Author Topic: What do do with a C19 family vanishing story  (Read 491 times)

Offline unfavoriteras

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What do do with a C19 family vanishing story
« on: Thursday 22 February 18 22:32 GMT (UK) »
When a tragic story of a family member vanishing happened a century before your time, so that you can do nothing to change it + the family are all dead, it used to be that was it. Probably still is. But now that I have seen topics here on tracing named members of families, I gotta just try the question.

A ship's boy in the 1870s, of which there were many then, often with bad aspects to their working conditions. This one had a very ordinary name, Tom Lewis, b1860 Cardiff, at age 14 joined ship HMS Ganges af Falmouth, which ship recruited boys there throughout the late C19. I traced its staff list of 1881 + he is no longer in it.

Family story was, he went to a gold rush + was never heard of again.

I suppose it's most likely that the gold rush's ruthlessness was fatal + he never ended up in an unknown life somewhere, good or bad. It was thought to be Australia, but someone in a tree site who also had a seafarer in her family flagged up that there was a gold rush in South Africa in that period. Her folks did fine in it, settled in Oogies, Transvaal, + even married a Lewis but wrong gender to be him..

Are there any ways known in your skills, to fish for clues to what happened in such a case, so long after it?

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Offline cati

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Re: What do do with a C19 family vanishing story
« Reply #1 on: Friday 23 February 18 00:21 GMT (UK) »
Firstly, HMS Ganges was only a training ship (and later a stone frigate), so it's highly unlikely that young Tom would have been there for very long.

Royal Navy ratings service records are viewable online at TNA:  http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/royal-navy-ratings-service-records-1853-1928/

And don't give up:  it took me 15 years to find out what happened to my black sheep ancestor who deserted his wife and ran away to America (according to family legend), but I found him in the end.

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Offline Rena

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Re: What do do with a C19 family vanishing story
« Reply #2 on: Friday 23 February 18 01:37 GMT (UK) »
Some of our Maritime records ended up in Newfoundland when the British archives got too full to hold them.   

The last time I looked only the 1881 crew list database was online, below is the search page, which brings several pages of hits for Thos Lewis and also Thomas Lewis and the ships they sailed on.  Clicking on each name brings up the details on that ship's owner, captain, crew members and their home ports.

http://www.mun.ca/mha/1881/crews1881.php
Aberdeen: Findlay-Shirras,McCarthy
MidLothian: Mason,Telford,Darling,Cruikshanks,Bennett,Sime, Bell
Lanarks:Crum, Brown, MacKenzie,Cameron, Glen, Millar
Ross, Urray:Mackenzie
Moray: Findlay; Marshall/Marischell
Perthshire: Brown Ferguson
Wales: McCarthy, Thomas
England: Almond, Askin, Dodson, Harrison, Maw, McCarthy, Munford, Pye, Shearing, Smith, Smythe, Speight, Strike, Wallis/Wallace, Ward, Wells
Germany: Flamme,Ehlers, Bielstein, Germer, Mohlm, Reupke

Offline Annette7

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Re: What do do with a C19 family vanishing story
« Reply #3 on: Friday 23 February 18 02:08 GMT (UK) »
Since records show no 'Tom Lewis' b.1860 Cardiff I am assuming you must be referring to a Thomas William Lewis b.19/1/1860 Cardiff - Royal Navy Registers of Seaman's Services shows:

'Impregnable' - 11/5/1875 to 28/6/1875
'Ganges' - 29/6/1875 to 22/8/1876
'Impregnable' - 23/8/1876
'Cambridge' - 24/8/1876 to 4/9/1876
'Ganges' - 5/9/1876 to 13/11/1876
'R.Adelaide' - 14/11/1876 to 17/12/1877
'Conflict' - 18/12/1877 to 31/1/1879
'Cormarant' - 1/2/1879 to 9/11/1880 - Run Melbourne

Don't know if the final part of the last entry means the ship involved in run/runs to Melbourne or that he'd done a 'runner' in Melbourne.

The service record shows he signed on for a 10 year stint on 19/1/1878.

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Offline Dundee

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Re: What do do with a C19 family vanishing story
« Reply #4 on: Friday 23 February 18 03:12 GMT (UK) »
'Run' means he deserted his ship.

Debra  :)

Offline horselydown86

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Re: What do do with a C19 family vanishing story
« Reply #5 on: Friday 23 February 18 05:03 GMT (UK) »
HMS Cormorant was in Melbourne for the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880.

She arrived in Hobson's Bay on 27 September and departed 22 November.

Plenty of information on Trove regarding the ship & the visit:   

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/search?adv=y

I would recommend searching the Government Gazette archive also:

http://gazette.slv.vic.gov.au/

I agree with Debra.  "Run (place)" is the usual wording for a desertion.

This would have been entered in the ship's Pay Book (probably that book) against his name.

ADDED:

Also, Victoria Police Gazettes for the period can be found on FindMyPast.

FindMyPast requires payment.  The Government Gazette is free.

Offline unfavoriteras

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Re: What do do with a C19 family vanishing story
« Reply #6 on: Friday 23 February 18 09:19 GMT (UK) »
WOW that much in 7 hours

Offline LizzieW

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Re: What do do with a C19 family vanishing story
« Reply #7 on: Friday 23 February 18 13:16 GMT (UK) »
Quote
Some of our Maritime records ended up in Newfoundland when the British archives got too full to hold them.   

The last time I looked only the 1881 crew list database was online

Newfoundland Maritime History Archive had completed about half of their 1881 crew lists a couple of years ago, then came to a halt because of lack of resources, that is the index you can see on-line. They have started transcribing again but, with the (one and only) transcriber working two rather than four days per week.

Unfortunately, the Newfoundland MHA has refused assistance from someone who organised the transcription of all the crewlists on http://www.crewlist.org.uk/ and as that site states "Over the last twenty years we have worked with hundreds of people and many archives around the world to make the largest database of seafarers' records and provide unique resources which are widely used by maritime researchers".

The chances are unless MHA accepts volunteer transcribers, it is likely to take several years to complete just the 1881 crewlists.