30 August 2011

How the Merricks got to Australia

I logged on to Ancestry.com last night for the first time in a little while - I've been working on the Weiss' and there's not much information on Europeans there (well, not that I've found useful), and so I've been using other sources to track down information on them - it's helpful that they had a degree of fame!

Anyway, I noticed that Ancestry has a new source of information, one which I had previously only accessed from a CDRom at the State Library: NSW Immigration Deposit Journals, 1853-1900. I had a few family members who I'd been putting aside to look up the next time I went in to the State Library. So I checked them. And though many of them didn't come up in the journals (e.g. James Ball wasn't sponsored to come out, neither was Josiah Horsey) I looked up the Merricks. Though there was an entry for James and Samuel Merrick coming out on the Hotspur from Sligo, Ireland, I was finally able to confirm that they were not my relatives - they were sponsored by David Merrick, so I now know they were the other Merricks from Sligo - David was not one of my Merricks - I confirmed that a while ago.

So I looked at the other Merricks. And there was an entry for a deposit made by James Merrick on 16 November 1864 for Samuel Merrick, aged 15, to come out to Australia, with a note in the final column stating that he was a passenger on the Trebolgan. Looking up the ship's passenger list for the Trebolgan, which arrived in Sydney on 28 June 1865, I am puzzled by the fact that it says he was Roman Catholic when the name given for his reference in the deposit journal was the Church of England Clergyman in Sligo. I am guessing the person writing the list for the ship's passenger list was on a roll and just assumed Samuel was Roman Catholic like most of the Irish passengers aboard. I think this is my Samuel Merrick - his year of birth fits (1849).

Which means my great great grandfather James Merrick, Samuel's brother and immigration sponsor, had arrived in Sydney by November 1864. I still haven't worked out how he got here. I don't believe that he is listed in the Assisted Immigrants Passenger Lists for NSW. Perhaps he came out unassisted, though I'd be surprised if he could afford that, unless he worked as a crew member of a ship. I'm not sure how many ships would have needed shoemakers on their crews though!

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