Author Topic: Why South Africa?  (Read 7877 times)

Offline groom

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Re: Why South Africa?
« Reply #18 on: Wednesday 13 August 08 10:22 BST (UK) »
Hi Daisy
Did you get my personal message? It certainly looks as if we are distantly related. If you are interested and want to send me your e-mail by personal message I've got lots of information about Charles's brother Thomas and his parents. Thomas's wife Alice Howell (nee Smith) drowned in the HMS Albion disaster on the Thames.
It will be great if you can find out why they went to South Africa - my bet is to work on the railways, but it might be something more exciting! Hope to hear from you soon.
Janet
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

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Offline Scatza

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Re: Why South Africa?
« Reply #19 on: Monday 26 January 09 00:00 GMT (UK) »
Hi possible, but would he have taken his wife with him?
Tried looking at South African births but didn't get far.

He might have taken his wife if they'd gone there on a scheme encouraging people to live and work in South Africa. I'm not certain if there were such schemes in the late 1800s but there were a reasonable number of people from the UK in SA. 

There were "schemes' to encourage people from England and Scotland to go to SA in the late 1800's. My gg grandfather was recruited to join Cecil John Rhodes' dream of British Imperialism and building a railway from Cape to Cairo.  CJR didn't anticipate the Matabele Uprising, and so the British SA Company employed men to 'police' the company's assetts and employees in the then Rhodesia.  My gg grandfather then joined the railways and stayed in SA because he couldn't face being so seasick again, as he was on the voyage to SA (well, that is family lore  :-\ However, he didn't take a wife with him - he met my gg grandmother in Cape Town.
Scatza
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Offline Hackstaple

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Re: Why South Africa?
« Reply #20 on: Saturday 10 April 10 23:05 BST (UK) »
Hi Jan - one of my ancestors went to South Africa in about 1902/3.   He was a railway wagon builder - so presumably that was the work he did when he got there.    He took his wife and small children with him to live there. 

He lived in Salt River - which is a suburb of Cape Town.

Another interesting thing we found out is that he joined the Cape Field Artillery out there - He wasn't a regular soldier - it was more of a part time militia/TA regiment. 

Milly

 :)

Salt River was the site of Union Carriage - a factory that built rolling stock.
Southern or Southan [Hereford , Monmouthshire & Glos], Jenkins, Meredith and Morgan [Monmouthshire and Glos.], Murrill, Damary, Damry, Ray, Lawrence [all Middx. & London], Nethway from Kenn or Yatton. Also Riley and Lyons in South Africa and Riley from St. Helena.
Any census information included in this post is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline millymcb

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Re: Why South Africa?
« Reply #21 on: Saturday 10 April 10 23:11 BST (UK) »
Thanks Hackstaple, I will look into that

Milly ;D
McBride (Monaghan, Manchester), Derbyshire (Bollington,Cheshire), Knight (Newcastle,Staffs), Smith (Chorley, Lancs & Ireland), Tipladay (Manchester & Yorkshire) ,Steadman (Madeley,Shropshire), Steele (Manchester,Glasgow), Parkinson (Wigan, Lancashire), Lovatt, Cornes & Turner (Staffs) Stott (Oldham, Lancs). All ended up Ardwick, Manchester
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Tygerr

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Re: Why South Africa?
« Reply #22 on: Tuesday 20 April 10 16:08 BST (UK) »
Hi, I'm coming into this thread rather late, but I thought I'd relate what I'd come across in my own research that might shed some more light on the OP's family story.

The question is why were they there in the first place? The only thing I can find about that time is the gold rush.
Would ordinary working class people really go to seek their fortune? Charles Henry's occuption on the 1881 census is engine smith.
Though there had been a signifcant number of British settlers arriving in South Africa during the 1800's thanks to some government aided immigration schemes (1820 Settlers in particular), the discovery of first diamonds in Kimberley and then gold in the Transvaal sparked a large immigration into the country.
There would have been a great demand for trades related to mining (fitters, turners, boilermakers, engineers). Two of my great-great grandfathers arrived here in the mid 1890s who had both been factory workers in the UK and came from very much working-class families.
But it wasn't only mining related jobs that enticed people - I have two great-grandfathers who arrived as farmers from Italy and Portugal around 1900 and started a profitable business as fesh produce farmers who supplied the mining villages that sprung up on the Witwatersrand.

So it wasn't so much that these people were 'seeking their fortune' in the way we always see American gold rush pioneers depicted out hunting for that elusive nugget of gold. They simply came over here to do the same kind of work/trade that they had been doing at home, but there were simply more job opportunities, and in a lot of cases better living conditions (the mines built a lot of housing around that time, and the climate in South Africa is a lot milder than most of Europe).

If he did go he wasn't very successful as in 1901 he is back in West Ham.
Given that date, it may have had nothing to with success at all. If he was out working in the gold fields of the Transvaal, he may have been forced to relocate when the second Anglo-Boer War broke out in 1899.

I'm presuming he was born there and then he and his mother returned to England possibly leaving his father out there.
I have a great-grandmother who was born in the Transvaal in 1898, but then I find her living back in Norwich (where her parents had come from) in the 1901 census with her siblings and mother, but her father wasn't living with them. Then she returned and lived out the rest of her life in South Africa. This puzzled me for a while, since it seemed odd that they'd returned to the UK without her father, and why had she come back to SA after that?
It was only when I found a compensation claim filed by her father in the National Archives that I realised what had happened. In his letter to the government, my great-great grandfather explained that they had moved here in the mid 1890's and settled in the Transvaal, but when war broke out, they were forced to abandon their home near Johannesburg, and he sent his wife and children back to England, while he stayed and joined the volunteer forces to fight in the war on the side of the British. The compensation claim was filed when the family had all returned home to Johannesburg after the war and found their home looted and damaged. They actually received reimbursement from the British goverment for that.

So in your case, perhaps the family returned to England at the outbreak of the war, but due to financial pressure/discouragement at the war/loss of property, they might simply have decided not to return as many other families did.

Offline Hackstaple

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Re: Why South Africa?
« Reply #23 on: Tuesday 20 April 10 18:09 BST (UK) »
A very interesting story Tygerr. Thanks.
Southern or Southan [Hereford , Monmouthshire & Glos], Jenkins, Meredith and Morgan [Monmouthshire and Glos.], Murrill, Damary, Damry, Ray, Lawrence [all Middx. & London], Nethway from Kenn or Yatton. Also Riley and Lyons in South Africa and Riley from St. Helena.
Any census information included in this post is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline groom

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Re: Why South Africa?
« Reply #24 on: Tuesday 20 April 10 19:23 BST (UK) »
Thank you Tygerr, that could explain a lot. It would make sense for them to come back if war had broken out.

Jan
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Re: Why South Africa?
« Reply #25 on: Monday 05 February 18 12:42 GMT (UK) »
Whilst working on a totally unrelated thread for someone else but also about railways in South Africa, Catherine discovered this for me

Quote
Your g/uncle(?) Charles Howell was definitely working on the railways in South Africa.  Surety for A Howell F 28 married arriving on the "Anglian" 6/2/1890 is given as C H Howell NGR Durban. NGR - Natal Government Railways.

A quick search didn't reveal when Charles arrives in SA, let me know if you have a date.

Regards
Catherine

So at least it is now confirmed that she did join him.
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Offline groom

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Re: Why South Africa?
« Reply #26 on: Monday 05 February 18 12:58 GMT (UK) »
Doing a bit of Maths I've come up with the following:

In the 1891 UK census taken 3rd April 1891 Robert Allen Howell was 10 months old, so must have been born the end of June 1890 in South Africa.

Annie arrived in SA in January 1890, so unless Robert was very premature she would have been 3 months pregnant at the time. This means that her husband Charles must have left for South Africa on or after September 1889.
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk