23 January 2013

The final resting place of Carolina Friederichs

I've been trying to work out what happened to Carolina Helena Maria Friederichs née von Holst for some time now.

Recently I've been working on the Tourrier branch of the family - Carolina's sister Constantia married a Tourrier, and I'd found that her husband Jean Furcy Tourrier may have been buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.

I sent off a query and hit the jackpot:

Jean Furcy Tourrier was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery in 1867 in grave 20207, square 105, row 10. Also buried in that grave were Constance Tourrier in 1877, Albert Charles Millet in 1878, Alfred Holst Tourrier in 1892, and Caroline Fredericks in 1884.

Constance Tourrier was Jean Furcy Tourrier's wife - baptised as Constantia - with Constance obviously an anglicised version of the name.

Albert Charles Millet was the husband of Ida Sarah Tourrier, one of Jean Furcy and Constantia Tourrier's daughters. I don't know where Ida was buried - she died in 1919, after three of her four children, so perhaps she was buried with at least one of them.

Alfred Holst Tourrier was one of Jean Furcy and Constantia Tourrier's sons. He never married.

Caroline Fredericks was Carolina Helena Maria Friederichs née von Holst. Realising that she might have lived under an anglicised version of her name I searched through the English censuses to see if I could find her. The last time she was listed under the spelling of Friederichs was in the 1851 census. But there she was in the 1871 and 1881 censuses, as Caroline Fredericks. She was noted as widowed, and lived with a servant, or boarded with another family. So she was buried with her sister and some of her sister's family. It suggests to me that her husband, Joachim Friederichs, died overseas, and then she returned to England to live out the rest of her life. I'm glad I finally tracked down where she ended up, and her final resting place.

19 January 2013

The Merrick family of Sligo

I've been contacted by a Merrick relative - my third cousin once removed - so I've been delving into the Merricks back in Ireland again.

William Merrick was my great great great grandfather. William was married to Jane, and they had at least seven children: James (1845-1911, my great great grandfather), Samuel (1849-1913), Anne Jane (1862-?), John Thomas (1864-1959), Mary Ellen (1867-?), William (dates unknown, but apparently died as a child), and Esther (dates unknown). Considering the early children were born around the time of the Irish potato famine, I can't imagine life would have been easy for the Merricks in those early years of their family.

I don't know when William Merrick was born or died, or even who his parents were, but he certainly lived in Sligo, County Sligo, Ireland during his life. The first address I have the Merricks living at was in 1845, recorded on son James' baptism record, in Ramseys Row, with William noted as a shoemaker. On the baptism of son Samuel, in 1849, and in 1862, at the baptism of daughter Anne Jane, the family was in Williams St, and William was again noted as a shoemaker. In 1858 William Merrick was noted in the Griffiths Land Valuations as occupying a house, office and garden of 17 perches on the south side of Georges St, Town of Sligo. There is also another record, the same year, for a William Merrick occupying land (no buildings) of just over one acre in Derrydarragh or Oakfield, Parish of St Johns, but I'm not sure that this is him. Again in 1867 the family was living in Georges St, at the time of daughter Mary Ellen's baptism. In 1870 William was listed in the Slaters Directory as a shoemaker, and also as the keeper of the Fire Engine Station, in John St, Sligo. William was also the village sexton at the time they lived in John St, apparently in the Sexton's House. I have found reference to the fire engine being kept on the premises next door to the sexton's house in John St, as the vestry was responsible for the repair and upkeep of the engine, being a public service. This certainly fits with William being both the keeper of the engine and the village sexton.

James and Samuel followed their father into shoemaking and emigrated to Australia. John Thomas was a carpenter and also emigrated to Australia. Both Anne Jane and Mary Ellen married. Esther also married but has also gone down in a corner of literary history. Apparently the Merricks were neighbours of the Yeats family. In his childhood the famous poet William Butler Yeats was taught spelling by Esther Merrick and she also took it upon herself to read poetry to him. Yeats' father later said it was Esther Merrick who made a poet out of young William, though he was kind enough not to credit her with his son's appalling spelling!

And that is about all that is known for certain of my Merrick family in Sligo. There were plenty of other Merricks in Sligo. My Merricks were Protestant though there were some in Sligo who were Catholic. Interestingly, a Samuel Merrick was the sexton in Colry (Calry) parish, Co. Sligo in 1860 - possibly a relation. I'm sure there were lots of Merrick relations in Co. Sligo, I just haven't been able to straighten out all the relationships!

04 January 2013

Jean Furcy Tourrier

Jean Furcy Tourrier was born in about 1799, apparently in Paris, France. He arrived in England some time before 1830, when he first advertised French classes:

METHODE-JACOTOT. - The great success that Mr. Jacotot's Method meets with on the Continent has induced Monsieur TOURRIER, Professor of French and Drawing, not only to give it a serious study, but to try it in one of his establishments, and from the rapid improvement, especially in the pronunciation, he no longer hesitates to adopt it, and intends forming CLASSES, either at home or abroad. He will form on the 15th of August an evening class in the city. Mr. Tourrier has in the press a Treatise, in which he will display verbatim la methode Jacotot. Apply at 41 Great Portland Street, Portland Place, on Mondays and Thursdays, till 12 o'clock; or at Mr. Price's 7 Cateaton Street. The Times, 2 Aug 1830, Issue 14294, p.2.
He married Constantia Eleonora von Holst at St Pancras Old, St Pancras, London, on 20 June 1833. Jean was about 34 years of age, Constantia 28 years old.

As well as teaching French, Jean Furcy Tourrier also wrote many books about learning French, the first one published in 1830, the last one in the 1860s, and many are held by the British Library. He was apparently known in France for teaching in London using the Jacotot method - a method of teaching languages devised by Joseph Jacotot. Jean Furcy Tourrier apparently built up quite a good career in London and taught at many different colleges (such as the Westminster School - apparently for 14 years, London Academy of Music, Cavendish College, Northumberland College for Ladies, and Notting Hill College for Ladies). He also taught day and evening classes in many locations across London (e.g. Islington, Highgate, Notting Hill, Kensington, Hammersmith, Richmond, plus his own residence) and offered private lessons, both in London and abroad.

Evidently a claim to fame, according to the introductory pages of a number of his publications, Jean Furcy Tourrier was French Master at Westminster School for 14 years, and reader to HRH Princess Sophia. I puzzled over this idea of being a "reader" to a princess for a day or two (what did it mean?) until I remembered something I had read about Princess Sophia - she was blind for over ten years before her death. Perhaps he was simply her reader - someone who read things to her because she herself could not. How he might have landed a job like that is an interesting question!

Jean Furcy Tourrier was also an artist and taught drawing. As far as I know, none of his works have survived. I have found that he exhibited a fair number of works in the exhibitions of the Royal Academy in 1838, 1839, 1843, 1845 and 1846. All the works were landscapes, most of them entered in the Drawing and Miniature category - I suspect they were all drawings. Two of his sons were also artists - Turban Holst Alfred Tourrier (known as Alfred Holst Tourrier, many of his works have survived) and Gustave Leon Furcy Tourrier (apparently not as well known or prolific as his brother). Both the sons painted in oils, though I'm sure their father would have given them a good foundation in drawing.

Jean Furcy Tourrier also seemed to be a bit of an inventor, and twice registered petitions for patents for wildly different ideas. The first, with his petition registered on 16 February 1859, was for the invention of "preventing oscillation of the last carriage of a railway train, and giving rigidity and steadiness throughout the train" (London Gazette, Issue 22236, p.1012). The second, the petition registered on 21 January 1862, was for the invention of "an improved method of, and apparatus for, warning adjoining houses by means of air chambers attached to grates in the party walls dividing houses" (London Gazette, Issue 22596 p.667). It makes me imagine him sitting at home, or on the train, thinking, dreaming up new ways to make things better.

Although Jean Furcy Tourrier was from France, it is possible he had a sister living in London at least for a time as well. Louise Aglaée Tourrier married Louis Charles Emiland Manneville at St Anne's Soho, Westminster on 16 December 1827. Louis was himself born in England, but possibly his parents were both French (Louis Athanase Manneville and Catherine Jauvet). Louise was born in France - I have seen a record of her arrival in England, returning after 5 years away, from Boulogne in France, and she is recorded as a native of France, her occupation "Lady". I have nothing concrete to prove this assumption that she is Jean Furcy Tourrier's sister, apart from the fact that the dates are similar, and a variation of her middle name was used for one of Jean and Constantia's daughters - Georgiana Eleonora Aglae Tourrier.

Jean Furcy Tourrier died on 26 January 1867, aged 68, and was buried in Kensal Green. He apparently worked right up until his death, as the Northumberland College for Ladies was still advertising him as their French teacher a week before his death.

01 January 2013

2012 - The year in review

I had thought that this past year hadn't been quite as successful as the previous one based on exciting finds, but in reviewing all my work for this post, I'm not so sure that's correct. True, there haven't been as many well-known/famous people popping up in the family tree, but I've still found out huge amounts, but with a lot more hard slog.

I thought for my review of this past year's research I would focus on the most useful resources I've used. Not the ones that anyone can plug a search into and find info - like Ancestry or Findmypast, but the ones where it takes much more patience, but in the end can be so much more rewarding because you discover a titbit of information which no one else has known about perhaps since the time the relevant person and their close relatives died.

I love research and have no problem trawling for hours through parish records or newspaper articles to find useful information. Often it involves the use of Google Translator to translate things from French or German, but that's just more of the fun! So here are the most useful resources that I've used this year for finding obscure bits of family history information:

FamilySearch microfilms
I am enormously grateful to Pauleen Cass for putting me onto this wonderful resource. Although on FamilySearch you are able to search for records online, the Church of the Latter Day Saints has microfilmed thousands, possibly millions, of parish records from across the world, which you can borrow for a limited time for a small fee, and access through your local Family History Centre. You can find the records available for borrowing through their catalogue search. Through this service I have searched through many for baptism, marriage and burial records for lots of Beringers this year, as well as some of the Baumgartens in Germany. There is no way I could have accessed all of those as easily if I were trawling through the same records in the local archives in Germany. Here, I can take down the information, go home and translate it, and then go back for more when I know who else to look for. As well as the vital records I also checked out a merchant navy record for someone who turned out to not be a relative. Looking through parish records takes a lot of patience, especially when they are written in other languages, but you can find out so much that you just can't get anywhere else.

Gallica is a search engine for French documents. Although you can choose to have the search page in English rather than French, the results are in whatever language the document was published in - most often French. From Gallica I have, over time, found an awful lot of information about the Weiss' and my research this year on William Baumgarten was definitely aided by Gallica. Usually when I use Gallica, I find any articles which appear to reference the person I am interested in (because I can't read French), then type the relevant paragraph(s) into Google Translator to work out if they actually are about the person I am researching. It's a slow painstaking process, but can be quite rewarding.

British Newspapers 1600-1900 (Gale)
These British newspapers are what I return to time and again when I am researching my English and Scottish relatives. As a resident of NSW I am eligible to be a member of the State Library of NSW, and in their e-resources I have access to this database (through a password), from the comfort of my own home. If your relative won any "biggest turnip" competitions at the local fair, got in trouble with the law, had possessions stolen, played in the local cricket team, advertised their business, etc, there's a chance they got their name in the paper. Once again it is a slow painstaking process checking through sometimes hundreds of articles to see if any of them actually refer to your own relative, but you can find some gems. I have found lots of references to my musical relatives importing instruments, advertising music lessons, their latest published music, or write ups of concerts they were in. If the felt they were important enough (or rather had the money to pay for it) they might also have placed birth, death or marriage notices. However I also have many other relatives who seemed to keep their heads down, out of mischief and never rated a mention. It can be a real mixed bag.

UK National Archives Documents Online
The UK National Archives can be a goldmine of information - well what would you expect?! Through their catalogue you can search all collections or just online collections. With the online collections, for a small fee you can download the document straight away. It is very useful for wills and military records. The family line that I myself have traced back the furthest - the Peisleys in the 1600s (through the Weiss', Baumgartens and Joynes) - it was mainly because of information in wills that led me back so far, as the parish records that far back don't contain much useful family history information. Be prepared to decipher difficult handwriting.

So there's my top options for finding obscure information about your ancestors. Happy 2013!