Monday, September 3, 2018

The Scribbler - subscribe and download a free booklet

Excuse me while I do a little advertising.

It's possible to subscribe to Clogs and Clippers and receive notifications by email when a new post appears. You'll find the "Subscribe by email" box in the sidebar. Thanks to those of you who have subscribed this way.

But Clogs and Clippers is not my only writing project. By joining my more general Readers List you'll receive a regular (monthly) newsletter by email, The Scribbler, with updates from my website,, news about the book I'm working on (a non-fiction historical narrative set in Perth), and links to all sorts of interesting and useful stuff that I think my readers might like.

I'm also offering a free PDF booklet as a thank you gift to subscribers to my Readers List. Are You Sure Dear? looks at some of the pitfalls of doing family history research, covering not only the hazards of false leads and inaccurate information, but also those tricky situations such as discovering an illegitimate birth or a criminal record that no-one in the family knew about. As the title suggests, Are You Sure Dear? is not so much about how to do family history, as how to survive being a family historian.

To join my Readers List and receive a link to download your free copy of Are You Sure Dear? click here and follow the instructions (via MailChimp). You can unsubscribe at any time, so if you just want the book, you could join and then unsubscribe after downloading it. But I hope you'll stay, enjoy reading The Scribbler, and keep in touch. Writers need readers, and I love interacting with the members of my Readers List.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Inside St Luke's, Adelaide

This post is a bit of a break from my "unsolved mysteries" series. We've just returned from a holiday visiting family in Alice Springs, which included taking a 'detour' via Adelaide. The detour was deliberate - we wanted to avoid having to get to the airport in Perth before dawn for the direct flight to Alice. And besides, we both like Adelaide.

While we were enjoying a walk we decided (or should I say, I persuaded my husband) to see if we could have a look inside St Luke's church on Whitmore Square. Susan Mason and David Whybrew were married there by the Reverend James Pollitt on 28 May 1869. Susan's sister Eliza and her sweetheart Jeremiah Murphy were also married at Luke's in March the same year. Last time I visited Adelaide I found the building but wasn't able to take a look inside.

Rev. James Pollitt, c 1869
Photo courtesy of SLSA.
A mid-week service was taking place when we arrived, so we sat in the park opposite until people started leaving, then went to have a peek while the doors were still open.

The minister noticed us and invited us in. When I told him why we were there, he introduced us to a couple of parishioners who, he said, knew a lot about the history of the place. They were very generous in showing us around and telling us what they knew.

St Luke's, Whitmore Square, in about 1870
Photo courtesy of SLSA.
St Luke's was the second Anglican church built in Adelaide, after Holy Trinity in the city centre. The land for the building was donated by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Apparently the bishop of the day, Augustus Short, arranged for a prefabricated iron building to be brought in pieces by ship from Britain, but the parishioners thought it too expensive and started building with local bluestone instead. Some of the ironwork was incorporated into the stone building and the rest sold off. The church was consecrated in 1856.

A pipe organ was installed in 1868 - just in time for the two Mason sister's weddings! The Mason family were Catholic, so it was probably their spouses' connection with the British Army that led to the weddings being held in the Anglican church.

Painting of the burned out ruins of St Luke's,
by Adelaide artist Arthur Phillips.
The painting is behind glass, so my photo
includes some unwanted reflections.
Unfortunately, the original church was burned out in 1992, possibly as a result of arson, leaving only the stone walls. So what we could see of the interior was mostly the result of rebuilding, and not what David and Susan would have seen. (We  heard a similar story when we went to look at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, where John Mason and Catherine Murphy were married.)

Only one small window, located near the altar, remains of the original stained glass windows. The window at the back of the church is a reproduction of what was there before the fire, but all the other windows are new, and part of a commissioned series. As one of the parishioners said, it makes the church quite unique in having a matching set of windows rather than a random collection donated over time.

The church has a long-standing reputation for it's work in the community, so we were pleased to hear that this is continuing, and the congregation is growing. Thank you to those who received us so kindly.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The hard-to-find Hardmans

Shop Street, Galway, Ireland
Photo by Peter Gorman*
After my success in discovering new information about the St Leger family, I decided to see if I could find out more about another Irish family in my mother's line, Patrick and Margaret Hardman or Hardiman (nee Jenkins.) The Hardmans apparently arrived in England between the birth of their daughter Elizabeth (my maternal grandmother's great grandmother) in 1835 and their son Thomas in 1840. They were in Salford, near Manchester, in time for the 1841 census.

Unlike migrants to North America, the names of Irish people travelling to England, Scotland or Wales were not recorded, since Ireland was part of the British Isles at the time. All we can say is that Patrick and Margaret left Ireland with Elizabeth before the great famine of 1845, probably as part of an on-going movement of people looking for work and a better life in the new industrial areas.

Old buildings, Chapel St, Salford
Photo by Alfred Brothers, 1878, courtesy of British Library
They settled first in Church Court off Style Street in Manchester. This was part of the rabbit-warren of decaying buildings around St Michael's Church yard known as Angel Meadow. Many of their neighbours were Irish. Samuel St Leger and Alice Dodd also lived in the area at one stage, though it would be several generations later that the two families were linked by marriage. Patrick found work as a labourer.

By 1851 he and Margaret had added Bridget (1843) John (1847) and Margaret (1850) to their family and had moved to number 10, Briercliffe Buildings in Chapel Street, Salford. Patrick was working as a brick layer's labourer both in 1851 and 1861. He died in 1868, in his mid fifties. Margaret lived on until 1888.  Before she died she was an inmate of the Manchester Work House in Crumpsall.

This much I already knew, but I had no information about the family before the 1841 census. According to all the census records, Patrick, Margaret and daughter Elizabeth were born in Galway, Ireland. Since no other location is listed, my guess is that Galway refers to the town, not just the county.

Unfortunately the Irish Genealogy site doesn't yet have many parish records for Galway. Nor can I find any trace of the family in Irish records on Ancestry or FindMyPast. At one point I thought I'd found Patrick in the Royal Hospital Chelsea Military records, but that Patrick Hardiman (born in Galway in about the right year, 1813) is said to have died in Manchester in 1853.

The names Hardman and Jenkins are not particularly common in Galway. From the internet I found several variants of both names (Hardiman, Harman, Hardogan etc, for Hardman, along with Jennings, Junkin, Johnson and even Shinkwinn for Jenkins). But using those in my search hasn't helped to discover anything.

I'm still quite a novice at researching Irish records, so perhaps if I keep learning more about it and searching, something will turn up. Just this week, Chris Goopy provided a link on her amazing blog That Moment In Time, to the Irish Genealogy Toolkit, which has lots of useful information about Irish research. Meanwhile I've been looking at pictures of Galway and thinking it would be great to do some on-the-ground research for the missing Hardmans!

*Photo used under a Creative Commons licence

Monday, July 30, 2018

Samuel St Leger's Irish marriage

They say everything comes to the one who waits, and that's certainly true in family history research. Back in 2014, when I last wrote about my mother's great grandfather, Samuel St Ledger (sometimes spelled St Leger) and his defacto wife Alice Dodd, there were all sorts of loose ends and unexplained aspects to the story.

To recap, Samuel was born in Manchester, in the early 1800s, and worked all his life as a fustian cutter. He and Alice Dodd had nine children between 1841 and 1868 (eight if the first of Alice's children, Ralph Dodd, had a different father, as he claimed on his marriage registration). But as far as I or my cousin David could discover, Samuel and Alice never married. We wondered why.

Then David discovered another previously unknown child belonging to Samuel, named Elizabeth St Ledger. She was born in Manchester in 1843, but according to the records, her mother's name was not Alice Dodds, but Bridget Dobbs.

We guessed that if Samuel had been married to Bridget, that would explain why he didn't marry Alice. But we couldn't discover anything about Bridget. Neither she nor the child Elizabeth appeared on any English census records, nor did there seem to be any marriage or death records for either of them.

A while later, while looking for information about Samuel's birth, I came across this announcement in an Irish newspaper, the Dublin Weekly Herald:
"On the 12th inst. in St.Catherine's Church by the Rev. Thos. Gregg, Mr Samuel St Ledger to Bridget, eldest dau. of Mr John Dobbs late Sec. to the Christian Fellowship Soc." 
It was dated 21 March 1840. Several other Irish papers carried the same snippet of news. David and I  couldn't be sure that it was "our" Samuel St Ledger, since St Ledger/St Leger is quite a common name in Ireland. But it would explain not only why Samuel didn't, or couldn't, marry Alice Dodd, but also perhaps why he didn't appear in the 1841 English census. He was probably in Dublin at the time, married to Bridget.

St Catherines, Thomas Street, Dublin

That was as far as it went until this week, when I decided to write about Samuel and Alice for my series about unexplained mysteries. While I was checking to see if any new information was available, I found a possible baptism for Samuel on the Lancashire Online Parish Clerk site:
Baptism: 7 Oct 1816 St Chad, Cheetham, Lancashire, England
Samuel St Legear - Son of Samuel St Leager [sic] & Ann (formerly Mooney)
Born: 2 Nov
Parents' Marital Status: conj.
And a possible sister to Samuel too, previously unknown:
Baptism: 21 Aug 1818 St Chad, Cheetham, Lancashire, England
Elizabeth Sinleger - Daughter of Sam. Sinleger & Ann (formerly Mooney)
Born: 20 Aug
Godparents: John McNally; Ellen Flinn
Parents' Marital Status: conj.
If nothing else, these entries demonstrate why searching for the name "St Leger" proves so difficult!

On the Irish site I found a record for Samuel St Leger and Bridget Dobb's marriage in 1840, confirming the newspaper report, although her name was recorded as Dodds rather than Dobbs.

The same site also produced this marriage record (click to enlarge):

It shows Elizabeth St Leger marrying a widower, John McNeill, in Dublin on 24 December 1871. Her father is recorded as Samuel St Leger, fustian cutter. So it looks as though Elizabeth, and probably her mother Bridget, returned to Ireland, leaving Samuel to continue his affair with Alice in Manchester.

Samuel and Bridget had a child born in Dublin, before Elizabeth was born in England. Sarah St Leger was born on 13 December 1840, at 28 Thomas Court, Dublin, and was baptised at St Catherine's on 28 March 1841. I haven't been able to discover what happened to her. Perhaps she died in infancy.

So now I know quite a bit more about Samuel's family than I did last time I wrote about him. But there's a new mystery to solve - what was the relationship, if any, between Alice Dodd and Bridget Dodd/Dobbs? Alice claimed to have been born in Manchester, and Bridget was apparently born in Dublin, so perhaps it's just co-incidence that they have the same, or very similar, surname. Or perhaps not.