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.


  1. Don't you hate these swimmers or ship's deserters? I have a number in my family.

    Did you know that you can order in the microfilm of each merchant navy person through LDS (it's a Board of Trade document). It may give you enough to confirm if it's yours. Email if you want to know more about this strategy (I think you have my email). I hadn't thought about Crimean service for my merchant seamen but it's a good idea...must think more on it.

  2. Thanks Pauleen, I didn't know that. That would be a great if I could find his record. I'll email you.

  3. Prue, following the trail of my own I came to this site and found there's a William Rich in the Crimean era. It's a pay per view (you can do it per month) so I'll let you decide if you want to use it.

    First Name Surname Rank Record Year 1 William Rich 1853 View William Rich's record

  4. Thanks Pauleen - that could indeed be him. Of course, I've ordered the LDS film for his record, so I think I'll wait to see that, since I've already paid for it.