A Sherwood family of County Kildare, Ireland

As I mentioned in a former blog I am preparing to visit Britain in a few weeks to attend a Family History Cruise with Unlockthepast on board the Marco Polo. Full details of this Conference Cruise can be found at http://www.unlockthepastcruises.com/

One of my ancestral families from Ireland is a Sherwood family. From documents I have collected in Australia I can briefly outline my family as below.

 SHERWOOD

Robert Sherwood, bc 1765, Monasterevin,County Kildare Ireland, Married 1818 in Kildare, Bridget Hannah Dunn.. Emigrated to Sydney per Premier in 1840. Issue included: William Dunn, b 1820; Amelia (Emily), b 1822; Robert, b 1825; Nelson, b 1828; Joseph, b 1830; Emily, b1833; Margaret, 1835.

Robert Sherwood died in 1860 and Bridget Sherwood in 1867. Both are buried in Sydney.

I have copies of several documents including Robert’s Death Certificate, Church Burial Entry and newspaper death notice in the Sydney Morning Herald., of 24 Sept, 1860 which states:-

At his residence, Balmain, on the 21st September, Mr. Robert Sherwood, aged 104 years, late of Malpes Court, New England, and formerly of Ivy House, county Kildare, Ireland. He served forty-two years in the army, and was highly respected by all who knew him.”

The earliest records I have for this family in Australia are their immigration records. Originally I located these records some forty years ago from the card indexes held at the NSW State Archives now State Records of New South Wales. This index gave me the information that the family arrived on the Premier on 2 July 1840. This index is now on http://www.ancestry.com. I have always found newspapers to be a great source for family history, and I encourage all family historian to tackle this great resource. I followed up the arrival of the Premier in the shipping intelligence and other sections of the Sydney Herald (Sydney), and other surviving newspapers of that time.

In the newspapers there is often information concerning the voyage and the ship itself, not found in the Harbour Masters Papers or other Shipping records, but sometimes much more, which adds to the family’s story. When looking for details on the voyage of the Premier in 1840, I certainly found some interesting information.

PREMIER, 560 tons, Weir, master, from Plymouth April 2nd, with 159 immigrants. Passengers, Mr. Ross, and T. Turner, Esq., surgeon. Agents. T. Gore and Co.

News – The William Mitchell had arrived from this port previously to the Premier sailing.

The Premier brings a fine and healthy looking body of Bounty Immigrants; during the voyage. only four infants were lost. She had an   uncommonly swift passage (90 days), though   becalmed for some time off the Cape.

However, by far the most interesting information was that there had been a mutiny on board.

The crew, incited by some Sydney crimp-taught fellows who were among them, mutinied and one of them had the audacity to strike the commander, after having given him the lie.

A mutiny you say! Great, how can I find out more about that?

Of course these sailors were incarcerated in the Sydney Gaol on arrival and hauled before the Courts to explain themselves. These Court cases were reported in the newspapers of the day, as well as other news items about the mutiny.

The fullest report by the Surgeon Superintendent Mr John Turner., was published in the Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser. , 4 July 1840. Here is a short extract-

MUTINY ON BOARD The “Premier” Immigrant Ship   Dear Sir,–To prevent misconstruction, the following account of the mutiny on board the Premier, from the Log-book, is at your service, if worth inspection. I remain yours obediently, J. TURNER, Surgeon. ” I have much pleasure in bearing testimony to the ready and willing manner in,which most of the male Immigrants came forward on Tuesday the 6th of June to assist in navigating the ship under circumstances of a most trying nature.. ……

The Court Reports of the 7th July published in the same newspaper on the 8th and 9th of July gave further details. The full extracts run to some twelve pages of notes for my Sherwood Family History file.

All these newspapers can be freely accessed online in Digitised Historical Newspapers through Trove on the National Library of Australia website at https://www.nla.gov.au/

Although my ancestors are not named in these reports we know that approximately twenty four male immigrants of about forty five assisted the officers and apprentices to ‘man’ the ship for about two days. There is no doubt all on board would have been aware of what was happening. It would have been very traumatic for many, especially during the gales as most were from poor farming communities of Ireland, and had never been to sea before. What great details to add to the story of the Sherwood family’s voyage to Australia.

I encourage everyone interested not only in the Sherwood family, but anyone descended from one of the 30 families or the 16 unmarried men or 35 single women on this voyage to look up these newspapers to get a feel of what went on at the time.

Next blog I will be discussing surviving government records available for the Premier’s, 1840 voyage with information about the immigrants themselves. I will be looking at these records for my Sherwood family.

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The Kennedy Clan in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland

This month I have concentrated on researching some of my ancestors from Northern Ireland. On my maternal line I am descended from the Kennedy’s of County Tyrone.

Gilbert Kennedy was born about 1827, son of Thomas and Mary Kennedy near The Rock, County Tyrone, Ireland. I have not been able to locate surviving baptism records for the parish churches, in this area of Northern Ireland. I am continuing to research the Kennedy families in this part of Ireland and found some were still there in the 1901 Census.

On 3 February 1852, Gilbert married Ann Hunter at the Artrea parish church. Ann was the daughter of Robert and Jane Hunter of Ballyneill More, in County Londonderry.

In 1854 Gilbert and Ann Kennedy had a daughter who was named Elizabeth.

In 1856, Gilbert and Ann decided to emigrate to New South Wales. They travelled to Belfast where they took a boat to Liverpool and boarded the emigrant ship Kate. The Kate left Plymouth in mid September and arrived in Sydney two days before Christmas in 1856.

Advertisements appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald later that week stating that there were a number of Agricultural Labourers who had arrived by the ‘Kate’. It is believed that Gilbert and Ann Kennedy went to the Camden area to help with the summer harvest.

The Kennedy family were at Spring Creek, near Camden two years later when a daughter Mary Jane was born on 9 March 1858. They are believed to have been renting a farm there.

In 1860, a third daughter, named Mary Ann was born. In that same year their eldest daughter, Elizabeth, died from croup.

Another daughter, Isabella was born in 1862 followed by Martha in 1864. However four year old Isabella drowned at Spring Creek in 1866. Soon afterwards the family moved to Abbottsford, Picton. A son William James Kennedy was born at Abbottsford on 7 June 1866.

It was about this time that Gilbert Kennedy’s health started to decline and in February 1870 he was admitted to the Parramatta Asylum, where he remained until his death on 1 September 1903. The admission registers for this time period have not survived, to give us the medical reason for Gilbert’s admission. Gilbert was buried at Rookwood Church of England Cemetery, but there is no headstone. He is memorialised on his wife’s headstone at St Mark’s, Picton.

Parramatta Asylum was opened in 1849 in the old Female Factory. From the outset it consisted of a free, and a criminally insane division. By 1870 there were about eight hundred patients, over seven hundred being free. Although in 1885 a new hospital wing was completed, over crowding was always a problem. Several photographs of Parramatta Asylum at the turn of the 20th Century can be viewed at the State Records website at http://www.records.nsw.gov.au . Because this Asylum was so much a part of my ancestors life, finding these photographs has been very helpful. An article in the Town and Country Journal, 12 August 1871 gave a detailed description of the establishment, which helped me put our Gilbert Kennedy life into context. The reporter mentions an inmate by the name of ‘Kennedy’, but further research showed he was a ‘William Francis Kennedy’ and not our ‘Gilbert Kennedy’. I have copies of surviving Asylum records relating to Gilbert, but they do not give a great insight into his ‘illness’.

In 1875, Mary Ann Kennedy, the second surviving daughter of Gilbert and Ann Kennedy died, of ‘disease of the throat.’ She was buried at St Mark’s, Picton aged 15 years.

Less than two years later Martha Kennedy, the fifth child and second surviving daughter of Gilbert and Ann Kennedy died of cancer. She was only 13 years of age. She is also buried at Picton.

On 23 March 1878 a joyous occasion was celebrated in the family, when ‘Margaret Jane’ the only surviving daughter of Gilbert and Ann Kennedy was married to James Baxter, in St Mark’s, Church of England, Picton. The following year a son was born to James and Margaret Baxter who was named ‘William James’.Nine children were born to James and Margaret Baxter over the next twenty years or more, all of whom survived. The youngest child, a son, was named ‘Ewart Gilbert’ in honour of his Grandfather Kennedy.

In 1894, William James Kennedy the only son of Gilbert and Ann Kennedy, married Florence Emily Evans. They were to have twins, Myra and William in 1896, followed by Stella in 1897 and Dorothy in 1899. This family resided at 73 Lincoln Street, Stanmore for over fifty years.

Ann Kennedy went to live with James and Margaret Baxter’s family in the late 1890’s, until her own death in 1912. She is buried in St Mark’s Picton along side her daughters Isabella, Mary Ann,and Martha. Headstones mark these graves.

James and Margaret Baxter are also buried here and a headstone marks the grave.