24 October 2012

Advertising your emigration intentions

Pauleen over at Family history across the seas put me on to something the other day - apparently, when Germans wanted to emigrate they had to put an advertisement in a local paper, stating their intentions to emigrate. It prevented people who owed money from skipping the country - if Rudolf down the road owed you some money and you saw an ad in the local paper you knew you needed to get down to his place quick smart to get the money off him! Pauleen had some success finding some of the advertisements her ancestors had placed prior to emigration so I thought I'd give it a go as well.

I searched and searched and searched for a number of days and had not one bit of luck. So I shot off an email to Norbert at Rheingau Genealogie to see if he knew the names of some local historical papers that they might have put an ad in. Helpful as ever, Norbert not only knew the name of the paper "Nassauischen Intelligenzbl├Ąttern", but also knew about a book where all of the advertisements had been collated - a book published in 1966 by Wolf-Heino Struck called "Die Auswanderung aus dem Herzogtum Nassau (1806-1866)".

I haven't been able to locate "Nassauischen Intelligenzbl├Ąttern" on the internet which explains why I haven't found an advertisement for my Beringers emigrating to Australia. Add to that the fact that they emigrated in 1884, so they won't be in the book either. So that's one newspaper I have to track down, and one book I won't need to! Thanks Norbert!

09 October 2012

Sorting out the Rich family of Somerset

I've been working on the family of my great great grandfather, William Rich (abt 1832-1927), who apparently came from Somerset - I'm still trying to work out exactly where. I'm hoping that if I can track down his family it might shed some light on where it was that he was born. Sometimes you just have to gather together all your information and try and make some educated guesses. So here goes.

His parents, according to his death record from the NSW BDM (6651/1927), were William Rich and Elizabeth Milton. William Rich, the father, was listed as a farmer. We can verify some of this with the death record of his known sister (known through her funeral notice), Avice Bindon, as her parents were both William and Elizabeth as well (14845/1908).

I have not been able to find a marriage record for William Rich senior and Elizabeth Milton - perhaps they weren't officially married. At about the time they appear to have started producing children there is a conglomeration of Richs in the area of Nether Stowey and Over Stowey. The Miltons are mostly found further west, around St Decumans and Sampford Brett. Wherever William Rich senior came from (which may or may not have been over at Nether or Over Stowey), I think that after he "married" Elizabeth they lived near her family rather than his - in searching for their potential children I have not found any baptisms for other Rich families in the same parishes.

The following is a table of the potential children of William and Elizabeth Rich, mostly according to baptism records:

Name Baptism date Parish Father Father's occ Mother Abode
James Milton RICHE 26 Dec 1817 Stogumber William Yeoman Elizabeth Ann Stogumber
Mary Ann RICH 3 Feb 1820 Stogumber William Yeoman Elizabeth Ann Vexford
Eliza RICH 23 Jan 1821 Stogumber William Maltster Elizabeth Ann Watchet
Harriet RICH 23 Nov 1823 St Decumans William Maltster Elizabeth Watchet
Anna Maria RICH 23 Nov 1823 St Decumans William Maltster Elizabeth Watchet
Avice RICH Abt 1828 - based on 1851 Census St Decumans
Louisa RICH 28 Aug 1831 Crowcombe William Maltster Elizabeth Stogumber
Ann RICH 19 Jul 1836 Stogumber William Farmer Elizabeth Higher Vexford
Emma RICH 19 Jul 1836 Stogumber William Farmer Elizabeth Higher Vexford
William RICH 19 Jul 1836 Stogumber William Farmer Elizabeth Higher Vexford
Frederick RICH 7 Dec 1842 St Decumans William Baker Elizabeth London

I have looked at this information for a long time, trying to solve the mystery of whether this is two families - one with a father who is a yeoman/farmer, the other a maltster - or one where the father does all three (setting aside the final entry for "Frederick Rich"). It wasn't until I was working on the Milton branch of the family that I discovered that the second option was very likely to be true: Elizabeth Milton's sister Ellen Wood Milton married Jonathan Date, and in the baptism records of their children he was also noted variously as a yeoman, farmer and maltster (he was also a baker). Although it might be possible that there were two families of William and Elizabeth Rich, the likelihood of there being two families of Jonathan and Ellen Date, with their less common names, is much smaller. Also, the Dates lived and worked at Snailholt Farm, Watchet, and I think it is quite possible that William Rich worked with/for Jonathan whilst the Rich family were in Watchet. Snailholt Farm was quite a large farm, about 143 acres, and so the Dates would have had many workers. I can imagine that William may have worked for him.

I have not been able to find any electoral lists that cover the period in Somerset where William Rich senior's occupation is listed as a yeoman. But it would appear that he was farming somewhere around the Vexford, Stogumber area. Perhaps a change in fortune lead to him and his family moving to Watchet, to work as a maltster, possibly with his brother-in-law Jonathan Date at Snailholt Farm. A maltster made malt, usually from barley, and often the maltster farmed the barley first. Being a maltster at a farm suggests that they were also farming barley there. There was a brewery at Stogumber that the malt would have been produced for.

By about the early to mid 1830s the Rich family had moved on from Watchet, back to around Stogumber/Higher Vexford, to take up farming again. Barley? Who knows. Although I have not been able to locate William and Elizabeth Rich in the 1841 Census (or any census in fact!) living at Higher Vexford in 1841 were Benjamin, Sarah and John Milton, brother, sister and father of Elizabeth Rich. The 1841 Census also lists a 10 year old Louisa Rich (F.S. - farm servant/female servant?) living/staying with the Miltons in Higher Vexford. So I think it is safe to assume that William had been working with his in-laws in Higher Vexford. I don't know where the majority of the Rich family were during the 1841 Census. I don't actually know when either William or Elizabeth died. There is the possibility that the family moved to London for William to work as a baker, using skills he possibly picked up whilst working with his brother-in-law Jonathan Date. The 1851 Census has daughter Avice living with Benjamin and Sarah Milton in Vexford - where all the other living members of the Rich family were is anyone's guess. By 1857, when Avice was married in Lambeth, Surrey, William is listed as a farmer. He is not listed as deceased on the marriage record, but then I'm not sure if they would do that anyway.

And that's about as far as I can get with guessing what the Rich family were up to in Somerset. I can only assume that the William Rich who was baptised at Stogumber in 1836 with his sisters Emma and Ann was my great great grandfather, unless better information turns up!

01 October 2012

William Rich - perhaps he didn't swim here...

I've never been able to work out how my great great grandfather William Rich (born abt 1832, Bridgewater, Somerset, UK; died 1927, Willoughby, NSW, Aust) got to Australia.

I knew from his death notice that he was a Crimean War veteran, and he presumably arrived in Australia after he had completed his war service. It is just about impossible to find Crimean War records, but today I found that there were a number of William Richs who served in the merchant navy, and some merchant navy ships did indeed serve in the Crimean War.

There is even a merchant navy listing for a William Rich, born in Bridgewater. His register ticket number was 56694. Unfortunately, I can only find a listing in the index for him, but there does not appear to be an actual record of his service available. So I may never know if it was him in the merchant navy, but it doesn't seem so far fetched to think that he may have been working on a ship when he came to Australia, and stayed.