary Merrick, who, in her capacity as librarian and stenographer, Botanic Gardens, Sydney, has been of very great help to us in our Eucalyptus work".

And then I happened upon another one as well! Acacia merrickiae, known as Merrick's wattle, was also named in Mary's honour in 1927.

Mary's biography on the Australian National Herbarium website sheds a little further light on Mary's life - she was born 8 April 1897, and early staff records for the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney indicate she commenced work there in July 1921 as a librarian and stenographer, and then became a clerk in July 1922. According to records she was still working there in late 1925, and Hall (1978) says she still there in 1927. The National Herbarium of NSW records indicate that they have two plant specimens she collected in their collections, both from the Central Coast of NSW.

In 1933 Mary married Charles Harborough Thomas Taylor and her working career apparently came to an end. In December of the same year she gave birth prematurely to their first child, John Charles Harborough Taylor. They had at least one other child, Alan William Taylor.

Mary died on 10 August 1981 in a nursing home in Belrose, after spending her married life in Forbes, Avoca Beach and Chatswood. Did she continue with botanical interests throughout her life? I'd love to hear from anyone who is more closely related to her than me.