Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Whittles Migrating to Australia - a Forrest Gump Genealogy Moment

I spent quite a bit of time on Monday researching more about the Alexander and Rachel Whittle family that migrated from England to Australia in the early 1840s, then to California in 1850. They were the parents of my wife's great-grandmother, Jane Whittle (1847-1921).

Earlier posts in this series include:

* I Found Rachel in the 1852 California Census where I found Rachel "Wadle" and three children in San Francisco in the 1852 California State Census on Ancestry.com

* Jane's Birth Record, and more... - I found out that Jane's parents were Alexander and Rachel Whittle, not Joseph and Rachel.

* Finding the Whittles in Australia highlighted some of the newspaper articles about the family in The Sydney Morning Herald in the 1840 to 1850 time frame from the Historic Australian Newspapers , 1803-1954, Trove website.

My favorite reader Rod Van Cooten commented on the second post that:

"You're in luck! I thought I'd try to find Alexander and Rachel in the NSW online shipping records.There's a good site at http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/state-archives/indexes-online/indexes-online#immigration

"I tried each of the online ones, and believe it or not, they're on FamilySearch. At the bottom of the following search you'll find them both. http://search.labs.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#p=recordResults&collection=fs%3A1542665&surname=whittle&searchType=close "

Another great tip. The database is the Index to Bounty Immigrants Arriving in N.S.W. Australia, 1828-1842. It is also on the Beta FamilySearch.org website, but is not listed under Australia at this time (it's in the alphabetical list between Illinois and India). The link above provides the index of Whittles (and similar spellings):

Down the list are the entries for Alexander Whittell and Rachel Whittell. Here is Alexander's index entry:

The information includes:

* Principal's Name = Alexander Whittell
* Estimated birth year = 1818
* Age in years = 23
* Native place of Principal = Bolton, Lancashire, England
* Father's name = Alexander Whittell
* Mother's name = Margaret Mansley
* Spouse's name = Rachael Whittell
* Native place of spouse = Bolton, Lancashire, England
* Spouse's Father's name = Thomas Morley
* Spouse's Mother's name = Jessie Haslam
* Ship = Brothers
* Date of arrival = 11 Mar 1841
* Volume = 38
* GS Number = 416877
* DGS Number = 4117092
* Image number = 02852

Rachael Whittell's entry provides the same information.

This record tells me much more than just the ship (the Brothers) and the date (11 March 1841) that they arrived in New South Wales. It also provides their native place and the names of both sets of parents. What a wonderful genealogy find!

One more thing here - up until finding this entry, I had thought that Rachel's maiden name was Moore - based on the Mother's name in Jane (Whittle) McKnew's death certificate (which also listed her father as Joseph Whittle - wrong!). It appears to be Morley, and her parents are Thomas and Jessie (Haslam) Morley. So now I think we know the true names of Jane Whittle's parents - Alexander Whittle and Rachel Morley.

I've referred to Forrest Gump Genealogy Moments (FGGM) before - see the Forrest Gump Principle of Genealogy Research which states "Genealogy research is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to find, but you have to look everywhere your 'genealogy gem' might be hiding." This was certainly an FGGM!

There is lots more to this research trail. We'll look at online English parish and civil records tomorrow.

My sincere thanks to Rod Van Cooten for leading me through the available online Australian records (my guess is that I've only scratched the surface here!).


Martin said...

Oh my word! What a goldmine. What other record is there that gives parents' full names and place of birth like that (i.e. on another continent).

There are some U.S. Irish descendants who are feeling very jealous now.

bgwiehle said...

Randy, did you look at the image? Daughter Elizabeth was with her parents on this voyage. And, missing from the FS index were the occupations of Alexander and his father and father-in-law!
The card is a typed extract of the original passenger list, but still, one should always verify indexed information when possible.

Randy Seaver said...

excellent point, bgwiehle - THANK YOU for the lesson I seem to forget sometimes. This just shows my readers are, collectively and individually, smarter than I am!