Last night’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring Jason Donovan was an enjoyable and interesting programme, but not outstanding. For me this series has so far lacked any really memorable (for the right reason) episodes.
I was a little surprised to find Jason Donovan on the UK version of the show rather than the Australian version, but that didn’t really matter as I was keen to learn a bit more about Australian family history. Whilst we learnt quite a bit about convicts (was anyone really surprised that he had at least one convict ancestor?), I would have liked to learnt more about everyday records, like those of birth, marriage and death.
That being said the stories uncovered were interesting, focusing mainly on three individuals, the two earliest ancestors being different sides of the same coin, convict and guard. It was the second of these, William Cox, that provided the most interesting story, travelling to Australia with his family and ending up as a pioneer paving the way for the growth of the Australian nation.
I was a bit confused by the preview of programme which said that they uncovered a miscarriage of justice, sure the punishment of transportation was harsh, but there was no indication why this should be seen as inappropriate for the time or any irregularities in the trial.
This episode did produce my favourite line of the series so far, when Jason told his first cousin once removed that he had been “too interested in myself for too long”. I don’t think it is just Jason that feels this, I think many people at one time or another realise this is case and wants to find out more about where they came from.
Here is another postcard sent back home from Australia by William Joseph Henry BATEMAN. I know nothing about the artist or publisher of this card (although I do like the picture), and the message on the back is more important than the picture on the front.
As you can see from the date this one was written at the same time as the one I showed you a couple of weeks ago. Presumably sent in the same envelope to save postage. This one was sent to William’s sister May (or Dorothy May) BATEMAN.
Dorothy May BATEMAN was my great-grandmother and would have been about 18 years old at the time. It is interesting to note that she is not at the same address as her parents, presumably she was in domestic service in Brighton, Sussex at the time. It would be interesting to find out who else was also living at 45 Preston Grove in 1907.
The mention of “one of little Willie photo’s” is referring to William Joseph Henry’s first son William Thomas Henry BATEMAN who would have been almost eight months old when this card was written. I wonder what the reason was for Annie (his wife) being “not up to much”?
There was one big distraction this week, fortunately it was a genealogical distraction. I spent much longer than I had anticipated looking at the newly released National Probate Calendars on Ancestry.co.uk.
So far my searching has been very unstructured, just checking out my surnames to see if there was anyone I recognised. You know what it is like when you get your hands on a new database, all pretences of order go out the window as you just dive in. So far I haven’t actually recorded any of the data, but have found some interesting entries, but I now need to start being more methodical and start capturing the data.
As a result of my searches I will probably be ordering a couple of wills this week. More out of curiosity than anything else, as they will probably not actually move my research forward, but should be interesting to read.
The two certificates that ordered last week arrived this weekend, so I will be processing those this week and probably writing about them. As I expected there were no real surprises contained in them, but they help tie down some details about the BATEMAN family and their time in Brighton, Sussex. They also give me more work to do next time I am at the Brighton History Centre and East Sussex Record Office.
I haven’t forgotten the Australian BATEMANs, I need to carry on sorting out their data and seeing what else I can find out. Is there an equivalent to the National Probate Calendars for Australia? Where can I find a copy of William Joseph Henry BATEMANs will?
I have picked up a copy of Tracing Your Naval Ancestors from my local library and will go through that and put together a list of records I need to check next time I am up at The National Archives. The aim being to try and fill in some more details on William Joseph Henry BATEMAN’s naval service.
Unlike most of the postcards I feature on my blog this one has a direct family connection, the message on the back is of more interest to me than the picture on the front and it is not actually part of my postcard collection.
I know virtually nothing about the postcard itself, other than what is printed on the front. The artist is J. Hutchings and it is part of the Australian Series. The message on the back is dated 28th May 1907, but it was presumably sent in an envelope because there is no stamp and the left hand side has been trimmed.
The card was sent to my 2x great-grandparents Henry and Dorothy Isabella BATEMAN (who had by this time moved from Brighton, Sussex to Hurstpierpoint, Sussex) by their son William Joseph Henry BATEMAN. The message mentions May, who would be Dorothy May BATEMAN, William’s sister and my great-grandmother.
The message pretty much speaks for itself, probably fairly typical of cards and letters sent to families back home. I love the comment that he would have written a letter but there was no paper. The photos mentioned were probably of his first son William Thomas Henry BATEMAN who was born on the 1st October 1906, sadly they don’t appear to have survived.
Time is still proving to be an issue, there are just not enough hours in the day to do all the genealogy I would like. I am still working on reducing the number of distractions in my life, such as the number of emails I get each day (I am glad not to have Twitter or Facebook to worry about).
I can also see that my research has become much more focused, normally I would be switching from family to family on an almost daily basis, but this week I have been focused on the Australian BATEMANs. I didn’t actually do much new research this week, but I did find a newspaper announcement of the death of Annie Clark BATEMAN, which interestingly lists all her brothers and sisters and her husband, but not her children.
I have done some work on their addresses, and I am currently pulling together addresses from various sources (mainly Electoral Rolls) and updating the details on Family Historian. This is throwing up the age old problem of how do I record the place names from the Australian Electoral Rolls, how much detail do I record in the place name field and how much in the source citations?
My lack of knowledge of all things Australian is starting to become obvious, I need to do some background reading on Australian genealogy and perhaps even get hold of some old maps. I keep trying to relate things back to English genealogy, but I have no idea how similar the records are or whether the process is similar or not.
This week I am going to focus on places, decide how I am going to record all the information. For now I just need to make sure I have all the information recorded somewhere, whether I keep it in the same format or not in the future is a different question.
I also want to try and fill in some gaps in the English side of William Joseph Henry BATEMAN’s life. The first step will be to get copies of his parent’s marriage certificate and his birth certificate. Both of these should be in Brighton, Sussex so that will give me some more local information to follow up. I also need to see if I can untangle WJH’s naval career and find out what further information I might be able to discover, I probably need to get hold of a copy of a guide to naval ancestors from the library.