In my last Baxter blog, I mentioned I was investigating court cases in Chancery concerning George and Mary Baxter and the Brayne family. Although I have not solved all the mysteries concerning the court cases, I have been able to find much more on the lives of the Baxter and Brayne families in 18th London.
Over the last few months, I have been using the research facilities at the Grafton Latter Day Saints Family History Centre, for access to microfilms of English records and to the Internet subscription sites of Ancestry.com, Findmypast, and The Genealogist. I have also spent a lot of time researching all kinds of topics on- line and at the local library, as well as in the hundreds of books in my own private library.
After many hours of meticulous research and the collection, assessing and filing of over three hundred documents I have been able to extend and record in some detail our Baxter and connected families in London. Finding burial dates and places in London has been notoriously difficult, but I have finally met with great success.
I have connected many, but not all the above-mentioned documents to our families, but I have filed them, as they may yet be useful in that the connection may be in an earlier generation, not yet investigated. Collecting all these documents has enabled me to trace the origins and lives of several interesting Baxter individuals, such as the George Baxter, who is credited with the development of colour printing, although I have not found a family connection yet. Another interesting person was Charles Baxter the noted 19th Century portrait artist, who was connected to our family.
The results of all this research in England, particularly London, has been most pleasing, but the most interesting fact I discovered, was that several family members, particularly cousins of our Thomas George Baxter, came to Australia in the early to mid 19th Century. Some as convicts, as was Thomas George Baxter, and others as free immigrants.
This was revealed when I decided to sort out several Baxter families in New South Wales, who were living in the same area at the same time and had the same Christian names running through the families. This was particularly the case with Charles, John, Thomas., George, and William, for the males and Mary Ann, Elizabeth and Sarah for the females, in the Baxter families around Goulburn. I knew from the material placed on the Internet that other researchers had drawn conclusions and made certain claims about these families, but from my own research, I knew several of these were incorrect.
Although the indexes for Civil Registration of Births, Marriages, and Deaths in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria are very informative, you cannot build your family tree on these indexes alone. It is necessary to purchase the full certificates to get the correct information. For many years I have used the Transcription Services of Joy Murrin and Marilyn Rowan, to obtain full copies of Birth, Marriage, and Death Certificates from the office of the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in New South Wales. Both have websites you can Google to find full information about their services.
It was by following the Golden Rule of Genealogy, that is by moving backward from the known to the unknown, with the correct documents, that I was able to identify who these people were, where they came from, and to whom they were connected, both in Australia and in England. As I sorted, grouped and documented these families I have been also able to extend many branches down to the present, in several states of Australia.
Early next year I look forward to meeting and sharing information and photographs with many of these recently found ‘cousins,’ although the ‘connection’ may be some six or seven generations back in London in the 18th Century. That for me is the ultimate pleasure of doing Family History.