I am posting the following item here on behalf of its author, Jack Windsor, of Low Head Tasmania.
Well here we are, in the year 2010 on the 21st of July. I am now eighty three years old and often wonder if I am going to be spared for much longer. What I am trying to do is put together a family history for all those who will follow-on after I am called. I have in my data bank, that is my filing cabinet, hand written records, divided into generations of all the information that I have been able to assemble over many years about my family.
There are some things that appear to be best left alone, skeletons in closets as they are sometimes called. Still, all in all, they are all part of a whole. I will try and present the information as a story; all the names and dates are authentic. Once started on this great exercise it is hard to know when to stop; so here goes. I think that once they leave the state and scatter all over the world, it is time to leave it be. When the women marry out, then they are gone, interesting to follow; but where does one stop?
Hopefully as time marches on we may be able to add more information to it all as it comes to hand. But for now, sit back and absorb it all and remember that generations to come will want to find out just who they all are, where they came from and how they got here.
Some Notes on Sources:
My brother Noel and I did not have a clue about our forebears until just recently, after our researches were more or less completed. We still have very little about our father and mother’s early life and not much about our grandparents either. Our Mother is still a mystery in the days before she met our Father. As children we were told that Noel was dragged in by the cat and I was found under the gooseberry bush. Long lists of names and dates become rather boring.
During my researches I found that there were various ways that people could enter a country, both in those early times and right up until the present. They could have come as convicts, in which case, there exist fairly extensive records, in the Tasmanian Archives and Public Libraries. They could have come as free settlers; but unfortunately, only the adult members of the families were recorded on shipping manifests. Servants travelling with families were not recorded by name either. They could have come as assisted immigrants, and likewise only the adults were named. The same applies for unassisted immigrants. Then there were those that came from interstate as passengers on ships, fishing boats and ships crews who stayed.
Sometimes, children and spouses accompanied the convicts and as such were not recorded. In cases of illegitimate births, many of these were often not officially recorded either; but deliberately hidden under assumed names or adopted into the girl’s family as a late birth. Faced with all these possibilities it is no wonder that one gets frustrated. Then there is the situation, not uncommon, that there are second and third marriages, the various children of whom either kept their biological parents names or assumed the surnames of step parents. There were many common law relationships that were not recorded, and the progenies names became an official mystery.
In the early days of the colony, it was quite a common occurrence, especially when they lived in remote areas, where the local priest only visited annually, if at all. The early church records were often incomplete and very skimpy about details. Government records were often lost or poorly stored and suffered moisture damage, rendering them useless. It is quite an expensive exercise to obtain family records after the year 1900 because they charge expensive search fees for every name involved in any records search. Grave stones and family bibles often reveal a few details but on the whole they are at best pretty skimpy.
There exists a record called the ‘Tasmanian Pioneers Index’ which is very useful up until the year 1900. The various libraries also have list of Births, Deaths and Marriages from 1900 onwards compiled from the various newspapers; but this is not wholly complete yet and relies on whether or not the events were published. To make the research even more tiresome, most of the records are on the old microfiche systems and 35mm film reels which have suffered much deterioration over many usages.
Cemetery records are sometimes helpful if you can tell them what you are looking for. And there is of course the friendly undertaker who may have records of burial sites around the country. The staff of the archives and libraries, require correct information before they can be expected to assist with any searches; therefore go armed with surnames, dates and place names. Old family photographs sometimes are useful; but as often as not they do not always have the persons’ name or date on the back. It is wise to have a few rules when doing all this research stuff; limit yourself to those that actually came to Tasmania and to those descendants that stayed on in the state, otherwise you can end up with hundreds of names that create side tracks from the main research.
Remember that everyone has sixteen great, great grand parents, eight great grand parents and only four grand parents. That makes a total of twenty eight names to research besides your own parents, that is enough to start with at the beginning. Once the main tree forms; you will begin to see all sorts of things. Those twins, that came out of the woodwork, the family characteristics that appear in the fourth generation and so on. I was lucky that my father’s spinster aunt kept a record of family events for the early days up until she died in 1950 aged 91. I was able to obtain a copy of this record.
Now after all that I will get down to the nitty gritties. I am going to use the name Tasmania in the following instead of Van Dieman Land as it was then officially called. Our Windsor story begins with a William Windsor, G1, who we will designate as a generation number one, being born at Woodbury in Devon, England, on 6th April 1774. He grew up and married Ann Hayman Phillips, the daughter of William Hayman Phillips, aged, 21, an Inn Holder in Holberton, and Elizabeth Chappell. They were married at Modbury in Devon, on 3.7.1795.
This couple had five children as follows:
Generation number two:
G2- William Windsor, b 13.7.1797.
G2- James Windsor, b 1801. m. Lydia.
G2- Edward Windsor, b 1804. m. Mary.
G2- Olivia Windsor, b. d.
G2- Caroline Windsor, b, 1610. d. 4.11.1872 aged 62.
Our William, G2, listed above, grew up and married Jane Maria Touzeau, G2, at Liverpool in 1820, a French woman from La Rochelle. After the marriage they went to live at Camberwell in London. William was employed in the Government Ordinance Stores department at the time. This skimpy information from old Aunt Eva’s records is all we have. William and Maria Jane had six children with them on the voyage from London to Tasmania, namely, G3- William Henry, aged 20, G3- Frederick James, aged 19, G3- Lucy Ann, aged 17, G3- Isabella, aged 15, G3- Mary Jane, aged 14, G3- Edward Charles, aged 13, G3- Arthur Sydney a babe in arms of four months and a female servant maid.
Now I am going to give you an account of what I think happened next, part from research and part what I imagine to have happened. I intend to follow the lateral line until we reach Hobart in Tasmania. One day William was called into the office and told that the government was having certain problems with the ordinance stores out in the colony of Tasmania. They said that he had the qualifications for the job and offered him a promotion if he felt like accepting the commission. They gave him a few days to think it over before reporting back with a decision. William went home and had a discussion with his family. He presented the news to his family. Jane Maria his wife took the news in her stride; but the girls were not too sure. What about our marriage prospects in that Godforsaken place, half way around the world they said, with all those scary wild aborigines, convicts and other riff raff dredged up from the slums of England.
All those weird animals, snakes and goodness knows what else to have to contend with: we will be old maids in sixteen years time, we will miss the chance to find suitable partners from decent society. We are quite happy with our circumstances here in London with all those nice young men at the garrison available. William told them that there was going to be a selected group of young men and officers going as well and that they were receiving special training for their duties out in the colony. The three boys were delighted and looked upon it as a rare opportunity to see a bit of the world for themselves, and were keen to go, and the three girls made up the number of children on the ships manifest and because young Arthur Sydney was a child in arms he was not listed.
G3 – Kate Windsor, born in 1822 at Camberwell, Surry, elected not to go to Tasmania with the family. We have no further record of her, except that old aunt Eva records that she is in the family grave in the Nunhead cemetery, London. G3 – Emily Caroline Windsor, born in 1829, and died aged 2, in1831, in England before the family came to Tasmania.
William told them to get their things sorted out and packed; not to bother with too much as there would be other ships to follow. They were to say their farewells to their friends and prepare themselves for the long voyage ahead. William accepted the posting and the promotion which went with an increase in salary and better pension prospects upon retirement. They boarded the barque ‘West Indian’ at ten o’clock on Wednesday, the 23rd October 1839, on a lovely autumn morning. They were met by Captain McCarther, who showed them to their below deck accommodations. Each cabin had a small skylight, which could be opened for ventilation. Small gimballed oil lamps were for light at night. William and boys occupied one cabin and the Jane Maria and the girls the other. She was quite a small ship, only 327 tons displacement, owned by Boddingtons, British built and registered in London, carrying a crew of seventeen. She carried two guns for protection, which would be manned by the crew if needed.
Cabin space was at a premium, things were a bit cramped, but they would have to make the most of it. The other passengers were Mr and Mrs von Stiglitz, and Messrs Jones, Higgins, Chelty and Stevens. “Looks a bit on the small side said Jane”, who came from a fishing family at La Rochelle, France. “Small she may be said Captain McCarther, but she be a good sailer and a very easy sea boat when compared to others”. Besides the passengers, there were some young military personnel travelling on the ship as well. Whilst the ship was being towed out into the Thames by the tug, and the sails were being bent to the yards, Captain McCarther assembled everybody on deck and welcomed them all aboard.
He then went on to explain about the dangers likely to be encountered at sea during the long and arduous voyage ahead. He told them that the worst possible danger was fire; he strongly admonished them all to be extremely careful when smoking and handling the oil lamps; a fire aboard a wooden ship was a disaster waiting to happen at all times.
The ships boats although adequate, were not that comfortable when fully loaded and when miles away from anywhere at sea, especially at night were very scary. The next possible danger was to be washed overboard by heavy seas during rough weather, as it was next to impossible to turn the ship around and commence a search and rescue. A small human head would be nearly invisible in such conditions, especially at night. Life jackets were not the complete answer either; it was for this reason that a long looped rope, fitted with a life buoy was always trailed behind to provide some meagre hope of self rescue.
During rough weather conditions, life lines were strung fore and aft along the decks for attaching safety harnesses, when it became necessary to go on deck for any reason. Various games were available in the saloon to help pass the time at sea. One of the most important things at sea was cleanliness; it was important to use the privies which were located at the stern. Special privies were below deck near the companion way for use in rough weather. These would be kept clean by the stewards to help prevent any illnesses should any occur from spreading; as most of the time the ship would be a long way away from land with no land based medical facilities available, perhaps for many weeks.
He told them of the problems with food supplies on long voyages and the advisability of taking the fruit juices provided. Scurvy, which was often encountered on long passages without fresh vegetables and fruit, could also be a nasty health problem. They were told that the ship could be away from land for days and weeks at a time, that they could encounter maddening calms with no wind, they could run into foul weather and stormy seas. Be patient with us he said. We have a great deal of experience over most of the oceans of the world, and this trip is a relatively easy one compared to some we have been on.
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